For 5 innings last night, the Mets did a pretty good job of making Cole Hamels eat his words.
For the final 6 innings, the Mets did a pretty good job of making Cole Hamels look prophetic.
Though the game early on seemed to be playing out like a Pelfrey/Hamels pitchers duel, the Mets eventually got to Hamels and jumped on him to the tune of 4 runs and 11 hits over 5 innings, getting runners on in every inning, stealing bases, keeping him off balance and basically pinging him to death with a bunch of singles. It was truly beautiful to see, because the Mets were thriving on a pair of extended rallies. All they needed was the haymaker to put the game out of reach and send the crowd into a frenzy.
Didn't happen. Beltran got hosed on a bad call at 1st base to end things in the 4th, the Mets couldn't bring home any more runs in the 5th, and then couldn't get an inch off the Phillies bullpen the rest of the night. It became progressively more and more frustrating as the night drew on, not so much because the Phillies had come back and tied the game, but because it seemed to me that the Mets had the bases loaded or men in scoring position in just about every inning. The Mets basically turned back into the Mets and stopped scoring after the 4th inning, came up with 16 hits and only managed to score 4 runs.
It comes back to that issue of being lucky, and the good teams always get lucky. For the Mets, you knew that once they started to screw up innings over and over, it was just a matter of time before the game got away from them. After 5 innings, things were looking great. Pelfrey was in a rhythm, having recovered from his bad start last time out (and if you'd listened to my boys Benigno and Roberts, you would have thought Pelfrey was the first good pitcher ever to have a bad outing), he was pitching and acting without fear. Hell, he helped himself with his bat just as much as he did on the mound, chipping in with a pair of hits, a run and an RBI. He got in Utley's face in the 6th after Utley stepped out on him mid-windup. He was rolling right along. And all of a sudden it sort of just fell apart on him in the 7th. Beltran probably should have caught Werth's fly ball for starters, and once Wright made his error, the wheels had come off. But the Phillies didn't pass the Mets in that inning, they just caught them. So the Mets still had plenty of time and plenty of juice to push that winning run across.
Try as they might, they couldn't manage it. Just about every reliever the Phillies trotted out there let guys on base and then got out of it. Durbin, Eyre, Romero, even Chan Ho Freakin' Park got through two innings. Both teams were slugging it out and at some point it became apparent that whoever got one more good break was going to end up winning the game. And the longer things went, the more excruciating it got. Tatis made a huge play on Rollins' liner in the 10th. But when Werth made a Swoboda-like dive to rob Wright of what would have been a certain game-winning double in the last of the 10th, I knew the Mets were screwed. I stepped away from the TV for a brief moment and it seemed almost too perfect . The situation was rife for disaster. By the time I came back, Utley had already hit his 2nd HR and the Phillies had the game. You could see it coming a mile away.
So, tonight, a rubber game in between the raindrops (at least that's how it looks right now). I'll be there tonight. I wasn't especially thrilled to draw a Tim Redding start, but then again, the Phillies are starting Jamie Moyer, who I saw the Mets beat up on but good last month. So far this week, the Mets won on Tuesday, which was the 10th Anniversary of one of my favorite Shea Games. Tonight is the one-year Anniversary of one of the more bizarre evenings I'd ever spent at Shea. It's also Jose Reyes' Birthday, his 26th, though he's spending it on the DL. Hopefully, the Mets will celebrate his birthday this year the same way they did last year.