Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hey, Hey, Hisanori!

So, I think it's time we start gushing over Hisanori Takahashi.

Last night was my 7th game of the season at Citi Field. After 4 quick wins out of the gate, I'd sat through a pair of games where I either froze my ass off while the Mets looked lifeless, or sat comfortably while the Mets looked lifeless. Last night, I sweated out a rather easy Mets victory.

Obviously, I'll take the latter every time.

While Jose Reyes provided much of the sizzle in last night's game, between his 1st HR in well over a season, and his acrobatic leaping catch to end the game, it was Hisanori Takahashi who really provided the thrill, going out and throwing 6 shutout innings for the second time in a row.

Takahashi was near-heroic in his effort against the Yankees, constantly getting in and out of trouble by basically throwing everything he wanted to throw exactly where he wanted to put it. I called him the Anti-Oliver Perez and I think that's quite fitting because not only does he throw strikes, but he seems to almost always keep things under control. The Yankees appeared to always just get close to getting to him. Last night, the Phillies didn't even appear that close. Aside from a bunch of singles and one well-struck double, the Phillies only managed to get two runners on base in the 6th, and of course Takahashi responded by striking out Ryan Howard and getting Jayson Werthless to fly out.

Basically, Takahashi has demonstrated that he knows how to pitch, he knows what he has to work with, he knows when to show what he has and he knows where he needs to put his pitches. How long this success will last, I don't know. But for now, he's the answer in the rotation, I don't think there's any debate about that.

Meanwhile, after the Phillies threatened and were turned away in the 6th, there were the Mets, coming out on offense and basically stopping and demoralizing the Phillies by tacking on 3 more runs and essentially putting the game out of reach. The Mets had been running at will against Joe Blanton all night. After a well-struck double from Wright, Angel Pagan laid down a textbook bunt single and appeared to have taken off for 2nd before Rod Barajas even stepped in the batter's box. Barajas followed with the double to plate both runs, and Reyes came up later and iced the game with a single.

The crowd was alive in a way I haven't felt much at Citi Field, primarily because there was never a reason to. Yes, there were plenty of Phillies fans. No, they didn't have much to talk about, and when they did, it appeared there were plenty of Mets fans shouting them down. In the stairways after the game, the chants were all in our favor, and all over the place. It was the kind of magic I haven't felt since Shea. It's nice. I hope it keeps up. I mean, can they? Think about it. Back-to-back shutouts of the best offense in the league by pitchers named Dickey and Takahashi? Jose Reyes back? Rod Barajas anchoring the offense? What's going on here? I was about to leave this team for dead just 5 days ago. If this is what's going to happen, maybe I should start calling people out more often.

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