Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Good Vibes

Sometime around the 4th inning of last night's game, another sweaty affair that included me tuning out early as the Phillies took the lead, making dinner in my underwear in the middle innings and then drifting back into things around the 7th inning, I looked at the score and saw that it was 4-1 Phillies. Daniel Murphy had just driven home a run, or maybe he had made one of the several fine defensive plays he'd been making all evening. I thought to myself something that I don't think Mets fans have been thinking very much over the past few years. I thought, "Well, the Phillies better not let us hang around like this too much longer. We're liable to rally and come back."

Sure enough, they did.

So that's twice in a row now that the Mets have come into Philadelphia and kicked the Phillies in the Mike Schmidt Moustache, winning games that on paper, they had no business winning. Monday night, they won in spite of having to face Roy Halladay. Tuesday, they won again, in spite of having to start Miguel Batista in the now-infamous Mike Pelfrey vacant spot in the rotation. Early, it looked like a pretty easy game to stop paying attention to. Batista got bombed in the 1st, bombed some more in the 2nd, but then mysteriously settled down. Or maybe Philly's bats just went quiet. Either way, Philly didn't score the rest of the game, so whatever the Mets pitching was doing, they were doing it right, and it allowed the offense to very quietly string a few hits together, score a couple of runs, and then tie the game on the kind of play that seemed like something the Mets themselves would have done in, say, 2009. Or maybe the whole play would have backfired and Wright would have just run into the tag for the 3rd out. But instead Wright did the smart thing and kept the rundown going just long enough for Nieuwenhuis to distract the entire Phillies infield, which by this point had managed to convene in the neighborhood of 1st base. Pete Orr (a sign of Philly's problems in the early going—No Utley, No Howard, means guys like Pete Orr and Juan Pierre are starting games) then turned and chucked the ball down the left field line, allowing Nieuwenhuis to score and Wright to scamper all the way to 3rd.

Doesn't that sound like the kind of thing the Mets usually do?

Well, apparently the culture around here has changed, since the Mets not only didn't screw it up, they also took the lead one batter later and then watched as their bullpen locked the game down and the bats put it away in the 9th inning. Well, shit. I guess that thought I had in the 4th inning wasn't so crazy after all. There have been other seasons recently where the Mets have had some gritty wins and it makes everyone feel good, but this season it feels a little different. Maybe because nobody expects it to happen and yet they keep on doing it.

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