A busy weekend precluded me from having much to say about the Mets taking out the Padres over the weekend, although suffice it to say, those two pitchers that have basically been the saviors for the Mets did what they do best and smash a lesser opponent with authority. Things now less busy, I was back at Citi Field tonight for yet another solid performance from a Mets starter. This, however, was a less likely source in the name of Jeremy Hefner.
Hefner's start last week against San Diego yielded less than desirable results following an hour rain delay early in the evening. Tonight, however, the rain waited until after Hefner had departed the game, following a performance that I'd have to say was pretty damn good.
Not that things started especially well for Hefner, since the Phillies reached him for single runs in the 1st and 2nd innings. But the Mets were game enough to match Philly off of Joe Blanton. After Brian Schneider did something that he rarely did while he was a Met and blast a HR into the Pepsi Porch, the game had all the looks of a 10-8 slugfest that would stretch late into the evening.
But, Hefner settled down. Given a 3-2 lead to work with, Hefner pretty much stopped the Phillies in their tracks over the next few innings. The only other run he allowed to Philly happened more by accident, following a 2B by Juan Pierre (whom I'm surprised is still in the league) and a hit by lurching Hunter Pence that slipped by Mike Baxter and allowed Pierre to score. But with Pence on 3rd and none out, and disaster looming, it was Hefner who proved up to the challenge, getting the next 3 batters quietly and leaving that tying run on 3rd, and departing the game on a high note.
Hefner, of course, also helped his own cause in the 4th, by hitting one of those out-of-nowhere Home Runs that sort of took everyone by surprise, partly because it's the pitcher batting, partly because nothing was going on and it was really hot out. I mean, 2 outs, nobody on and the pitcher up in his 3rd Major League AB, the last thing anyone was expecting was to see the ball flying down the left field line and into the seats. But, Holy, Crap, that's exactly what happened.
Then, the rains came. You knew it was coming, because that black cloud of doom had been creeping over Citi Field pretty much since the 2nd inning. Fortunately, it came much later in the game, with the Mets comfortably ahead and the game having moved along at a very brisk pace. Nonetheless, a 64-minute rain delay is a 64-minute rain delay and it's a drag to sit through. The rain delay is always a weird thing because you've got to find something to do with yourself to pass the time. Back in the Shea Stadium days, I would walk around the ramps to other levels. This, however, was my first Citi Field rain delay, something I'd managed to avoid over the past few seasons. My date for the evening and I found ourselves engaged in a discussion with a couple from Canada whose flight had been cancelled and only found themselves at the game because the hotel they were put in had given them free tickets. It was a fine time-killer, enough so that the 17 minutes of game that followed the rain delay went by quickly, and off to home we went. Another fine night for the Mets, Jeremy Hefner, and everyone in attendance who stuck around 64 minutes longer than necessary.