Tuesday, August 28, 2012

That Good Old Time Feeling

I know that times have changed, and that these battles between the Mets and the Phillies have dissolved into a battle for 3rd place rather than a battle for 1st place, replete with Citizens' Bank Park actually being empty, and nobody waving their little hankies or throwing cheesesteaks at anyone, but that doesn't make beating the Phillies any less enjoyable. Particularly when you consider that the Mets scored a heart-stopping 9 runs in the process. This must be a testament to the Phillies' pitching, given that the 9 runs the Mets scored tonight were more than they'd scored in the last week combined. Or, perhaps, the Mets still get up for playing Philly, and after being shoved into a hole after Meat Mountain's nauseating Grand Slam in the 1st, they were inspired to play like it was June and fight their way back into the game.

Neither starter managed much in the way of success this evening. Chris Young was victimized by Howard, and then later on by Utley, and Vance Worley usually gets shelled by the Mets. This time, he was victimized by strings of hits, as was the case in the 1st and 5th, and also by Mike Baxter, who picked a fine time for his 1st HR of the season. So, the Mets fought back only to fall behind again in the 5th, and then turned the game over to the bullpen. By this point, if you were still watching, you figured that not only would the Mets not come back, since the 4 runs they'd scored already seemed too high a total, but the Bullpen would figure out a way to allow the Phillies another 4-5 runs at least. But noooooooo. 5 Mets pitchers successively allowed the Phillies to barely make a peep over the rest of the game. So let's give some credit to Robert Carson (Not Egbert), Josh Edgin (Not Elvin), Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch and Bobby Parnell for actually pitching well and keeping the score where it was. This proved important later on when Kelly Shoppach doubled home David Wright with 2 outs in the 8th, at a point in the game where most Mets fans were probably either not watching or listening with half an ear (or in the midst of a Fantasy Football draft, as I was).

Mets scoring runs! Mets bullpen getting outs! What the hell is going on here?! If the 5-5 score wasn't jarring enough, then by the time the 10th inning rolled around, you hopefully woke back up (or your Football draft finished) just in time to see Ike Davis drive home David Wright with the lead run, and then score on Lucas Duda's hit when he couldn't be bothered by Tim Teufel's conservative stop sign, and then Kelly Shoppach's HR broke the game wide open. The cheesesteaks were gone, the stadium had emptied out, and the Mets had themselves a nifty little victory against the Phillies.

So, this probably means one of two things. Either the Phillies pitching is just really, really awful, even worse than any of us had noticed since they've gutted their team since the last time the Mets and Phillies played in July, and the Mets took advantage of this, or, the Mets still get fired up seeing the Phillies. That may well be the case, given the pep-rally attitude exuding from the Mets dugout most of the night. It's easy, given that the Mets have been terrible for years, and the Phillies have sold off this season after an extended run of sickening success, to forget that this was a first-rate rivalry between two teams and two fan bases that don't care for each other very much. But it was, and in some ways it may still be, however muted the feeling may be with the specter of a pennant removed from the equation. The Mets aren't going anywhere this season, and neither are the Phillies. But, if the Mets can kick them in the nuts a little bit, just for old time's sake, that's going to have to suffice for now.

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