Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gee Whiz!

It is a pretty significant night for the Mets and their fans, who have, for the past 17 seasons have been playing these games against the Yankees, and although they've had plenty of nice moments over the years, they've also had some pretty lousy ones too, and more often than not, the Yankees and their fans have been all too happy to kick the Mets while they're down in these instances.

But tonight, the Yankees can't say much of anything (even if the TYFI response is something like "DUH! 27 to 2! (garble drool grunt)"). Particularly since the Mets came into this 4-game series in about as bad a shape as you could possibly be, not hitting, barely pitching and generally looking listless, and somehow the entire team decided to wake up and beat the Yankees in all 4 games. Though just about everyone contributed, this sweep was accomplished primarily by 4 consecutive outstanding pitching performances, one of which was expected, since Matt Harvey has done it all season, but the other three were rather surprising.

Tonight, Dillon Gee was the culprit, coming out of nowhere to post his best start in close to a year, pitching 7 1/3 innings, allowing only a Robinson Cano Home Run and striking out a career-high 12 batters. This from the same pitcher whose line has been something like 5 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts every time out for the past month. Gee didn't allow a baserunner after Cano's Home Run and when he got pulled in the 8th, after only 88 pitches, there was sort of an uproar. When the hell did you ever think Dillon Gee being removed from a game would cause an uproar?! That's how good he pitched tonight.

But as has been the story this week, pretty much anything anybody expected out of the Mets ended up turning out exactly the opposite. Most Mets fans probably would have accepted it if the Mets had won 1 of the 4 games and not gotten totally embarrassed in the process. Instead, the Mets played with a chip on their shoulder all week. They fell behind on Monday and Tuesday and came back. Last night and again tonight, they got an early lead and made it hold up. The offense wasn't gangbusters against Vidal Nuno, but they made their hits count. Marlon Byrd hit a real Yankee Stadium Home Run last night and tonight he hit one that would have been a Home Run in Citi Field, too, accounting for the first two Mets runs early on. Late, it would be the Mets small-balling their way to an insurance run, as a pair of walks and a Wild Pitch from Hobo Chamberlain set the stage for John Buck to take a mighty swing...and tap a roller up the 3rd base line that kept rolling and rolling and rolling, but stayed fair, giving Buck a rare Infield Hit and plating Omar Quintanilla with the 3rd run.

In the hands of Gee, Scott Rice, who has become the Pedro Feliciano of the current era, and Bobby Parnell, this lead appeared plenty secure. Rice picked up after Gee left and allowed nothing, and Parnell, who has really begun to enhance his stature as he's grown more and more comfortable in the closer's role, buzzsawed the Yankees in the 9th inning to finish off a most impressive series sweep.

There have been plenty of 3-game sweeps in the 17-year Subway Series history on both sides. But only once had an entire season series ended in a sweep, when the Yankees did it in 2003. That was a pretty humbling moment which I don't care to remember. It's taken 10 years, but the Mets have finally returned the favor. And, as such, it's a fine time for the Mets fan to take a little pride in this moment, because it's not something that comes along very often. It's too bad that Big Stein isn't alive to see this. Can you imagine? He probably would have gone to the mound on Wednesday night and fired David Phelps on the spot. I can only hope he's turning over in his grave multiple times. Sure, the Yankee fan might offer some pithy response spoken mostly in lower case, but they can't take anything away from us this week or this season. Particularly when you consider that there's a very good chance that this is the high point of the Mets season, unless this now 5-game winning streak ends up turning the tide completely. Time will tell, but for right now, this is pretty awesome.

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