Thursday, June 11, 2009

Now That's More Like the Mets We Know

I have to admit, I was getting a little worried there for a moment that the Mets maybe, just maybe were beginning to figure out how to play tough-minded baseball. But as last night showed, these are still, in fact, the New York Mets we've all become oh so familiar with.

After taking a 4-1 lead off a Cole Hamels that looked absolutely nothing like the guy who pitched a complete-game shutout gem his last time out and Mike Pelfrey dealing, it looked as though, what with the new and improved bullpen, the Mets were going to take a 2-0 lead in this three-game set. And then the Mets reminded us yet again that while offense gets the glory, defense wins championships.

To lead off the 7th, Ryan Howard launched one to center. That's when Carlos Beltran, who is usually a damn fine outfielder, went back on it, lined it up, made a leap and watched as the ball bounced right off the heel of his glove.

Somehow, the official scorer at Citifield gave Howard a hit. Now, I'm all for giving Phillies players as many hits as possible, but that was the definition of an error. In fact, Beltran actually made three errors on the play. First, he overran the ball. Second, he jumped when there was absolutely no reason to. Third, he fucking dropped the ball, which was right in his glove. I'm sorry, but that's an error. Maybe the official scorer has swine flu and an inexperienced fill-in was taking over duties.

Anyway, things just got better from there. Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases, and Pedro Feliz ripped a single to plate Howard. Then, Curbball bounced a grounder to third, which David Wright, being the psychologically weak player that he is, booted, allowing Raul to score and still leaving the bases loaded. E-5, this time actually scored correctly. Thanks, David.

Two batters latter, Jimmy brought Jayson Werth home with an RBI ground out, and the game was tied.

Where the Mets allowed the Phils to get back in it because of their porous defense, the Phillies gave themselves a chance to win because of their tremendous play in the field, specifically the defense of Jayson Werth.

With J.C. Romero working himself into some trouble in the 8th by giving up a walk and a hit, Werth made a tremendous catch in foul territory, running full-speed into the low fence and reaching over to end the inning on a pop-up by Wright, thus ending the threat. Then, when the game went to extras, Werth made perhaps the defensive play of the year for the Phils in the 10th.

With a runner on first and two outs, up came Wright again. This time, the New York third baseman ripped a liner to the right-centerfield gap, and it looked as though Wright was destined to end the game with a walk-off extra base hit. With the cavernous park, Fernando Martinez would have been able to walk home from first. But Werth would have none of it. For the second time in as many at-bats, Werth ended the inning on a tremendous play against Wright, full out sprinting toward the gap, laying out and using every inch of his 6'5" frame to make one of the most spectacular diving catches I've ever seen.

Given the situation, it was as good a play as you'll ever see. Werth extended the game with his incredible catch, allowing Chase Utley to hit his second bomb of the game in the 11th, putting the Phils up 5-4.

Ryan Madson followed, setting the Mets down in order on three straight ground outs to pick up his first save as the official closer with Lidge on the DL.

But Madson wasn't story. No, the story of this night was how the Mets lost the game with their defense while the Phillies won it with theirs. The story was Jayson Werth's tremendous play in right. And the story was Chase Utley, who simply continues to be the man, with his 3-for-5, 2 home run performance.

It's nice to have the real New York Mets back.

BallHype: hype it up!

No comments:

Post a Comment