Bleeding Stops At 4, Mets Pound Phillies 8-5

What's this? Someone in the NL East worse than the Mets? Can it be true?

Well, for a night anyway, it can be.

After both teams suffered miserably against the A's and Mariners, the Mets were 14 hits and 8 runs worth of Citizens Bank Park happier by game's end than the Phillies, who have now lost five of their last seven and fell behind the Mets as the coldest team in the NL East. They are just 12-19 against teams in the National League East, the worst record of any club in the division.

And all this after the Phillies were feeling massive about themselves, having won 12 of 13 on their big homestand just a week ago.

As Tony Montana once said to hired assasin Alberto, "Well you stupid fuck, look at you now!"

Jose Reyes, reverted back to leadoff hitter after the miserable failing of the Marlon Anderson Experiment, started the game off symbolically by legging out a routine ground ball to shortstop.

Then he stole second, advanced to third and scored when he forced Philadelphia starter Brett Myers into a balk. As Reyes charged halfway down the third-base line, pretending he was going to steal home, Myers became so distracted that he stopped his windup.

That's the stuff you want out of your lead off hitter and the stuff unfortunately, Reyes doesn't often provide with his miserable slump at the plate. That's why everyone is waiting for Mike Cameron to get healthy and for Reyes to drop back down to second in the order.

And it wasn't just Reyes. After such a depressing hitting performance against the AL West also-rans, the Mets jumped to a 5-1 lead after the first two innings as though Citizens Bank Park, where they hit seven homers in one game early this year, is some sort of sacred shrine for the hitless, the kind of park worthy of a pilgrimage. Just in time.

Perhaps unsure of what to do with such unfathonable run support from his Met teammates, Kris Benson hardly pitched a gem, pitching six innings to give up nine hits, five runs, four earned runs, one walk and two strikeouts. But he did win his 6th game in his last eight starts and improved his record to 4-0 in eight lifetime starts against the Phillies despite exiting after the 6th with the score 6-5.

Royce Ring tossed a perfect seventh inning of relief, proving once again the benefit of trading the miserable Roberto Alomar to the White Sox a few years back.

In the 8th, the Mets tried to secure victory when Doug Mientkiewicz hit an unlikely homer off Ugueth Urbina, whom, one imagines the Phillies had stuck in there to try and keep them close rather than inflate the Mets lead. One batter later, Brian Daubach, pinch hitting, hit another homer and suddenly the Mets were ahead 8-5, lead inflated and the man whom the Mets once considered trading for having blown the game open FOR the Mets rather than against them for a change.

Looper started off the inning by hitting Mike Lieberthal. Endy Chavez fly out but in typical Looper fashion, he allowed another single, this time to Jimmy Rollins, to put men on first and second. A potential game-ending double play to Jose Reyes instead skipped up and almost decapitated him and they managed only to get Rollins out at second which put men on first and third with two outs and the tying run at the plate.

Although Mets killer Pat Burrell (28 homers and 76 RBIs in 326 career at-bats against the Mets)was thankfully still two batters away, worse still perhaps, Looper killer Bobby Abreu, who was only 9-for-16 with four home runs against him, was standing there ready to make this another miserable night for the Mets.

But instead of a game-winning homer or a a two run double, or something nauseating like that, he grounded out to third which David Wright did not botch for another late-inning error to lose another ballgame and just as suddenly as he seemed in trouble, Looper escaped with yet another save, his 14th on the year and lucky 13th in a row. Like Pedro's 13 game winning streak getting shunted in Seattle, expect a Looper meltdown fast approaching on the horizan.


But fans, don't let your heart go all pitter-patter in excitement wondering whether or not this could be the Mets turn, like the Indians, Nats, Phillies, Yankees, etc., to get on a hot streak and reel off a dozen wins in a row or something to close out the first half of the season.

Coming up in the next two games we have Victor Zambrano (3-6) vs. Vicente Padilla (3-6) and then, in a final audition before his ritual beheading, Kazuhisa Ishii (1-6) vs. Robinson Tejeda (1-0).

With Mike DeJean finally getting the old chopchop and Kaz Matsui getting tossed on the DL, the Mets unveiled their newest new look, having promoted outfielder Gerald Williams and KooKooKachoog, disappeared on the DL all month, was activated. Not exactly headline news but a relief to see Mike DeJean on the next train out of town. Oh dear, whom shall we have to skewer game after game out of the bullpen any more?


In the rest of the East, the Nats dropped one to the Pirates to allow the Mets to move to within six and the Braves shutout the Marlins 6-0 behind John Smoltz.


Reading through the enemy rags, I see that one of my favourite columnists, Fat Bill Conlin has inadvertently solved the Mets first base hitting problem with his Free Ryan Howard plea.

For those of you who've forgotten, Ryan Howard is the man who eats AAA pitching for breakfast, can't play anywhere but first and is stuck behind Jim Thome for eternity.

And yes, it's only AAA pitching but as Conlin notes:

"Howard leads the International League with a .390 average. Despite having played 19 fewer games than a full schedule and having only 172 ABs, he has 13 home runs, which computes to a homer each 13.2 ABs. He leads the league with an insane .481 on-base percentage and is running away with the slugging percentage column - an off-the-charts .738. And, yes, he has struck out 50 times, which is a high punchout for every 3.44 ABs."

Just imagine.

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