Mets Beat Team To Beat, 5-3

If the Phillies are the Team To Beat, what happens now that the Mets have taken the opening series two games out of three?

Well for one they are still not in first place in the National League East even though mysteriously the Atlanta Braves with John Smoltz on the mound, lost to the Triple AAA Washington Nationals to allow the Mets to inch a game closer to the lead.

But it also probably means that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is one loss closer to an early sacking. This does not give me pleasure because sacking Charlie Manuel and replacing him with a good manager might make the Phillies a decent team again despite their bullpen. You've gotta want the Team To Beat to be beatable but not horrible. 2-7, well that's a sackable offence, I believe.

"We need to win some series," manager Charlie Manuel said beginning his infamous Art Howe impression. "We need to take two out of three. We need to play better." Need to play better. I like that one.

Meanwhile Tom Glavine was busy allowing nemesis Mr Team To Beat to nearly beat him single-handledly. Rollins had a homer off Glavine in the first two innings as the Phillies crawled to an early 3-2 lead.

We do all wonder of course how it is Rollins owns a Hall of Fame pitcher so oroughly. Going into the game he had been hitting .345 (20-for-58) with four homers and 10 RBIs lifetime against Glavine.

Of course Glavine was almost Oliver Perez-like in the opening frames as he struggled with his control in the cold. After surrendering the leadoff homer to Rollins, he went on to walk three of the next four batters and had it not been for Paul LoDuca gunning down the foolishly stealing Shane Victorino in a rally-killah.

In fact, other than another Rollins hiccup in the 2nd,a screamer that cleared the fence so quickly Aaron Rowand alleged he had raced home from second without ever noticing it was a homer, Glavine was back to Hall Form, retirning 12 of the next 13 Phillies in his six innings and pulled to within eight wins of 300.

Offensively the Mets took over the lead for good in the 4th behind Jose Reyes' two-run single after Glavine helped his own cause with a sacrifice bunt which moved Moises Alou to third and Damion Easley, starting his first game for the Mets at second this season.

And of course the storyline was the combined ages of the starting pitchers; 85. Harharhar. Let's all have a good larf. Two old men. Two baseball senior citizens combining to pitch 12 innings, allow 11 hits and 6 earned runs. Of course only one of them is going to the Hall of Fame.

Billy Wagner got three outs for his second save and the 326th of his career, tying Roberto Hernandez for 10th on the career list. Of course he did it with the usual flair and drama, allowing a one-out double to Ryan Howard and then three a wild pitch with two outs and the mighty Wes Helms at the plate.

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