Could It Be?


After last night's 9th inning walkoff victory, the second in a row for the Mets, you are almost afraid to exhale lest the good news escape with the breathing and this latest, faintest sign of life from the patient is extinguished before it gains any momentum.

As far as momentum-turners go, this game was a pretty quiet affair. With El Duque returning to form tossing 7 innings of six-hit, seven-K shoutout to keep the Mets in the game, a hurler oft-whispered to be offseason bait for the Mets, Joe Blanton, was pitching a gem of his own in the form of 8 shutout innings which saw only 5 Met hits.

At the risk of hyperbole, perhaps the most magical moment of the season to date

David Wright and Carlos Beltran provided 4 hits by themselves and it was David Wright's single, an off-kilter soft loop that scored an excruciatingly hopeful Ramon Castro and gave the Mets a 1-0 victory.

Shockingly, the bullpen held form - Feliciano struck out Nick Swisher in the top of the 8th only to be felled by a Carlos Delgado error, (the same Carlos Delgado who went 0-3 hitting from the 5th position and saw his season's batting average swawn dive back down to .225) and after a brief conference, Aaron Heilman was called in.

When you consider that the game was in effect, on the line, and you consider what our frustrated starter has done so often coming out of the pen with the game on the line (we shant elaborate, sparing the reader such pain...) the notion of Heilman coming in and giving up a two-run homer to Shannon Stewart, perhaps even on the first pitch, wasn't a ludicrous fear. After all June had been just as unkind to Heilman as it had to the Mets - his hideous 5.06 ERA the proof in the pudding.

But Heilman survived the inning easily, striking out Stewart swinging on 5 pitches and compelling the next A to bat into a simple force out. Billy Wagner provided his usual theatrics, allowing the leadoff hitter a single, seeing the potential go-ahead run bunted to second but then, miraculously perhaps, retiring the final two batters with reasonable ease.

And that of course, set up Wright's unexpected heroics. Oh, three weeks ago we would have certainly expected it. But the lustre of this slump has so tarnished expectation that one was more likely for a silent prayer than a confident certainty. Add to that the fact that Santiago Casillo was on the mound. Since June, Casillo has been virtually untouchable; 10 appearances without surrendering a run and only five hits allowed.

But he was touched and touched fast once Castro had his double, Beltran was intentionally walked and David Wright ended the game.

That was it. Just like that you get the impression that the Mets just might have turned the corner. After all, how long have they waited to put back-to-back victories togethe, claimed a series victory? Since their victory over the Giants on May 29th, a long wait but a wait that wasn't quite long enough to destroy a season.

And let us not forget the man of spark, the de facto Captain of this listing ship, Paul Lo Duca, who perhaps ingrained a deeper sense of urgency in the 6th when he was tossed from the game for exploding over a strike call. His ejection was followed by a ritual rejection of his batting glove, his helmet and bat on the field whilst stomping back to the dugout whereafter he attempted to throw his chest protector only to see the water cooler get in the way.

Moidah in his eyes...


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