In the spirit of "what if" scenarios and perhaps simply because it ent over until I say it is, the Army is pretending that the Mets actually defeated the Marlins, knocking D Train out of the box in the 3rd, following 6 strong shutout innings by Glavine (how now THERE'S a preposterous scenario), a pair of homers by Delgado and a 7-3 victory whilst the Phillies were upset by the Nats by a 5-3 margin. What that means of course is that instead of the most humiliating fall from grace in the history of the Mets narrowly snatched victory from the maw of defeat and lived to play another series...
The theory is, why should *I* miss out on all the fun simply because Willie and the Boyz decide to dog it the last month of the season?
Thus, for the foreseeable future, Archie Bunker's Army will be presenting
Mets Postseason 2007.
Pedro Leaves to a standing "O" in the top of the 8th...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Rockies 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0
Mets 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 X 3 7 1
Having been fortunate enough to avert an historic collapse with a last-minute resecue mission, the Mets took the field at 3:05 this afternoon to a smattering of curious and perhaps somewhat hesitant applause as though the Shea faithful, still filtering in from the 7 train and fist-fighting their way past ticket touts and parking lot attendants, were not certain they should bother to get too excited about their team. The residue of nearly-disasterous fate still hung heavy in the warm afternoon air.
The Rockies, not unlike the Mets had just barely qualified for the post season, a questionable home plate touch by MVP candidate Matt Holliday having seen them through to this fate and as they watched Pedro Martinez warm up some of them perhaps were still a little giddy from their recent run of good luck. They were, after all, making just the second postseason appearance in their 15-year history, and on the heels of Monday's shocking victory, there had been little time to consider the road ahead.
But that giddiness was soon dispelled in the top of the 1st when Pedro set the top of the order down in order and the Mets scraped together a hard-earned run that began with a Luis Castillo single off of Rockie starter Jeff Francis and ended with a sacrifice ground out by Moises Alou that gave the Mets an early 1-0 lead.
An inning later, Ramon Castro's solo homerun gave the Mets a 2-0 lead and the capacity crowd at Shea began ever so hesitantly to try to believe in their team again.
Pedro was as effective as he'd ever been through the first three innings allowing only a pair of meaningless singles in an otherwise flawless performance.
But Holliday, his chin still cut up from the face-first slide that won Monday's wild-card tiebreaker over San Diego, homered off Pedro with one on in the 4th to tie the game and once again, a murmur of subtle disbelief began to fill in the quiet minutes between overhead flights.
Indeed, rather than You Gotta Believe, the theme of the afternoon seemed to be one of pending disaster as though this precious postseason slot, unlikely as it was, would only last as long as this first game and the expected doom and gloom to follow would be an almost welcomed respite from the weeks and weeks of nail-biting frustration they had experienced nearly all September.
Matching Pedro was Francis' domination of the middle of the Mets batting order. "I'm always aware of my success or nonsuccess I have against teams," said Francis, who had a 2-1 record over the last three seasons in three starts and a 4.15 ERA against the Mets. "Today, my execution was better but it still ended in disappointment." Francis said of his loss.
Called shot or not? Castillo points towards the Big Apple one pitch before his decisive homerun.
It wasn't until a rare homerun by Luis Castillo in the 5th that gave the Mets their precarious 3-2 lead that the corwd considered the possibility that fate would not abandone them spat out on the roadside. Castillo hadn't homered since so long ago people thought it might have been 16th of July but no one could remember for sure.
As Pedro pitched deep into the game, continuing to hold the Rockies at bay, the question turned to the bullpen. Once Pedro tired, or reached 100 pitches, what then?
Willie, his pimpstache a distant memory, elected to go first and only to Aaron Heilman with one out in the 8th which in itself was not so much a surprise until he strode back out onto the mound in the 9th, closing in place of Billy Wagner, whose sordid comments earlier in the week and his gutless performance in recent weeks (some call it aches and pains but we know better, don't we?) saw him take up what may be permanent residence in the dog house.
Willie's decision to leave Heilman in to get the final 5 outs of the game was of course, shocking. He shrugged in the lockerroom to questions about the health of Billy Wagner. "Billy's fine. I thought Aaron would appreciate the work." And why weren't any of the other bullpen staff used as Pedro threw a season-high 106 pitches? Willie shrugged. "You've seen what our bullpen can do," he explained, leaving it at that whilst sportswriters nodded themselves, knowingly. A season of late-inning mishaps will do that to you.
And for one afternoon anyway, the Mets were back on top.
Until Game Two anyway, when John Maine will take the mound against Franklin Morales Thursday afternoon.