The Final Push

Well, it might not be the "final" push in what is yet to be a long season of ups and downs but the All Star game is finally over. The 10 game hitting streak is over. Hush, don't say it, but the seasons of Pedro Martinez, Hillbilly Wagner and Ryan Church could be over. The losses are not confirmed yet and in fact Wagner's MRI turned out not to be an atomic bomb of bad news but be wary.

Looking on the bright side, at least now Wagner will have a built-in excuse for blowing key leads in tight, important, pressure-filled games...

In the interim, it's time to get down to the real business: Game 100 of the season: The Philadelphia Phillies with whom the Mets are still tied for first despite managing a mere split in Cincinnati following the All Star game against the Reds.

Johan Santana, the oft-bemoaned ace of the squad will start in the opening and says "That's what I'm here for, these kind of games. We put ourselves in this situation and that's where we want to be." Of course, the Twins whom he used to pitch for his entire career leading up to this season, are only a half game behind the White Sox in the AL Central race and face a tough series at Yankee Stadium which, arguably, could be one of "those kinds of games" albeit for considerably less money.

Making tonight's game even more interesting is the showcasing of Joe Blanton, whom the Phillies acquired from the Oakland Athletics last week. In 15 previous innings against the Mets in two interleague games, Blanton did not allow a run and gave up eight hits. But never in a Phillies kit. 10 things to know about Joe Blow Blanton (whether you wanted to or not)

Meanwhile in Jersey they're reporting that Mets fans bloggers are anxious. Wow. Real news. What I like best is the implication by omission that Phillies bloggers don't care about the series at all. Can this be true?

But wait! My favourite American sportswriter whinges forth with a subtle reminder of abusive Mets fans and bemoaning the absence of Boy Hero, Cole Hamels.

Worse still, no mention of the Invisible Army. Shocking.

So here's my take:

Game One
Santana will start strong before surrendering mammoth homers to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Blanton, rusty after a long layoff but eager to impress his teammates will hold the Mets scoreless through 5 innings which see the Phillies maintain a 4-0 lead. The Mets rally late but in the end, the bullpen shutters and collapses and Phillies take the opener 7-3.

Game Two: The Mets smash minor leaguer graduate Brett Myers early and hard led by Ramon Castro and Carlos Delgado. Maine pitches his usual 5 innings, walking 5 and striking out 9 and leaves the game with a 6-3 lead. The bullpen finally carry out a reasonable proximation of competency and the Mets go on to win 6-4.

Game Three
: This is Oliver Perez's bread and butter, the crucial game, a real pressure pitcher against tough opponents. Delgado and David Wright both hit homers to give the Mets and early 2-0 lead and it looks to be in the bag but Jamie Moyer pitches his usual annoyingly efficient game and by the 6th inning, Perez is out and the Mets bullpen takes over. Billy Wagner melts down to a chorus of boos before descending on to the disabled list. Phillies win the series with a 3-2 victory.

Bahhhh. Want me to say the Mets take 2 of 3? Isn't that what all the other bloggers are saying?

Truth is, it ent possible to know.

Let's just hope the Mets can continue the success they've had against the Phillies so far this season and not revert back to an atrocious 2007 form against them.


Anonymous said...

Pretty good call on game one- WHY THE FUCK TAKE SANTANA OUT!!!!



Jaap said...

ah well, Luis, the eternal debate, the 100 pitch limit. A man making that kind of star dosh should be pitching a complete game but this is the new era and a bullpen should be able to hold a three run lead for three outs, shouldn't they?

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