Finally: Sole Possession of First Place!

Holy Heilman, coming into the game in the 8th, game tied 1-1, two out with the bases loaded after Oliver Perez's brilliantly pitched game, facing Jason Werth, who homered for the Phillies lone run a few innings before, and what do you know, Heilman saves the day (and eventually earns his first win of the season.)

Has our once-favourite whipping boy finally graduated to consistency?

Not enough can be said about Perez's performance, continued dominance over the Phillies. 12 strikeouts. Nearly 8 innings pitched giving up only 1 run, dominating in large part. In reality he should have had the win for this game but that is his hard luck - 4 great starts against the Phillies, no victories to show for it. More importantly, not just against the Phillies, Perez has five consecutive stunning starts under his belt - is this nearly the end of the now you're brilliant, now you're not mound schitzophrenia he has demonstrated most of his career?

But the Mets had been held by Jamie Moyer to only two hits leading into their bottom half of the frame and given the strength of the Phillies bullpen this season they had to have the advantage in this situation. Especially knowing a 6-run outburst might be forthcoming any inning...

No shiv in Jerry's hand tonight...

Hail Carlos Delgado, 2 for 17 in his career against JC Romero, two men on, two outs, 1-1 game in the bottom of the 8th, 0 for 3 on the night, who hit that two-run double to give the Mets the commanding lead. Sure, Delgado was tossed at third trying to stretch it into a triple with a head-first slide, but who cares, it was a clutch hit in a key moment, something we aren't necessarily used to seeing from Delgado but further evidence he has awoken from his 1 1/2 year hitting slumber. All is forgiven, Carlos. As for JC Romero's run against lefties (they had only 5 hits in 68 at bats all season) well, glad you're a Philly, mate. This time anyway.

(and thank Christ Delgado didn't draw a walk instead because we'd probably have seen Carlos Beltran attempt to bunt the lead run home with the bases loaded.)

The Billygoat seals the win.

And from there of course, the question of the closer, Hillbilly Wagner, broken and sore, coming in at the top of the 9th to do the business. But with two out and a man on, Jimmy Rollins rolls up to the plate ready to do his typical damage and add a little drama, but like the batters before him, he swung at the first pitch (no patience at the plate a new Philly's achilles heel?) and just like that, 3-1 victory, the Mets have finally climbed back to their rightful place in first after having been as far back as 7 1/2 games. In a way, not as dramatic, but sweet just for the evaporation of a similar lead they held last September. Well done, boys.

And now come the St Louis Cardinals on the heels of being swept three straight by the Brewers. Trouble on the horizan.

But they've answered the call strong. After that horrific 6-run 9th inning rally by the Phillies in Game One, the Mets took the next two games from the Phillies completely eliminating any momentum the Phillies might have tried to claim from sucha dramatic victory and reasserting the character of this side.

Wonder what, if anything Jerry Manuel was alluding to in his pre-game interview discussing who would pitch on Sunday against the Cards with Pedro still out mourning the loss of his father, when he said they'd be calling up someone from the minors unless we obtain a starter in a trade...of course on the basis of Maine, Perez, Pelfrey and Santana, the Mets could pull a candidate a week from the minors. They'd be better served picking up an outfielder with a little pop in his bat.


sanchez said...

hard to imagine how much we all hated Delgado a month or two ago and how much better he's started to hit since then - and a head first slide into 3rd? Since when does this guy get known for hustle?!

Itsmetsforme said...

this game also reopened the case of retaining the rights Oliver Perez after the season, which happily we didn't have to deal with earlier in the season due to his terribleness. The head says no, but the heart....oh the foolish heart.

jdon said...

Delgado's remark about getting his uniform dirty was clearly aimed at Willie. He hasn't said anything about Willie but I guess he could not contain himself. It is clear they did not get along. Delgado's resurgence almost parallels Manuel's arrival exactly. And Reyes has played even better since then also. Personally I am glad Willie Tight-Ass is gone. His dumb conferences after each game were unbearable to watch. He talked too fast and said nothing. I really get tired of writers and commentators saying the Mets were due. After a full year of mediocrity?

Anonymous said...

oh, and let me add the name of Oliver Perez. Let us give Manuel the credit he so richly deserve.

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