I’m all for throwing cold water on you guys when you get excited prematurely. There are some that seem to think they give out banners and print t-shirts for being five games over .500. Being five games over that mark now doesn’t mean they’re going to make the playoffs, nor does it mean they’re going to completely fall apart just because it’s the ninth of May. There are 162 games in a season for a reason, and however good or bad the New York Mets are, 162 games will bear that fruit, whether it be juicy and flavorful, or rotten with a distinct odor of Joaquin Arias. Remember, you are what your record says you are.
But right now the record says they’re 18-13. Do you want to be the one to tell me that sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park means nothing? Do you want to point to the absence of guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and even Jim Thome as the only reason the Mets have been on the right side of these games? You’re barking up the wrong tree. In the same way you can’t tell me it’s meaningless to be swept by the Houston Astros, you can’t tell me that sweeping the Phillies means nothing. And the Mets deserve a lot of credit for coming back from that three game debacle in Houston to go into Philadelphia and knock those guys off … last place or not (and yes, the Phillies are still in last f***ing place.)
The strength of the Phillies are two guys named Doc Halladay, and Cliff Lee. And the Mets won both games in which these guys started. Do you want to tell me that they only scored minimal runs off those two guys while they beat up on a rancid middle relief corps? The Mets scored one run off Doc all season in 2011. The two times they scored runs off him in 2010 (five and four), they still lost. Lee? One earned run off him in three games between ’09-’11 (the dark ages), and they’re 2-0 in his starts this season. Sure, they didn’t tag Halladay on Tuesday nor Lee tonight like pinatas. But remember, this was the team that opponents felt that if you hit them in the mouth and scored early on them they’d get that “here we go again” feeling and fold like a cheap suit. This year’s team has been the opposite of that. Maybe those players that were here for the dark ages weren’t talented enough to get the job done. But maybe some or all had that “losing mentality” or they developed it while they were here. It’s no coincidence they’re gone.
R.A. Dickey said in his book that he never wanted to stick it to people, but change their minds about knuckleball pitchers. The Mets are, albeit at this early stage, starting to change some minds about themselves. Heck, Terry Collins himself has changed the minds of prominent baseball columnists from bad to good, and he doesn’t even play the game. Andres Torres does play the game, and his quick start may start to change that same mind. He was terrific tonight, and was the author of the most beautiful part of Wednesday’s win, which was Victorino letting Torres’ fly ball get by him for a triple, which Douchenozzle paid for when Torres scored on a single by David Wright.
(Schaudenfreude is an animal that doesn’t really contribute much to society or the ecosystem, but it’s a cuddly animal.)
After that, Dillon Gee gave up the lead and gave Philly a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Again, this is the kind of letdown that past Met teams either didn’t have the talent or the frame of mind to bounce back from. This year? They’re too young to know the difference. So they bounce back. They beat Kyle Kendrick like a rented mule to take the lead in the seventh with the help of two doubles, two walks, and Lucas Duda being gargantuan enough to get in the way of (or not get out of the way of) a Kendrick pitch to tie the game. Then Torres drove in the go ahead run for a 5-4 lead.
But the Mets weren’t done. They made this into a rout with two doubles, an error (nice catch Hunter), and Ike Davis returning from the dead with a three-run HR to put the game away. Ike’s moving closer to getting off the proverbial interstate (from .173 to .179 with two hits), and that home run sent Phillies fans hurdling towards the exits and on to the actual interstate. This series has been chock full of sights such as that, between Victorino’s multiple entries for America’s Funniest MLB Videos, their hijinks on rundown plays, Jonathan Papelbon losing an even more mind numbing game than giving up a home run to Omir Santos …
I take that back, nothing is more mind numbing than giving up a home run to Omir Santos. But losing a game on a guy’s first major league hit … a three run home run … can be pretty mind numbing. The only thing I missed was Cinco Ocho going all serial killer in the dugout like he did with Boston. That would have been the cherry on top of the sundae … or the provolone smothering a fabulous Tony Luke’s Cheesesteak. But I prefer Cheez Whiz anyway.
But back to the point: Fans leaving CBP in the eighth warmed my heart. Has been too many times these games would end with those same people going nuts with glee. Not this season, as the Mets are 5-1 in Philadelphia already, and 13-5 against the division … which was the part of the schedule that was supposed to bury them. I admit I wasn’t hopeful. Maybe the part of my mind which has been scarred and made psychotic by these Metropolitans is slowly changing too.