I had this whole visual joke all ready to go but then I see that Metstradamus has beaten me to the punch. LOL@me.
Last night’s game was a rollercoaster, equal parts excruciating, exciting, disappointing, hilarious, and ultimately deeply satisfying.
But I won’t call it surprising. Not after these ten games. I’m not surprised by the fight back we witnessed last night. I’m not surprised by Fernando Tatis anymore, because now it seems that the only time he ever gets a hit is when someone’s on base, waiting to get driven in. I’m not surprised that Carlos Delgado is resembling an honest-to-God Major League hitter again, because he’s been taking his walks like a patient man and waiting for a meatball to smoke, which he inevitably does. I’m not surprised by David Wright’s heroics, because when Argenis Reyes singled in the top of the ninth I nonchalantly thought, “Well a third two-run homer would get us back in business,” and then instantly I heard the ball ricocheting off his bat, Wayne Hagin’s voice soaring with it and optimism and my pumped fist as it went over the wall. And I’m not surprised the succession of hard hits by Beltran, Easley, Delgado, and Tatis, because over the past ten games we’ve seen this team get on these runs, stringing together hits for a big inning, moving the line along like automatic assembly to craft something so lovely and satisfying like a four-run ninth, tenth win in a row, and a tie for first place.
Not surprised by the pitching either, sorry to say. Not surprised by Santana’s terrible start; it figures the one time the Mets actually score oodles of runs during a game he pitches it’d be after he was knocked out in the fourth. He’s had his dominant-looking performances here and there this season, but usually they’ve been spoiled by lack of offense and/or bullpen meltdown. I’m not sure I’ve been wholly satisfied with Santana since the first game of the season, and I expect that to change soon enough. It’s enough that Pelfrey has started to look the stud. But you could sense Santana’s troubles a-brewin’ during that second inning when the Reds loaded the bases. He just didn’t have it, and a few innings later–afforded a 2-0 lead thanks to Delgado–it all went down the tubes real fast.
The bullpen’s 19 1/3 scoreless innings streak had to end sometime, and after Muniz relieved Santana and Feliciano relieved Muniz, it was looking pretty good. You’d of course have to think that any runs given up by the bullpen would eventually–according to recent history at least–happen with a combination of Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis, which is exactly what happened, despite their recent efficacy. The troubling part about it was Heilman, as fantastically good over the past month and a half as he was bad during the first two months, getting two quick outs in the inning, only to give up a double, intentional walk, and another walk. Smart move by Jerry Manuel to bring in Schoeneweis, who’s been great at inducing ground balls but, if my memory is correct, not-so-great at stranding inherited runners. Enter bases-clearing double. Thankfully for them, Sanchez pitched a scoreless eighth and the offense would work its magic.
And what to say about Wagner? Sure, I was feeling a little shaky considering his All-Star appearance, but after Encarnacion popped up on the first pitch I remembered, “Wags only blows it against the Phillies!” (insert wah-wah horns). At any rate, nice to see an easy 1-2-3 deal-sealing after the offense’s tremendous comeback in the top of the inning.
So many heroes last night, from big (Delgado) to small (the other Reyes), but with a two-out, 2 RBI single to cut the score to 5-4, and then to tie the score at 8 in the ninth, player of the game has to be David Wright. And of course, let us gaze upon his bounteous beauty:
Let’s go Mets. Turn it up to 11.