Last night I saw something I haven’t seen this team do against the Phillies in a long time. The played smart, aggressive baseball. The Mets offense took it to Cole Hammels and the Phillies defense, whether it was by stealing bases, drawing walks or just tiring out their pitchers by prolonging at bats utilizing patience as well as a host of foul balls. This team just felt – different. They seem to be embracing their underdog title and like David going after the brick red tinged Goliath, they are looking to slay giants !
I know that the Mets swept the Phillies last season – and that the Mets did spend their fair share of time in first place, but there seems to be less of a cloud of impending doom following this year. There is no more worries of John Maine’s shoulder betraying him or whether Oliver Perez warranted another turn in the rotation. Yes this team has their share of question marks whether it is the health of Jason Bay or if the starting rotation can stay healthy and strong for an entire season, but so far it seems to be their mission to disprove the naysayers.
Chris Young looked nearly unhittable for the first four innings of last nights game before tiring. He utilized both his fastball as well as his change-up to illicit outs. But more impressive was his bat. he went 3-3 and even plated a run. If his shoulder can stay healthy , and if he keeps up with the kind of performance that we saw last night, well I feel he could be this years R.A Dickey.
David Wright had a clutch two run double last night, and it seems like he is working well with new hitting instructor, David Hudgens. He seems to be more focused at the plate and is swinging less at pitches out of the zone. Carlos Beltran, despite going 0-4 looked comfortable in right field, making all the plays on balls that came his way. It was good to see him run full out on the the play where that ball that was called for fan interference.
In my opinion the Phils looked tired and old last night. They seem to be sorely missing Chase Utley. Yes Jimmy Rollins tried his best to put pressure on Young in the first inning after getting on base with a bunt single and then stealing second, but the rest of the team couldn’t pick him up.
When you compare both teams the Phillies look better on paper. Better pitching, scarier line up, good bullpen, but what you don’t see is that their median age is over 30, while the Mets in around 28. The Phillies I believe will suffer their share of injuries like the Mets did in ’09. Thats not to say that the Phillies won’t be in the thick of the race this yea- they are to good not to. But I sense that this Mets team can – and will surprise many. They might even surprise themselves !!
By the way – you have to love Terry Collins !! The man is so antithesis of Jerry Manuel that it’s scary. He comes across as a strange hybrid of Bobby Valentine, Dallas Green and Gil Hodges.
And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!
Mets alumni celebrating a birthday today include :
Reserve third baseman from the ”64 season, Wayne Graham is 75 (1936).
Reserve outfielder from the ’08 season, Andy Phillips is 34 (1977).
The New York Mets traded shortstop, Tim Foli, outfielder, Ken Singleton and first baseman, Mike Jorgensen to the Montreal Expos for Rusty Staub on April 6, 1972. This was a win win trade for both the Mets and the Expos. The Mets got the power bat of Staub , while the Expos got three young potential stars to build around. All four men went on to have pretty decent careers – especially Singleton, as well as Staub.
The New York Mets released reserve outfielder, Rich Chiles on April 6, 1974.
New York Mets traded relief pitcher, Ed Glynn to the Cleveland Indians for Dominick Bullinger on April 6, 1981. Bullinger never played one game for the Mets.
The New York Mets traded starting pitcher, Mark ” Bombs Away !!” Bomback to the Toronto Blue Jays for starting pitcher, Charlie Puleo on April 6, 1981. Charlie went on to be the number two man in the rotation for the next two seasons. Too bad he was a number five type of starter at best.
The New York Mets sold reserve catcher, Butch Benton to the Chicago Cubs on April 6, 1981.
And while you hope the Mets and Mike Pelfrey are able to stymie Joe Blanton and the Phillies tonight, just remember that there are just 2 days to go until the Mets 2011 home opener against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Mo Vaughn was at the game last night. He nearly caused a riot when he bought up all the scrapple in his section !!!!