I don’t usually do game recaps, and I don’t usually buy into “they would’ve lost this one last year” arguments trying to compare this team to that one. This game was too much fun not to keep talking about though.
Halladay gave up a hard hit ball to lead off the game that required a great catch to turn into an out, but after that he was pretty steady until the 6th when a tight zone and good patience by Andres Torres with two outs led to a walk. Nieuwenhuis laced a single into left and that brought up our uncrowned Captain. David Wright rocketed one down the line that Mayberry misplayed off the side wall and two runs scored to tie the game. Meanwhile Jon Niese battled some control problems but only allowed those two early runs through five innings.
The Mets would battle and fight through the next couple of innings, having runners on base and not scoring and allowing runners to reach base but not allowing them to score. Josh Thole may have suffered a concussion, which sucks.
If you believe in poetic moments and turning points in seasons there was a huge one in the 7th inning. With two on and one out Hunter Pence grounded to second base where Daniel Murphy flipped to Justin Turner who threw to first. Shane Victorino slid a good three feet wide of the bag to take out Justin Turner and was ruled out for interference. You may recall a similar play in late August of 2007. It was the top of the ninth in Philadelphia with Marlon Anderson on first and Endy Chavez on third with one out and the Phillies leading 3-2. Shawn Green grounded out to shortstop and Anderson went in hard at second, keeping Rollins from turning the double play and allowing Endy Chavez to tie the game. Except Anderson was ruled to have interfered on a play much less clear cut than last nights. Instead the Mets lost that game, got swept in a four game series against the Phillies, and failed to completely bury them in the division. That one game may have been the difference between the playoffs and what ultimately happened in 2007. Who knows how things are different from there. Now the Mets get one of those calls that helps them win a game and go back to three games over .500 and 2.5 games ahead of the last place Philadelphia Phillies. Is it karma? The universe correcting it’s course back to one that features the Mets establishing a dynasty and perennial playoff team? Is it the turning point in a season that the Mets were universally picked to finish last but haven’t been under .500 at any point?
Probably not. It was a great win culminated by Jordany Valdespin collecting his first major league hit in epic fashion with a 3-run home run off one of the game’s best closers. It instantly became a Mets classic, but it’s still just one win in May. The Mets will face so many ups and downs and turning points this season that it’ll be near impossible to pinpoint this game in May when it all started going right. Would the Mets have won this game last year? Well..maybe. After all, many people compared this game to the Omir Santos game winning home run off of Papelbon back in 2009. 2009’s team doesn’t seem like one that you’d describe as resilient, having been the first losing season since 2004.
Still, there’s a lot to like about this game. The Mets hung in there against a tough pitcher. Jon Niese didn’t let the wheels fall off. Except for Torres misplay in the first allowing Jimmy Rollins an extra base, they played pretty crisp defense. They made pitches when they needed to and exploited the Phillies weaknesses. They took a four game losing streak and responded with a three game, and counting, winning streak.
Is this season going to be a gusty team that fights and scraps to stay above .500? A scrappy contender that finds a way to get at least a wild card spot? An overachieving bunch of rookies that show promise but ultimately revert to what they were predicted to be? It’s too early to tell, but no matter where it winds up it’s going to be a fun ride.