While the Mets were licking their wounds last night, Brett Myers pitched a two-hitter and the Phillies moved into a tie for the NL wild-card lead, sweeping a day-night doubleheader from Milwaukee by winning the second game 6-1 Sunday. Joe Blanton notched a 7-3 victory for the Phillies in the first game.
For the Phillies it was a night to remember… for the Mets it was a day that brought back all the dread of last season’s disappointing finish.
Before the weekend started, Mets fans snickered as the Mets faced off against an Atlanta Braves team that was mediocre at best, and the Phillies had to face off against one of the powerhouses in the N.L. Central. Analysts cited the Mets easier schedule as a reason for rejoicing in Flushing. The division was there for the taking for the New York Mets.
So what went wrong?
The usual suspects…
A failure to add on runs, horrendous clutch hitting with runners on base, and of course an unreliable bullpen that’s short on guts and long on journeymen relievers that have no business pitching in a critical spot. It’s a recipe for disaster, and a disaster is just what the Mets got after losing two of three to the lowly Braves and squandering two solid pitching performances by Johan Santana and Oliver Perez.
The Mets have nowhere to turn to in that bullpen. They have exhausted all their options. Jerry Manuel has to squirm his way to the finish of every game.
There’s no telling how all of this ends up. It’s sink or swim. The Mets are still clinging to a slim one game lead, but as it has so many times already this season, the momentum has shifted against them.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the Mets have been here many times before, and have shown a keen ability to bounce back after a tough loss. However, unlike those other great bounce back victories, it will not be Santana, Pelfrey or Perez on the mound to avert disaster. This time the task will fall squarely upon the shoulders of Pedro Martinez.
Pedro will be squaring off against the Nationals tonight in what has now become the biggest start of the season for him. He has not pitched in over a week and was ineffective in his last start. There were several concerns about his inability to get loose and a potential problem. The Mets must somehow find a way to overcome all these obstacles. They need some breathing room and a win tonight will certainly give them that.
Jimmy Rollins and the rest of the Phillies have the day off, and like last season at this time, they will have their own Mets viewing party tonight.
Everybody is watching…