In 2007, the Phillies took the division from the Mets on the last day of the season after the Mets held a 7-game lead with 17 games to play. Pedro Martinez faced the Phillies once in those last 17 games and the Mets lost that game.
In 2008, the Mets held a 3½ game lead over the Phillies with 17 games to play. Pedro Martinez faced the Phillies once in September and the Mets lost that game.
In 2009, Pedro Martinez is now on the other side of the rivalry. The Phillies are now the team with 17 games left on their schedule. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Pedro Martinez pitched tonight in a Mets-Phillies game and the Mets lost.
Martinez was brilliant tonight as he pitched eight strong innings and threw 130 pitches in the Phillies’ 1-0 victory over the Mets. The loss officially eliminated the Mets from playoff contention and also guaranteed that their streak of four consecutive seasons with a winning record would not be extended.
There aren’t too many highlights to report in this recap. There certainly was one huge lowlight. Oh, Mr. Murphy, would you care to explain why you tried to take third base when the ball trickled away from the catcher with two outs in the eighth inning? Have you been hanging out with Angel Pagan again? This has happened way too many times this season and if Keith Hernandez was watching, he would immediately be calling for the proper “fundies” from the Mets. With one out, you take that chance, but not with two. Murphy’s baserunning faux pas (that’s French for “faux pas”) took the Mets out of their last good scoring opportunity.
Not everything went badly for the Mets in the game. After giving up a run in the first inning, Tim Redding matched Pedro Martinez pitch-for-pitch. Redding was brilliant in his six innings of work, allowing one run on only three hits, while walking two and striking out three. He did not allow the Phillies to lengthen their lead and at one point, he retired 14 consecutive batters. Unfortunately, just like John Maine lost Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader despite allowing only one run, Redding pitched even more effectively before ultimately suffering the same fate. He was surely a hard-luck loser tonight.
But alas, this was Pedro Martinez’s night to shine. This was the Pedro the Mets hoped to see on the day he signed his four-year deal back in 2005, when he thought he was going to take the Mets to the promised land. Now he has a chance to take the Phillies there, while the Mets watch them playing in October. Again. Somewhere in the distance I can hear Alanis Morissette asking “Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?”