By Mike Steffanos
Mets 9 - Phillies 3
It's not supposed to be this easy. The Phillies were playing at home in a must-win game. Brett Myers was pitching for Philadelphia. Surely they wouldn't let the Mets jump out to a 8-1/2 game lead before the summer solstice? Myers didn't last out the third inning, the Mets scored early and often, and even a rain delay of more than an hour only delayed the inevitable.
I won't extend a lot of energy recapping this one. The Mets hit the hell out of the ball, the Phillies were sloppy in the field. El Duque wasn't great, but got bailed out by a terrific running catch by Beltran. The Mets bullpen did the job again, especially Darren Oliver who contributed 3 innings, and Pedro Feliciano, who gave the Mets 2 strong innings pitching in his second consecutive game.
Thoughts on the game
I think I'm going to take up a petition to force Bobby Abreu to give back that golden glove from last year. He made 2 brutal plays chickening out on balls that weren't that close to the fence.
On one of those 2 plays, Lastings Milledge was on first base with 2 outs. Julio Franco hit a ball deep to RF but it looked like Abreu would catch it. He didn't, but Milledge had slowed down anticipating the catch. He switched it back in gear after the ball fell, but just got thrown out at home on a play where he should have easily scored with 2 outs. Willie chewed him out in the dugout, and Bob Raissman will be glad to know that the SNY crew talked about it.
Speaking of the SNY crew, Darling and Keith Hernandez together in the booth are quite a comedy act. They have the sarcastic rapport of old teammates and it plays well. They have different types of knowledge to contribute and that works, too. And thanks to them being together tonight, we know that one of Daryl Strawberry's old nicknames was "knuckleface" and another was "pulled muscle face".
Feliciano has become every bit as valuable to this bullpen as Sanchez and Heilman. Unlike many of the lefties the Mets have used over the years he throws strikes. Hard to believe he didn't make the club out of spring training. Then again, Oliver did, and though it took me quite a bit of time to warm to him, he has been very good. He gave them 3 important innings tonight after El Duque couldn't come back in the fourth after the 1:05 rain delay.
How low can you go?
For all of you Braves fans who don't understand where your team is right now, now that you are 12 games out of first and only 3 ahead of last place Florida, here is a helpful picture to help you understand: