Thursday, April 29, 2010

OK, so not everything went completely right

As fantastic as the Mets' pitching has been so far, it's really been all about Santana, Pelfrey and the bullpen, with a little bit of "that Jon Niese isn't half-bad" thrown in for good measure, followed always by, "Now if we can just get Maine and Perez on track, we'll be OK."

Well, John Maine looked pretty darn good Wednesday, throwing six solid innings in cold and windy conditions, ignoring the bluster to allow just four hits and three walks with nine strikeouts. Maine only topped off at around 90, but his pitches were on the mark, and he looked like the John Maine of old.

Thanks to Maine and some more timely hitting, especially by the middle of the order (in their last 10 games, the 3-6 hitters are batting .315 with RISP), the Mets wrapped up a 9-1 homestand -- the team has never had a better one -- and won their seventh straight ballgame to stay in first place as the prepare for a weekend series in Philadelphia.

The lead could have been even greater had Bruce Bochy not hand-delivered the Phillies a gift-wrapped comeback with a big bow on top.

The Giants had a 4-1 lead at home in the top of the ninth. Tim Lincecum, who had been allowed to bat for himself in the bottom of the eighth, retired the first batter in the ninth before walking Shane Victorino on four pitches.

To that point, Lincecum had walked no one and struck out 11. His pitch count was at 106. He had been dominating the Phillies all day.

So instead of giving the reigning Cy Young Award winner the chance to finish what he started, or even letting him try and get the next guy out, Bochy went by the book and brought in closer Brian Wilson.

Bochy later called Wilson one of the best closers in baseball. Wilson has four saves this season, but anyone who knows anything knows that Wilson is far from a sure thing. He's certainly not better than Lincecum, who said later that he could have continued, something no one should doubt given his track record.

Of course, the Phillies rallied to tie the game, and after some back-and-forth won the game in 11 innings.

So instead of flying across the country with a loss hanging around their heads (and a 1 1/2-game deficit in the NL East standinsg), the Phillies celebrated yet another "gritty, gutty" victory and enjoy some momentum heading into the series at home against the Mets.

I know, I'm getting greedy. But it would have been nice to see the Phillies come into the series on the down slide instead of riding the high of a dramatic victory.

In game one Friday, Niese faces Kyle Kendrick, who's sort of the Phillies version of Ollie Perez. Game two Saturday has Pelfrey against Halladay at 3:10 p.m. (clear your schedules), with Santana against Moyer in yet another Sunday night ESPN game.

Over/under for Moyer age-related references: 1,273.

Moyer always seems to kill the Mets. I advocate benching the starters and using all reserves, or better yet, calling up the AAA starters for one game. They'd hammer the sh*t out of him.

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