Friday, May 28, 2010

Never in our wildest dreams

Seriously. Forget about sweeping the Phillies at Citi Field. But shutting them out in all three games? Sure, the Phils are struggling at the plate, but zero runs in 27 innings? If I'd put $100 on the Mets to shut out the Phillies in three straight, I'd be richer than Tony Stark right now.

Funny how Ryan Howard brushed off Philly's ineptitude against R.A. Dickey by noting how rare it was to face a knuckleballer (let along two in less than a week), before saying they would bounce back against "a real pitcher." Well, they didn't fare too well against Hisanori Takahashi, and then when they had a chance to face Mike Pelfrey -- who doesn't rely on deception as much as Takahashi -- they still came up way, way short.

The series was as odd as it was enjoyable. Seeing Mets pitchers continue to throw with confidence and authority and control was glorious. Watching the awakening of Jose Reyes -- another huge clutch hit for a two-run double Thursday night sealed the sweep -- has been awesome. Almost expecting the team to come through with runners in scoring position? That's going to take some getting used to.

But how bad were the Phillies? They looked disinterested. Flat isn't the word. They showed no fight, no heart, no grit -- all things that are supposed to be hallmarks of baseball in the city of Brotherly Love. It was the Mets who showed some guts, who ran down balls in the outfield (nice catch by Angel Pagan Thursday), who stole bases and pitched out of jams.

It goes to show that what really matters isn't perception, but results. When the Phillies are winning, they are full of piss and vinegar and that's old-time baseball. When the Mets were losing, they had no heart.

The Phillies had a hole in their collective chest in this series. Maybe it's a temporary condition. The fact is the Mets took them to the woodshed in this series and made it look easy.

Now we'll see if the Mets can carry the momentum on the road, where they need to show improvement. In the meantime, it looks like there is a true home-field advantage at Citi Field, which will justify its design and dimensions. I really don't care if David Wright can't hit more than a handful of home runs there, if it means more wins for the home team.

And yeah, that's an Asia video at the top. Best. Band. Ever.

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