21-12, a palindrome, the title of a Rush album, and Jerry Manuel's managerial record with the Mets in 2008, a fine .636 winning percentage.
Resurgent, resplendent, charged up, on a mission--these are the words that properly describe the state of the team. Oh yeah, "First Place" describes them as well.
Yesterday Ollie Perez took the ball and did what Ollie Perez has done to the Phils all year--he pitched a gem. He didn't get the win, but he was a one man show, fanning a season high 12 Phils and only allowing 1 run over 7.2 scintillating innings.
Ollie has 5 consecutive quality starts, and has lowered his era from 5.29 to 4.15 in that span. In his last 5 starts Ollie has only allowed 5 earned runs in 33.2 innings. The only irony is that he is 0-1 in those 5 starts. I guess Johan Santana isn't the only one not getting run support.
Ollie's confidence is soaring. "When I face some teams, I just try to think that they're the best team in baseball," Perez said. "And when I take the ball, I'm thinking that I'm the best pitcher in the league. I'm just trying to make pitches."
Our other resurgent star is, of course, Carlos Delgado.
All Carlos is doing is turning back the clock to 2003. In July he is hitting .397 with a .489 OBP, 5 HRs and 16 RBIs. His OPS is 1.201. Not too shabby!
Yesterday Carlos hit the dagger--a double to the opposite field that scored two and sent the players, fans, announcers and all of Met Nation into a frenzy. It had to be extra sweet for Delgado as they walked David Wright to "get to him"...I guess he gave them something other than what they wanted.
What I also love about Delgado is that you can just see the confidence in his eyes, the way he is communicating with his teammates, the extra pep in his step, and the big smile on his face---the guy is enjoying himself out there, and he should be.
"It feels great," Delgado said. "It shows that we have a lot of character, that we have everyone's back. This is a tough division. We turned things around, and we've been consistently playing better, having better at-bats, great pitching - today was a great example with Oliver out there. If we pitch and we continue to focus and grind out - obviously we have the talent here - I think we're going to be alright."
Of course there was the whole bat flinging incident, which didn't seem like a big deal from my vantage point. For the uninitiated--Jamie Moyer was at the plate and let go of his bat on a feeble swing against an Ollie Slider. The bat traveled in the vicinity of Delgado, who walked over and flipped it playfully back to Moyer.
Moyer took offense, let the bat drop in front of him, and stared at Delgado for a second or two.
The guys in the booth took about 5 minutes dissecting the play and discussing it ad nauseum---all three said it was disrespectful of Delgado to do what he did.
I disagree, and so does Carlos. "Who gives a --?" he said when he was asked about flinging the bat back to Moyer. Delgado was smiling again when he said this---a very cagey smile.
The relief pitching yesterday was again top notch. Aaron Heilman came in after Ollie had loaded the bases and got Jayson Werth to fly out to center field. Heilman, as we've been saying here at NY Sports Dog for the past 6 weeks, is still our best bridge to Wagner.
Speaking of Wagner, he is back and back with a vengeance. For the second consecutive game he closed out the game for a save, saying afterward that he has relaxed his arm motion just a tad to help with the issues he had over the weekend.
All in all a great series and a great rivalry. This is what baseball is all about.
Enjoy your coffee my friends! First place baby!
|N.Y. Mets (55-47) «||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||2||x||3||4||0|
Player of the Game
|New York Mets|
|Jose Reyes, SS||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||.296|
|Nick Evans, LF||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.231|
|Endy Chavez, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.258|
|David Wright, 3B||3||1||1||1||1||1||0||.288|
|Carlos Delgado, 1B||4||0||1||2||0||0||2||.261|
|Carlos Beltran, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.266|
|Fernando Tatis, RF-LF||2||0||1||0||1||1||0||.294|
|Damion Easley, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.278|
|Ramon Castro, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.289|
|Oliver Perez, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||.167|
|Aaron Heilman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Robinson Cancel, PH||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Billy Wagner, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-singled for Heilman in the 8th|
|2B - Carlos Delgado (21, Romero)|
|SH - Jose Reyes (3)|
|RBI - David Wright (78), Carlos Delgado 2 (61)|
|2-OUT RBI - David Wright (36), Carlos Delgado 2 (24)|
|SB - Jose Reyes (34, 2nd base off Moyer/Coste)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|New York Mets|
|Aaron Heilman (W,1-3)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4.75|
|Billy Wagner (S,26)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||2.09|
|IBB - Burrell by Oliver Perez|
|HBP - Howard (by Oliver Perez)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Oliver Perez 108-65, Aaron Heilman 3-3, Billy Wagner 8-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oliver Perez 3-8, Billy Wagner 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Oliver Perez 31, Aaron Heilman 1, Billy Wagner 4|
|Attendance - 50962|
|Game Time - 2:18|
|Temperature - 74|
|Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Angel Hernandez|