NY Sports Dog: Good Morning Mets Fans!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Good Morning Mets Fans!

Friday night I crashed your party
Saturday I said I'm sorry
Sunday came and trashed me out again
I was only having fun
Wasn't hurting anyone
And we all enjoyed the weekend for a change.

And what a weekend it was!

Mets lose Friday, Saturday we get rained out, Sunday afternoon Pedro gets knocked around and Jamie Moyer shuts us down.

Then, just when the "choke" word was being bandied about by the more exasperated members of Met Nation (I didn't say idiots!), something happened.

That "something" is named Carlos Delgado and Johan Santana.

Johan Santana was an ace, a stopper, and maybe, just maybe, a bit more than that.

Jerry Manuel flashed the bat signal high above Gotham before last night's game and the medium sized man with the broad shoulders answered the call.

Johan Santana tossed 7 1/3 innings of 2 run baseball in the biggest start of his 2008 campaign. In getting the win he is now 13-7 with a sparkling 2.70 ERA. In his last 12 starts he is 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA.

"I knew I had to step it up," he said after the 6-3 victory over the Phillies that restored a two-game lead in the NL East. "This is one of the reasons why I'm here."

"That's why we have a Johan," Manuel said. "That's why you have an ace."

His performance was vintage Santana. He started the game somewhat slowly and allowed the Phils a run in the first inning while he fought with his control. The inning had the feel of a "crooked number" inning, but Santana fought and fought and escaped the jam nearly unscathed.

The only other run he allowed was an opposite field solo blast from slugger Ryan Howard on a pitch that missed his location by two inches--it was all Howard needed.

All in all he tossed 116 pitches worth of ace, and his teammates appreciated the effort.

"He did what an ace is supposed to do," said Delgado. "He stopped the bleeding."

As Santana walked off the mound in the 8th the sellout crowd at Shea showered him with applause and appreciation for a job exceptionally well done--Santana tipped his cap and settled in to watch his team finish the job.

While Santana did his thing from the mound, the real star of the night was Carlos Delgado.

In the first inning Delgado plated two with an sharp single up the middle--it was a foreshadowing of big things yet to come. All told the Mets scored 3 that inning and put the Phils back on their heels a bit.

In the third inning Phillies starter Cole Hamels hung a breaking ball over the middle of the plate and Delgado blasted it deep over the center field wall for a solo homerun. It was a significant shot because the Phils had narrowed the lead to a single run in the top of the frame.

Shea was buzzing over the blast, but the really big bomb was yet to come. In the bottom of the fifth Delgado again strode to the plate--Hamels was still in the game, the score was 4-2 Mets, and Shea was humming.

Hamels tried to fool Delgado on a slurvy looking changeup, but the ball came in right over the middle of the plate and Delgado crushed it--really crushed it. It was estimated at 460 feet and really, who knows how far it went? It was hit so far that it left the stadium and probably rolled to Citi Field. An awe inspiring, Ruthian blast that sent shockwaves through Shea.

The fans clamored for a curtain call, and the noise grew and grew until Delgado emerged from the dugout to a thunderous ovation and chants of "M-V-P! M-V-P!"

Delgado loved it, "It's way nicer than the boos," he said with a smile. "This isn't the kind of script that you wanted, but it's working out OK."

Carlos leads the Mets in HRs and is second in RBIs. He stands 3rd in the NL in dingers and 4th in RBIs and is making a case for consideration for MVP honors. There has been no better slugger since June 27th--he leads all of baseball in HRs and RBIs since that day--an amazing 65 RBIs in 65 games.

He also likes the Mets chances down the stretch, "We think we're the team to beat," Delgado said. "We feel very confident that we can get this done, definitely a different atmosphere here, a different feeling than it was last year."

But it wasn't all good news for the Mets yesterday. In addition to Pedro getting pounded in game 1, Billy Wagner pitches, felt pain in his elbow, and is more than likely done for the year.

Thankfully Luis Ayala, the former Washington National castoff, has pitched well in the closer spot. He earned his 6th save in 7 chances yesterday, and seems well-suited for the role with his ability to throw strikes early in the count.

As for this morning, enjoy the win, take a breath with another off-day today, and get ready for the Nats.

The Mets are 2 games up on the Phils with 19 left to play...there sure is nothing like a pennant race!

Enjoy your coffee!

Philadelphia (78-65)101000001372
N.Y. Mets (80-63) «30101001x6101
Player of the Game
New York

C. Delgado
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 2

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