Okay- 2 days of agony and ecstasy, and we're in exactly the same place we were on Monday- 1/2 game ahead of the Phillies in the NL East race, with one more win (the Phils have played one less game) on the ledge looking out into the dreaded month of September.
Tuesday night's loss was enough to make the craziest Met fan cry; having that big of a lead only to see it crumble brought back the horrible memories of last September- it couldn't help but to do so!! The difference, however, came last night when even without his best stuff in the first 2 innings, the Mets' were still able to rally around their Ace, Johan Santana, and on the heals of that terrible loss, unlikely heroes - Daniel Murphy and Carlos Delgado- refused to let the Phils' gain the upper hand and pulled out a victory with clutch-hitting, character and heart- 3 things that were solely lacking last season, especially at this time of year.
Delgado's turn-around merits a new award- comeback player of the year within a season! No one, least of all us, expected this from Delgado, although we did predict a big year for him prior to the season. That quickly fell by the wayside, as we questioned everything from Delgado's eyesite to the condition of his hips to how quickly he seemed to have aged; and all for naught, as those terrible opening months of the season have been long washed-away by his incredible hitting and team leadership since the firing of Willie Randolph back in June (and man, doesn't THAT seem like a long, long time ago.) It's funny how quickly the summer months melted away, while April, May and June seemed to drag forever. I guess that's what the difference between going from a confused team to a pennant-contender will do...
But let's face it- all is far from "well" right now. Our bullpen still is a source of great angst, picture Doug "risk" Sisk times five - and the only hope is that the infusion of a few fresher arms on September 1st, when rosters can expand to 40, will help out this beleagured crew. Figueroa, Niese, the newly reacquired Rincon and Parnell could all be of great help, and possibly Muniz and Kunz as well. I'd rather see just some pitchers come up, and maybe one or two more bats for the bench (A. Reyes), because I don't want to see any more time taken away from either Nick Evans or Daniel Murphy, because they represent both our future as well as our present. (And so much, once again, for all of those nay-sayers who condemned our farm system for so long!) Pitchers like Heilman and Feliciano seemed to have been over-worked early in the year, and with the injuries to Maine and Wagner, it's good to know that some quality reinforcements are on their way (and don't take for granted the fact that no one has seen Parnell or Niese or even Rincon - at least this season) and those new arms will likely give us a few different looks out of the pen, well-needed at this point!
And a big shout-out to the Dodgers- or NOT!!! After being swept by the Phils, they are swept by the Nats - and here I thought I was going to possibly be able to see a Mets-Dodgers play-off game in L.A.!! Guess it's not to be this season...Manny and all!!
And a big WELCOME BACK to Bob Klapisch, one of my all-time favorite sportswriters, of the Bergen Record and ESPN, who is recovering from being hit in the eye by a baseball while pitching in a pick-up league game. He lives baseball in more ways then most, and I strongly recommend reading his first article since July, detailing the start of his journey back, by clicking here. His reference to "Tony C" - Tony Conigliaro - is a poignant one for me because he was one of my favorite players when I started watching baseball as a kid, and I had been hit by an errant curveball while playing catch in a friend's yard only to see my eye swell up like a balloon, with my dad praying for an easier time of it then that suffered by the old Red Sox outfielder. Thankfully, it was just some major bruising and swelling, but unless you've been hit in the eye with a ball and experience what Klapisch referred to, the falling down as if you've been shot while time literally stops, it's hard to understand the utter helplessness and numbness that such a shot makes you feel. And, if you want to read a great article about the late, great Tony C, head over to the SI.com archives by clicking here.
A few last thoughts- David Wright has been solid all-season long, emulating what an MVP-season is all about; Reyes and Delgado deserve consideration, but this year, it's all about Wright...Johan Santana should have a record of 17-5, but it was gratifying on a night when he didn't have his best stuff for the first few innings, the team found a way to rally around him and pull out a much-needed victory. If he had received the run support he deserved, he would be neck and neck with the D-Backs' Brandon Webb for the Cy Young award...back to Reyes- after last season's let-downs, he's back to 2006-form and is still the most exciting shortstop, and player, in the game - Ramirez might be a better power hitter, but Reyes remains the one person who can single-handedly change an opposing teams' gameplan around, a la Lawrence Taylor in the 1980's with the football Giants...and on that note, finding a way to compare Reyes and LT, I am OUTTA HERE!!! Have a great holiday weekend- we'll be back with more!!