Mets versus Phillies. A young starting pitcher walks six batters and fails to make it through the third inning, a series of costly errors lead to a huge inning, and the Mets manage just five hits. Just another typical game between these two teams, the same thing we've seen since last July...wait, what's that you say? It was the Mets who took advantage of sloppy defense? It was
On July 1, 2007, the Mets were at Citizens Bank Park looking to complete the sweep of a four-game series. Pelfrey and Kendrick took the mound that afternoon, and the former took the loss after an adequate performance. The two teams would face each other seven more times over the remainder of the season, and the Mets lost all seven of those games, with most of those losses involving some combination of defensive miscues and bullpen meltdowns. I'll leave it to the reader to do the math and figure out what could have been if the Mets had held on to just one of those games.
Tuesday's home opener, a page from last year's book, made it nine losses in a row. The media circled like sharks smelling blood, while the fans searched for the nearest ledge (for themselves) or guillotine (for their "favorite" player, manager, or GM). Wednesday night's showdown, a reprise of the pitching matchup from the game that began the whole horror show, seemed like another opportunity for the Mets to embarrass themselves on national television. Midway through the top of the second inning, the stage was set. The Mets got just one run out of an inning that featured three walks and an error, and the mishandling of an easy double play enabled the Phillies to tie the game. The bases were loaded with one out, and another demoralizing meltdown seemed imminent. But then a funny thing happened:
Pelfrey had escaped from what looked like certain doom, and soon the tables would turn in a third inning that was oddly familiar to those of us used to seeing it from the other side. Pelfrey wasn't as sharp after the rally kept him in the dugout for so long, and he would depart after throwing 100 pitches in five innings, but he had succeeded where most of the Mets pitching staff had recently failed, and tonight that was enough.