Mets rebound after Ollie’s Folly; take series from rival Phils

A day after Oliver Perez laid one heck of an egg against the Phillies, the Mets rebounded after a poor early inning performance from Tom Glavine, to beat the Phillies 5-3 and take the series two games to one, over their NL East rivals.

First I’ll address the game from Wednesday night (to justify the use of my pun-eriffic title for this article and since I assume, like myself, Joe and Wilcox were so ill following that game, we didn’t recap it). It was one of those games that makes you worried as a Mets fan. Poor starting pitching and a lack of hitting from everyone not named Jose Reyes. Perez was downrigh dreadful and showed everything that made him a virtual throw in at the trade deadline last summer, in the deal that sent “The X-Man” to the Pirates for Roberto Hernandez as well as Perez.

Of his 73 pitches (in only 2 and 2/3′rds innings of work), Perez threw 41 balls (and those are just the pitches that counted as balls, not the one’s the Phillies chased out of the zone), matching his career high with 7 walks, including a nauseating 4 straight walks and a hit basman in the 3rd inning. Perez had been shaky early, loading the bases in the second only to get out of it by getting opposing pitcher Adam Eaton to ground out to end the threat. Then, in the 3rd he got 2 quick outs, and then following a single by Chase Utley, walked Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell to load the bases, then walked Wes Helms to force in a run, Arron Rowand to force home another and hit Rod Barajas to bring in yet another before Willie finally pulled the plug on him.Worse yet, the Mets only managed 5 hits, two of which were by Jose Reyes against the Phils. The only positive I took from the game was the performance of the Mets bullpen, including a very good outing from Aaron Sele, who pitched 4 and 1/3 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits.

So with that awful outing, things could only get better, right? Well, early on, not really. Tom Glavine gave up a lead off home run to Jimmy Rollins then walked Shane Victorino who was erased on a caught stealing by Paul LoDuca. Glavine walked Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell before getting Wes Helms to strike out to end the inning.

The Mets came back to tie the game at 1 in the bottom of the first, once again feuled by Jose Reyes who led off with a single and later would score on a single by Carlos Beltran. David Wright ended the inning grounding into double play.

Glavine’s struggles continued in the second inning, giving up a lead off single to Aaron Rowand. After getting two outs, Jimmy Rollins continued to own Glavine hitting his second home run of the game, this one a two run shot, to put the Phillies up 3-1.

After that though Glavine and the Mets settled down, thanks to the help of some poor Phillies defense and some great bunting on two different occasions by Glavine (who has looked great in all 3 of his starts doing that). They would get one run in the bottom of the 2nd after Wes Helms threw the ball away on a Glavine sac bunt, scoring Moises Alou. Then in the 4th inning, after Alou had doubled to lead off the inning, Glavine would lay another beauty of a bunt down, moving Alou and Damien Easley over. Jose Reyes then came up and delivered a single to left, scoring Alou and Easley for his team leading 10th and 11th RBI of the season, to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.

Glavine would go on to pitch through the 6th inning, giving up a total of 3 runs on 4 hits, walking 3. Joe Smith came on in the 7th and after giving up a lead off single to Helms, struck out Rowand on an insane call and got Ruiz to hit into an inning ending double play.

David Wright would then help the Mets get a very important insurance run, tripling to right field and scoring on a single by Alou to give the Mets a 5-3 lead.

In the 8th, Scott Schoeneweis gave up a leadoff walk, but then got Rollins to pop up, and got Shane Victorino to hit into another Phillies inning ending double play. Billy Wagner came on in the 9th to get the save. He did give up a double to Ryan Howard and he looked very average with his stuff, but hopefully the weather has a lot to do with it. Wagner got Wes Helms to ground out to Wright to end the game, and give the Mets the 5-3 victory.

Overall, I am pleased with this win. It wasn’t pretty, but I take a few positives from it. First, Glavine pitched tough.. He didn’t have it, but he still fought through it and did everything he could and really earned career victory 292. Second, Jose Reyes is everything we hoped. He’s being pitched around in big situations now…who would have though that would ever happen 3 years ago? Thrid, and maybe most important, Moises Alou is doing what he was brought in to do…hitting lefties. Last year the Mets were terrible at doing just that. So far, this has been a very good move by Omar. Lastly, the Mets bullpen continued to look good…Joe Smith belongs on this team.

In other good news, the Nationals actually won a game, against John Smoltz of all people, to give the Braves only their second loss of the season.  I know it’s early to be watching the standings, but the Nationals are a team that most of the NL East will get fat on this season, so any chance to gain ground and/or extend a lead in the division when the Phillies, Braves or Marlins are playing the Nats, it’s a good thing.

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