The Mets generally announce their lineup mid-afternoon, and when today's was posted, there was great weeping and gnashing of teeth on the Internets. Scott Hairston?! Vinny Rottino?! Rob Johnson?! How are those guys supposed to hit against Cliff Lee?! We'll be lucky if they don't get no-hit! Well, if you missed tonight's game, I can report that no, the Mets did not get no-hit.
Dillon Gee didn't fool anyone tonight, and had particular trouble against the bottom of the Phils' batting order. In the second, after getting the first two outs easily, he allowed hits to the fearsome Brian Schneider and Freddy Galvis, then saw Cliff Lee beat out an infield single as Schneider came home with the game's first run.
Lee was making his first start in three weeks following a stint on the DL, and he looked well rested in the first two frames as he dispatched the Mets with little trouble. Their first hit came in the top of the third one-out infield single in the top of the third off the bat of brand new Met Rob Johnson. He was soon erased on a sac bunt by Niese, but Andres Torres worked a walk, and Daniel Murphy laced a double into the left-center gap to bring Niese around to score.
Lee settled back into his usual dominance for the next two innings, while the Phils continued to chip away at Gee. Philly began the bottom of the fourth with consecutive singles from Placido Polanco and John Mayberry. Two slow grounders to the right side of the infield allowed the Phils to retake the lead. This, apparently, is what passes for a Phillies rally these days.
The Mets got to Lee again when Andres Torres led off the top of the sixth with a ball that bounced past a sliding Shane Victorino, gifting him a triple. After an impressive strikeout of Murphy, Lee allowed a bloop single to Wright that brought home Torres. Lee wriggled out of further trouble by getting Hairston to bounce into a double play, but the game was tied once more.
Gee retired the first two batters in the bottom half, but for the second time found trouble with the bottom of the order. Schneider hit an opposite field single, then Galvis belted a Gee offering into left for an RBI double (one that missed clearing the fence by inches). Pinch hitter Laynce Nix, finally able to get a turn at bat in this series, followed with a run-scoring single, and that was the end of Gee's evening.
Tim Byrdak cleaned up Gee's mess, while the Mets set about making one for the Phils at the expense of their bullpen. Kyle Kendrick, who ceded his rotation spot upon Lee's return, walked Kirk Nieuwenhuis, gave up a long RBI double to Justin Turner, then ceded another double to the ice cold Ike Davis. Turner seemed to think Davis' hit could have been caught and was unable to score, but Kendrick made the point moot by walking Johnson, then hitting Lucas Duda in the thigh to force in the tying run. Torres then hit a lazy grounder to give the Mets their first lead of the evening.
The Mets failed to score more in that frame, but they tacked on in the eighth when Wright and Hairston doubled back-to-back against Kendrick, who was left to start the inning for some reason. Jose Contreras took his place and saw the normally sure-handed Hunter Pence drop an easy fly ball behind him. Contreras then made more trouble for himself by hanging a slider to Ike, who crushed it into the right field stands for a three-run homer. I'm not sure if that means Ike is finally on his way back, but I do know it looked pretty sweet.
Ike's tater sent a good portion of the CBP crowd to the exits, and it was all Amazins from there on out. As for the Mets' bullpen, Manny Acosta negotiated his way through the seventh, thanks to a Shane Victorino GIDP. Jon Rauch gave up a pair of hits and a run, but the Mets got it back on a Torres solo shot in the ninth. With a five-run lead, DJ Carrasco made his season debut in the ninth and allowed a run of his own, but that seemed more a cruel tease that anything else, allowing the lead to shrink to grand-slam size and shutting the door immediately thereafter.
It is extremely unwise to get excited about games and standings in May--unhealthy, you could even say. I do, however, feel comfortable in saying that I find this Mets team very entertaining in a way Mets teams have not been in many a moon. Compared to the last dark days of the Minaya regime, this team is so much more enjoyable to watch every night. You can't expect more out of a team but to entertain you on a daily basis, and I think the Mets will provide that all season.
Well, you can expect more than that, but doing so would make you a Yankees fan. Let's enjoy what we have instead.
Big winners: Andres Torres, +19.8%, Ike Davis, +19.8%
Big losers: Dillon Gee, -32.9%, Daniel Murphy, -6.5%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Justin Turner RBI double, top seventh, +19.1%
Teh sux0rest play: Freddy Galvis double, bottom sixth, -21.4%
Total pitcher WPA: -20.8%
Total batter WPA: +70.8%
GWRBI!:Ike Davis three-run homer, top eighth