There isn't a whole lot that can make meaningless, late September games exciting. For our boys in Flushing, we've seen all too many meaningless late September games the past three seasons. But a doubleheader sweep against the first place Phillies, helping to keep them away 100 victories? Well, it's not a playoff berth but even a minimal level of schadenfreude is still sweet. The Mets beat the Phillies 2-1 in game one on Saturday afternoon and then won again, 6-3 on Saturday night.
In the afternoon affair, R.A. Dickey made his final start of 2011 and featured one of the best knuckleballs we've seen from him all season. That resulted in one of his best starts of the season, one in which he tossed six and a third hitless innings before Shane Victorino broke it up with a double. Despite the excellent outing, the Mets provided no offensive support for Dickey until he'd already given up a run. AAA veteran Val Pascucci hit his first big league home run in seven years to tie things up in the seventh and David Wright ripped a clutch (yes, he's clutch) go-ahead double down the line in the eighth to give the Mets a lead they'd never relinquish.
Game two saw Dillon Gee get knocked around early for three runs but the rookie righted the ship and managed to toss six effective innings. The offense broke things open with a five run third inning and received a big help from an awful error deep in right center field by Hunter Pence. In some good news, Bobby Parnell and Manny Acosta pitched scoreless ball in both games, Acosta picking up the save in each. One thing I found interesting: Is Dillon Gee #TrueSABR?
The Mets go for the sweep and look to hand the Phillies their ninth consecutive loss tomorrow at 2 PM (pushed back an hour from the listed time). In a battle of the "aces" (cough cough), Mike Pelfrey will face off against Roy Halladay. The game can be seen locally on PIX 11.
Injuries, headaches and sickness has forced Terry Collins to improvise in the outfield the past few days. Jason Bay left game one early with more affects of the illness that kept him out of the Cardinals series, while Lucas Duda and Angel Pagan were out with continuing headaches. Duda and Jason Isringhausen, meanwhile, may both be finished for the season.
In the Jose Reyes department, Daryl Strawberry made his pitch to Jose, saying how much he now regrets leaving the Mets for the Dodgers in 1990.
Over at Newsday, Ken Davidoff passes along that the Tampa Bay Rays contacted the Mets over the summer and were interested in acquiring Reyes' services for the pennant chase. The Mets said no thanks, stating that they'd rather hang onto their star shortstop in an effort to re-sign him. It'd be interesting to imagine exactly what the Mets couldn't gotten in return from Tampa, considering how stacked their farm system is.
Finally, Mookie Wilson has left the club for the last four games of the season due to a death in the family. Wally Backman will take over as first base coach. Our condolences, Mookie. See you in 2012.
Around the NL East
NL Wild Card Alert: The Braves fell to those pesky, season spoiling Nationals 4-1 and the Cardinals rallied for two in the ninth to defeat the Cubs 2-1. The Braves lead is down to just two games and no, I don't feel bad for their fans. Take THAT, Braves fans.
The Brewers beat the Marlins 6-4 behind a go-ahead double off the bat of Corey Hart.
Around the Majors
AL Wild Card Alert: The Red Sox lost to the Yankees 9-1, while the Rays beat the Blue Jays 6-2. The Sox lead on Tampa is down to 1.5 games. The Angels also won as they beat the A's 4-2 and they're just 2.5 games behind the Red Sox. I do not envy the folks up in New England right now.
The Rockies and Astros played in MLB's 200,000th game. If you really care what the outcome was for some strange reason, just go ahead and click this link for the box score. But you probably don't.
With suspension and even termination from the league possibly on the table, the fight between Frank McCourt's Dodgers and Bud Selig is getting personal.
This is Tampa lefty Matt Moore's changeup. You'd better get acquainted with it...that thing's good.