Heading into last night’s series finale against Atlanta, the Mets knew they had to win with the Phillies playing the lowly Nationals. The Mets handed the Braves their 27th one-run loss on the road in a ROW , while the Phillies slipped to 2.5 games back following their one-run loss to the Nationals.
As I was watching the game, I noticed an old friend, Mike Hampton, was actually on the mound and pitching for Atlanta. He wasn’t hurt, can you believe it? On the other side, Pedro Martinez continued to pitch deep in the game, something he has been able to do several times as of late, pitching seven innings while striking out six and allowing four runs in the process. Hampton, on the other hand, didn’t do too bad himself, giving up three runs in six innings. Now if he could stay healthy…
The night belonged to Carlos Delgado, who went 5-5 with a double and the game-winning, walk-off hit to break the tie in the bottom of the ninth. He had an RBI single up the middle in his first at-bat against the shift, then did the same thing his second time up, only this time it was just off the glove of the second baseman Kelly Johnson, rolling into the outfield for a base hit.
Here we are again with the Mets in first place late in the season. The only difference is this team wasn’t expected to come back and be in first place at this point with their early-season troubles. It’s not every day that you see a completely new coaching staff take over in the middle of the season. I thought it was a stupid move in the first place, but keep in mind that general manager Omar Minaya knows far more than we do about everyday life in the manager’s office behind closed doors.
With 34 games left on the regular-season schedule for the Mets, every game is crucial. As the Florida Marlins fade out of contention in the NL East, it appears the Mets and Phillies will be battling until the bitter end. Since the NL Wild Card likely will be coming out of the central division, the race for the NL East title will be better than ever. I’m looking forward to a fun and exciting September.