With five games remaining in the 2008 MLB season, Johan Santana proved to everyone the reason why the Mets gave him $137.5 million this past off-season. He turned an entire stadium of boos into cheers both on the mound and at the plate.
Santana’s magical broken-bat single in the middle innings sent the crowd into a state of excitement. The Mets went on to take a 6-2 lead by means of a clutch David Wright two-RBI bloop single, and a Jose Reyes triple down the first base line. Reyes was so pumped following his triple that he began to clap and jump all over the place. Johan, on the other hand, threw 125 pitches, the most of his career, and was still popping his fastball in the glove at 93 miles per hour. He was so fired up during this game that, following his release of a pitch, he would jump up and down.
In the ninth inning, everyone held their breath from the very first pitch by Pedro Feliciano. He was able to get an out, but allowed two base runners. Here we go again. Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen began to work furiously in the dugout, then Manuel went to the bullpen to bring out the reliever Luis Ayala. Ayala got his first man to ground out to Delgado, who could have turned a double play, but took the safe route and touched first base for the second out. Ayala got the next batter to pop out to Jose Reyes, who caught the ball and immediately did a fist pump similar to the one Carlos Delgado does in the final out of a big game.
The Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves, 3-2 to trim the Mets deficit in the NL East to only a game and a half. If the Phillies lose today, and the Mets win today and tomorrow, the Mets and Phillies will have a tie for the NL East. This is because the Phillies have a day off, meaning the Mets can gain another half game on them.
The Brewers lost, but that may be a good thing. This means the Mets won’t just settle for a Wild-Card spot, they instead know they need to keep fighting and get that Division Title wrapped up. If they are able to wrap the division title up, I see this team going deep in the postseason.
Who knows, maybe Santana is the only pitcher that can get this team a win because he is able to go so far and prevent the bullpen from blowing a game. With Carlos Zambrano pitching for Chicago tonight, Oliver Perez needs to be at his best when game-time approaches at 7:10 pm tonight at Shea Stadium.