Thursday, September 11, 2008

Recap #2: Big Runs, Strange Times

It's been a topsy-turvy last few days for the Mets and the Phillies, but throughout the week of big wins, bigger losses, big run counts, bad pitching, and changing first place margins, there has been one (occasional) constant: Aaron Heilman cannot pitch anymore.

Intelligently, Jerry Manuel has been picking spots to try Heilman again and again, and, each time, he has been well past ineffective. Last night, he came in, tried to pitch an inning, gave up a 3 run homer, and left. Other outings have been similar. Brian Stokes watched Heilman and thought, "Wow, that looks like fun!" So he came in a little later and he gave up a 3 run homer too! The offshoot of all this homer giving is the Mets managed to blow a big lead against the Nationals at home for the second game in a row, but, for the second game in a row, they managed to score more runs and win.

Meanwhile, the Phillies, coming off winning 2 of 3 against the Mets and one more on the Mets off day, were only 1 1/2 games out of first. But in their last two games, they played against the Marlins much like the Nationals are playing against the Mets. The result is that the Mets are now 3 1/2 in first.

The Phillies think they are going to do what they did last year: overtake the Mets. Last year, the Phils were more games out (about 7 at this point). But I don't see it happening, unless the Phils bullpen and the Mets bullpen do a reversal of form. Ayala has been good as the closer so far. The Phillies, however, have proven more vulnerable lately. Last night, it was J.C. Romero who gave away all chance of a comeback when he imploded in the ninth.

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