Commentary

Mets feeling Philadelphia euphoria

Comeback kids overcome Halladay, Blanton and Lee for first Philly sweep since '06

Updated: May 10, 2012, 1:47 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Inside a jubilant visitors' clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, third baseman David Wright struggled to recall the New York Mets' last three-game sweep in Philly.

And if he could not come up with the date, surely none of his teammates could, either. After all, Wright is the only active player to have been a Met the last time it happened.

"I was trying to remember that. In 2006, maybe?" Wright asked after the Mets posted their third straight come-from-behind victory to sweep the Philadelphia Phillies with a 10-6 victory Wednesday night.

Ike Davis
AP Photo/Matt SlocumThe Mets' third Philly comeback in as many days was bolstered by Ike Davis' three-run home run in the eighth inning.

Yes, June 15, 2006 -- before Adam Wainwright's curveball, and "Team to Beat," and the collapse, and the second collapse, and three losing seasons, and Bernard Madoff, and, well, you get the point.

(You would think Wright would have had a fighting chance at recalling it, too, since he homered in each game of that series.)

Wednesday's victory moved the Mets five games over .500 for the first time since July 19, 2010.

It came on a day when fans responded via Twitter to the lineup announcement with questions about whether manager Terry Collins was conceding the final game of the series after winning the opening two.

Already, three starters were on the disabled list -- left fielder Jason Bay (fractured rib), shortstop Ruben Tejada (strained quadriceps) and catcher Josh Thole (concussion). And it was not as if the Mets at full strength were projected to finish above last place in the National League East.

Add to those injuries Collins starting righty-hitting journeymen Vinny Rottino and Rob Johnson and a non-shortstop at shortstop in Justin Turner, while also sitting starting right fielder Lucas Duda against Cliff Lee, and, well, Mets 10, Phillies 6 did not seem the likelihood.

Yet the Mets were fortunate that Lee was pulled with his pitch count at 84 in his first game back from the disabled list. And they pounced on reliever Kyle Kendrick in a three-run seventh to take a 5-4 lead. They added four runs in the eighth, the big blow coming on Ike Davis' three-run homer that followed right fielder Hunter Pence's error. And now the Mets have a major league-high 11 comeback wins. And Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was the one calling the team meeting after to share his disgust.

"Usually I stay pretty cool," Manuel said. "But tonight, the way we played and what developed, I just felt like it was time for me to say something to our guys."

Since 2000, the Mets have swept three-game series in which they trailed in all the games only twice. They both have occurred this season -- against the Marlins last month, then this series.

"I don't want to get caught up in kind of the attitude being, 'Let's wait until the sixth, seventh, eighth inning to go,'" Wright said. "But it's nice to be able to come from behind and steal a few -- or, in this case, steal three of them. We've given our fair share away late over the years, and we know how deflating that is. So to come in here and take these three the way that we did, it's an impressive feat and we'll enjoy that off-day."

Davis, asked to define the turning point, was too mentally drained to recall.

"Gosh, I can't even remember it," the first baseman said. "I'm tired guys. But it was awesome."

How does it go from a deflating sweep in Houston precisely one week earlier to this euphoria?

Turner gave the "that's baseball" response.

Asked to please not give that same clichéd answer, Wright hesitated, then opined: "You win some, you lose some? That's just one of those head scratchers. I just don't know. I think a lot of it has to do with we've gotten better. For the first few weeks of the season, we were kind of hot and cold. When we played well, we played really well. When we played poorly, we played terrible." Wright added that an emotional series in high-altitude Colorado drained the Mets for the following series against the Astros.

How improbable was this sweep? Philadelphia started Roy Halladay, Joe Blanton and Lee in the series, while neither Mets ace -- Johan Santana nor R.A. Dickey -- was scheduled. Poet Miguel Batista started the middle game of the series for the Mets, in the spot Mike Pelfrey held until undergoing Tommy John surgery last Tuesday.

"You go through Halladay and Blanton and Lee, that's impressive," Wright said. "Although we didn't necessarily get to those guys very much, we were able to get them out of the game and really go in the late innings. That's a big credit to us sticking to our game plan, because all three of those guys really shut us down while they were in the game. And we got fortunate today with Cliff Lee being on the pitch count. But the first two guys you just try to get them out of the game and get to the next guy, and we were able to do that."

Unmentioned by Wright, one of the wins came off elite closer Jonathan Papelbon, when Jordany Valdespin launched a tiebreaking three-run homer for his first major league hit.

Of course, the Mets fan conditioned to cynicism can find plenty of fuel for that thought. There is a limit to how long a team starting Mike Nickeas and Johnson behind the plate, Ronny Cedeno come the weekend at shortstop, and so forth can hold up, no?

And remember that stat about being five games over .500 for the first time in two years? How'd that season turn out? (Spoiler: 79-83. The GM fired. The manager fired.)

"No one believed in us, and I hope they don't still," Davis dryly said about the current squad's gloomy external spring-training predictions. "We're just going to continue to play hard. We have a lot of young guys -- I mean, basically the whole team -- but surrounded with some good veterans. And it's just exciting. It's a good atmosphere in the clubhouse."

Afterward, the Mets flew to Miami, where they will spend an off-day relishing their recent success.

"A lot of sleep," Wright said about his off-day plans by the Miami beach, "because we've got a crazy stretch coming up after that."

Just stay out of the taxicabs and have a good time. A stretch of 20 games in 20 days awaits come Friday, beginning with Jose Reyes' high-payroll Marlins.

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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