Just one night after uber-ace and self-proclaimed ‘gamer’ Johan Santana reduced Kevin Youkilis to a pouting schoolgirl, a virtual unknown and journeyman catcher, Omir Santos made Jonathan Paplebon act like one. With two outs, a man on, and the Mets down by a run, Omir Santos lauched Paplebon’s first pitch a mere couple of inches over the home run ledge of the Green Monster, propelling the Mets to their most improbable victory in years. It was, quite simply, Amazin’
Not only will this will be one of those games that will be talked about for a long time, it could, quite possibly, be a defining moment in this 2009 Mets campaign. For all the talk about this team not having heart, not playing with passion (I’m guilty of it myself), the Mets, after getting swept in LA, limped into Boston with a rag tag Spring Training B squad and remarkably, have taken the first two games from a club who many feel is the best in baseball.
Both starting pitchers, Beckett and Pelfrey, were on top of their game throwing goose eggs on the board after allowing one run and two runs respectively in the first inning. Neither team had scored until the dramatic blast off Santos’ bat. JJ Putz, who came on to close it out in the bottom of the ninth because K-Rod was unavailable due to back spasms (surprise…another injury) was helped out by three spectacular defensive plays to preserve the miraculous “W.” First, it was David Wright who dove to his right, full extension, to snare a hard drive by Jason Bay, but threw wide to Castillo who kept his toe on the corner of the bag and picked the one-hopper to get the lead runner. It was an incredible play that, if not been made, could have put runners on second and third, with no outs. J.D. Drew then lined out to right. And with two outs, a man on first, and a very dangerous hitter in Mike Lowell at the plate (this team is stacked offensively by the way), Ramon “Who Says I can’t Field” Martinez dives to his right to grab another hard hit ball and threw a perfect one-hopper to Murphy who picked it and ended one of the most stunning regular season games in recent memory. It was an instant classic.
1). Youkilis, you’re a tough, hard-nosed player and a great hitter (and I love when you beat the Yankees), but come on dude, how could you still question Santana’s reaction to you after a). you clearly hang over the plate and dive into pitches, and b). you were indeed bitching at him as you were walking down to first. Watch the replay and - if you’re objective - you will clearly see these two points. Santana had every right to get ‘fired up’ as he stated after the game.
2). What was Jonathan Paplebon doing running on to the field in the bottom of the ninth screaming “safe” at the umpire who called the runner out at second on Wright’s throw? He was clearly out. Paplebon, you had your chance to close it out, but you blew it. Stay in the dugout and accept it. Could you imagine if Jose Reyes did that? He would be ridiculed all over the place.
3). I love all of the Mets Lifers filling Fenway and hearing the “Let’s Go Mets” chant on the telecast. We may have taken some humiliating defeats in recent years, but no one can deny our passion.
4). I was actually in Fenway this past Wednesday night when the Sox beat the Jays. That park is baseball paradise! For some, there is Maui, or Paris, but for any baseball junkie, there is Fenway Park. It is the most fantastic experience you can have, both in the park and outside. There is nothing that comes close…maybe Wrigley but I haven’t’ been there yet.