Wait a minute, we scored runs after the first?
Wait a minute, J-Rolls and the Flyin' Hawaiian and Utley and Howard were batting in the ninth (do they ever not?) and there was a two-out walk and the inning didn't end with a Met closer whirling around in horror to stare at a point somewhere above the outfield fence?
Wait a minute, Greg Dobbs got a big single as a pinch-hitter to launch a Phillie uprising — and then screwed up on the basepaths to derail his team's comeback?
Wait a minute, there was no rain to quash Met comeback hopes or umpire transforming a fielder's choice into a game-ending double play or death march through extra innings or Aaron Heilman looking like he just found a cigarette butt in his Coke?
This was Phillies/Mets, right?
It's not that bad, of course — but it was bad enough. The Mets, you may have noticed, have been playing flat, bad baseball, with a disconcerting habit of showing the enemy their soft, blue and orange underbelly in the late innings. The Phillies, you may have noticed, have been playing … well, Phillie baseball, which may not statistically look a whole lot different than ours but sure feels different, and last year ended with a trophy instead of recurring trauma. And so with that buildup we were going to Citizens Bank? Without Delgado and with David Wright all but barfing at the plate while squeezing his bat into a little anthill of sawdust? My midafternoon Twitter update was this:
Already mad at the Mets for losing. Figure it will lessen the blow of the actual event.
And no, I was not trying to hoodwink the baseball gods.
But a funny thing happens when you plunge yourself into baseball despair: actual baseball, which will always have the capacity to surprise you. Carlos Beltran continued his sublime hitting, and even rediscovered the ancient strategy known as sliding. Wright wasn't Right, not just yet (Keith did an excellent job breaking down how out of whack he is at the plate), but he did go 2 for 4, and I couldn't help feeling that he was helped by having Beltran being frisky on the basepaths while he was at the plate. David has thought himself into this hole, and protecting a runner in motion can pare your job as a hitter down to the elemental. On the mound, Mike Pelfrey was … OK. He pitched in some bad luck in that three-run third, between Raul Ibanez's broken-bat parachute and Pedro Feliz slapping one through the hole Alex Cora had vacated to cover second. But he also made 17 pitches on 2-0 or 2-1 counts, including every batter in the top of the first, and somehow came out with a W. I wouldn't recommend that as sound strategy.
And then there was that sublime bit of ridiculousness in the sixth, with Jose Reyes surrounding a hot shot from Rollins. Jose has no play! No, he's going to third! And he overthrows Wright! And Coste is heading home! No, he's not! He's going back to third! Only now Dobbs is going to third! And now Dobbs is going back to second! And Santos tries to throw the ball into center field! But Cora leaps up and grabs it! And now Coste is going home! And the throw to Santos … and HE'S OUT!
Not exactly how you'd diagram anything likely to happen on a baseball diamond — it reminded me of my parents approaching various ailing cats armed with medicine, a towel and anticipatory Band-Aids — but somehow it worked out. And we'll take it.