1:00 pm Jul. 3, 2012
When the New York Mets last saw the Philadelphia Phillies, things were pretty much the same for the Mets then as they are now.
The Mets got good starting pitching and timely hitting, but poor fielding and bullpen work cost them, and the Phillies took two out of three games at the end of May. But the Mets were 28-23, in contention for both the National League East and the wild card, and they were about to send Johan Santana to the mound to begin the month of June.
The Phillies, with that 10-6 win over the Mets to end May, were 27-25, and appeared to be finding their footing, winning 13 of 20 after a 14-18 start, and sitting just three games out of first place.
But since leaving Citi Field on May 30, things have fallen apart for the Phillies, who have gone 9-20 since then. Their slide has driven them to the cellar of the National League East, 7.5 games behind the Mets, eight games behind the Dodgers for the final wild card spot, and 11 games behind the Washington Nationals for the National League East lead.
If they haven't given up on the season yet, but heading into the series at Citi Field, they seem to be right on the edge.
If the Mets sweep, for example, it would put them 10.5 games ahead of the Phillies with 79 games to go.
But if the Phillies come out and sweep the Mets, getting to within 4.5 games and in the vicinity of a wild-card spot, they could elect to keep Hamels, see how a rehabbing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley do upon returning to the lineup, hope Roy Halladay returns soon and pitches well, and take one more shot with the group that, remember, did win 102 games last season.
But it would be a particularly satisfying turn for Mets fans, if not the team itself, to be the ones who all but officially ended Philadelphia's season. It was the Phillies, after all, who erased a seven game lead with 17 games left to play back in 2007 to beat the Mets out for the N.L. East division title.
Most of those Mets are gone now. But if you think that collapse doesn't still weigh on the mind of David Wright, you're wrong.
Late last week, when Wright had a seemingly insurmountable lead in the National League All-Star voting at third base, Wright was asked by ESPN's Adam Rubin to comment about the selection. Wright declined, wanting to wait until it is official.
When Rubin suggested that losing was extremely unlikely, Wright replied: “We were up seven games with 17 to play.”
Wright lost, by the way: The vastly underqualified Pablo Sandoval will start at third base instead.