Mets fans: "rooting for the Phillies to fail"

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Two storylines you’ll hear a lot of between now and the first pitch on Wednesday night are (a) how bad it’s going to be for Indians’ fans to see a Cliff Lee vs. CC Sabathia matchup in Game 1 of the World Series; and (b) how bad it’s going to be for Mets fans to see perhaps their two biggest rivals — and certainly their two biggest bogeymen — facing off in the Yankees and the Phillies.

While I’m not an Indians fan, I am an Ohioan, and I can pretty much say that the Lee-Sabathia thing is overplayed. Midwesterners tend to take things like that in stride, and it’s not like Clevelanders are any strangers to bad fortune.  Tribe fans feel pretty good about both Lee and Sabathia, neither of whom left Cleveland voluntarily, and each of whom provided a lot of enjoyment while they were here.  Indians Nation blames Mark Shapiro and the Dolans for letting those big guys go, and second on the list of blame is baseball’s whole financial structure, which most of them feel is simply broken (which it may be, though I don’t think Tribe fans are first among those who have been wronged by the system). Upshot: no one is going to freak out about this too much in Cleveland.

Mets fans, however? Well, that’s a different story.  Mets blogger Matt Cerrone:

. . . the Phillies anger me every day, where as I only think of the Yankees during a few days in June and the occasional October.

So, for me, I can handle knowing my respectful Yankee friends and family are happy, because it means Phillies fans will be sad and disappointed, and their failure makes me happy.  So, again, it’s not that I am rooting for the Yankees, it’s that I’m rooting for the Phillies to fail.

I have a hard time putting myself in the shoes of Mets fans — they’re pretty delusional shoes, after all — but I think I can get behind that line of reasoning.  The Yankees have only directly killed the Mets’ dreams once.  The Phillies have done it fairly often in recent years. Or, at the very least, they were closer to the scene of the crime when the Mets killed their own dreams by imploding late in the season.  Either way, if I were a Mets fan, I’d have to root for the Yankees to win or, as Cerrone puts it, root for the Phillies to lose. 

Actually, now that I think about it, if I were a Mets fan, I’d probably just order a full season’s worth of some shows I’ve missed on NetFlix and pretend that the World Series was already over.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.