It’s history repeating.
The Brewers and Mets crawled to baseball’s final day at a deadlock for the NL Wild Card. The Crew went with their MVP: CC Sabathia. The Mets hung their hopes on two-faced Oliver Perez. Both did their jobs, but late, the true colors came out. As the Mets wilted behind their terrible bullpen, the Brewers rose to the ocassion, taking the Wild Card and stamping their ticket to the postseason … and Philadelphia.
The story was actually very simple. The Brewers got a Cy Young performance from Sabathia, who completely vindicated Milwaukee’s front office in a transcendent second half. Then, in a clutch moment, its best hitter — Ryan Braun — stepped up and took down the Cubs. Meanwhile, the Mets rode the eccentric Perez as far as he could take them. Their bullpen, of course, couldn’t hold it together, while their offense — pressing down the stretch — came up short yet again. The result couldn’t have been more obvious.
We’re supposed to hate the Mets, but somewhere in a small part of the heart, we feel bad for them. The team had glaringly obvious concerns, and they weren’t addressed enough. And its best players — however talented — just weren’t clutch. They made a giant acquisition (which paid off in spades), but it wasn’t enough. They moved past the choke of 2007, but it wasn’t enough. And all this on the final day of their home’s existence. You have to feel a little bad. Right?
On the other side is our NLDS opponent. The Brewers went through hell after the Phils swept them at Citizens Bank Park. With a managerial change, it seemed Milwaukee was all but dead. No sir. They rode their horse (another acquisition that paid off), got clutch hits down the stretch, and all but earned their postseason spot. Unfair that Lou Piniella played his B- and C-team toward the end? Maybe. But the Brewers won the games.
Now the Phils meet Braun, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Sabathia and the Crew starting Wednesday. It’s very possible Sabathia will get the game-two call, meaning he would also go in a possible game five. That’s the Phils’ only worry. They can take care of business against a winded team that matches up poorly with our boys. Sure we have to beware the Colorado effect, but there’s no way the Phils are letting that happen again. No way.
Bring ‘em on, baby.