Beating the Mets means different things to different generations. Long considered one of the sports prickliest rivalries, people are quick to point out that there are few instances in which both teams are good enough to make the trip up 95 to scream at each other worth the two hours of our lives. The Phillies taking out the Mets in 2007 and 2008 was immensely satisfying; beating up on the pathetic fourth place Mets of 2010 and 2011 was less so; but these days, with the Phillies low and Mets oh so high, beating them, their precious pitching staff and their 2015 NL pennant feels pretty good.
This wasn't the kind of Phillies team who had people predicting a series win against the defending National League champions, but here we are. The things that have typically gone wrong over the last week didn't go wrong today. It was nice.
Jeremy Hellickson got the start, hoping to continue the success he achieved on Opening Day, this time having to duel with the likes of Matt Harvey. Which, after a quick numbers check in the pre-game, didn't seem too crazy.
Get your #GoToHellickson t-shirts now.
Hellboy gave the Phillies 5.2 more good innings of work, erasing the first 11 batters he faced, striking out five and issuing only his first walk of the season. The Mets could only manage three hits off of him, but he did get tagged for two earned runs despite the low amount of offense. A Yoenis Cespedes home run helped chase him out of the sixth, which meant an extended appearance of the Phillies bullpen, which traditionally spells trouble, but in a sign of the very soon apocalypse, James Russell, Hector Neris, and new closer I guess Jeanmar Gomez combined to allow one hit, no walks, and no runs. It was as airtight a pitching performance as anyone has ever thrown for no reason.
So if the starter continued to not be the problem, and the relivers weren't the problem, it must have been the offense that sucked. Only it wasn't! Odubel Herrera had a cool 2-for-4 day, blasting his first home run of the season, a two-run shot off Harvey. Maikel Franco smacked a pair of singles, but was largely kept out of the fun by not getting to score or knock in a run. Ryan Howard and Freddy Galvis contributed sacrifice flies and Andres Blanco came off the bench with a lead-securing double that nullified the paltry comeback effort the Mets tried and failed to put together.
"They did everything better than us," Harvey told reporters after the game, and somehow, he was right.
And finally, the Phillies will board a bus and head home, where their exhausted fans await them with open arms. Riding a two-win hot streak, they will face the Padres, another team eager to prove they are more than just fodder for a more promising division rival's success. Perhaps the key to winning is playing a team that you really want to beat.
That and butt-touching. Obviously.
Velasquez's secret? Hand warmers in back pocket. "I touched my butt a little bit and proceeded to pitch."— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) April 10, 2016