The Phils are about to sweep the Mets in a four-game series for the just the sixth time in history, and I am left like Randy Quaid at the end of "Major League" (or was it "Major League II"?), reluctantly starting to embrace this team that I knew (or at least thought) would disappoint me again.
I didn't go so far as to turn my team's hat inside out in derision like said Mr. Quaid, but I was convinced that they would leave the fans again at the altar, this time losing the wild card in the final weekend to the Padres. I never imagined that they would get back into the hunt for the NL East crown nor did I imagine that they could do it so dramatically. You'll remember that the Phils narrowly avoided a sweep the last time the teams met in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park at the end of July, this after sweeping the Mets at Shea in a three-game series to open July.
I can't make sense of this season, but I guess I will reluctantly go with the flow and take it as it comes. Isn't that one's fate as a Phils fan anyway?
About the game-ending interference/double play call, I think CB Buckner has to make that call. I know the umpire study I did at Baseball Prospectus that Buckner is more apt to make those picayune calls than the average ump, but when a runner blatantly uses his upper body to break up the play, the ump has to make that call. I have seen runners go farther out of the basepaths to break up a double play but they very often get away with it since they use just their legs in the attempt.
As the rule states, it all comes down to the umpire's opinion. I think it was the right one in this case:
A batter is out when
(m) A preceding runner shall, in the umpire's judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play: Rule 6.05(m) Comment: The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire's judgment play.
Should the Phils sweep the Mets this afternoon, it'll be their first four-game sweep of their NL East rival since 2003. The Phils completed a sweep of New York on September 7, 2003 on a Marlon Byrd bloop single over a drawn-in infield in the eleventh inning. It was their sixth straight win and their eighth in ten games to put the Phils one game up of the Marlins in the Wild Card race, which the Marlins eventually won en route to a World Series title. Oh well.
Here are all the Phils four-game sweeps of the Mets:
The Mets have swept the Phils in a four-game series just twice, in 1972 and 2002. The Phils also have two five-game sweeps of New York, at Shea in August of 1980 and at the Vet in June of 1982. The Mets have never swept a five-game series from the Phils. Overall, the Phils have swept the Mets in series of varying lengths 48 times while the Mets have swept the Phils just 35 times (including a one-game "series" April 17 of this year.
If you told me that the Phils would take the first three games of this series with Cole Hamels out, Adam Eaton facing Tom Glavine, and Glavine pitching seven shutout innings, I would have said you were nuts. That the Phils could complete a sweep of any team with J.D. Durbin, Adam Eaton, a faltering Jamie Moyer, and Kyle Lohse as starters is a feat in and of itself, but that they could do it against the team with the best record in the league, at least at the start of the series, is amazing.