For years, trips to Philadelphia have been unhappy moments for the Mets.
Games have been lost by lopsided scores, late comebacks and brutal mistakes by Mets players that turned victory into bitter defeat. All of those losses served to underscore the different circumstances of the Mets and the Phillies while also extending the gap between the two teams.
No one expected 2012 to be much different in regard to either the gap or the circumstances, but expectations have been dashed over the first month of the season. The Phillies are struggling to win games with a depleted lineup and the Mets are finding ways to wind up with unlikely victories.
The one similarity to past years is that games between the Phillies and Mets are useful illustrations of the larger narrative of the season. The Mets came back for a second straight win in Philly on Tuesday night, a win which guaranteed them a second series win in Philadelphia this season.
Monday night's Jorday Valdespin home run was a kick in the groin loss for the Phillies, but Tuesday night was of the dripping faucet that slowly drives you insane variety. After staking Joe Blanton to a four-run lead over Miguel Batista, the Phillies stopped scoring and left the door open for the Mets to walk through and take the game.
The Mets did just that in the seventh with two outs and the biggest play of the inning was the kind of play the Mets used to make on every trip to Philadelphia. After a David Wright single cut the deficit to 4-3, the Phillies caught Wright in a rundown that would end the inning but it fell apart when they tried to get lead runner Kirk Nieuwenhuis out at third base.
The throw was wild, Lucas Duda singled home Wright to grab the lead and the Mets would add more runs on their way to a 7-4 win. Another big comeback and a reminder that the different outcomes aren't the only change in this Mets season.
What's remarkable about the Mets this season is that once they started rallying in the seventh, you knew they would wind up figuring out a way to win the game even if it looked like it was moments away from being lost. It's almost the exact opposite of the feeling you would get in the pit of your stomach for most of recent history.
Maybe it doesn't last, but, then, there weren't many predicting it would happen at all so you might as well enjoy the ride while it lasts. The Philadelphia house of horrors isn't so horrible anymore and that's a fun development.