Heading into Monday night's date with the Phillies, it had been an awfully long time since the Mets handed Roy Halladay a loss.
How long? Matt Harvey, Monday's starting pitcher, was 12 years old when Steve Trachsel outdueled Halladay for an interleague win in July 2001.
It's fitting, then, that Harvey was the guy to pick up the win when the Mets finally ended the streak. Halladay was terrible for the second time this season, failing to record an out in the fifth inning and the Mets rolled to a 7-2 victory that seemed to come with other portents.
No one who likes the Mets even a little bit is going to shed a tear about the seeming beginning of the end for the two-time Cy Young Award winner since it also seems to represent the next stage in the system failure that started last year for a Phillies team whose window may have slammed shut.
That lack of tears isn't the same as the lack of emotional response to seeing a once great player realize that he can't do what he used to do.
When John Buck is driving the ball out of the ballpark and Met after Met is reaching base, you know that this isn't the Halladay we knew and feared. When you appreciate those who play baseball well, that isn't easy to watch regardless of what uniform he's wearing when it happens.
So let's not focus on that part. Let's focus instead on what Harvey did for the Mets.
If Halladay is baseball past playing out the string, Harvey is baseball future exploding into full color every five days. Harvey wasn't quite as good as he was in his first start of the year, but that's only because his first start bordered on perfection.
Harvey gave up three hits this time, up from one, and he actually allowed a run during his seven innings of work, but do try to hide your disappointment because striking out nine and finishing your night at peak performance levels is still pretty good. Buck said after the game that Harvey didn't have his "A" stuff, an analysis that feels more than a little hyperbolic given the results.
There's nothing you can do to stop time from passing. For the Phillies, that's a scary thought thanks to an aging roster that can't hide the decay of its skills.
It's more exciting for the Mets, who are just starting to see what Harvey is capable of doing.