When last we saw Bannister, it was one day short of four months ago as he was chugging for home on a double by Kaz Matsui...just to show you how long four months ago was. Instead of scoring with ease, he limped home with a hamstring that went from "he'll only miss a start", to "see you in August."
During those four months minus one day, the Mets train moved along at top speeds of a 9-1 road trip, and an 11 game home winning streak...and now, with Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, and Orlando Hernandez in the snack car recouping, back comes Bannister. But the train isn't stopping. No, Bannister has to jump on this juggernaut while it's still moving.
Oh yeah, and he has to face Ryan Howard in the process.
"I just got beat by one of the best hitters in the league this year...I was just debating whether I should throw him a strike...and he got three RBIs off me." -Brian BannisterWell, Evil Knievel failed once or twice when he tried to jump over 100 barrels or something equally stupid such as that. At least Bannister can tell his grandkids one day that major league hitting couldn't tag him with a loss for the first five months of his career. He could probably leave out the part about that hamstring injury except for the fact that his injury took place in an UltiMet Classic (when really, that particular game could probably be called an UltiMasochistic Classic).
Unfortunately, who knows when Bannister's next chance will be, as even though he settled down and his control was decent for a guy who hasn't pitched against major league hitting in four months, he was sent back to Norfolk following the game to back room for the next stuntman: Ollie Perez. Perez's stunt will be just as difficult. Not only will he get to attempt the same jump on to the moving train which is the Met juggernaut, but he'll also do it while attempting to even out the Xavier Nady trade. That's like two and a half twists with a pike. But Ollie was stellar in his last start at Norfolk so he might pull off the stunt. He'll certainly help against monster lefties Howard and Chase Utley. Remember, high difficulty produces high scores...at least that's what they tell you during the Olympics.
In case you were wondering (and of course I know you were), these Phillies are really starting to bother me with their dumb luck...and that's what it is, dumb luck...but not only their dumb luck, but their insistance that their dumb luck was the residue of design. The Jimmy Rollins quote, which was rehashed (or maybe just hashed) by Gary and Ronnie tonight, about how Abreu was a good hitter in his box but the Phillies needed somebody who could play out of the box...well, forgive me if I go off while the game is going on to look for a barf bucket. Stop it. Stop revising history. We already have to revise our science books now that poor Pluto has been put on irrevocable waivers...we don't have money in the education budget to print all new history books as well.
The Phillies bullpen, which was stellar tonight in relief of the newest Met killer Randy Wolf, has a 2.38 ERA over the last nine games. If that stretch had come while Bobby Abreu was still a Phillie, guess what? He'd still be a Phillie! And Jimmy Rollins would not only love him, but hang a poster of him in his locker.
Then again, that bullpen stretch came without Flash "Pride of the Phillies" Gordon, so maybe the Phillies should just trade everybody and win the wild card with the Reading Phils...there's an idea.
But who's griping? The magic number is still slender at 22, Shawn Green is hitting balls hard, and Keith Hernandez gets a well deserved weekend off to cut his lawn. I'll sleep well.