Faux-No? Johan Santana Makes History With Mets First No-Hitter Despite Questionable Call, Jorted Mets Fan Joins Party on Field

Faux-No? Johan Santana Makes History With Mets First No-Hitter Despite Questionable Call, Jorted Mets Fan Joins Party on Field

Johan Santana pitched an amazing game for the New York Mets last night. One hundred thirty-seven pitches, zero credited hits. For the first time in more than 8,000 games over 51 years as a franchise, the Mets achieved what Roy Halladay did twice in 2010—left the field with a no-hitter.
Only… there may have been a hit—just not one that will appear on any scorecards. In the sixth inning, former Met Carlos Beltran laced a liner over third base, a ball that appeared to fall on the outer edge of the left field foul line.Your browser does not support iframes.
Replays and the ball's apparent mark in the chalk made it appear to be the the wrong call. But please don't misunderstand this as complaining. First, that's a tough call for third base ump Adrian Johnson, with the ball coming right at him and kicking hard into foul territory after narrowly hitting the white line (arrow in figure at above right, and 0:26 of the video). It may have been simultaneously the best and worst vantage from which to make the call, and Johnson appeared to botch it before arguing with the Cardinals manager and third base coach. Phillies fans may remember a similar scene between Charlie Manuel and Johnson, remembered by Sam Borden of the NYTimes here
But also, the whole thing is an amusing twist to the Mets' first no-no. Instead of merely losing the whole "Mets don't have a no-hitter" line, we now have "Their only no-hitter wasn't really a no-hitter." The entire celebration comes with an asterisk—though it should still be celebrated.  
The human element giveth, and it taketh away. Armando Galarraga has to be feeling the pain all over again this morning. Galarraga is of course the Detroit Tigers pitcher who lost a perfect game bid to the other side of the human element blade. Umpire Jim Joyce's terrible call at first base with two outs in the ninth saw the pitcher's name disappear from the record books like Marty McFly's brother from his Kodak print, though certainly not from recorded history.  
The faux-no also came with one of our favorite Mets fan stereotypes here on The700Level—a misbehaving Mets fan wearing jorts. Picture of the fan with video of the last pitch and celebration below. 

Your browser does not support iframes.Aside from wearing jeans that end nearly two feet higher than they should, this guy's night had to be kind of awesome (prior to the holding cell stage).
Dude ran onto the field as soon as the final out was recorded and got in the middle of the Mets' leaping pile before being peeled off by security and rag-dolled to the ground. 
A bit selfish to steal from the occasion for your own personal glory? Absolutely. But some dumb beer commercial maker's probably gonna owe this guy royalties. 
Perhaps the most outstanding moment, even considering the chalk-kicking Beltran hit, was when Mets outfielder Mike Baxter made a self-sacrificing catch, crashing hard into the wall and ground to preserve Johan's bid in the seventh inning. Credit the kid from Queens for leaving it all on the field to preserve the historic night for his club. 
Yep, it still counts as historic. An outstanding effort by a tremendous pitcher, well supported by the team behind him and yes, probably a botched call. All part of the game, at least for now... 

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.

Pete Mackanin maintains positive outlook even though Phillies now have worst record in majors

Pete Mackanin maintains positive outlook even though Phillies now have worst record in majors

BOX SCORE

On the surface, it might appear that the Phillies were done in by one bad inning on Wednesday night. After all, they suffered a 7-2 loss at Citizens Bank Park and the visiting Colorado Rockies scored all of their runs in one hellacious burst in the third inning (see Instant Replay).

But there was more to the loss than just one poor inning by starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. The Phillies came to the plate in nine innings against the Rockies pitchers and managed hits in only two of them while finishing the game with just three. It was the third time in the last four games -- all losses -- that the Phillies have mustered just three (expletive deleted) hits. Through the first seven innings in this one, they were out-hit, 11-1.

"Well, once again, three hits," manager Pete Mackanin said afterward. "Not a whole lot of good to talk about."

No, there wasn't. Hasn't been for a while. The Phillies have lost five in a row, 9 of 10 and 20 of their last 24 games. Wednesday night's loss left them with the worst record in the majors at 15-29.

"There's a lot of baseball left, and I know we're better than this," Mackanin said. "We just have to have some kind of spark to get out of it. Win a couple in a row and it could put us on a winning streak."

It’s not going to be easy to start the winning streak in Thursday's series finale against Colorado. The Rockies have the best record in the National League at 31-17 and they have outscored the Phillies, 23-5, in the first three games of the series.

That's a serious beating.

"They have some really good hitters in that lineup and it’s a deep lineup, too," Hellickson said. "There are no easy outs."

Conversely, there have been many easy outs in the Phillies' lineup in this series. The Phils did not get their first hit Wednesday night until Andrew Knapp singled with two outs in the fifth inning. The Rockies’ starting pitchers in this series have held the Phils to two runs in 20 innings. And two of those pitchers were rookies, Jeff Hoffman and German Marquez. Tyler Chatwood pitched seven shutout innings Wednesday night.

The Phillies’ starting pitching in the month of May has been brutal. Phillies starters have a 6.39 ERA in the month, second worst in baseball over that span.

The team is 4-17 in the month.

"It's been kind of surprising," Mackanin said of the rotation's problems this month. "I know they're better than that. We're going to put something together. I believe that. "

Hellickson went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts in April. He's been a different pitcher in May. His ERA in the month is a hefty 7.30 in five starts. The difference in the months: Hellickson located his finesse repertoire down in the strike zone in April. He's been up in the zone in May. On Wednesday night, Rockies hitters fought off his middling fastball and didn’t miss his soft stuff because it was up. Carlos Gonzalez had the big hit against Hellickson in the Rockies' seven-run third. He jumped out of his shoes to hack at a 2-1 changeup and hit it for a three-run home run.

"He had poor command of his changeup," Mackanin said. "He was yanking his changeup, not locating it. That's his out pitch. He didn't have it tonight.

"He’s had a lot of good starts for us. When he doesn’t locate, he gives up a run here or there, but he kind of gets it back. For that one inning, it fell apart on him."

Hellickson allowed eight base runners on six hits and two walks in the Rockies' seven-run third inning. He gave up a double, a triple, a homer and three singles in the frame.

"I beat myself that inning by falling behind and walking too many," the pitcher said. "When I did make a good pitch, they found a way to get hits off those, too."

This is the third straight season that the Phillies have endured a 4-20 stretch.

"It's not easy," Hellickson said. "It’s not fun. It's just something you deal with. It’s not fun."

During this stretch, Mackanin has benched his cleanup hitter, Maikel Franco. Otherwise, he has kept his sanity.

"I remember when I took over in '15, the team was scuffling, really not playing well," Mackanin said. "Then something clicked and we started beating teams. Last year, we had a good first part of the season and then kind of scuffled at the end. Sometimes one little thing clicks and you get better.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen. I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."