Earlier today, I wrote sort of a goodbye-Shea-Stadium-see-you-in-hell post at The Cub Reporter. Also this evening, the Tribune's Paul Sullivan offers a short history of Cub misery at Shea Stadium, invoking names like Turk Wendell and LaTroy Hawkins.
All of this grisly reminiscence was at odds with what wound up being a pretty satisfying Cub victory tonight. Carlos Zambrano (4 2/3 IP, 5 R, 4 BB, and one grand slam allowed to Carlos Delgado) pitched like a guy who should be grateful to get a starting turn in the playoffs, let alone the Game One assignment, but the Cub bullpen, despite some bumpy going, limited the home team to just one run over the last five innings. The Cub offense recovered from a 5-1 deficit and eventually seized a 6-5 lead. After the Mets tied the game in the eighth inning, then failed to capitalize on a golden scoring opportunity in the bottom of the ninth against Bob Howry, Derrek Lee drove home Ryan Theriot with the game-winner in the top of the tenth and Aramis Ramirez ripped a two-run homer to seal the 9-6 win.
In all, the Mets scored one run despite having a man on third with nobody out in each of the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.
The Mets remain 1 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the NL East. The Brewers, who beat the Pirates behind C.C. Sabathia on Wednesday night, are now tied with the Mets for the Wild Card.
If the three teams end the season in a tie, the Mets and Phillies will play Monday in Philadelphia to determine the NL East winner. The losing team will then travel to Milwaukee to settle the Wild Card. And the Cubs will be watching all the while.