Last night, the Mets sent a message to the Phillies by winning in a lopsided fashion. They let the Phils know this is not the same team they were last year.

The Mets backed it up by hitting home runs and pitching well. They even plunked a batter after the Phils hit Jeff Francoeur.

Today, it was the Phillies’ turn. They responded by blowing out the Mets in a 10-rout on national television.

The Phillies set the tone in the fourth inning by scoring six runs. From there, Roy Halladay stymied the Mets for a complete game shutout.

The Mets knew it was coming. In fact, they had it coming.

If the Mets thought the Phillies were going to sit back and let their hated rival have their way at Philadelphia, they were fooling themselves. The Mets know better. They know how good and resilient the Phils are.

The two-time defending NL champs did not go to the World Series back-to-back years for nothing. They are a team that knows how to win. They have a knack of stepping up at the right time.

That’s a proud team that do not like to get beat whether it’s 1-0, 2-1 or 15-1. They take it personally. Most teams hate losing, but the problem is that they don’t back it up. The Phillies do.

Charlie Manuel let his whole team know last night was unacceptable after the game. He called out Shane Victorino for not hustling to first. He also said his team did not match the intensity the Mets had.

Victorino responded today by belting out a three-run home run off Mike Pelfrey to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. That home run created the Phillies big inning in the fourth.

The Phillies played good defense during the course of the game.

Roy Halladay knew what was at stake. He pitched well for the Phillies, but this start might as well been a referendum for him. He needed to make an impression to his teammates and to the Citizen Bank Park audience.

Getting his team a championship is what the Phillies expect out of him. They also expect him to go out and beat their hated rivals.

Being the competitor Halladay is, he wants to go get it done and he pitched like it.

Even when the Mets were on base to start the game, the Phillies act wiggled himself out of a jam with his fastball.

The last thing Halladay needed was being questioned about his ability to beat the Mets.

On this day, he does not need to worry about it. The Phils can count on him to deliver based on what he did today.

That’s something the Mets should keep in mind in their future meetings with Halladay.

Manuel is not a great strategist, but many managers are not either. Manuel’s strength is to get his players to play for him. Those Phillies hitters certainly do.

There’s a reason why he is beloved by his guys. They don’t want to put him down, and they don’t want to have their manhood questioned.

It’s a good bet Manuel knew the guys played hard last night. He wanted to go get his guys going. He wanted guys to hate that experience against New York.

The Mets had every right to feel giddy in their first win of the season against the Phillies. After what they went through last season, they needed to go believe in themselves this season.

They did not start off well, but they finished the month strong by having a good homestand against the Cubs, Braves and the Dodgers. They had a good test coming up for the weekend. They needed last night’s win more than Philly.

The Amazins needed to convince themselves they can play with the Phillies. The Phillies can talk all they want about respecting the Mets, but deep down, everyone knows the Phils don’t fear the Mets.

Even when the Mets won their share of games against the Phillies over the years, the Phillies knew they can beat the Mets when it mattered in September.

For the Phils, they feel insulted when the Mets beat them. They had to go read New York papers degrading them and celebrating their misery.

This was their must-win game today. They haven’t exactly been dominating in the early going with the injuries they suffered. The Phils couldn’t afford to be in a position to get swept with Johan Santana on the mound tomorrow evening.

No one should have been surprised to see what happened this afternoon.

It would be nice to see this rivalry bear fruit. Outside of 2006 and 2007, it has been mundane at best. Last year was tough to watch with the Mets going through those injuries. Maybe this is the year where both teams beat each other and even the series.

If these two games were any indication of things to come, it’s going to be a fun summer.


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