First, the Phillies captured the National League East over the Mets on the final day of the regular season in both 2007 and '08.
Then, when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel's staff was caught using binoculars in Colorado earlier this season, Manuel said -- completely out of left field -- that the Mets have a pretty good home record, intimating something might be stinky at Citi Field.
Then came Tuesday night, when the National League's All-Star skipper pulled his most productive player from the lineup in the middle of the fifth inning.
"It was prearranged," Mets third baseman David Wright said, smiling at the playful suggestion that Manuel didn't want a Met in the spotlight. "He said before the game even started I was going to get two at-bats and get out of there. We've got a more-than-capable guy coming in for me, so I'm sure it's in good hands. Charlie was upfront with all of us before the game -- told us when we were going to play and when we were coming out. That's usually the way it works."
Wright -- the lone active Mets representative at Angel Stadium, with Jose Reyes in attendance but nursing a right oblique injury -- went 2-for-2 with a stolen base in his fifth All-Star Game. He upped his career average in the event to .462 (6-for-13), tying him with Al Simmons -- a 1953 Hall of Fame inductee -- for fifth all-time in All-Star Game history among players with at least 10 at-bats.
Four of the past five National League players to produce two hits and a steal in an All-Star Game are Mets, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The other Mets are Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Lance Johnson.
Wright was removed for his childhood idol, Cincinnati Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, when the National League took the field for the bottom of the fifth in a scoreless contest. Wright had been stranded at third base the previous half-inning when pinch hitter Brian McCann flied out to deep right field.
Facing Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price in the second inning, Wright sent a hard but playable grounder to AL second baseman Robinson Cano's left. The Yankee dove, but could not do more than knock down the ball, as Wright was credited with an infield single.
Wright then reached base with a clean single to center to lead off the fifth inning against Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. He stole second off Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer, but did not advance to third on the wild throw to center field because he did not spot until too late that the ball had eluded the Yankee middle-infield tandem of Cano and Derek Jeter. Wright then was held at third by coach Sam Perlozzo on Andre Ethier's one-out single to right field. The Met suggested that was a wise hold by the Phillies' third base coach, given how hard the ball was scalded and given Josh Hamilton's strong arm in right field.
"Great arm. Pretty good throw," Wright said. "I think even if we try it, we're out by 10, 12 feet. Andre hit it too hard, really. If he would have hit it a little softer, we might have had a chance."
Wright, who started in the All-Star Game for the fourth time in his career, downplayed his .462 average in the event.
"It's a small sampling, I guess," Wright said with a grin. "You get a couple of hits and all of a sudden the numbers probably look better than what they really are."
Wright idolized Rolen, his replacement at third base, growing up. He has identified his All-Star highlight as meeting the veteran in Houston during the Futures Game in 2004. So Wright didn't mind ceding the second half of Tuesday's game to Rolen.
"I've gotten a chance to know Scott for the last few years now," Wright said. "He's just a great guy. I was able to kind of mold my game after his."