Archive for the ‘Game Recaps’ Category

Mets 11, Phillies 5

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Jimmy Rollins was right – the Phillies are the team to beat – themselves, at least.  Rollins made two poor defensive plays, one that directly led to a tying run coming across home plate, and the Mets picked up another home opener win against the Phillies.  It’s this type of game that shows why the Mets are the team to beat – they had their first truly bad start by a Mets pitcher (John Maine did not pitch well – more below), and Ambiorix Burgos did not pitch well in relief, giving up an absolute bomb to Ryan Howard to turn a 3-2 Mets lead to a 5-3 Mets deficit.  But with this Mets’ offense, the team is never out of the game.

John Maine…not a good start coming off of that really solid appearance last week against St. Louis.  He went four and 2/3 innings, and was hurt with walks, allowing six free passes.  Coupled with five hits (including a home run to Chase Utley), and it’s something of a miracle that he only allowed two runs.  Eleven baserunners in just less than five innings…that will not win ballgames.  He was bailed out to a degree by Burgos, but still…Maine will have to pitch more like the Maine of last week than the Maine of this week if he expects to win games.

It was a game where, even though the Mets were trailing, I thought they at least had a chance to get back in the game.  Part of the reason is because the Phillies do not play good defense, and do not have a good bullpen.  The Mets were stringing together stuff against Cole Hamels, but couldn’t put it together for the big inning, because Hamels is good enough to avoid it.  The Phillies bullpen isn’t.  Even though I think Lieber is the Phillies’ fourth best starter, he did not pitch well in relief, but it was Geoff Geary setting the stage for the Mets, and the Mets added one timely hit after another to go from trailing, to leading, to blowing the game open.

David Wright hit the ball hard twice today, once again being robbed of a hit (and a game-tying RBI) by great defense, but he hit a nice double to put the Mets ahead 9-5, and from there any doubts Mets fans had about today’s game had to be eased considerably.  Once again, I think questions of David Wright’s hitting are way premature, and ultimately he will be fine.  Also, Carlos Delgado had a good day, and after not hitting on the road to start the year, playing at home really helped him.  That’s strange, because that is the opposite of how he played in 2006.  Moises Alou added a pair of hits, and all Mets starters managed at least a hit today to make Opening Day successful all around for the Mets.  With a little bit better performance from John Maine, it could have been even more special, but I’ll take the win (and the four game cushion on the Phillies).

The Mets are off tomorrow, but will play Game 2 of the series Wednesday back in New York.  It will be Oliver Perez making his first start at home since Game 7 of the NLCS, taking on Adam Eaton, the Phillies’ $21 million mistake this past offseason.  Game time is 7:10 PM.

Braves 3, Mets 2

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

The Mets drop their first series of the season.  This one didn’t feel too good – in fact, it felt too much like first-half Aaron Heilman from last year.  Heilman enters the game with two on and two out in the seventh, and gets out of the jam.  He stays in the game to pitch the eighth, and just can’t hold the lead.  For whatever reason, whenever Heilman pitches longer than an inning, he seems to get in trouble; strange, because he used to be a starter (and may be why he is no longer a starter). Three doubles in a row will cause a lead to go away in a hurry, and that was essentially the ballgame for the Mets.

The problem with relief pitching is, you remember the bad appearances much more than the good appearances; when a reliever comes in and mows down the side, it isn’t memorable.  When a reliever gives up two runs and the lead, it sticks in the memory (for the record, I have the same theory on third base coaches; you’re much more likely to remember the calls they blow that cause a runner to get gunned down at home plate than the ones that worked well).  For the most  part, Heilman is a steady influence on the bullpen; the problem is, when he fails, he tends to do so memorably, and it sticks in your mind as being unreliable.  I think Heilman will be fine, but a game like today…well, it will sting for a while.

That said, it’s not entirely Heilman’s fault the Mets lost.  They blew several chances with runners on third base today. Jose Reyes was stranded at third two straight times.  The team’s inability to get to Kyle Davies, a guy whom they have handled pretty well in the past (and have also struggled against; the guy has the consistency of oatmeal) was bothersome.  Eight strikeouts on the day means the Mets failed to put the ball in play eight different times; if the ball is in play, that’s a chance for the Mets to do something.  I guess an offensive comedown was expected after the output of the first four games, but it still stings that the Mets couldn’t put another couple of runs across.

That said, Orlando Hernandez put together another pretty strong start for the starters.  Through six games, the Mets have put together five quality starts, with El Duque picking up his second today.  His stuff wasn’t overpowering, but he picked up six strikeouts.  So far, the team’s biggest concern coming into the season, the rotation, has not been a problem at all, and Pelfrey hasn’t even taken the mound yet.  These are encouraging signs.  The position players will hit.  The bullpen can protect leads.  If the rotation holds up its end of the bargain, this is a team with a shot at winning the NL East and making the World Series.

So the Mets are now out of first place in the NL East for the first time since 2005.  It’s disappointing, but it’s a long season.  The Mets lost 2 of 3 to the Braves here, but it’s not about one series.  It’s not what the Mets do in three games against Atlanta, it’s what they do in nineteen games against Atlanta (not to mention the remaining 143 other games they will play).  They are still playing at a high level; they just finished up a 4-2 road trip against two teams that figure to be contenders this year.  That’s not too bad.  If the Mets are only two games above .500 in July and August, that’s when it’s time to be concerned.

Also, I said this in the comments section, but I’m not worried about David Wright yet.  He’s still driving the ball; he was robbed of a double by a pretty amazing catch by Andruw Jones (damn him).  He will get his big hits by the end of the season.  So will Carlos Delgado (who has been even worse than Wright to start the season, but the talk has been about how Wright is struggling, not Delgado).  This is nothing more than an early season slump that I am sure they will get over.  Any talk of Wright losing a step after six games in April is wayyyyyyy premature.  Any player can have a bad six game stretch, and still hit .300 with 30 home runs.  Wright will be fine.

One more thing about Wright, and the 2-hole; why in the world was Jose Valentin hitting there today?  Sometimes, I think Willie is a little too by-the-book.  Valentin is clearly the 2nd worst hitter in today’s lineup (giving Castro the benefit of the doubt as being the worst, even though he homered).  But because the #2 spot is “supposed” to be a good spot for the second baseman to hit, that’s where he was placed today.  Whenever Willie is giving Lo Duca a day off, I really would like to see Wright hitting in the two spot, just to see how he adjusts to it and to prove to Willie that he can hit there.  I really believe that is his best spot in the lineup, and I think Willie gave up on this experiment a little too early.

The Mets will play their first game at home of the season tomorrow against the Philadelphia Phillies, a team expected to contend for the NL East this year, but has opened 1-5.  John Maine will get the honor of pitching the home opener against Cole Hamels.  Game time is 1:10, and though I won’t be at this year’s game (I couldn’t get tickets, and if tickets are this hard to come by now, imagine what happens when Citi Field opens), I will be watching the game with friends and I will have a nice report from the Joeadig Mansion after I get home tomorrow.

31-3 Isn’t a Bad Start, Huh?

Friday, April 6th, 2007

From the moment the game started and Jose Reyes hit a lead-off triple, we knew it was going to be a good night for the Mets offense. We didn’t know that it was going to turn into an old-fashioned shellacking though, as the Mets pummeled the Braves at Turner Field, 11-1.

Reyes’ triple was quickly followed by a sacrifice fly by Paul LoDuca and the Mets had a lead after four pitches. They would never look back. A Jose Valentine double would plate Moises Alou in the second inning, and Jeff Francoeur’s solo home run in the fourth would be the only offense mounted by the seemingly lifeless Braves. The Mets would add three in the sixth, and then blow the game open in the eighth, scoring six more runs (only two earned).

But the offense wasn’t really the story. No, that honor goes to Oliver Perez. He threw just 82 pitches to complete seven innings, and he would have gone into the eighth if the offense hadn’t decided to send twelve very patient batters to the plate in the top half of the inning. Perez looked great. He mixed his pitches, hit the corners, adjusted speeds, and looked stellar. He finished with six strikeouts, only five hits, and zero walks. For a guy who has been struggling with his control for the better part of three seasons, tonight was an unexpected gem.

Things I Like:

  • Reyes’ legs: two triples, including one to lead off the game, really set the tone for the offense
  • LoDuca is truly a leader on the field. On a soft bunt from pitcher Mark Redman that was meant to be a sacrifice, LoDuca was smart enough and in control enough to call for Perez to field the ball and quickly throw out the runner at second. Plus, he quickly hit a sac fly to score Reyes from third in the first inning, which is why I love him in the two-hole. He’s a very, very underrated player on this team.
  • Oliver Perez threw inside and hit his spots well. Plus, after he gave up a towering home run to Jeff Francoeur, he retired the next ten batters.
  • Every starter scored a run except Paul LoDuca, who only had two hits and an RBI.

Things I Don’t Like:

  • Reyes’ reckless sliding. On his first triple of the game, Sandy Alomar, Jr. was clearly telling him that he could come in to third standing up because there wasn’t going to be a play, but Jose slid anyway. Why does he always do that??? Is he determined to hurt himself again? Don’t get me wrong: he’s clearly getting smarter and learning the game more, but he needs to listen to his coaches more on the base paths.
  • David Wright seems to have no bat speed so far this season. Sure, he had a solid double in the fifth inning tonight, but that was really it. He let Mark Redman blow an 85 mph fastball by him. Twice! I know we’re only four games in but I’m afraid that my gut feeling with Wright may be correct: he’s not going to have a good season at all.
  • Moises Alou’s hands: We all know why he doesn’t wear batting gloves (and let me just say “eww”) but it’s a very cold night and they can really help him grip the bat. When your hand is numb, I don’t care how tough the skin of your hand is (or how much you’ve peed on yourself)—you can’t grip the bat with any amount of strength.
  • Why was Howard Johnson wearing batting gloves?
  • Lastings Milledge sitting on the bench. I agree for now that Shawn Green should start, but why should a young kid (22 as of yesterday) sit on the bench and get no work in? He’s had one at-bat so far this season (two, if you count his one-pitch fly out tonight; why not keep him in extended spring training or send him to New Orleans? I realize that he’ll probably go down when Pelfrey comes up, but why do that to the kid?
  • Screw ESPN.com. How can they possibly justify ranking the Mets forth in their first Power Rankings of the season? Have they not been paying attention this first week? They write that they’re comparing their predictions to how teams have played, but a bunch of their own analysts picked the Mets to win the World Series!!! Nonesense. (Gee, guess who was ranked first.)

“Sweep” me in St. Louis

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

Before you ask, let me just say, “Yes!”  I am determined this season, in my MiracleMets debut, to parlay this into a job writing headlines for the New York Post (and judging from THIS ONE, I have my work cut out for me because they’re already in mid-season form). 

So with that out of the way, let’s get to the Mets clubbing of the defending World Series champs, St. Louis Cardinals, completing an opening series sweep with a 10-0 victory. 

John Maine, who pitched very well in his last 12 starts of the 2006 season and the playoffs, was simply masterful in his season debut, allowing just one hit (as well as two walks) in seven innings of work.  Maine looked calm throughout, despite heavy pressure to really help round out the top of the Mets’ rotation this season.  He came right at the Cardinals hitters, throwing 65 of his 97 pitches for strikes, and even after allowing his first hit of the game in the 5th to Scott Rolen and following that with a four pitch walk to Jim Edmonds, he came back to strike out Preston Wilson, got Yadier Molina to line out to Wright at third and Arron Miles to fly out to Beltran to end the threat. 

On the other side, Braden Looper (yes…THAT Braden Looper) made his first Major League start for the Cards, and early on was excellent.  The Mets finally broke through in the 6th when, following Paul LoDuca’s third single of the game, Carlos Beltran took Looper deep right down the right field line to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.  They would tack on another run later in the inning when David Wright, who had reached on a hustling infield single, scored on a Shawn Green basehit to center. 

The Mets took command of the game in the 7th, when Jose Reyes hit his first home run of the season off of Josh Hancock and two batters later, Beltran delivered again with another shot to right, making it a 5-0 Met lead. 

Then came the most enjoyable inning of the season, as the Cardinals were reduced to looking like a minor league team in the field, especially Preston Wilson (I think even in 2007, Mookie would put his step-son’s defensive play to shame), who looked particularly awful on a line drive fly ball by the 48 year old pinch hitter, Julio Franco, that hit off his glove and trickled by him, allowing David Wright and Moises Alou to score the 6th and 6th runs of the game.  Jose Reyes would then knock in his second and third RBI of the night with an opposite field double to make it 9-0.   Two hitters later, Beltran knocked in his 4th of the game on a groundout to put the finishing touches on the Mets offensive strike. 

Willie Randolph inserted Ambiorix Burgos into the game in the 8th, and after what could be described as ANYTHING but a positive spring training, pitched a perfect inning, including a strike out of Molina.  Aaron Sele finished it off in the 9th striking out two (including getting Albert Pujols looking) sandwiched around a double by Chris Duncan, the only other hit the Cards got all night.  So Taguchi ended the game with a ground out to Reyes at short, as the Mets “PUT IT IN THE BOOKS” for the third time in 3 tries this season. 

The Mets will have a day off Thursday (during which Carlos Delgado will go visit baby Carlos in Puerto Rico) and travel to Atlanta where they will start a 3 game series with the Braves (2-0) Friday night at Turner Field, as Oliver Perez makes his 2007 debut for the Metropolitans, facing Mark Redman. 

 

Mets 6, Cardinals 1

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

So when can we play Game 9 of the NLCS?  That was a nice, TCB way to start the season.  Glavine didn’t look his best, but it was his first start of the season, and he still only allowed one run (thanks to some help from the D).  Paul Lo Duca, hitting second much to my chagrin (I still think the Mets’ best lineup has David Wright hitting second) drove in three runs with some timely hitting with the bases loaded.  Carlos Delgado, with his child born and no longer a controversy for opening night, hit the Mets’ first extra-base hit of the season.  On the whole, the Mets carved up Chris Carpenter, who definitely did not bring his A game to opening night.

Glavine was hittable last night, giving up a triple to Adam Kennedy and a double to the albino midget, David Eckstein (I really hope he gets busted for steroids or something this season).  The good news is, Albert Pujols was kept in check.  He walked twice, but did not hurt the Mets with his extra base hit ability.  Billy Wagner was brought in with a five-run lead, and both Joe and Mike instant messaged me worrying about the dangers of this, but I told them both that he would not allow a run, and he proved me right.  Even Aaron Heilman got a chance to exorcise some of his demons, recording the last two outs of the eighth with runners on.  Just a good win for the Mets, top to bottom.

The Mets will take today off, but will be back in action Tuesday night in St. Louis.  Kip Wells, hilariously the Cardinals #2 starter, will face Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez.  Game time is 8:10 PM EST.

The Off-Season Begins

Friday, October 20th, 2006

I just feel numb right now. My hands don’t want to type. My arms are weak. The season is over.

********************

When you’re a team built on offense but you get just two hits after the first inning, there’s not much of a chance you’re going to win Game 7 in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Mets just couldn’t seem to get the job done and were eliminated from the playoffs by the Cardinals, 3-1, in front of a loud, wet crowd at Shea Stadium.

Yadier Molina was the hero, hitting a ninth inning, one-out home run to left field off of Aaron Heilman. The Mets had their chance in the bottom of the ninth; Valentine and Chavez both singled to lead off the inning, but Cliff Floyd struck out, Jose Reyes lined out hard to center, and Carlos Bentran struck out looking. Looking.

Who would have predicted a pitcher’s duel between Jeff Suppan and Oliver Perez? It was 1-1 until the ninth inning and neither team had hit the ball hard. Perez threw six innings, allowing only 1 run and four hits; Suppan made it through seven, giving up just two hits. But once again, the Mets give up a run immediately after they score, so Perez’s shockingly strong performance was wasted.

The story of the game, had the Mets pulled it out, would have been a catch by Endy Chavez in the sixth inning. With one out and Jim Edmunds on first, Scott Rolen slammed a shot over the left field wall, only to have it snow-coned by Chavez, who then promptly threw the ball to the infield to double-off the runner. It was a play akin to Willy Mays against Vic Wertz, to Derek Jeter against Jeremy Giambi. It would have been a play for history. But since the Mets lost, it will probably be forgotten.

There’s not much else to say about this game. It was a great game from start to finish and it seemed that either team could have won, but this one didn’t go our way. It hurts to have lost due to a lack of offense; I would be okay with losing due to poor pitching, but to go out on such a dull offensive performance is very hard to deal with.

We’ll have more to come soon, but for now take a look through the game notes below. Give us your thoughts on the game, the series, and the now-present offseason. (Man that hurts to write.)

GAME NOTES

-The Mets could have struck a real blow in the first inning but settled for just one run. When Beltran singled and Delgado walked, Wright blooped a cheap single to right and scored Beltran. But Shawn Green couldn’t get it done and lined out to third base. He hit it hard but it was right at Scott Rolen. That lead would have been nice, especially since the Cards came back and tied it in the top of the second.

-The Cardinals could have scored big in their half of the third but Perez worked his way out of a jam in impressive fashion. With Eckstein and Pujols in first and second, Perez induced a sure-thing double play to Reyes from Juan Encarnacion. He really was much better than we had any right to expect.

-Is it just me or was this a ridiculously even series? The momentum swung back and forth between teams and the runs were scored pretty evenly. Don’t get me wrong: the Mets should have dominated the series and probably won it in five, but the games themselves were all very good, very close contests.

-quite frankly, that was the best clutch catch I have ever seen. The Cardinals were threatening to go up 3-1 and have all the momentum in their favor. The way the Mets offense had been shut down, that home run could have effectively ended their season. But Endy Chavez, a guy who has become something of a folk hero to Mets fans, nearly lost his glove by reaching over the fence and bringing back a home run, then doubling off Jim Edumuds at first. It was awesome.

-Where exactly is the real Yadier Molina? Isn’t he supposed to be a great throwing catcher but a terrible offensive player? He’s done nothing but hurt the Mets with his bat this entire series, yet his arm hasn’t been much of a threat at all. His ninth inning HR to put the Cards ahead was quite a shot, and it was his second of the postseason.

-If Endy Chavez didn’t make that catch, Willie Randolph’s decision to stick with Perez would have been a heated topic all winter.  Randolph went to the mound, asked Perez if he wanted to say in, and the next batter sends a pitch over the wall.  Not that I agree that it’s Willie’s fault– hey, these things happen– but… remember what happened when Grady Little stuck with Pedro a bit too long a few years ago?  Same deal.

-Add Aaron Heilman to the list of Mets relievers to give up some big runs in this series. Mota was bad in Game 1, Wagner was ugly in Game 6, and now Heilman. They threw a lot of innings and did really well, but in the postseason, you have to aim for perfection. The bullpen isn’t the reason the Mets are heading home for the winter, but it could have made the difference if they had been better.

Mets 4, Cardinals 2

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

The Mets will live to see another day.  How did they do it?  Partially because Jose Reyes did Jose Reyes things for the first time this postseason…starting off with a leadoff homer, getting two other hits in the game, stealing his first base of the NLCS, and scoring an additional run.  And the Mets needed it, because the bats were mostly silent tonight, save for Reyes and Shawn Green.  But you know who kept the Mets in this one?  John Maine, that’s who.  And I knew he had it in him.  I even predicted it here yesterday, knowing he could give the Mets six strong (he went 5 1/3, so he didn’t quite go six, but still…strong work).

The ninth was certainly a little more nerve-wracking than it had to be.  I don’t know what it is, but if Wagner isn’t in a save situation, he doesn’t pitch well.  On paper, that makes no scientific sense.  Situation shouldn’t affect a pitcher, especially when he’s up even more.  But for whatever reason, if it’s a tie game or if it’s a four or more run lead, Wagner just doesn’t pitch as well.  Nevertheless, I certainly hope that isn’t the last time we see Billy Wagner on a pitcher’s mound in 2006 – one more outing would be nice.

I have to say, I was hoping the crowd would make a little more noise.  Maybe Fox just didn’t have them mic’d very well (as part of their continuing coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals postseason run – that’s nice, having their radio play by play man and former All Star catcher in the same booth, isn’t it?), but I thought that they could be a little louder.  I mean, the Mets were facing elimination tonight, in a tight, close game, and it didn’t seem like the crowd was lifting the players quite the way you’d expect – maybe Reyes on the leadoff homer, but that’s it.  If you’re going to tomorrow night’s game, make sure you make a lot of noise – even if it means Fox turning off the crowd noise all together.

Overall, I’m just deliriously happy that the Mets got one more game.  Tomorrow, they won’t be the only team facing elimination – the loser of tomorrow’s game is done for the rest of the postseason.  The Cardinals sent their trump card to the mound tonight, and he was outpitched (for the second time) by John Maine.  Tomorrow, they send a man who utterly baffled the Mets last week, but it’s a new day, a new game, and a new ballpark.  If you’re a Mets fan attending tomorrow’s game…make sure I can hear you all the way here in central Jersey.

It’s the biggest game of the Mets postseason to date tomorrow, and hopefully it won’t be their last.  The Mets send…well, whom they send to the mound is a matter of great conjecture.  Mets.com is listing Oliver Perez, which means that a guy who could be called among the Mets’ worst starting pitchers in 2006 will be taking the mound on three days’ rest with the Mets’ season in his hands, against Jeff Suppan.  I suspect we’ll see a little bit of Darren Oliver in tomorrow’s game, as well as a little bit of Steve Trachsel as well.  I’m not sure if this comforts anybody, but keep in mind…if they get past this game, at least they get El Duque back for the World Series.  Game time is sometime around 8:15.  Guys…I know we have at least one more win in us.  We can do this.  Don’t lose the faith!

Cardinals 4, Mets 2

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

Maybe the extra day rest wasn’t such a good thing. Glavine didn’t look appreciably better on four days’ rest than he would have on three, but the Mets’ bats sure looked a lot colder than when we saw them last. Just an ugly, ugly game. From the first pitch, Glavine just didn’t look like he had it; it was as if he went back into a time warp and became the Glavine of July and August of 2006, not the pitcher he’s been of late. Glavine is a pitcher who usually is only as good as the umpire’s strike zone, and today he wasn’t getting strike calls. With him behind hitters, it allowed the Cardinals to get in front and do some damage, and with the Mets’ defense maybe not where it was last Thursday, he just didn’t have it tonight.

Meanwhile, the Mets’ offense continues to struggle. In this series, you can point to two hitters and say that they’ve played really well – Beltran and Delgado. Reyes has not been the on-base machine the Mets have needed, Wright has struggled immensely, Endy Chavez has not been an adequate replacement for Cliff Floyd, and Lo Duca has finally gone into his second-half swoon at the worst possible time. Valentin has played decently since his bat awakened in Game 2, and Shawn Green has played OK, but that’s pretty much it.

The Mets’ offensive troubles were highlighted in the top of the eighth. Carlos Delgado works a one-out walk. David Wright doubles, putting runners on second and third with one out. Down two runs, you NEED to plate those two runners in that situation. You just do. You may not get that sort of opportunity again. But Shawn Green and Jose Valentin just couldn’t get it done, and that was that. The Mets would look impotent in the ninth, and now they go back to New York down 3-2.

But you know what? I’m conceding nothing. The Cardinals have been pretty lucky so far; Pujols has been relatively cold this series. They have benefitted from contributions from the lesser members of their offense, the Molinas, the Spiezios. The Mets are the more talented team, even if their pitching stinks on ice right now. Would it have been nice to take two on the road? Yes, especially since Beltran, Delgado, and Wright all hit better on the road than they do at home. But does that mean I’m conceding this series? Not on your life.

Wright still has a big game left in him, I can feel it. Jose Reyes hasn’t done Jose Reyes things this postseason; eventually, that weapon that the Mets have utilized so well this season is going to come back. Beltran didn’t have a great night tonight, but he’s making eight figures a year at least partially because of what he’s done against Cardinals for his career. Carlos Delgado waited 13 and a half years to get here, and has been playing out of his mind since the playoffs started; do you think he’s going to be satisfied losing in the NLCS?

Basically, if you’re a Mets fan and you’re going to be at the next two games, you need to scream as loud as you can. You need to make some noise and get behind these guys, because they need it right now. They need some home cooking. They need some motivation. This isn’t the time to be down; this is the time to get these guys back up. You have to keep telling yourselves that this isn’t over, that the Mets have the talent to overcome, because they do. John Maine can give the Mets 5-6 solid innings; he did so during the regular season, and he can do so here. The top of the order can set the table for the middle of the order to drive them in. This is a lineup that offers no breaks until the nine hole. This series isn’t over. If this was the NLDS, it’d be over, but we play seven games in the NLCS, and the Mets haven’t lost four yet. We gotta rally the troops.

Tomorrow will be Game 6, and the Mets are facing a guy who five days ago, they hit around pretty decently. Sure, he’s a front-runner for the NL Cy Young, but if they hit him before, they can do it again. Chris Carpenter takes the mound for the Mets, where he’ll be opposed by John Maine. Mainer, you may never pitch a more important game in your life than the game you pitch tomorrow night. Right now, there’s a few million Mets fans who will remember you fondly for life if you step up and give the Mets a gem to keep them alive in this. Game time is 8:15ish.

MiracleMets.net NLCS Postgame

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Hey, we could have used some of these runs yesterday.  Still, it is nice to see that the Mets picked up a win here, as going down 3 to 1 with everything falling on Glavine on short rest was a dicey situation.  The Mets still aren’t out of the woods yet, as they really could use a win tomorrow to head back to New York up 3 to 2 facing Carpenter, but at least they completed the first step towards that.  This was a must-win game, and the Mets offense came out and took care of business.

Oliver Perez didn’t have his best stuff, and if he had thrown this game yesterday instead of today, every Mets fan would hate his guts.  Instead, because the offense supported him, he’ll walk out of his first postseason game with a win.  I was worried that the Cardinals were a bad matchup, since they don’t strike out much; indeed, Perez only had three strikeouts, and allowed five runs on nine hits and a walk in 5.2 innings.  Not a good performance at all, but the Mets walked away with a win.  All Oliver needed to do was avoid getting shelled, Trachsel style, and he did that.

Meanwhile, I suspect Tony La Russa will be second guessing himself on taking out Reyes, and rightfully so.  Reyes didn’t pitch great, but he was walking the tight rope and not allowing runners to score.  He did have a high pitch count, but he probably should have at least started the fifth.  Instead, they bring in Brad Thompson, who started the Mets offensive outpouring, and from there they never looked back.  Going into this game, the Cardinals had allowed a single earned run in 20.2 postseason innings.  Tonight, they allowed ten in only five innings.  I think that might skew the averages a little.

It was nice to see a game where the Mets’ bats came alive.  The Carloses, Beltran and Delgado, continued their hot streaks, Beltran against the St. Louis Cardinals and Delgado in the postseason.  They went a combined 5 for 7 with three homers, a double, six runs scored and seven RBIs tonight.  David Wright added a homer, his first (and still only) hit of the LCS, and Shawn Green and Jose Valentin both contributed two hit nights.  All Mets position players tonight had at least one hit, and even Perez managed to reach base on a walk tonight.  This was exactly the type of game they needed, and hopefully they can carry over some momentum to tomorrow night’s game.

Game 5 will be tomorrow night in St. Louis.  It will be a battle of two pitchers operating on three day’s rest, as Jeff Weaver takes the mound against Tom Glavine.  Glavine will enter this game with a thirteen inning playoff shutout streak, and over his last nineteen innings dating back to the regular season, has allowed but a single run.  Jeff Weaver has pitched decently in the postseason so far, but suffered a sixth inning meltdown on Thursday night that cost the Cards a chance to win.  We’ll see what he brings on three days’ rest tomorrow, with the game starting at 8:15ish EST.

Cardinals 5, Mets 0

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

Not to be pessimistic…but right now, it sure isn’t looking good.  The Mets just looked foolish tonight.  Jeff Suppan is not a good major league pitcher.  At his best, he is a completely mediocre pitcher.  The Mets couldn’t get anything going against him.  Two singles, a triple, and a walk…that was it.  That’s what they generated.  Reyes, Beltran, and Wright, the keys to any strong Mets game, had two of those hits, but…if the Mets are to win in the postseason, they need more.

They really needed more tonight, because from the start, Steve Trachsel put this team in a hole.  He allowed two runs in the first, and was lucky to only allow two, since he left the bases loaded.  He leads off the second by giving up a home run to the damned pitcher.  A walk to David Eckstein (his fourth of the game; remember, this is the bottom of the second inning), a Preston Wilson single off of Trachsel’s leg, and then a fifth walk where Trachsel, again, doesn’t even come close, dooms him for the night.  Trachsel may have injured himself on the Wilson single, but…the way he was pitching, it was only a matter of time.

After Oliver allowed two of the inherited baserunners to score, he settled in and kept the Mets in this game.  He gave the Mets six shutout innings; other than Tom Glavine, that’s better than any other Mets pitcher has done this postseason.  His work went for naught, though, because the offense just couldn’t get anything going.  Against Jeff Suppan.  How does this happen?  Seriously…Jeff Suppan looked like a pitching ace out there.  He is a free agent this offseason, and his performance tonight may have earned him a few million dollars (God, please let it be the Yankees that signs him; he’d fit right in with Wright and Pavano).

I know I talked a brave game about the Cardinals before this series started but…now I’m worried.  The Mets’ offense is cold.  The rotation is paper-thin.  Oliver bought the bullpen some time off tonight, but with Willie’s short hook, that’s bound not to last.  Meanwhile, it’s not even the stars, like Pujols and Rolen…people like Suppan, Spiezio, Molina, Taguchi…these guys are killing the Mets.  It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.  The Cards were supposed to be a speed bump on the Mets’ way to their first World Series since 2000.  But it’s not working out that way, and I’m starting to worry that this series may not even make it back to New York.  This Cardinals team, which on paper was among the worst teams to ever make the postseason, has a chance to take out the best team in the National League, and with ease.    Seriously, how did this happen?

I never thought I’d say this…I never hoped I would have to say this…but tomorrow, the Mets look to Oliver Perez to be the stopper, to somehow pitch the Mets back into this series.  Perez last pitched on October 1 in Washington, pitching as part of a 6-2 Mets win, a game that he did not factor into the decision.  Somehow, the Mets need Oliver Perez to pitch like the young phenom that burst onto the scene in 2004, and not like the thoroughly shitty pitcher he has been ever since.  He’ll be opposed by Anthony Reyes, a somewhat unremarkable rookie, though a guy whom a lot of people think has a bright future.  Game time is listed as 7:30, but who knows what time the game will actually start.  God, I hate Fox.