Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 7 Braves 1

This game is just what the doctor ordered. A game the Mets absolutely had to have and they got it.

Carlos Delgado hit what may have been a season changing home run to give the Mets the 3-0 lead. I admit that when Delgado came up with men on and 2 outs I thought for sure he'd make out, but he blasted one to deep center and I guarantee every Met player and fan took a deep breath when that one went over the wall.

John Maine returned to his first half form just when the Mets needed him to. He pitched 7 good innings which was good enough to rest the Mets bullpen. He couldn't go any further because he threw 112 pitches (a lot of 3-2 counts). Maine's gut check came in the 6th when the score was 4-0 and he loaded the bases with none out and Chipper Jones up. He got popups from Chipper and Teixeira and might have escaped with no runs had he not thrown a wild pitch that scored a run.

Jose Reyes may have broken out of his slump with two extra base hits including his 10th homer of the year.

The Mets broke the game open in the top of the 9th when Marlon Anderson smacked a bases loaded double. He is 8 for 18 as pinch hitter for the Mets but he is also on a 10 for 15 tear with 11 RBI, 5 doubles and a homer. Just for fun stats since August 18: .667 BA, 1.200 SLG & 1.887 OPS.

And Anderson's hit gave Wagner a night off which should help. Heilman and Schoeneweis closed it out to give the Mets an absolutely huge victory.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Phillies 11 Mets 10

Another absolutely horrible devastating loss for a team that is in an incredible tailspin, one from which they may not be able to recover.

El Duque got absolutely creamed giving up three home runs. He never should have been going after Ryan Howard with a base open and the other two home runs were fly ball outs in Shea Stadium but it still counts as 5 runs in 3 innings. But after 9 straight winning starts you can't really expect for more out of him.

But the Mets staged their first great comeback of the game in the 4th. Green came through with a big double and Milledge got a pinch hit single (on a breaking pitch), a huge hit from him.

Then the Mets tied it in the 5th with the help of a bad play by Ryan Howard who fielded a slow roller with his glove and couldn't get it out in time to get Beltran at first. That gave the Mets an extra out which turned Shawn Green's flyball from the third out into a game tying sac fly.

But Aaron Sele gave three runs right back. He'd pitched a good 4th inning but Howard led off the inning with a single. Then with two out Sele made his crucial mistake, by walking Werth. That was followed by three cheap hits (just over the glove of Gotay, right in front of Beltran and a slow roller past Gotay) that created three runs.

In addition the Mets got unlucky a couple other times as the Phillies made two great catches against the wall robbing Conine and Beltran of extra base hits.

Then in the magical 8th inning the Mets finally saw the Phillies bullpen which has been pitching against the rest of the National League all season.

Romero walked Gotay then Alfonseca came in and walked Alou. Then Willie called on Marlon Anderson who doubled to right and is 9 for his last 13. Gary Cohen said he is the best pinch hitter on the planet.

Jose Reyes was intentionally walked to load the bases which was a somewhat curious move considering how badly Reyes had been hitting in this series, plus he represented the go-ahead run. I would have pitched to him.

Endy Chavez came through with a huge two run single to tie the game. It's nice to have him back. He is a great bench player and comes through in the clutch very often.

With Reyes and Chavez on first and second the Mets tried a double steal, Reyes got a huge jump and was in easily, but the throw rolled into left field and Reyes scored to give the Mets their first lead. Alfonseca walked Wright and Mesa walked Beltran to load the bases. Delgado hit a chopper to give the Mets a 2-run lead.

Then Wagner was called on to get a 6 out save for the first time in 8 years. I totally agree with bringing Wagner for the 8th (because Utley and Howard were due up), but I never would have allowed Wagner to pitch the 9th.

Wagner gave up a solo homer to Burrell in the 8th (4th this series, 42nd career) but got out of the inning. It wasn't until the 9th when everything fell apart again for Billy Wagner.

Jayson Werth led off with another bloop single then he stole second and third because Wagner wasn't paying attention to him. Iguchi singled to tie the game then stole second because once again Wagner wasn't holding him close and LoDuca can't throw. That forced the Mets to walk Rollins to create 1st and 2nd for Chase Utley. And Utley of course got the game winning hit.

Billy Wagner has now blown 4 saves this year, 3 in the past two weeks.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Phillies 3 Mets 2

What a way to lose a game. The Mets had this game tied but Marlon Anderson tried too hard and pushed with his hands, and it was the right call.

This team is melting down right now.

For the fourth straight game the offense only could produce 2 runs.

Delgado actually had two hits but he struck out in the 9th inning.

Reyes reached base two times, and was picked off both times.

David Wright stayed hot blasting a home run in the 1st.

Oliver Perez was spotty, walking 5 and giving up 2 home runs but he did strike out 10 in 6 innings. In the 5th he loaded the bases with none out and Burrell up. Burrell who hit his 39th career homer against the Mets in the 1st, hit a near grand slam, but it went foul. Then he hit a sac fly to give the Phillies the winning margin but Perez got out of the inning with no further damage.

This is what happens to bad teams. They find ways to lose, usually in spectacular fashion. And right now they Mets are a bad team, a very bad team, and at the worst possible time.

Just to be clear, horrible play by Anderson. The Phillies had no chance to double up Green. He should have slid hard and would have been just as effective, the fact that he put his hands on the caused the interference call.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Phillies 4 Mets 2

I don't want to hear anything about bad luck costing the Mets this game. In the 8th inning there was a home run, a walk and a throwing error before any of that other stuff happened. That other stuff being a 30 foot roller that just stayed fair and scored the tying run. And the other infield hit had no impact on the game.

The fact is, the bullpen sucks. They keep getting killed, every game in the last 8 runs have been scored while a relief pitcher was on the mound (in one game they were charged to Maine, the only one in which the pen wasn't charged with any runs). The bullpen is awful, every pitcher is responsible, including Wagner, and if it doesn't turn around the Mets are not going anywhere.

And the offense is not off the hook either. Three straight games of scoring only 2 runs. That's a real good way to earn a 3 game losing streak. The only runs were scored on a 2 run blast by Delgado. But lest we think he is coming out of his slump, he reminded us how ineffective he's been by striking out with 2 men on and 2 outs in the 8th inning.

Tom Glavine was awesome and he deserved better.

13, 17, 13, 7, 8, 15, 13 & 12. The number of hits the Mets have given up in the past 8 games. 6 games over 12, the Mets lost 5 of those.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Phillies 9 Mets 2

The starting pitching sucked, the bullpen was worse and the offense didn't hit. Not the way the Mets wanted to start off their most crucial road trip of the year. They needed at least a split in Philly and 2 of 3 in Atlanta.

Brian Lawrence is done as a Mets starter. The quality of his starts has gotten progressively worse and he is so hittable and he only pitched more then 5 innings once in 5 starts, in which the Mets went 1-4. Saturday against the Braves would have been his next and last turn but the Mets will find someone for that spot, then put Pedro in it the next time through the rotation.

Willie is overusing Jorge Sosa and now every time he comes in he gives up a run. Schoeneweis was horrible.

Lastings Milledge strikes out just about every time up recently. He's 3 for his last 17 with 10 strikeouts.

Carlos Delgado struck out with a man on third and one out when the game was still close.

Pat Burrell hit another home run. His 38th in 128 games and 450 at bats against the Mets. For comparison, he has a very similar number of at bats against the Marlins against whom he's hit 21 homers and against the Braves (14 homers). This freakin guy kills the Mets.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Dodgers 6 Mets 2

Another series the Mets had a chance to sweep and couldn't put the hammer down.

And it was another mediocre start by a starting pitcher who turned it over to a bullpen that just imploded.

A 2-run double by Wright gave the Mets a 2-1 lead but everything went wrong starting in the 5th. Maine got rocked for 4 hits but only 2 runs thanks to Kemp getting picked off third.

The Mets had a chance to answer back but Alou struck out with the bases loaded.

In the 6th Maine got 2 outs but it should have been 3 because Conine made an error. With two outs and a man on it all went to hell. Gonzalez singled, Furcal singled and Willie took out Maine with the score 4-2. Schoeneweis came and allowed a single to Pierre and a little knubber by Kemp, each of which scored a run.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 4 Dodgers 3

Another great starting pitching performance, this time from El Duque. The Mets sorely need the starters to go 7 innings. El Duque did give the Mets seven strong but with two outs and none on in 7th he allowed back to back home runs to Luis Gonzalez and Russell Martin.

Carlos Delgado got a huge hit in this game that will hopefully be a turning point for him. After making the third out of an inning twice, stranding 5 baserunners, he got up with the bases loaded and two outs in his third at bat. Instead of booing the crowd gave him a standing O and he delivered a single on the first pitch to make the score 3-0.

The Mets tacked on an insurance run which they needed after Milledge butchered a ball that he should have let fall in front of him for a single, turning it into a triple.

But that run didn't matter as Aaron Heilman came in to get his first save of the season.

If Wagner is going through a tired arm period then why did Willie bring him in on Friday with a 4-run lead? I'm worried that Willie is overusing his pen.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Dodgers 2

A great performance by Oliver Perez, he worked out of trouble in the first and in several subsequent innings but he held the Dodgers down for 7 much needed innings. His velocity seemed better than in his past few starts but his control was off, 5 walks allowed.

Reyes produced the first two runs with a walk and a steal in the first and a double in the third, scoring on hits from Gotay and Wright. Wright also added a solo homer.

The bullpen tried to blow it, Sosa loading the bases in the 8th and Wagner loading them in the 9th, but each time the Mets got out of it allowing only one run.

Luckily the offense added two insurance runs in the top of the 9th on a big hit by Milledge who had struck out 7 times in a row a streak that ended earlier in this game.

12 straight games of 5 runs or more, the Mets have won 2/3 of those games (8-4).

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Padres 9 Mets 8

Two of the best closers in baseball blow saves in the same game, only two nights after they each gave up runs in the 9th inning.

It started off as a vintage Tom Glavine performance. A steadfast refusal to throw strikes, followed by a bunch of hits, some narrow escapes and eventually a lot of runs. Glavine allowed 6 runs, 11 hits and 3 walks in only 5 innings.

But the Mets almost bailed him out with a monstrous 6-run 6th to take a 7-6 lead. Helped along by two walks and an error the Mets cleared the bases with a 2-run single from Green and a 3-run homer by Marlon Anderson.

The bullpen of Schoeneweis (1 inning) and Feliciano (2 innings), two guys who haven't been overworked held down the Padres for 3 innings.

But Wagner, who still on balance has been good (only 3 blown saves), gave up 3 hits and a walk to start the 9th inning, turning a 7-6 lead into an 8-7 deficit.

But the Mets showed some heart tying the game with hits from Reyes and Castillo, then a stolen base and a sac fly by Wright. I love Castillo now. He has that ability to fight off the pitcher's best pitches and dump a single just into the outfield. And speed kills. Without the stolen base by Reyes the Mets might not tie it up. Hoffman then walked the Carloses and got Alou with the bases loaded to send the game into extra innings.

But Aaron Heilman quickly dampened that enthusiasm by allowing a home run to Adrian Gonzalez. He's now allowed 8 HR this year in only 66 innings.

Two runners on in the bottom of the 10th but the Mets couldn't push the run across.

A very exciting series against the Padres too bad the Mets couldn't get 2 out of 3.

The bullpen is emerging as a major trouble spot.

The starting pitching has absolutely sucked as well, compounding the bullpen's problems.

But the offense has been humming along, scoring at least 5 runs in 11 straight games, but the Mets are only 7-4 in that stretch.

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Unhappy Recap: Padres 7 Mets 5

The Mets got about all they can expect from Brian Lawrence (4 runs in 5 innings), he can probanly pitch better but all they can hope for is that he will keep them in the game, which he did.

Carlos Beltran who has been on fire lately got a 2 run double to cut the lead to two.

But the overworked bullpen blew it wide open. Mota came in and retired 5 batters in a row then got an 0-2 count on Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez singled then Mota walked Cameron. Two hits later it was 7-2 and the game was basically over.

But the Mets mounted a furious comeback in the bottom of the 9th. Anderson doubled, Conine singled, Reyes made out and Castillo reached on an error by the pitcher (he fired about 5 feet over the first baseman's head from only two feet away). Then it really looked like the Mets were going to come back as a popup was dropped in the short outfield. But Castillo was holding on at first and couldn't get to second in time. But Beltran singled to give the Mets a chance.

By this time Trevor Hoffman was in to face Delgado. A homer would have tied it, but Delgado struck out.

Delgado went 0-5 in this game. He struck out with two on in the first, he flew out with the bases loaded in the third, he fouled out with Beltran on second in the fifth and then in the 9th he ended the game, all four of those times ending an inning. For the season he is batting .175 with 2 out and men in scoring position, but he is only 5 for his last 50 in those situations. Plus it is clear that San Diego has a book on him, he was thrown nothing but high and tight fastballs and he was swinging and missing at all of them.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 7 Padres 6

How I started this post:

These are the losses I absolutely despise. There's nothing worse than having your bullpen blow a lead, get those runs back, and then have the bullpen blow it again. That's what happened tonight.

But the Mets remembered that Paul is a daddy tonight, and stepped it up big time against the all-time saves leader. Let's start from the top.

Carlos Beltran is en fuego. He smacked a bomb into the wind in the 1st inning to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. He later doubled to put the Mets up 4-1.

But John Maine once again had trouble putting hitters away. He's lost about 3-4 miles off his fastball, and it shows. Batters are fouling off pitch after pitch, making even his outs taxing. By the time he came out in the 6th, he had thrown 117 pitches. Unless you're El Duque, that's way too much.

Scott Schoewenweis came in and looked strong, getting Brian Giles to end the 6th, and he got two outs in the 7th before allowing a hit that Milledge misplayed, putting a runner on second. Willie decided to play the percentages and bring in "Everyday" Jorge Sosa. Sosa has pitched great lately, but not this time, giving up a couple of hits to let the Padres take the lead.

But the Mets seem to have gotten past the phase where this would be the end of the game. Maybe it's because 1-7, there are no easy outs in the lineup right now. They got a Reyes run to tie the game in the 8th. Jose got an infield hit, stole 2nd, took third on a Castillo groundout, Wright walked, and Beltran lined a single into left field. Unfortunately, Delgado and Alou couldn't keep it going.

Wagner was called on to keep the game tied in the 9th, and couldn't get it done. He gave up a run on a couple of singles and a sac fly, and even my cat thought it was over.

But L-Millz kicked off the 9th against Trevor Hoffman with a line drive single to left. Mike DeFelice bunted him to second, and Hoffman-killer Marlon Anderson tied the game with a single to center. Reyes walked, and new Mets hero Luis Castillo singled up the middle to score Anderson with the game winning run.

Great comeback win against a good team. In fact, if the playoffs started today, the Mets would play the Padres.

Brief aside: around the middle of the game, Kevin Burkhardt interviewed "Danny," a construction worker on CitiField. This was unintentional comedy at its finest. Danny told us about his memories of seeing the Jets and Mets at Shea, told Kevin that "cash is king" to us, and admitted buttered rolls, coffee, and donuts are the preferred food of the union workers. Buttered rolls? Well, that is a NYC thing.

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Happy Recap: Paul's A Dad

SCZA here, filling in for Mr. Poop, who is now Papa Poop II. Paul and Kate welcomed Chase Brennan into the world today. The future shortstop is a lean, mean 7 pounds, 14 ounces and everyone is said to be happy and healthy.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 8 Nationals 2

The Mets got a run in the first inning after Castillo got on, and Beltran got a sac fly, a rare occurrence for him, to get the run home.

Great play by El Duque to end the first inning. The ball hit him in the leg and bounced towards the first base line. He recovered and threw it right into the back of Austin Kearns. Kearns was out for running outside of the baseline. If Kearns had been in the baseline they never would have gotten him out I don't think. Heady play by El Duque though because so many players try to avoid the runner and they end up throwing the ball away.

The Nationals got two runs to take the lead including one on a monster shot by Wili Mo Pena.

Beltran homered to tie the game giving him both Mets RBI in the game.

El Duque toughed out 7 strong innings giving the Mets bullpen a break for the second straight start.

He's already had 9 no decisions this year, in which he's had a 2.03 ERA so the Mets wanted to get him a win.

To start the 8th, Castillo singled through the infield, then Wright crushed one, that would have been a homer almost anywhere but it turned into a double, and Castillo held up so he didn't score. The Nats walked Beltran to load the bases with nobody out and Shawn Green came through with a single up the middle to bring home two runs.

Green hit a game winning home run against the Cardinals on June 25th. Since then in 46 games and 153 at bats Green has had only 5 RBI.

After Green's single Marlon Anderson doubled to deep right field driving in Beltran and Green, giving the Mets a 4-run lead.

In the 9th Beltran hit his second homer of the game, sort of useless, it gave the Mets a 8-2 lead. It was the 4th 2-homer game of the season.

I do have one issue with the way Willie used the bullpen in this game. El Duque went 7, and when the Mets took a 6-2 lead in the top of the 8th I think he should have gone to Sele or Schoeneweis because Sosa has been overused. Then in the 9th with a 6 run lead, he brought in Feliciano. Sele and Schoeneweis need to be used in games like this so they might be effective if we need them in close games. I understand there is an offday the next day but Willie is in real danger of exhausting Sosa and Heilman and maybe even Feliciano.

But the Mets did win 5 out of 6 on this road trip and it could have easily been two straight sweeps.

They now have their largest lead of the season, 5 games.

The Mets have now scored 5 runs or more in the last 8 games. If the starting pitching could return to its early season form, and the offense stays hot, the Mets could be very dangerous.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 7 Nationals 4

The more I see of Luis Castillo the more impressed I am. I definitely underestimated his offensive abilities when I evaluated the trade. I don't think even he expects to hit home runs like he did in the first inning. His contribution is more like what he did in the 5th. After Reyes singled he had a bunt base hit, then he took off right away on a blooper by David Wright and he scored from first, evading a tag from the catcher.

Oliver Perez still not at his best. He allowed two runs in the second, including one that scored on a single by the pitcher. But he did get out of trouble in the 3rd with two men on. But then in the 6th inning Perez melted down. He allowed three straight hits (the third a hard hit ball right at Reyes), then a walk, and had to be taken out with the bases loaded and two outs. Mota got Perez out of the mess but once again the bullpen had to be relied upon to pitch too many innings.

The Mets got the run back but they should have gotten more but Milledge grounded into a double play.

But Mota gave up a single, double and a walk in the 7th and Willie had to go to Sosa again. Sosa got the two outs he needed in the 7th, Heilman took the 8th and Wagner took the 9th. That is what the Mets need to have happen. But they need the starters to go deeper into games.

One bit of cold water on this win, Damion Easley grotesquely twisted his ankle on the way down to second base. The replay showed it vividly. It is a grade 3 sprain and he may be out for the season. That hurts because he is a valuable right handed bat off the bench.

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Happy Recap: Mets 6 Nationals 2

No carryover from the previous night's disastrous loss.

Tom Glavine pitched an effective if not spectacular game. He had runners on in almost every inning but managed to go through 7 innings with only one run.

The Mets also had a ton of baserunners in this one, 8 hits and 10 walks.

The scoring got started by Damion Easley who hit his 10 home run of the year in only 191 at bats.

Jose Reyes added a Reyes Run (walk, steal, third on bad throw, score on hit) in the third inning.

Moises Alou homered after the Nats had scored a run. Alou now has 9 homers in 182 at bats, a little worse than Easley.

The Mike DiFelice added three RBI (sac fly and triple) to make it 6-1.

The Nats got one run back off Jorge Sosa but Willie remembered Pedro Feliciano and he nailed down the game and the Mets got the win.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Pirates 10 Mets 7

A horrible, terrible, deflating loss. Although it comes off a 3-game winning streak the Mets really need to start pounding these horrible teams, .500 is not enough. But they cannot seem to do the things they need to do to build a long winning streak and put the Braves and Phillies away.

Even more troubling is that now the offense is finally starting to click but the starting pitching has been awful, the bullpen has been awful and overworked and the defense and baserunning has sucked.

The Mets got off to another good start with a home run by Beltran in the first inning for a 2-0 lead. In the second Reyes singled, stole second and scored on a hit by Castillo, all with two outs.

In the third inning they loaded the bases with no one out but Anderson grounded out (force at home), DiFelice popped up but Lawrence helped himself by driving a run home. That was followed by a Reyes walk which forced in another run and the Mets had a 5-0 lead again.

But it didn't last long as Lawrence's first hit allowed was a 2-run homer to Adam LaRoche.

Lawrence got another big hit in the 5th to give the Mets a 7-3 lead, and put him in position for another win.

But Lawrence allowed another run then turned it over to Mota who gave up a run for the second straight night thanks to some horrible outfield defense, this time it was Marlon Anderson who butchered a flyball, which cut the lead to two.

And then everything went to shit. Willie made a mistake here. He should have given one inning each to Mota, Feliciano, Heilman and Wagner. Instead he tried to stretch Mota who gave up a walk to start the 7th. Then Willie took him out and brought Feliciano to face the Pirates' only lefty. LaRoche singled and then Willie went to Heilman. Without Sosa that meant Heilman had to pitch two innings. Either Willie should have use Schoeneweis to try to get the lefty, or stayed with Feliciano, his best pitcher.

But really you can't blame Willie for what happened next because so many plays were just complete fuckups, and a manager has no control over that. After Heilman gave up a hit to cut the lead to one he fielded a sac bunt and for some unknown reason looked towards third base, he had no play, and by the time he looked to first it was too late and the bases were loaded with nobody out. The next batter got a hit to tie the game but amazingly Heilman got a strikeout and double play to keep the game tied. For now.

And it's hard to blame Heilman for what happened next. He had two outs and two chances to get out of the inning unscathed. First Wright made a horrible throw to first on a slow grounder. It was a tough play to get the out, but his errant throw put the runner on second. Then Heilman allowed a single to right and Anderson made a great throw home and had Freddy Sanchez dead at home, but Mike DiFelice dropped the ball.

DiFelice makes a costly error at home

Heilman allowed two more hits to make it 10-7. Heilman pitched 2 innings, allowed 6 hits, 5 runners scored while he was in the game but none were charged to his ERA, two were inherited and three were unearned.

Very tough loss, but to put it in perspective, it's not a disaster. The Mets did get 2 of 3 on the road. Brian Lawrence started this game and you can't expect to win his starts. And the bats have come alive. If the Mets take 2 of 3 in Washington this will have been a very successful road trip.

And I still feel a little confident about the bullpen should the Mets make it to the playoffs because Mota won't be there and Heilman will be the 5th reliever after Wagner, Feliciano, Sosa and El Duque.

One interesting side note, the Mets had won 133 consecutive games in which they had a 5 run lead, the longest active streak in the majors. The last time they lost a game in which they had a 5 run lead was April 30, 2004, against the Padres who used Brian Lawrence as their starting pitcher that night.

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A Change in Strategy?

It seems like the Mets began this road trip with a new philosophy in several different areas. Maybe the Mets coaches Met on the off-day Monday and discussed the following changes:

1) Batting Wright 3rd, Beltran 4th and Delgado 5th.
This makes a lot of sense because Wright is hitting for a higher average and reaching base more often than Beltran. And although we think of Beltran as faster, Wright has more steals and a better percentage this season.

2) Using Sosa in pressure situations.
Looks like Jorge Sosa is in the bullpen to stay, and he's going to get more chances in close games (this happened before this series as well). The Mets need someone to step up and Sosa has been doing a pretty good job. If he can keep going well, then the Mets can take a bullpen of El Duque, Sosa, Heilman, Feliciano and Wagner into the postseason, and feel pretty confident.

3) Lastings Milledge gets more playing time.
Lastings Milledge got a start over Shawn Green against a righty in the first game of the Pirates series. This has to happen more often. At this point in their careers Milledge does everything better than Green. He's faster, he plays better defense, he hits for more power and average and his aggressive base running produces runs. Green should be a lefty pinch hitter off the bench for the rest of the season.

4) Late inning defensive replacements.
When Shawn Green and Moises Alou are in the game the Mets are very weak at the corners. I look for Willie to replace them in the late innings of almost every game down the stretch with Milledge and Chavez (when he comes back). It will also be interesting to see if Willie continues to pull Delgado (he replaced him with Green).


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 10 Pirates 8

If you missed the first six batters of this game you missed 5 runs. The Mets got out to a hot start with Reyes and Castillo on, then doubles by Wright and Delgado and the inning was punctuated by another big hit, a home run, by Moises Alou. He has 7 homers in his last 41 at bats.

But that was the end of the Mets offense, they got nothing for the next 7 innings.

And a struggling John Maine slowly gave the lead back.

It started with a solo homer to lead off the second inning. Then he walked 8th hitter Jack Wilson after a 10 pitch at bat and with two outs gave up an RBI double to the pitcher. And in the 4th he gave up another solo homer to Nate McClouth, which came right after a beautiful diving catch of a bunt by Delgado that he turned into a double play. Maine didn't pitch badly but he definitely didn't have the same stuff he had earlier in the year. He did have 8 strikeouts in 5 innings but he also threw 117 pitches, and a high number of those were foul balls late in the count. He seems the Pirates were able to fight him off.

Maine turned a 2-run over to Gulliermo Mota in the 6th when the Mets poor defense cost him a run. Mota hit Jack Wilson, then Matt Kata pinch hit and blooped one in front of Alou. Any other outfielder might have caught it, but Alou had no chance. But instead of playing it on a bounce Alou dove or slid, and it went past him and brought the run home, to cut the lead to one.

But the Mets got hitless innings out of Jorge Sosa and Aaron Heilman. And then added to their lead in the 9th.

Milledge singled then Reyes sacrificed him to second. I don't mind a bunt here because one run can be crucial, but ahead of Castillo it's maybe not the best move because he can't hit a deep flyball. Milledge stole third, and then Castillo hit a chopper back to the pitcher who tried to get Milledge but threw it away. Milledge scored, then Wright singled, Beltran doubled, Easley doubled and Alou once again finished off a 5-run inning.

Lastings Milledge starts off a 5-run 9th by scoring on a throwing error

But just when you thought it was going to be easy Aaron Sele came in and gave up two singles and a hit batsman. All three of those runs came in and Willie had to go to Billy Wagner in what was now a save situation. Sele did his job as a setup man. Wagner got out of the mess and the Mets got the win.

One side note to this game, there were 6 hit batters:
Nate McClouth by Maine in the 2nd.
Mike DiFelice by Morris in the 3rd.
David Wright by Morris in the 4th.
Jack Wilson by Mota in the 6th.
Shawn Green by Marte in the 9th.
Freddy Sanchez by Sele in the 9th.

Freddy Sanchez gets hit by a pitch in the 9th inning

The only one that seemed intentional was Green by Marte in 9th. It came right after the Mets had scored 5 runs in the inning and with no one on base (Alou was thrown out at second), and he drilled him right in the back.
After that both teams were warned, but Sele was not ejected when he hit Sanchez in the bottom of the inning because it was a curveball and there were two men on. It will be worth watching to see if the this escalates into a beanball war in the last game these two teams will play against each other until next year.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Pirates 4

The Mets were lucky to win this one because they played poorly, got behind early, left runners on base and ran the bases foolishly. But thanks to El Duque's toughness and some key they escaped with a victory.

The game started with El Duque throwing the first 6 pitches for balls, giving up a walk, a double, an RBI single, and after two huge strikeouts he gave up another double, but passivity on the base paths cost the Pirates a chance to get more.

More of the same in the third inning, as an infield single, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out, but he got out of it.

He allowed a home run and two walks in the fourth, but thankfully in that order.

Here's some numbers on El Duque:
130 pitches (tied for the most in the majors this season)
60 balls & 70 strikes
5 hits, 5 walks, 1 HBP - 10 of those 11 batters were started with a ball
In his last 7 starts, he is 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA. He has 4 no decisions, but the Mets have won all 7 of his games.
His 3.12 ERA is 7th best in the NL.

The Mets got one run back in the third as Milledge and DiFelice doubled. They should have had more but Reyes couldn't drive home the run from third with one out, then Castillo struck out.

Beltran homered to briefly tie the game, his second homer in 10 at bats (sandwiched by 8 outs). And after the McClouth homer an RBI by Beltran tied the game again, but the Mets should have had more. With first and third and one out Beltran hit a grounder to second base which scored Castillo, but the throw to second was dropped by Wilson leading to an awkward crawling and groping for the bag by Wright, but he was called out anyway. Then Beltran failed to score on a long single by Delgado and Alou stranded the runners.

Wright should have been safe

The Mets had another chance in the 7th after another hit by DiFelice, followed by a double by Gotay. DiFelice should have scored when the ball was mishandled in the outfield but he had already slowed down to a jog and taken his eye off Sandy Alomar. Earlier in the game when heading to third base he couldn't decide whether to slide or stand up and he fell flat on his face. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out in a tie game Reyes once again failed to get the run home. Both times he hit hard ground balls right at someone. He hits the ball in the air so often, except when we need him to. Castillo tapped the ball in front of home plate and didn't even run, that ended the inning.

Jorge Sosa pitched a good 7th and was given the lead in the 8th.

Wright singled, Beltran ripped a double that Wright might have tried to score on, but not with none out in the 8th inning of a tie game. Delgado walked to load the bases. Alou came through with another big hit, singling home two runs, but Milledge grounded into a fielder's choice and DiFelice into a double play so the Mets got no more runs, but they almost needed more.

Sosa barely hung on in the 8th inning. Two straight singles led off the inning then the next two batters moved the runners over. So there was a run in and a man on third with two outs. Josh Phelps hit a deep fly ball to right field (off Schoeneweis) that Milledge misplayed but he recovered in time to make the catch.

Milledge butchers a ball but recovers to make a game saving catch

Billy Wagner pitched a 1-2-3 9th for the save and the Mets got the first game of the road trip.

Prior to this game the Mets had lost 7 of 8 in Pittsburgh including the 3 game series sweep last year right before the Mets came home and clinched the division.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Glavine's Gifts

The Mets honored Tom Glavine for winning his 300th game with a bunch of gifts. He got a Rangers jersey, a Kings jersey, a plaque with 300 golf balls 2 jet skis and a car.

Glavine with Rod Gilbert
Glavine's 300 golf ball plaque
Glavine gets a kiss from his wife Christine
Glavine gets a kiss from Tom Seaver


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 10 Marlins 4

The Mets broke out of their slumber with a nice victory that they had to have, a sweep by the Marlins would have been devastating.

But in this loss was revealed something, Oliver Perez is not the same as he was at the beginning of the season. His velocity is way down and in his last three starts his ERA is 5.29 and that includes 6 innings and no earned runs against Pittsburgh in a game the Mets lost because he made an error and allowed 5 unearned runs. Maybe he just has dead-arm but if he can't throw the ball harder than 90 miles an hour, he can't be effective.

But there were a lot of positives in this game starting with Moises Alou who homered twice to give the Mets the lead, first 3-1, then 5-4. Alou has 5 homers and 10 RBI in 15 games since returning from injury.

Moises Alou homers twice

Also encouraging was Jose Reyes who homered to tie the game in the 3rd then scored from first in the 8th inning on a single by Milledge that Dan Uggla misplayed and gave up on. Reyes was almost tagged out at home but he kicked the ball out of the catcher's hand.

And Carlos Delgado also hit a huge home run to break the game open in the 8th, a 2-run homer that gave the Mets a 3-run lead, and started a 5 run rally.

Ramon Castro continues to struggle, he's now 4 for his last 30 and in the Marlins big 3rd inning he allowed two wild pitches and dropped a throw at home plate, after the runner had been called out.

Castro drops the ball at home

Even worse he had some back problems and was taken out of the game. That leaves the Mets with Mike DiFelice as their only healthy catcher.

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Unhappy Recap: Marlins 7 Mets 5

The third straight tough loss in a row, and the second game in a row that the bullpen blew.

The Mets took an early 2 run lead on a homer by David Wright. Then when the Marlins cut the lead to 1, Wright homered again to make it 3-1 in the top of the 6th.

And then the Mets blew it. Glavine who had pitched well enough through 6 innings to earn win #301, gave up a leadoff single, but when Glavine got the next batter Willie went to Gulliermo Mota. After a single by Ramirez and a strikeout, the Mets elected to intentionally walk Cabrera to face Josh Willingham. He hit a grand slam to make the score 5-3.

But the Mets stormed right back on singles by Milledge and Castro who scored on a bunt single by Reyes (and catcher's error) and a groundout by Castillo. Reyes tried to score the go-ahead run on a flyball to right by Wright but he was called out at home even though replays showed he was safe.

Reyes gets thrown out at home

With the score tied the Mets should have had new life, but Aaron Heilman drained it out of them by loading the bases on two walks and a hit batsman, then allowing the hit that drove 2 runners in.

Heilman is now 7-4. 11 decisions for a relief pitcher is a lot.

LoDuca got hurt and was played on the disabled list, he reinjured his hamstring. Did the Mets rush him back because he was complaining and he wanted to catch Glavine's 300th win?

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Unhappy Recap: Marlins 4 Mets 3

You knew Billy Wagner wasn't going to go the whole season without blowing another hoped he would, but it wasn't realistic. Even the best closers blow 4 - 5 games per year. Entering this one Wagner hadn't allowed a run in 21 innings starting June 15. The Mets do need to beat up on the Marlins but this loss was nowhere near as crucial as a loss would have been had Wagner blown it against the Braves.

It was great to see Beltran come back off the DL and hit a huge 3-run homer that should have been the game-winner. His presence in the 3 hole should do a great deal to improve the lineup, by pushing everyone else down one slot.

Brian Lawrence once again pitched well enough to win, which is about all you can ask for from your 5th starter. He seems to have the 5th spot sealed up, for now.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Willie Bleeping Harris

Willie Harris became the latest Braves player to don Superman's cape and exceed his potential against the Mets. He made two incredible catches one in the first against Alou (probably a double) and one in the 9th against Delgado (definitely a home run).


Unhappy Recap: Braves 7 Mets 6

The Mets got a Reyes run in the first inning on an infield single, a sac bunt and a dribbler by Wright that got through the infield because Chipper was moving over to cover third because Reyes was running. Then after Delgado got on Alou crushed one to left, almost a duplicate of his shot the night before, but the wind held it up and Willie Harris made a great leaping catch to rob him of at least an extra base hit.

The Mets got another run in the third on a single by Alou.

Marlon Anderson butchered two balls in centerfield, the first one was a tough play that Beltran would have and Milledge might have made, but it passed just over Anderson's glove for a triple. But Maine got Chipper to end the inning. The Mets weren't so lucky the next time as McCann blooped a single in front of Anderson, that he definitely should have caught. Anderson actually got hurt on the play and came out in the next inning. But the run came in on a short fly ball to Alou who should have nailed McCann at home plate, and his throw was on time, but it as just off line.

Chipper Jones once again gave the Braves a 2 run lead crushing a 3-run homer after Maine temporarily lost his composure allowing a hit to the pitcher and then a walk to Harris. The 38th home run of his career against the Mets. Mark Teixeira followed that with a home run of his own and John Maine imploded again, allowing a huge inning for the second straight start.

The Mets got one back in the 5th and then loaded the bases with two outs but Castro popped out to end the inning. As great as Castro was early he is really struggling now. And he may have carried that into the field with him as his throwing error led to another Braves run.

The Mets staged a rally in the bottom of the 9th as Gotay got on, then Reyes doubled and almost ran past Gotay who was rightfully held at third. Then David Wright hit a 2 run homer to cut the lead to one and up stepped Delgado.

Delgado hit a deep fly ball to left that looked like a sure home run by Willie Harris made an incredible leaping catch of what would have been a sure game-tying home run. Just an unbelievably heart breaking moment.

The Mets still cannot beat the Braves, they have lost 2 of 3 in all 4 series against them this year and are very likely to lose the season series to them once again. The Braves always seem to make the plays and the Mets don't.

Willie Randolph has to stop bunting in the first inning. It kills any chance for a rally. Had Castillo been hitting and got on, the Mets might have gotten two or 3 runs or more. Reyes should steal to get into scoring position, the sac bunt is an ineffective way to produce runs.

When Smoltz and Hudson start consecutively the Braves have never lost both games in the two years they've both been on the team.

When Hudson is given a 3-run lead he is 92-1.

Keith Hernandez went to the "Wollensky Grill," which is actually called Smith & Wollensky, on 49th and 3rd after the game and saw David Wright, and the umpiring crew. Keith had a burger, not a steak and he didn't have the hash browns because he is on a low carb diet. He did have half a bottle of roset. Ron went home and watched "Cinderella Man."

Keith Hernandez asked Gary to look up something on his computer then told him not to get carpal-tunnel syndrome, which he described as "a way to get disability."

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Celebrate Good Times

The Mets have taken to celebrating victories this season by jumping into the air sort of like the chest bumps employed by the Knicks of the early 1990s, but they only bump shoulders, more like a side bump.

Castillo and Milledge celebrate the Mets comeback victory over the Braves on August 8th
Reyes and Milledge get together on July 28 after the Mets beat the Nationals in the first game of a doubleheader
Ramon Castro gets off the ground despite all that equipment after a Mets win over the Reds on July 15
Jose Reyes and Carlos Gomez celebrate a victory over the Twins on June 18
Reyes and Gomez are excited after beating the Yankees in Yankee Stadium on June 15

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 4 Braves 3

An absolutely wonderful win. By far the biggest win of the season. The Mets needed this game and they got it. They needed a near miracle in the 9th inning to pull it out, but that's what they got.

I'm going to start the recap in the beginning so stay with me before I get to the good parts.

The Mets started this one with a Reyes run. He singled, went to second an errant pickoff throw my Smoltz; to third on a sac bunt from Castillo and scored on a sac fly from Wright.

Smoltz throws away a pickoff attempt leading to the Mets first run
Reyes gets ready to run to second

They had a chance at another Reyes run in the third (single, steal, to third on groundout) but Wright struck out.

El Duque dominated the Braves through 5 2/3 allowing only one hit. But with two outs in the 6th he walked Willie Harris in a 9 pitch at bat. Then Kelly Johnson singled and up came Chipper Jones. Chipper, who kills the Mets as we know, doubled to right center to drive home 2 runs and give the Braves the lead. This was a weird play because the ball didn't make the gap it should have been a single, evidently Milledge was playing Jones over to left and took forever getting to the ball allowing Johnson to score and Jones to second. That bit them in the ass on the next play when Teixeira singled and Jones scored.

At that point the Mets looked dead. And although Castillo singled to lead off the next inning, Wright, Delgado and Alou all made out to leave him stranded.

But the bottom of the order got going in the 7th. Green singled, and Milledge singled after LoDuca made out. Once again Willie outmanuevered himself here, burning Gotay in order to get the lefty Mahay into the game against Easley. Mahay walked Easley to load the bases. Then with the bases loaded and one out Reyes swung at the first three pitches from a relief pitcher who had just come into the game and walked a guy, infuriating. Reyes popped out and left it up to Castillo. Castillo hit a broken bat looper into centerfield to tie the game and Shea Stadium was rocking, until David Wright grounded out weakly to the pitcher.

Luis Castillo trades his bat for a game-tying single

Heilman pitched a scoreless 8th setting up Moises Alou's game winning homer. It came on an 0-2 count on a pitch up and in. Alou sort of leaned back to get at it, a move Reyes later mimicked in the dugout. But Alou crushed the ball and the Mets had the lead for their closer Billy Wagner who has been almost perfect this year. Almost.

Alou leaning back to reach the inside pitch

Wagner came on and overthrew two fastballs to Chipper. Then he singled, and on the first pitch to Teixeira singled as well. First and second no one out and Cox smartly took out his star catcher Brian McCann (a huge double play threat) for his best bunter, former Met Chris Woodward. Woodward couldn't get the bunt down, because Wagner walked him. That loaded the bases with no outs and put the Mets in an incredibly precarious position. They had to play the infield back (at least in the middle) because you don't want to lose the game on a hard ground ball. Thankfully Francouer hit it right at Wright who took his time (smart play) and made an accurate throw home to LoDuca who wisely decided not to try to throw out Francoeur at first. Francouer was running inside the line and if LoDuca had hit him with the throw before he reached the bag by rule he should have been called out, but it wasn't a worthwhile risk.

LoDuca gets the first out of the 9th inning at home plate

Then on a 1-1 count Wagner induced Andruw Jones to hit a tailor made double play ball right to Luis Castillo who flipped it to Reyes for one who threw to Delgado who made his now standard fist pump and sealed the victory.

to Reyes for one, to first double play

Doesn't matter how he got the save, it only matters that he got the save

A big night for two new Mets, Moises Alou and Luis Castillo.

Alou really hadn't done anything as a Met so far, I know he was hurt, but the Mets signed him to get big hits like this one, and no matter the reason, the Mets need his bat in the lineup contributing big hits.

And maybe I was a little hard on Luis Castillo when he got here. I never said I was displeased with the trade, I just wasn't excited about it. But Castillo, in his own style, is an effective player. He doesn't hit the ball hard, but he seems to hit it to the right spots to get a lot of singles. He's not going to drive in runs, but he can help the Mets create some by continuing to spray balls in front of the outfielders.

Shawn Green entered the game batting .500 (13-26) off John Smoltz. He went 3-3 off Smoltz improving his average to .552, the best average of any hitter against Smoltz.

David Wright is 5-44 (.114) against the Braves this year including 1 for his last 30.

When the Mets got back into the game the excited fans started throwing their giveaway SNY baseball cards. Gary Cohen joked that all the cards being thrown were his, as the fans love Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. Darling said "they're hording the Julie Donaldson cards."

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Braves 7 Mets 3

The Braves mastery of the Mets continues. It doesn't seem to matter who the Braves have, they kill the Mets. The Mets are now 3-7 against the Braves this season and they must get at least one of the next two games which won't be easy against the Braves two best pitchers (Smoltz and Hudson), but the Mets have their two best pitchers, El Duque and Maine.

Oliver Perez just didn't have it in this game, it seemed like his fastball was a little bit off, not sure if it was mechanics, but I think I noticed him doing that little pause in his delivery. The game started with a Matt Diaz solo home run. Then in the second another run came in, but Perez had 2 outs and the pitcher up, but Buddy Carlyle singled to center, leading to one more run.

not a good night for Oliver Perez

But the score was still 3-0 when the Jones started the third with two bloop base hits. Then Keith Hernandez said the Braves just had two bloops, the Mets need to avoid the blast, and then it came. Francoeur hit a 3-run homer to put this game away.

Although it seemed like the Mets were trying to make a comeback. The first two men reached base in the fourth when Moises Alou hit into a doubleplay. The Mets got two back in the 5th on a double by Milledge and a triple by David Newhan, but couldn't get anything else across. Newhan's triple turned out to be the last hit of the game for the Mets. The 6th began with a walk to Delgado, followed by another double play by Moises Alou and that was it.

One thing to remember about Perez before you kill him for this bad start, he has all 3 of the Mets wins against the Braves this season and he may get two more chances to face them.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Congratulations Tom Glavine!

Something That We May Never See Again In Our Lifetimes

Rick Peterson was not wearing a jacket for Tom Glavine's 300th victory. He even made a pitching change "naked."

Number 51 in your programs but number 1 in your hearts

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Happy Recap: Mets 8 Cubs 3

Tom Glavine gets his 300th win!

The Mets got the victory with good pitching from Glavine, good hitting from Glavine and some aggressive baserunning.

It started in the second with Lastings Milledge. With two outs and Glavine up, Milledge stole second. It's a risky play because if you are thrown out you don't "clear the pitcher" and the team is hampered in the next inning by most likely starting with one out. In his in-game interview on ESPN Willie Randolph said Milledge "wasn't thinking," but added that he trusted his guys. If Milledge felt he could definitely be safe, then he made the right play, and it created a run, when Glavine singled. Milledge also had 2 other hits in this game.

Milledge also threw out a runner to end the third, as Soriano came up lame rounding second base. I think Milledge might have gotten him anyway, but it was a bad break for the Cubs to lose their best player that way. And it hurt them in the outfield because DeRosa moved to right and misplayed a couple of balls.

Luis Castillo had his best game as a Met with four hits before leaving the game with heat exhaustion. The big thing for me was that instead of blooping everything the other (like his double in the first) way he also hit the ball hard up the middle. That's how he started the 5th inning rally, then Delgado and Green doubled to make it 3-0.

But my favorite thing about Castillo in this game was, twice on deep fly balls by Wright he took an extra base. I've never understood why players go halfway on balls that are definitely going to be caught instead of trying to take an extra base. Castillo didn't score the first time he did it, he would have scored anyway the other time, but I love to see that aggressive baserunning especially because the Mets have become an old slow team at times this year.

In the 5th Milledge led off with a double, then Reyes and Castillo singled and did a double steal (more aggressive baserunning). Wright was walked to load the bases, Delgado drove in a run on a groundout, Alou was walked to load them up again, but Green made out. But at this point the score was 5-0 and Glavine must have felt pretty confident.

Glavine gave up a run in the bottom of the 6th but Willie showed confidence in him, letting him bat in the top of the 7th. But after he gave up a one out double Willie yanked him. And that's when Glavine must have gotten a little nervous. Mota came in and allowed a single to the only batter he faced. Then came Felciano who got the ground ball and the run for out trade which was acceptable, but after that he allowed a double to Fontenot which brought the tying run to the plate. That's when Willie went to Heilman who ended the inning.

But the Mets got those runs right back and put the game away. Castillo started it off again, singling, going to second on Wright's single and stealing third. For some reason Wright didn't follow him for a double steal (it would have given him 26 steals in 28 attempts). Delgado doubled in Castillo then Alou was walked (again) to load the bases and Green struck out. LoDuca singled in a run but Milledge finally made out. The Mets added another run in the 9th (off whipping boy Ryan Dempster) after a good 8th inning by Jorge Sosa.

Then Wagner came in to close this one down and present Tom Glavine with the game ball for his 300th win.

Delgado had an RBI in four consecutive plate appearances in this game, two hits, a groundout and a sac fly.

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Unhappy Recap: Cubs 6 Mets 2

This game turned on one play, a bad call by first base umpire Marty Foster.

With two on and two out in the bottom of the third inning Ryan Theriot (pronounced Terry-o, not the riot), was ruled safe when replays showed that Reyes's throw just beat him. That scored a run and opened the floodgates. Maine couldn't get anyone out after that, walking the bases loaded, then walking in a run, and hitting a batter to force in a run. Two more hits later and it was 6-0 and the Mets were done.

The call wasn't the only reason the Mets lost, there was Maine's subsequent breakdown and the lack of offense against Ted Lilly.

The only runs came from solo homers by Moises Alou.

One bright spot was the bullpen (Sele, Sosa and Schoeneweis) which has sucked recently did a pretty good job holding the Cubs to only 6 runs.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 6 Cubs 2

The Mets overcame Tom Glavine Disease contracted by El Duque, fought through a bunch of stranded bases runners and won the game in the 9th thanks to their old friend Ryan Dempster.

Carlos Zambrano walked 7 guys and allowed two hits in his 5 innings of work, but the only run off him was a solo shot by the incredible Ramon Castro to start the 6th inning. After that Zambrano was taken out, having thrown 93 pitches.

Let's look how crazy Zambrano's start was:
1st inning: 2 walks, struck out Anderson with two on to end the inning
2nd inning: 1 walk, got El Duque out with Gotay on
3rd inning: 1-2-3
4th inning: 2 walks, struck out Gotay with runners on 1st and 3rd
5th inning: 2 walks and a single, struck out Anderson with the bases loaded
6th inning: leadoff homer to Castro

He walked 6 guys in 4 1/3 inning before he gave up his first hit.

But once Castro gave El Duque the lead, he gave it back by allowing a solo homer to Derrek Lee.

But the Mets bounced back in the 7th and put another run on the board, when Marlon Anderson singled home David Newhan. Remember Anderson already struck out twice in this game with men on and two outs.

But El Duque gave that run right back as well.

Shawn Green and Ruben Gotay started the 8th inning with back to back 10 pitch at bats, but even though Gotay doubled, the Mets couldn't bring him around.

Mota got through the bottom of the 8th and the Cubs went to Ryan Dempster. Back on May 17th at Shea the Mets were losing 5-1 when they got 5 runs off Dempster. This time it was four different RBI hits, one each from Delgado, Green, Gotay and Reyes.

Dempster is now 0-2 with a 48.60 ERA against the Mets this year.

Wagner got through the 9th, not a save, to preserve the victory.

A brief word about Ramon Castro. I think he is awesome. A lot of people think he will be "exposed" if he plays everyday. I'm not sure how that works exactly, do pitchers pitch him differently when he played the night before? The fact is the guy can hit. He does so in big situations and he's having a much better year than LoDuca. Not playing him everyday (or 4 days a week) because you expect him to decline is foolish. Even if you KNOW he'll fall off (which he will) he should still be playing everyday until that happens. Now I know that he is only 3-19 in the last four games (all four of which he started) and he left a lot of runners on base, but he also hit 2 home runs in that span, both of which gave the Mets an early lead. The Mets are 18-11 when he starts. He should be the new starting catcher.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 12 Brewers 4

The Mets started this one off by giving Brian Lawrence a lead on doubles by Wright and Delgado, and an RBI single by Alou.

Lawrence then came out and shut the Brewers down in the first inning (other than a double by Braun), with his fastball in the low 80s. Lawrence waited until the second inning to get Tom Glavine Fever, giving the two runs right back. Then in the 5th after Wright gave him the lead with a home run, he gave up a home run to the first batter in the bottom of the inning, Corey Hart.

But Lawrence got the win thanks to an inside the park home run by Damion Easley. It should have been a double but Bill Hall got too close to the wall, and it hit the part that juts out and the ball scooted past Hall to his left. It wasn't even a close play at the plate.

The Mets broke it open in the 7th. After Castro struck out with the bases loaded, Milledge singled (it should have been a 2-base error on Hardy who just misplayed a grounder in the hole), then Sosa ripped a double to make it 8-3. They added four more in the 9th on a double by Anderson and a homer by Reyes.

Brewers catcher Johnny Estrada nearly got into a fight with manager Ned Yost in the dugout after the 7th inning.

The Mets last saw Brewers starting pitcher Chris Capuano on May 13. Coming into that game he was 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA. But the Mets pounded him that day and since then he is 0-8 with a 6.27 ERA.

Jorge Sosa looked decent in relief and will probably stay in that role even though I was very unimpressed with Lawrence.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Happy Recap: Mets 8 Brewers 5

Oliver Perez started this game with another huge error, on an easy 1-6-3 double play he threw one not even close to Castillo at second base. And once again he allowed the error to linger in his head and he threw one right down the middle to Prince Fielder who crushed one to straightaway centerfield to give the Brewers an early 3-0 lead.

But the Mets stormed right back. Delgado walked, Alou singled, Anderson singled then the great Ramon Castro crushed a 3-run homer to left to give the Mets the lead. Willie absolutely has to give Castro at least 2 starts a week when LoDuca is healthy again. It just makes no sense to bench a guy who is hitting so well, especially when LoDuca is doing so poorly.

Castro is so freakin awesome

But once again Oliver Perez hurt himself with bad defense. He walked the 8th hitter then fielded the sac bunt by the pitcher and fell right on his ass. He did get the out at first but could have gotten the lead runner or maybe even a double play. The next batter singled to tie the game. Then Shawn Green took a belly flop after a bloop landed in front of him -- no way he could have caught it -- and cost the Mets another run...and the lead.

But the Mets stormed back again, Castillo hit an infield single (he can't hit the ball out of the infield), Wright walked and they both scored when Marlon Anderson hit a 3-run homer. Anderson was in centerfield tonight, nothing wrong with Milledge, apparently Willie was just playing a hunch, and it worked out.

Then the Brewers brought in Manny Parra, the only pitcher they didn't use in the first game of the series. He shut the Mets down, striking out 8 in 6 1/3 innings. But he did allow a home run to Shawn Green. It was Green's first in more than 100 at bats and it came just as the announcers were talking about his 4 home run game.

But Oliver Perez also settled down allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7 in the 3rd through 6th innings. For the game Perez struck out 11 in 6 innings.

Mota pitched two good innings to get to Wagner who saved his 25th of the year (in 26 chances), it was a little rocky but Wagner got it done.

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