Monday, July 28, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Cardinals 10 Mets 8

The starting pitching was bad, the relief pitchers allowed 4 runs in one inning and eventually lost the game and the Mets couldn't get a hit with runners in scoring position. This game had all the trappings of an early-season frustration, but there was actually a lot to get excited about here.

Brandon Knight didn't pitch well. But I think nerves were clearly a major factor in the first inning which was compounded by the highly unusual occurrence of Endy Chavez misplaying a flyball. After that Knight settled down and pitched four good innings.

Brandon Knight settled down after a rough first inning

The key to the Mets comeback was getting 2 runs right back in the bottom of the first. The key was Endy Chavez's triple which was the only hit with runners in scoring position in the entire game. After that the Mets went 15 at bats without a hit.

Endy Chavez slides into third after his RBI triple in the first inning

Obviously, another huge game for Carlos Delgado. I think the key to his recent success is that he is laying off bad pitches early in the count. That allows him to get ahead and focus on getting his pitch. Both his homers were hit off pitches down, but in the strike zone. In the 8th, he struck out with a man on second and two outs, in the 10th he grounded into a double play with first and second and one out and in those at bats Cardinals pitchers started to hammer him in, then got him to chase away.

How awesome is Fernando Tatis? Nothing this guy does amazes me anymore. He has gotten so many huge hits and I really thought his homer to tie this one in the 9th would lead to a Mets victory.

Tatis does it again

But my favorite development of this game was that the pitchers were leaning over the dugout rail with their caps inside out. Something has materially changed about this team and I love it. They're having fun, they're playing better and they think they can win every game, no matter how far behind they are. There is a definite link between the emergence of this new attitude and the team's newfound success, this game notwithstanding.

I don't blame Aaron Heilman for the loss, stretching him for a third inning was an unfortunate consequence of some circumstances from earlier in the game. Also, I'm glad he lost on a home run to Pujols instead of a walk and a bleeder by pitching around hitters.

Losses happens but the attitude they showed in this game is going to lead to a lot more wins.

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