Betty's No Good Clothes Shop And Pancake House
Mets 10, Marlins 5
Hopefully his time on the disabled list has allowed Rey Sanchez
to rediscover the simple pleasure of a good sit. Just a comfortable chair and the time to reflect on your thoughts with nothing to interrupt you. Because Sanchez should be given the opportunity to find a comfortable place to park his backside when he returns from the DL in the next weeks given the way Jose Reyes
is playing. Sure, Reyes' .229 batting isn't all that impressive, stuck in between Sanchez's .225 and that other New York shortstop
's fifteen million dollar .247. And sure, he's got more errors (2) than steals and walks put together (1). But still, he's generally played very good defense and brought some real excitement to the team with his speed and bat. He's been inconsistent, as one might expect of a man freshly twenty years old who hit .269 in less than half a season at AAA. But he's already showing some of his extra base hit potential and driving in runs from the nine hole. Tonight he went two for five with a double and a based loaded triple for a total of four RBI. He's now got eight hits, four of the extra base variety, in 35 at bats over 9 games, as well as 11 RBI. While he's clearly a work in progress, I can't believe the Mets would seriously consider sending him back to Norfolk
to be replaced by Sanchez, who has four extra base hits and ten RBI in 129 at bats this year.
As for the Mets' pitching, they didn't approach another one-hiiter, as Al Leiter
had his usual start with a bunch of baserunners, several runs and a W at the end of it. He went five innings and gave up five runs on six hits and six walks (!) while striking out two. He is now 8-3 with an ERA of 5.06, which is pretty amazing given that the Mets are thirteenth in the National League in runs scored. All three of his losses were blowouts (13-3, 11-3, 13-1) and the Mets hadn't really given him excessive run support before his last three wins, in which they scored at least ten runs each time. Graeme Lloyd
continued his quality work, pitching a scoreless inning. And Dan Wheeler, called up today, pitched three perfect innings to become the first person other than Armando Benitez
to record a save for the Mets this year.
As you might expect from a team that scored ten runs on thirteen hits, there were offensive contributions up and down the lineup, as Leiter was the only starter without a hit. He's still without a hit for the season, which is about what you'd expect if you saw him swing a bat. Cliff Floyd
had a pair of doubles and walk in four at bats. Jeromy Burnitz
went two for four with a double and a walk. Jason Phillips
went two for four with a walk. Roger Cedeno
had a two RBI double and Ty Wigginton
went two for five.
Having already clinched a winning road trip with their sixth win, the Mets try to make it seven for ten before heading home. That'll be a somewhat dicey proposition with Mike Bacsik
(1-1, 10.38) on the mound against Tommy Phelps
(2-2, 3.72) but hopefully the Mets will remember to bring the offense.
And I just like to add, three cheers for Marlon Anderson
. That was a close one.
Mets 5, Marlins 0
better watch his back. One day after the young Florida lefty made headlines by one-hitting the Mets, the Mets' older, wiser rookie starter went out and nearly matched his effort. With a little bit of help from his corner outfielders and shortstop, Jae Seo
tossed a one-hitter of his own for six and two-thirds innings until a split fingernail forced him to leave the game early. Juan Encarnacion
hit a single in the fifth inning but was later called out trying to steal, despite the fact that his left hand clearly got the bag before his right arm was tagged. But that poor call notwithstanding, Seo combined with David Weathers
and Armando Benitez
to face the minimum, 27 batters, for the first time in franchise history. It's not the elusive no-hitter, but the Mets seem to be creeping ever closer.
Fine defensive play and fingernail injuries aside, it was still quite a performance by the twenty-six year old veteran of Tommy John surgery
threw just 72 pitches, an impressive 56 of them for strikes, while striking out four and walking no one. And the injury is not supposed to be serious enough to keep him from his nationally televised Sunday night start against that other New York team
. Seo is now 5-2 on the season and his 2.66 ERA is fourth in the league.
Offensively, Jeromy Burnitz
kept up his hot hitting, going two for three with a walk, a home run, his eleventh, and two runs scored. Ty Wigginton
went two for four with a solo home run of his own, his fifth of the season.
Tomorrow, we'll see if the streak of one-hitters continues as Al Leiter
(7-3, 4.82) takes on Brad Penny
Oh, and watching Jeff Weaver
's childish reaction to getting roughed up by the Devil Rays
this afternoon was highly amusing. I'll be downright sad when Steinbrenner trades him for a bag of balls next week.
I wonder how I keep getting away with transmitting descriptions and accounts of games without the express written consent of Major League Baseball
. I'm quite the scofflaw, aren't I?
Marlins 1, Mets 0
Okay, so Jae Seo
's got some competition for that Rookie of the Year award. Dontrelle Willis
(6-1, 2.61) continued an excellent rookie season by throwing a one-hit shutout against the Mets. It was a weak Mets lineup, with Tsuyoshi Shinjo
batting leadoff and Joe McEwing
playing second base due to the lefty on the mound, but even the bigger bats got shut down by Willis. Only Ty Wigginton
managed anything, hitting a single and drawing a walk.
On the other side of the ball, Tom Glavine
rebounded nicely from three poor starts and some elbow inflammation for one of his best starts of the year, going seven innings, giving up just one run on four hits and three walks while striking out three. But that one run, a solo home run in the fourth by Ivan Rodriguez
that was the Marlins' first hit of the game, proved enough to stick Glavine with his seventh loss of the season.
While I can take solace in the fact that both Willis and Rodriguez are on my fantasy team, it was a rough night for the Mets. It's good to see Glavine back and pitching well and hopefully he'll get a little more support this weekend against the Yankees
. Tomorrow the Mets' offensive task gets a littl easier as Carl Pavano
(5-7, 4.63) takes the mound for the Marlins. His numbers are almost exactly the same as Glavine's 5-7, 4.52, but hopefully he'll pitch closer to his numbers that Glavine did tonight. Jae Seo
(4-2, 2.88) will go for the Mets looking for his sixth consecutive good start.
Mets 8, Angels 0
On Saturday, Jason Roach made his major league debut for the Mets as a starting pitcher and after a 13-3 loss, various journalists made jokes about him getting "smoked" and "lit up" and such. So once again the Mets came into the third game of a series with a chance to win two out of three.
Early on it looked like the offense would be the story of the game. Jose Reyes
came to the plate in the second inning with the bases loaded and hit a grand slam for his first major league home run. This after the usually decent Tom Seaver was talking some nonsense about how Reyes should try to hit the ball on the ground to take advantage of his speed. True, it was just a home run down the line that barely made it over the fence, but to ask Reyes to stifle the power potential he clearly showed he has in the minor leagues is ridiculous. Bobby Valentine on Baseball Tonight basically said the exact opposite of what Seaver said. I assume he was watching the New York broadcast of the game and felt the need to correct Seaver's silliness. Reyes hit a pair of singles in the game as well, one a ground ball and one a line drive up the middle. He also drove in another run on a ground out, for a total of five RBI in the game, six on the season. And he got his first major league stolen base as well. All in all, a great day for the young shortstop.
But then, in the fourth inning, the announcers pointed out something that I had not noticed. Steve Trachsel
had not given up a hit. He'd walked a few guys, so it didn't really register with me what was goign on. Sadly, he gave up a solid single with two outs in the sixth inning to end his shot at throwing the first Met no-hitter ever. Roger Cedeno tries to field the ball after it bounced and was coming straight toward him and it wound up inexplicably getting past him and rolling to the wall for a two base error. But Trachsel got the third out of the inning and went on to pitch the first complete game of the year for the Mets, a one-hit shutout. He'd had a couple of poor starts prior to this, but was really excellent today. In nine innings, he gave up one hit, four walks and struck out win on the way to his fifth win against four losses.
provided the rest of the Mets' offense, with a pair of home runs, driving in three. Vance Wilson
also had three hits and scored a run. He is now hitting .307/.355/.500 in 114 at bats. Roberto Alomar
and Jason Phillips
each drew two walks and Phillips scored two runs.
Having held their own against perhaps the best division in baseball, the Mets head to Florida to take on the Marlins
for four games before the big Subway Series this weekend. Tom Glavine
(5-6, 4.82) returns from some elbow issues and some poor starts to try to get going back in the right direction against young Dontrelle Willis
Mets 7, Angels 3
The Mets' offense keeps rolling along against these AL West opponents, and the team is now above .500 on days in which they've played only one game. Their 0-6 record in doubleheaders leaves them at 30-35 overall, but they continue to look like a competent baseball team. Timo Perez
got things going with a first inning solo home run, his first of the season, and Mike Bacsik
held on to this early lead and pitched well enough for the win while the offense expanded the lead. He wound up going five innings, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out three, lowering his ERA to 10.38.
In the fourth inning, the Mets put five singles and a sacrifice fly together to score four more runs. Included among these was Jose Reyes
' third hit of the season, which looked more like a sacrifice bunt before he beat the throw to first base. Reyes went one for four with a run scored. In the field he had one tremendous diving catch and one error. The Mets added two more runs in the sixth on a home run by Jeromy Burnitz
, his eighth of the season.
relieved Bacsik in the sixth and gave up a run on two hits and a walk over two inning while striking out three. Armando Benitez
pitched an unusual but perfect pair of innings, striking out two.
Tonight the Mets send rookie Jason Roach to the mound against Ramon Ortiz
(6-5, 5.45) as the Mets try for their longest winning streak of the year. The normal pattern for the Mets this year would call for today's game to get rained out and made up in a doubleheader tomorrow, in which the Mets would of course be swept, so hopefully they'll break that habit tonight.
Mets 11, Rangers 0
It has become obvious that Steve Phillips was solely responsible for the Mets' offensive ineptitude and mediocre pitching. But seriously, in the wake of Phillips' firing Al Leiter
rebounded from his terrible Sunday start with one of his best starts of the season against the potent Rangers lineup. As has often been the case this season, even in giving up no runs, he put a number of men on base and worked out of jams, giving up eight hits and two walks in his six innings of work while striking out six. Graeme Lloyd
pitched a pair of scoreless innings of his own and John Franco
sealed the shutout in the ninth.
As for the offense, it was the bottom of the lineup providing the spark this time, with Ty Wigginton
and Vance Wilson
driving in eight of the eleven runs. Wigginton went four for five with two doubles, three runs and three RBI while Wilson went two for four with a home run and five RBI. Reluctant designated hitter Cliff Floyd
had another good night, going two for four with a double, a walk and two runs. Eight of the nine Met starters had a hit, and while Jose Reyes
went hitless in five at bats in his third major league game, he did get on base on a fielder's choice to score a run, and also had his first major league RBI on a ground out. He did also commit his first major league error at shortstop. Overall, the Mets had sixteen hits and three walks on their way to their highest scoring game of the year. It almost makes you forget Fred Wilpon talking about how the Mets, with their .247 team batting average, need to get some more speed, defense and athleticism.
Tomorrow, it'll apparently be Mike Bacsik
(0-1, 14.62, seriously) going up against Aaron Sele
(3-3, 6.60) and the World Champion Anaheim Angels
. Hopefully the Mets bring their offense west with them.
Mets 8, Rangers 2
Today, as yesterday, all of the attention on the Mets was focused on their brand new shortstop, Jose Reyes
. After a terrific debut, going two for four with a double and two runs, Reyes came back with more of the kind of performance you'd expect from a newly 20 year old kid who was hitting .269 in AAA before he was called up, going hitless in four at bats. He did provide a sparkling defensive play, though.
But again, the real story among the Mets' forced youth movement was none other than Jae Seo
. For the fourth consecutive start, Seo went at least seven innings against one of the top offensive teams in baseball, giving up two or fewer runs. The streak of giving up two or fewer in six or more innings stands at five. Tonight, in one of the best hitting parks in the league, against a lineup with names like Everett
, Seo went seven innings, giving up two runs on eight his and a walk while striking out six. He earned his fourth win, and his third in as many starts, while lowering his ERA to 2.88. Seo entered the game seventh in the National League in ERA. He is now sixth, in a virtual tie with Mark Prior
. Seo is clearly one of, if not the top candidate for the National League Rookie of the Year award. I can't wait to see all the half-year awards columns talking about how he's been the lone bright spot on the Mets' dismal season.
Luckily for Seo, who three starts ago held the Braves to one run over seven innings and still didn't get a win, the Mets offense came alive again in the friendly confines of the Tiny Ballpark At Arlington. Cliff Floyd
was the offensive star of the show, going three for four with a home run and five RBI, raising his season totals to 13 and 39. Jeromy Burnitz
went two for four with a double and two RBI. Tony Clark
got a rare start at first base and added a solo home run. At the top of the lineup, Roger Cedeno
, Timo Perez
and Roberto Alomar
each got on base twice and scored twice. Perez had two hits, while Cedeno had a hit and a walk and Alomar hit a double and was hit by a pitch. The Mets seem to be drawing fewer walks lately that they had been earlier in the season, and in fact have dropped to a tie for eighth in the league. The team's improved plate discipline seemed to be one thing that Art Howe had impacted positively this season, and I was hoping to see it rub off on Reyes. I hope the Mets can get back to their walking ways.
Tomorrow is the Mets' third and final game in Texas before heading to take on the World Champion Angels
in Anaheim. Al Leiter
(6-3, 5.21) tries to rebound from a terrible start on Sunday against Colby Lewis
(4-4, 8.08). That ERA pretty much speaks for itself, but Lewis is also trying to rebound from a poor start, as he gave up seven runs in three innings to the Expos
I was just searching around the 'net for sites that might be linking to this one, and I ran across A Blog For Every Team
, which I have now added to my links. It's a nice repository of blogs about all of the major league teams. I continue to find it amusing every time I find someone linking to this page. Mostly because it's not like I'm advertising this as a Mets blog, so if people get that impression, it stands to reason that they must have read it at least once, which is nice.
As for today's games, if they're not going to fire Steve Phillips
, can they perhaps put him out in the bullpen for blowout situations? I think the entertainment value in that would be the most utility he could provide right now.
Well, the Mets
got rained out again today, so they'll have to play another damnable doubleheader tomorrow. But this will give me the opportunity to finally bring you some long-promised wrestling content. If there are any baseball fans reading this, you may want to avert your eyes as I review...
Toshiaki Kawada & Masanobu Fuchi vs. Keiji Mutoh & Satoshi Kojima (12 April, 2003)
This was of course Kawada's return from over a year's absence due to a knee injury. It took forever to air on TV and then become available on tape, but now I've finally seen it. The day after the show, I read the following news item from KrisZ
Keiji Muto said after his match today that the reason he kept giving Toshiaki Kawada dragon screw leg whips because he wanted to see how Kawada would react & recover from them. Muto was impressed with Kawada’s heart & ability to basically shake off the dragon screws.
That didn't really give me a good feeling about this match, as I was afraid Kawada had taken and no-sold a bunch of dragon screws, but luckily that wasn't the case.
There are several stories going on in the match, and the first one to get going is Fuchi's story. He's pretty clearly the weakest link in the match, but he starts off the match trying to act tough and hold up his end of the match for his team. He and Mutoh are the first in the ring and after a brief exchange on the mat leaves Fuchi in the ring and Mutoh on the ramp, Fuchi cockily holds the ropes open to let Mutoh reenter the ring. Fuchi tries to keep up attitude when Kojima enters, even teasing that he might tag Kawada before deciding to stay in and fight Kojima himself. But Kojima is too much for him and Fuchi gets blasted with some stiff chops before tagging Kawada in.
Now, the obvious way to attack Kawada would be to go after his injured knee. But Kojima and Mutoh seem to have differing objectives. Mutoh wants to win the match, so he focuses his attack on the knee. But even in the first exchange between the two, Kojima shows that he’s more interested in proving that he can hang with Kawada than beating him. So he doesn’t go after the knee, but rather opts to trade strikes with him or no-sell his offense. Kawada hits him with a backdrop in this early section of the match and Kojima basically just pops up. Kawada kicks him in the face and Kojima continues to stand his ground, but after a few seconds he can’t hold up the façade any longer, and sells the effects of the blows before tagging Mutoh in.
Kawada tries to show Mutoh up early, doing his trademark stretching while Mutoh stares at him. Mutoh ends up getting Kawada down with a few offensive moves but Kawada starts kicking up at him from his back to turn the tide. But Mutoh withstands a brief assault of kicks until he’s able to his the first dragon screw of the match, which Kawada sells big while tagging Fuchi back in.
Fuchi tries to start out on the offensive, but the biggest move in his arsenal is a weak backdrop, so he takes the match out to the floor for a bit to try to maintain the advantage. But when the match gets back in the ring, Mutoh catches him with a dragon screw and the heat segment is on. Fuchi doesn’t have the offense to keep up with Mutoh or Kojima for any length of time and match quickly becomes Old Man Fuchi in peril with Kawada and his gimpy knee having to constantly save his ass. In the case of kicking Fuchi’s ass, Kojima and Mutoh are able to get on the same page and work his left knee. Fuchi tries to act tough and withstand the beating, but can’t really pull it off. He does a good job of selling the beating he takes here, and winds up looking like a beaten old man, incapable of contributing anything to his team’s cause. And throughout this segment, whenever Kojima’s in the ring, he’s constantly talking trash to Kawada. Eventually, Fuchi is able to turn another dragon screw attempt into an enzuigiri and make the hot tag to Kawada.
Mutoh gets another quick dragon screw on Kawada, who again sells it big. He does a good job of being very deliberate in the way he stands up to avoid putting too much pressure on the injured knee. He does shrugs off the injury from time to time to do some running kicks to Kojima, but he never totally disregards the knee damage. And Kojima never does anything to follow up on Mutoh’s assault on the knee, so it makes sense that the pain from one dragon screw would subside somewhat while Mutoh is on the apron. Kojima continues to try to trade strikes with Kawada, but Kojima always winds up selling the exchange bigger than Kawada, who basically shrugs off Kojima’s strikes until he’s able to string a few together. Kojima is eventually able to hit a diving elbow for a two count, but before his advantage gets too big, Fuchi finally makes himself useful and saves Kawada so the two can hit an enzuigiri/ganmengiri combination on Kojima and then on Mutoh to put Kawada firmly in control of the match. Kawada hits a powerbomb on Kojima for a two count. Even when in control, Kawada does a good job of selling the fatigue of the match, and continues to be careful in the way he gets up off of the mat. But when he goes for a second powerbomb, Kojima back body drops out of it, and Kawada tries to get up too fast, aggravating his knee injury. It’s kind of an odd moment, but he sells it great, and there is a very noticeable difference in the way he gets up, so it’s a believable device to put the heat back on his knee and reestablish control for Kojima and Mutoh, who tags in and begins to really go to town on the knee with dropkicks, to which the crowd responds with boos.
Back in control, Mutoh starts going for his big offensive maneuvers, starting with another dragon screw, following up with a pseudo-Shining Wizard knee to the head in the corner and then setting Kawada up for the moonsault. But Fuchi stops him, giving Kawada enough time to get up and hit a backdrop and an enzuigiri before tagging Fuchi back in. But Fuchi is still Fuchi and his ineffective offense still won’t get him anywhere and Kawada has to keep saving his ass, first from Mutoh and then from Kojima. His quickness in springing in to save Fuchi after having just recently sold his knee injury like he could barely walk is a bit unbelievable at times, but he still does some nice little things, like putting more weight on his healthy leg while giving Kojima a brainbuster. If there’s a flaw in his selling, it seems to arise more from the structure of the match that has both members of his team seriously injured than from him just disregarding the injury out of laziness or anything like that.
In the end, Kawada isn’t capable of fighting off two men on his own with Fuchi incapacitated. Kojima and Mutoh take him out and Kojima goes to work on finishing Fuchi. Fuchi tries to fight back, but his offense still sucks and Kojima no-sells a backdrop before putting him away with a lariat.
The obvious match to compare this to is the Kobashi return match from last year, with its knee-injury parallels, and this does not stack up to that. This has more selling issues and significantly less of a “big match” feel. Kawada didn’t put on the kind of great performance here that Kobashi did there. But it was still a good match that gave me some faith that Kawada still has something left in him. The Kojima/Kawada story was well done and if they can have a match where Kojima keeps his no-selling tendencies to a minimum, they could do something really good.
Mets 3, Mariners 2
This has been a rough week for Mets pitching. First, Pedro Astacio
and Scott Strickland
both learned that they'll likely require season-ending surgery. Now, I won't particularly miss either of them, as Astacio's been terrible this year and I've never had much confidence in Strickland to get through an inning without giving up a home run, but it's never a good thing to lose two pitchers for the year. Then Steve Trachsel
and Tom Glavine
went out and pitched poorly in losing both games of yesterday's double header. And to top it all off, Glavine had to leave the game early with elbow trouble.
So you can understand why I was a little concerned when I turned on the game in the top of the first and found Jae Seo
already in a bases loaded jam. But he got out of it. And then, in the second, he loaded the bases again. But he got out of it. And then, he went on to pitch seven innings against the best team in baseball, giving up just one run. But in the eighth innning, he got into a little trouble, giving up a pair of hits to lead off the inning. So, with men on second and third and zero outs, David Weathers
entered from the bullpen. Weathers allowed one run to score, but got through the inning without giving up any hits, preserving the Mets' slim lead. Armando Benitez
pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventeenth save of the season, giving up one hit but striking out former Met John Olerud
for the last out. The final line on Seo was seven innings, eight hits, two runs, one of them earned, four walks, two of them intentional and four strikeouts. Another very good performance from Seo against one of the top teams in baseball, following up two good starts against the Braves
. Seo is now 3-2 on the season with a 2.91 ERA and is clearly one of the most encouraging aspects of the team this year. If he keeps pitching like this, he'll find his way into the Rookie of the Year discussion at season's end.
As for the Mets' offense, they did just enough to get by against Ryan Franklin
. Roger Cedeno
went two for four and drove in the first run of the game with a ground out in the third. Cliff Floyd
and Jason Phillips
each went one for three and hit solo home runs, their eleventh and second of the season respectively. The Mets only had five hits and, unusually, not a single walk, but it was enough to get the job done thanks to Seo and they put an end to Seattle's nine game winning streak.
Tomorrow is a potentially good pitching matchup for the Mets, as the consistently adequate Al Leiter
(6-2, 4.35) takes on Freddy Garcia
(5-6, 5.50). Leiter is 3-0 with a 3.65 ERA at home while Garcia is 1.4 with 6.69 on the road.
Well, there still aren't any Mets game to talk about, what with the weather going all Biblical on the tri-state area, so how about a bit of minor league news?
Scott Kazmir pitched five innings again on Tuesday. Once again he didn't get a decision, but he did give up just one run on three hits while striking out eight and walking just one. So far this year he's pitched 34 2/3 innings for Capital City
, giving up 24 hits and sixteen walks while striking out 50. He's also got an ERA of 2.60.
As for the big-leaguers, tomorrow the Mets and Brewers will try to play two, starting at 4:10. Presumably Steve Trachsel
and Tom Glavine
will be on the mound for the Mets.
And lastly, the Yankees
are in second place again, because they can't beat the Reds
. And they're not too far from third place either. Go Sox
Pedro Astacio is on the DL again
After Astacio's last start, I said
the Mets needed to get him out of the starting rotation and give Aaron Heilman
a shot. Well, part one accomplished, but as for part two, not so fast. Heilman started for Norfolk
on Sunday, suffering his third loss of the season, so he couldn't take Astacio's spot in the rotation on Tuesday. Heilman went five innings, giving up three runs on six hits and five walks while striking out four. Not a great start, but Mike Bacsik
, the man who will be taking Astacio's place tomorrow, is on a whole different planet. I liked what I saw from him last year, but this year in Norfolk, he's 0-6 with a 6.00 ERA. He also gave up nine runs in three innings on opening day for the Mets, putting his major league ERA at 27.00 for the season. Presumably he'll lower that a bit on Tuesday, but I still hope to see Heilman in the majors in the very near future.
In other interesting news, Gary Sheffield
, who's tearing up the league in an Atlanta uniform right now (.349/.430.646) told the New York Daily News
that he's always wanted to come to New York, and would still be interested after this season.
"I was trying to come here for years," Sheffield told the Daily News.
"I can only ask so many times. The way it worked out, the Braves are the perfect place for me. I really think we've got something special going here this season."
And as for his thoughts on his upcoming free agency...
"I'll be looking for a team that's going to pay me what I'm worth," he said. "I always wanted to come to New York, it's a way of challenging yourself. You see what you're made of, what you can handle."
An outfield featuring Sheffield in right, the current incarnation of Jeromy Burnitz
in center and Cliff Floyd
in left could be a lot of fun. Who needs Vlad
with a lineup like that? Of course it remains to be seen if Burnitz can keep up this pace, or if Floyd can finish the season without his legs falling off, but Burnitz figures to be cheaper next year than he has been the last couple of years, and even a crippled Floyd would be pretty useful as the third or four most important bat in the lineup behind Sheffield, Burnitz and Mike Piazza
. I can dream, can't I?
Mets 10, Braves 4
Well, the Mets made it through this important twelve game stretch alive, although not necessarily thriving. They went 7-5 against the first place Braves and third place Phillies
and have gone 9-5 since the loss of Mike Piazza
's groin and bat. This isn't necessarily anything to get excited about, and it shouldn't dissuade the Mets from firing Steve Phillips
or trading Roberto Alomar
as soon as they can fit it into their schedule, but the Mets have shown that they can play some baseball and there are some talented youngsters on this team. If the Mets play this way the rest of the season, they'll wind up with a respectable record. And with three games against the Brewers
on tap, the good times should continue to roll for at least a little while. And hell, when you've got Joe McEwing
and Rey Sanchez
batting first and second, respectively, and you're still scoring runs, somebody must be doing something right.
Tonight, under the bright lights of a national television audience, Al Leiter
got the start and several ESPN
employees went on TV and called him the Mets' "ace", which I suppose is reasonable given Tom Glavine
's last two starts. Jae Seo
and Steve Trachsel
have been better than both of them lately, but what can you do? Leiter again pitched adequately enough to get the win. His having six wins while Seo has two is pretty much unrelated to how they've performed on the mound, but those things are bound to happen with an offense as bad as this one. Leiter went six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out four. He is now 6-2 with a 4.35 ERA. He actually threw his last pitch of the game trailing 4-2, but the Met offense uncharacteristically exploded for eight runs against four Atlanta pitchers in the bottom of the sixth. The hot hitting Jeromy Burnitz
led off the inning with a double and later capped it off with a three run blast to right center field. In between, six other Mets got hits. Jason Phillips
, who got his average up over .300 by going two for two, and also drew a walk, drove in Burnitz the first time around with a double of his own. Marco Scutaro
ran for him at a time when it still looked like this would be a close game, and scored on a single by Vance Wilson
, who went three for four on the night. McEwing got on with a single and Sanchez drove in Wilson with a single. Sanchez went two for four with a walk on the night. Sanchez stole second and both he and McEwing scored on Ty Wigginton
's single up the middle. Cliff Floyd
singled as well to set up Burnitz's long ball.
In the top of the seventh, David Weathers
came in and walked the first two batters he faced, but he settled down quickly and got a double play on his way to pitching two scoreless innings. I was kinda hoping to see him pitch the ninth for an old-fashioned three inning save, but Graeme Lloyd
came in and pitched a perfect ninth to seal the victory in the game and the series.
This Mets team has been really fun to watch over the last few weeks, thanks in large part to some nice contributions from younger no-name players. Jason Phillips is now hitting .308/.400/.442 in 52 at bats. Jae Seo had a pair of excellent starts against the Braves last week and is only 2-2 despite a 3.07 ERA. But one really surprising and excellent development is the play of Jeromy Burnitz. Last year was hard to watch because he was playing terribly, but he always played hard and seemed like a good guy. So now that he's hitting this year, it's very satisfying to see. He's now hitting .324/.389/.627 with seven home runs and has turned into a legitimate threat in the lineup, moreso than Cliff Floyd, who is also hitting fairly well. In fact, Burnitz's 1.017 OPS rivals the 1.034 that Piazza had put together before getting hurt. Hopefully the team can continue to build confidence over the next three games against inferior competition going into the weekend series with the Mariners