Betty's No Good Clothes Shop And Pancake House
Thursday, April 08, 2004
  Braves 18, Mets 10

The new-and-improved Mets offense showed up for the second night in a row. Art Howe's controversial decision to entrust the pitching duties to an unruly band of Atlanta-area school children, on the other hand, didn't work out so well.

But seriously, the nineteen million dollar man Steve Trachsel was on the mound, and the offense staked him to an early lead. The Braves finally managed to get Kazuo Matsui out, as he swung at and missed a 3-2 pitch to lead off the game. But after number two hitter Ricky Gutierrez predictably failed to reach base, the offense came alive. Cliff Floyd singled and then back-to-back home runs by Mikes Piazza and Cameron put the Mets up by three before the Braves had even come to bat.

The Mets kept it up in the second inning as with one out, Trachsel singled and Mastui walked. After a Gutierrez fielder's choice erased Matsui, RBI singles by Floyd and Piazza padded the lead to five. Meanwhile, Trachsel was cruising on the mound, getting through the first two innings with just one runner reaching base. The Mets added another run in the top of the third thanks to a Shane Spencer single, a Mike Hampton balk and a Rafael Furcal throwing error. Matsui drew another walk in there as well. Then the wheels pretty well fell off the wagon.

Trachsel allowed a home run to Larry Jones as part of a three-run third. Then he started the fourth inning and wound up responsible for five more runs without recording a single out. Grant Roberts then began a parade of ineffective relievers by giving up five runs in two thirds of an inning. In the end, five relievers pitched in the game and the only one who didn't give up at least one run was John Franco, who pitched a scoreless sixth, walking one batter. The only other pitcher to escape this game with an ERA under eighteen was Dan Wheeler, who relieved Roberts in the fourth and wound up responsible for one run over an inning and a third, striking out two and walking one while allowing two hits.

The score was 14-6 when the fourth inning finally came to an end and while the Mets kept hitting, the Braves did too and so the game was never in question after that. Mike Piazza is just killing the ball, as he wound up five for five with a double and two home runs, leaving him just one blast shy of Carlton Fisk's mark of 351 as a catcher. Kaz Matsui's much-ballyhooed strikeouts made their first appearance as he went down twice with a bat in his hand, but he also walked twice and singled in six plate appearances. He did fail to score or drive in any runs this time, most notably grounding out with the bases loaded in the seventh to end the inning. Karim Garcia came off the bench to homer off of John Smoltz in the ninth.

There was once again plenty to be happy about regarding the Mets' offense, but the pitching fell completely apart and the team will need a solid outing from *gulp* Scott Erickson tomorrow to get back on track. Former Met disappointment John Thomson (13-14, 4.85 in 2003) will oppose him for the Braves.
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Disseminating descriptions and accounts of New York Mets games without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball or the New York Mets since 2003.

Location: Hatboro, Pennsylvania, United States
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