Betty's No Good Clothes Shop And Pancake House
Thursday, June 29, 2006
  Red Sox 4, Mets 2

They put up a better fight this time, but in the end the Mets got swept for the first time this season. They had not lost three consecutive games all year until tonight. While their division lead remains enormous, this series was a disappointment.

Tom Glavine pitched pretty effectively for the first five innings, but he ran out of gas in the sixth. He left the game with runners on first and second and no outs, having allowed one run on five hits and three walks. The Mets led 2-1 when Aaron Heilman entered and Heilman retired all three batters he faced. Unfortunately for Glavine, the first two outs were sacrifice flies which left the game tied.

Heilman gave up a run of his own in the seventh on just one hit, a stolen base and a couple more sacrifices. Duaner Sanchez pitched the eighth and gave up a home run to David Ortiz. Still, this qualified as a good night for Mets pitching in this series.

Unfortunately, the offense continued to struggle aside from the occasional home run ball. Carlos Beltran went deep for the twenty-second time in the sixth to give the Mets their ephemeral lead. He had two of the Mets' eight hits. He might have scored another run in the eighth, but Coco Crisp made a preposterous diving catch on a drive to deep center by David Wright to end the inning.

Now the Mets (47-30) will try to resume their casual stroll toward the postseason against the Yankees (44-32), who are four games short of the nearest playoff spot. Mike Mussina (9-3, 3.28) will start the first game for the Yankees. Orlando Hernandez (4-7, 5.82) will face his former team for the third time. Last year he went 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA against them for the White Sox.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
  Red Sox 9, Mets 4
Red Sox 10, Mets 2

I think I'm over the shock of Jose Reyes going hitless on Tuesday. I think I can blog again. We've got to stay strong, people.

Reyes's bad night was not the only distressing news on Tuesday. We also learned that Alay Soler is probably not the guy we want to pitch game three of the World Series. Soler lasted just four and one-third innings and gave up eight runs on ten hits and three walks. He did not strike out anyone. Two of the runs were the result of Lastings Milledge's adventures in trying to play left field at Fenway Park, but even so, Soler was awful.

On the other hand, maybe the Red Sox are just really good. They smacked around Pedro Martinez even more thoroughly tonight. He gave up eight runs as well and he did it in just three innings. Two of the runs were unearned due to an error by Milledge, but Pedro's attempts at playing defense weren't of much help either. He gave up seven hits and two walks and struck out just one.

The Mets' offense did hit five home runs in these two games, but they were all solo shots. Carlos Delgado went deep in each game to give him twenty-two this year. Carlos Beltran hit his twenty-first in game one. Eli Marrero homered in the first game after replacing Xavier Nady who had suffered a bruise to his wrist after it came in contact with a pitched ball. And Jose Valentin hit his eighth home run in the second game. The Mets had just seven hits in these game which failed to leave the park.

So it is up to Tom Glavine (11-2, 3.33) to salvage a win in this series on Thursday night. Curt Schilling (9-2, 3.61) will start for Boston. Hopefully this pitching matchup will live up to expectation's a bit better than tonight's did.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
  Mets 6, Blue Jays 1
Blue Jays 7, Mets 4
Mets 7, Blue Jays 4

Despite taking place in a strange and foreign land and on a bizarre artificial surface, this weekend series closely resembled early season Mets baseball. The back of starting rotation was ineffective and the offense scored enough runs to compensate. Apparently the American League East can't compete with the Mets any better than the NL East.

Tom Glavine had his best start in weeks on Friday, allowing just one run in seven innings. He allowed eight hits and one walk and struck out four. Chad Bradford and Pedro Feliciano each pitched one scoreless inning of relief. Duaner Sanchez had to leave after throwing just two pitches in a scary moment, but his injury turned out be nothing more than a pinched nerve, so he could pitch again soon.

Orlando Hernandez was terrible on Saturday as he couldn't even finish the second inning. He allowed four hits and one walk and he hit two batters, all of which added up to six runs. Darren Oliver was excellent in relief, pitching four and one-third innings and allowing just one hit and one walk. But the Mets couldn't score enough runs against Roy Halladay to stage a comeback.

Sunday brought more inadequate starting pitching, but the offense had an easier time. Steve Trachsel got the win despite allowing four runs on six hits and three walks in five innings. He struck out two and allowed two home runs.

Jose Reyes continued to defy explanation, racking up nine hits in the series including four in each of the last two games. He hit a triple on Saturday and his eighth home run on Sunday. He is now hitting .302/.361/.495, having raised his OPS more than 100 points in the month of June. He is batting .561 over the course of his thirteen game hitting streak and .409 for the month.

The rest of the Mets had a pretty good weekend as well. David Wright and Lastings Milledge homered on Friday. Carlos Beltran and Jose Valentin did the same on Sunday. Carlos Delgado had three hits on Saturday but was otherwise hitless in his return to Toronto. He did draw a walk and score a run on Friday.

Paul Lo Duca had three hits, two of them doubles, on Friday but had to leave Saturday's game due to a bruised left thumb. Ramon Castro started Sunday and had two hits including a double. Castro continues to outhit Lo Duca, hitting .256/.347/.427 as compared to the starter's .280/.321/.394. Hopefully Paul will get all the time off he needs to recover from this injury.

The interleague road trip continues for the Mets (47-28) as they begin a series with the division-leading Red Sox (44-28) on Tuesday. Alay Soler (2-1, 3.32) and Jon Lester (2-0, 2.76) will be the starting pitchers. If the Mets were in a tight race, I might be annoyed that they had to play the three good teams in the AL East on the road consecutively like this. But given that their division lead has stretched to 11.5 games, it's not so bad that they get to take a early look at some potential World Series opponents. Is it too late to get some games with Detroit or Oakland on the schedule?
Thursday, June 22, 2006
  Mets 6, Reds 2

You cannot stop David Wright. You can only hope to contain him. And if you are Eric Milton, you probably can't even do that. The Met third baseman hit a pair of two-run home runs in this game to give him seventeen on the season. He is now hitting .338/.405/.601 on the season and inspiring legitimate conversations about the league's Most Valuable Player award. Jose Reyes may be the most exciting player on the team, but Wright has been the best.

Reyes is pretty good, though. He had two more hits and two stolen bases in this game to continue his ridiculous hot streak. He has now raised his OBP all the way to .349, leading me to wonder if the real Jose Reyes isn't locked in Rickey Henderson's basement swinging at curve balls in the dirt right now.

Reyes and Wright's efforts played a big role in getting Pedro Martinez his seventh win. Pedro struggled with his control, walking five batters. But he only gave up two hits and was able to escape any jams he found himself in without too much trouble, allowing just two runs in six innings. He struck out eight batters to reclaim the league lead in that category.

Tomorrow the Mets (45-27) cross boundaries between leagues and nations as they head to the Great White North to take on the Toronto Blue Jays (40-32). Tom Glavine (10-2, 3.48) will start the first game having allowed at least four runs in each of his last three starts. Casey Janssen (5-5, 4.50), who has allowed at least five runs in his last two starts, will be his opponent. Given that this series will pit two of the best offenses in the game against one another, expect someone to pitch a no hitter tomorrow.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
  Reds 6, Mets 5

Jose Reyes had a spectacular game, but Billy Wagner let it end on a sour note. Reyes became the ninth Met to hit for the cycle, finishing it off with a single in the eighth. He led off the game with his seventh home run of the year, matching his total from last year, and just kept up his absurdly hot hitting. When Reyes is at his, he's as fun to watch as anyone in the game, and I don't know that he's ever played better than he has in the last couple of weeks.

He wasn't the only Met who had a big offensive game. David Wright and Jose Valentin each had three hits. Wright hit a double and Valentin homered in the seventh to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. Carlos Beltran had two hits including a double.

Alay Soler didn't have a great game on the mound, but things could have gone better with some help from his defense. He gave up four runs, three earned, in five innings. He allowed eight hits and two walks while striking out four. But Xavier Nady's defensive shortcomings in right field as compared to Endy Chavez, who was in left, or Lastings Milledge, who did not play, were on display. And Paul Lo Duca had as bad a game with the glove as he did with the bat, allowing one passed ball and letting two wild pitches get by. He went hitless in five at bats as he appears to have gotten an early start on his annual second-half collapse. There is no good reason why Ramon Castro isn't playing more.

Heath Bell, Darren Oliver and Aaron Heilman each pitched one scoreless inning of relief in a tight game. Bell and Heilman had two strikeouts apiece. Wagner also struck out a pair, but it took him a bit longer. After retiring the first two batters he faced, one via strikeout, he walked the next two and gave up singles to the next two, allowing the runs that tied and won the game to score. He struck out the next batter, but the Mets were unable to come back in the bottom of the ninth.

So the Mets will have to win tomorrow afternoon to avoid losing their third straight series at home. Pedro Martinez (6-3, 3.01), who's been a bit shaky lately, will start for the Mets. Eric Milton (4-3, 4.14) goes for the Reds.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
  Mets 9, Reds 2

And things are back to normal. The Mets got solid starting pitching and good relief work and they scored a bunch of runs. David Wright didn't have a hit, though, so I am still deeply, deeply concerned.

Steve Trachsel wasn't perfect, but his performance tonight was a definite improvement over his last two starts. He allowed two runs in six innings on six hits and two walks with just one strikeout. He actually started the seventh inning, but he loaded the bases without recording an out. Duaner Sanchez entered and allowed one of the runners to score on a sacrifice fly, but he ended the threat with a timely double play.

The game was still close at this point as the Mets had scored three runs in the first inning and one more in the sixth. But they smacked David Weathers around for four more in the bottom of the seventh to put the game out of reach. Four home runs accounted for the bulk of the Mets' runs. Xavier Nady had a pair. Carlos Delgado hit his twentieth. And for the first time in eight years, Trachsel went deep. In a rare bout of usefulness, Paul Lo Duca hit a pair of doubles. Jose Reyes maintained his hot streak with a double and a single. And Jose Valentin had two hits of his own, one of which was a triple that he very nearly stretched into and inside-the-park home run.

Having relocated their groove, the Met bats will get to show what they can really do tomorrow as the Reds send Joe Mays (0-4, 8.22) to the mound. The man has a 1.92 WHIP and a K:BB ratio of 13:14 on the season. Alay Soler (2-1, 3.00) will probably not have to toss another shutout to pick up his third win.
Monday, June 19, 2006
  Reds 4, Mets 2

Orlando Hernandez pitched pretty well, but neither the offense nor the bullpen was there to back him up. El Duque struck out seven in seven innings and allowed just two runs on eight hits and two walks. One of the hits was a home run.

When Hernandez left the game, it seemed even two runs were too many for the Mets to overcome. They had just seven hits and one walk in the game and a first inning run was all they could muster until their last turn at bat. Jose Reyes had two more hits, including a double, and Jose Valentin did the same. Carlos Beltran homered in the ninth to give the Mets their second run. He drove in the first with a ground out. Xavier Nady went hitless in his return to the lineup.

Beltran's home run did not tie the game, though, as the heretofore excellent duo of Pedro Feliciano and Chad Bradford let it get away in the eighth. Feliciano retired the first batter he faced, but then gave up two singles and hit a batter. A truly bold umpire might have pointed out to Scott Hatteberg that he made no effort at all to get out of the way of the pitch and told him to get back in the batter's box, but that would have been pretty remarkable. Thus Bradford inherited a bases loaded jam from which he could not escape. He gave up a two-run double before retiring the next two batters.

So the Mets sent out their fourth best starter and lost to the Reds' ace. I suppose that sort of thing will happen from time to time. Tomorrow's pitching matchup is not much more appetizing. Elizardo Ramirez (2-5, 3.44) will start for the Reds. Steve Trachsel (4-4, 4.81) will be hoping to pitch well enough to inspire some newspaper to run a headline proclaiming him "Back on Trach".
Sunday, June 18, 2006
  Orioles 6, Mets 3
Orioles 4, Mets 2
Mets 9, Orioles 4

This is a rather unfamiliar sensation. The Mets lost their second consecutive home series and their third all year after returning home from a highly successful road trip. I suppose the offense can't be spectacular every day. At least the Phillies were kind enough to lose two games this weekend to preserve the nine and a half game gap between the teams.

Things started off well enough as Alay Soler pitched well again on Friday. He pitched six innings and gave up just two runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. And one of the runs was justly unearned due to an error that was charged to Jose Reyes even though it was clearly more Carlos Delgado's fault. Soler now has the best ERA among pitchers currently in the starting rotation at an even 3.00 in five starts. Brian Bannister had a 2.89, also in five starts, before he got hurt, but Soler's doing it in ways that actually make it seem sustainable. His 19:13 K:BB ratio isn't all that impressive, but it sure beats Bannister's 14:17.

When Soler exited the game, he appeared in line for his third win. The Mets put up three runs on just four hits and three walks. Reyes had two of those hits, both doubles, and drove in two runs.

Sadly, the bullpen was not so effective. Aaron Heilman continued his decline into uselessness, allowing four runs in one inning. He allowed two walks and two hits, one of which was a home run, while striking out none. Heath Bell pitched the final two innings without incident, allowing two hits and striking out one. At this point Bell's entrance into a game may be less frightening than Heilman's.

On Saturday neither the starting pitching nor the hitting was quite as good as Pedro Martinez suffered the indignity of losing to Kris Benson. Pedro lasted seven innings and gave up four runs on eight hits and one walk. He struck out five. One of the runs was unearned, but the error was his own. And he somehow gave up a home run to Benson.

The Mets got two runs in the first inning, thanks in part to a Benson error. But after that he held them scoreless, allowing just six hits and one walk in eight innings. Lastings Milledge had two of those hits and a third against reliever Chris Ray. Delgado had two hits and he and Reyes each had a double.

The Mets may not have gotten much in return when they traded Benson, but, this game aside, he appears to be the same old Kris. His 8-5 record is solid and actually represents the best season winning percentage of his career. But the 4.32 ERA is business as usual. If he keeps it up, this will be his fifth straight season with an ERA greater than 4.00 and his sixth in seven major league seasons. The Mets' rotation may be a bit of a shambles, but it's not because they're missing this guy.

Things went considerably better on Sunday despite Tom Glavine struggling again. He gave up four runs in six innings on nine hits, though he walked none and struck out six. But the bullpen pitched well, including Heilman striking out two in a perfect ninth.

It was the offense that carried the club, however. David Wright's fifteen home run of the season, a grand slam, put the Mets on the board in the fifth. They scored five more runs in the next two innings, thanks in part to three seventh-inning errors by the Orioles. Wright had three hits in the game. Ramon Castro started at catcher and hit his third home run. He also threw out Corey Patterson trying to steal, something which has only been done four times all year while Patterson has stolen 28 bases. Castro and Reyes each had two hits. Eli Marrero got the start in right field and had a hit, a walk and two stolen bases.

Up next for the Mets (43-25) is a four-game series against the Reds (37-32), who remain in position to be the Mets' first round playoff opponent by the slim margin of one game. Orlando Hernandez (4-5, 5.50) goes for the Mets in game one. Bronson Arroyo (8-3, 2.51), having an excellent year for his new team, will start for Cincinnati.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
  Mets 5, Phillies 4

Should the standings remain the same for the rest of the season, the Mets' first round playoff opponents would be the Cincinnati Reds, winners of the National League Wild Card. Now, the Reds have one of the better offenses in the NL, ranking third in runs scored. But their pitching is rather pedestrian. I mean, Aaron Harang has been their second best starter. I think the Mets can take them.

Concerns about current games become less and less important as the Mets continue to assert their dominance over the rest of the National League East. Today they finished off a sweep of the Phillies to extend their division lead to nine and a half games. Steve Trachsel wasn't very good and the offense didn't quite explode, but they again found a way to win.

Trachsel continues to make the case for someone else starting the third game of a playoff series. He pitched six innings and gave up four runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out no one. And he gave up two home runs. Now, both home runs were hit by Pat Burrell, who has some sort of black magic-fueled power that allows him to hit home runs against the Mets beyond all good taste and reason. And it's not like it's hard to hit balls out of this stadium. So there are some extenuating circumstances, but still, Trachsel is not good.

The Mets' offensive output was more modest than in recent days, with just eight hits and four walks. But half the hits went for extra bases, with David Wright's fourteenth home run of the season, a three-run shot, being the highlight. Endy Chavez, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes each hit a double. Reyes had two hits in the game, raising his season numbers to .263/.334/.431. The OBP and SLG are almost identical to those of his solid rookie season despite a much lower batting average. He's raised the average thirteen points since the start of the month and it's still lower than what he did last season. If he can get the average up a little bit to his usual level, his numbers might just match up with his reputation as a very dangerous offensive player.

One facet of the Mets' team that excelled in this game was the bullpen. After Trachsel left, three different players pitched one perfect inning. Aaron Heilman and Duaner Sanchez have each struggled recently but showed no signs of that today. Heilman had one strikeout. And Billy Wagner shut down his former team in the ninth, finishing things off with a strikeout.

Tomorrow interleague play rears its ugly head again as the Orioles (30-38) come to town. The Mets (42-23) will try to extend their eight-game winning streak. Alay Soler (2-1, 3.33) gets the start in game one having pitched well in each of his last two outings. Daniel Cabrera (5-6, 5.69) and his rather casual relationship with the strike zone will represent Baltimore.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
  Mets 9, Phillies 3

Even the elements cannot stop the Mets' march toward October. This game was delayed by rain for sixty-five minutes, leading to the removal of starter Orlando Hernandez after just three innings pitched. But the Mets didn't let a damp field stop them from hitting and extending their lead over the Phillies to eight and a half games.

Hernandez gave up two runs on four hits while striking out three. But the Mets already had a six-run lead when he gave up those runs in the bottom of the third inning. They had sixteen hits in total including nine for extra bases. Jose Reyes had four of those hits, one of which was a triple that Bobby Abreu probably should have caught rather than letting it bounce of the outside of his glove. Every Met starter had a hit and all but Hernandez and Lastings Milledge had an extra base hit. David Wright hit his twelfth home run. Carlos Beltran had two doubles and drew two walks.

All that's left now is for the Mets to try to sweep this series. They'll take a shot at it tomorrow afternoon with Steve Trachsel (3-4, 4.70) on the hill. Hopefully they can score nine runs again. Cory Lidle (4-5, 4.68) will try to stop them.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
  Mets 9, Phillies 7

I really do not like this ballpark in Philadelphia. It's a nice place to watch a game, or at least it would have been had it not rained every time I went. But the way every single fly ball seems likely to go over the wall is not my sort of baseball. There were eight home runs in this game, five of them by the Phillies, but the Mets won anyway.

Tom Glavine gave up four of those home runs in his second consecutive bad start. He lasted just four and one-third innings and gave up seven hits and three walks while striking out just one. But all four of the home runs were solo shots and so he allowed just four runs, not nearly enough to overcome the Mets' prodigious offense.

Every starter aside from Glavine had at least one hit. Four of them had at least two. Carlos Beltran homered in the third to tie team leader Carlos Delgado with eighteen on the season. But, as he did over the weekend, Delgado quickly regained the lead, hitting his nineteenth immediately after Beltran's blast. Delgado also led the team with three hits in the game. David Wright hit his twelfth home run. Endy Chavez hit two doubles. Jose Reyes had a double, a single, a stolen base and three walks, two of which were intentional, to give him 29 walks on the season as compared to the 27 he drew all of last year.

The Mets took a 9-4 lead in the sixth with the aid of three Phillies errors. Chad Bradford and Pedro Feliciano combined to pitch two and two-thirds scoreless innings in relief of Glavine. But Aaron Heilman entered in the eighth and struggled again. He gave up three hits, including a three-run home run, and one walk before Billy Wagner had to come in and bail him out. Wagner got out of the eighth with a strike out/caught stealing double play. He walked the first batter of the ninth and then Pat Burrell hit a ball hard down the third base line. But Wright made a great stop to start a double play. Wagner gave up another hit, but struck out Aaron Rowand to end the game and earn his first save against his former team.

Some runs will probably be scored tomorrow as well. Orlando Hernandez (4-5, 5.48) will start for the Mets and, one great start aside, he seems unlikely to flourish in this environment. Brett Myers (4-2, 3.44) is the one will have to tangle with the Mets' bats.
Monday, June 12, 2006
  Mets 5, Diamondbacks 0
Mets 15 ,Diamondbacks 2

This is getting a bit silly, I think. The Mets went into the home of the leaders of the National League's Western Division and beat them four consecutive times. And they did it without too much difficulty. As a result of this series, the Diamondbacks are no longer the leader of any division, while the Mets are the leader of the East by a margin of six and a half games. Even in the second week of June, that's a lot of games.

On Saturday, Alay Soler did what neither Tom Glavine nor Pedro Martinez has been able to do this season and pitched a complete game shutout. He blanked the Diamondbacks on just two hits and three walks while striking out two. It was Soler's second straight excellent start and dropped his ERA a point and two-thirds all the way down to 3.33. He's still got a rather unimpressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 15:11 in 27 innings pitched. And it's hard to blame that on his wild first two starts with a straight face when he had more walks that strikeouts in his best start. But he's still done a lot of things right in his last two outings. The Mets just may have found themselves a third good starter.

Given that they were facing Brandon Webb, the Mets' offense can be forgiven for putting just five runs on the board. Jose Reyes, David Wright and Endy Chavez each had two hits and Chavez, Carlos Beltran and Jose Valentin each hit a double. Beltran, Reyes, Chavez and Lastings Milledge each stole a base.

Mets pitching wasn't quite so dominant on Sunday, but the bats got to face Russ Ortiz, so it didn't really matter. They scored fifteen runs without a home run. Every starter had a hit aside from Jose Reyes who had to settle for three unintentional bases on balls. Reyes, now one walk shy of tying his total from all of last season, also stole two bases en route to scoring two runs.

The new Carlos Delgado, bearing a striking resemblance to the old Carlos Delgado, led the team with three hits, two of which were doubles. Chavez, Beltran and Chris Woodward each had two hits and one double. Wright and Eli Marrero also doubled.

Pedro was the beneficiary of all of this offense, finally recording his sixth win of the season. He pitched just five innings and allowed one run on five hits and one walk. He struck out three and, as has often been the case this year, the run came on a home run. He's now given up twelve of those, but he's still closer to the league ERA lead than the lead in home runs allowed. That no one in either league has more than his 97 strikeouts probably has something to do with that.

The Mets (39-23) will conclude their road trip with a three-game series against the second place Phillies (33-30) beginning Tuesday. Last time in Philly, the Mets lost two out of three, just as the Phillies did in New York. This series gives the Phillies a chance to gain some ground on the Mets, but given the way the Mets are playing lately, I wouldn't call it much of a chance. Glavine (9-2, 3.06) will start game one against Ryan Madson (6-3, 5.71).
Saturday, June 10, 2006
  Mets 10, Diamondbacks 6

Steve Trachsel went back to not pitching well in this game, but the Mets supplied plenty of offense to compensate. Trachsel pitched five and one-third innings and allowed eight hits, including two home runs, and a preposterous six walks. Still, when he left he had only given up three runs. But Pedro Feliciano's relief pitching and a couple of errors added two unearned runs to Trachsel's record.

Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran were responsible for the two errors, but they did a pretty good job making up for it with their bats. Each hit two home runs and drove in a total of three runs. Beltran had a double and a single as well. Twice in the game Beltran tied Delgado for the team lead in home runs only to have Delgado pass him again two innings later. Beltran may only have seventeen home runs as compared to Delgado's eighteen, but he's still surpassed Carlos Beltran circa 2005, who only hit sixteen all year. David Wright also went deep in this game, giving him eleven on the season.

Tonight Alay Soler (1-1, 5.00) will try to find the consistency that eluded Trachsel and pitch well for the second consecutive game. The Mets will need him to, as Brandon Webb (8-0, 2.14) will be on the mound for Arizona. Webb pitched seven scoreless innings against the Mets in New York last week, and only a great performance by Pedro Martinez kept them in a position to eventually win the game. They may need to give Soler a bit more offensive support in this game.

Also of note yesterday was the quiet departure of Kazuo Matsui from the Mets. He was traded to the Rockies in exchange for Eli Marrero and then immediately demoted to AAA. The Mets will be responsible for the enormous difference in the two players' salaries for the rest of the year.

I can't say this is a bad move for the Mets, as Matsui wasn't contributing anything and didn't seem likely to get any better. Still, I'm a bit sad to see him go. He seemed like a good guy who worked hard. And he was fun to watch when he was playing well. But that wasn't very often and his three-year $20 million contract turned out to be quite the blunder. I can't believe he was always this bad, though. No one who swings as pathetically as Matsui did this year could have hit 36 home runs in a season in any league, as Matsui did in 2002 with the Seibu Lions. We'll probably never know quite what went wrong, but I wish him well. I hope he takes full advantage of that ridiculous hitting environment in Colorado.
Friday, June 09, 2006
  Mets 7, Diamondbacks 1

It is apparently Opposites Week in the Mets' starting rotation. After Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine got rocked on consecutive days, Orlando Hernandez exceeded the excellent performances given by Steve Trachsel and Alay Soler earlier in the week. El Duque became the first Met this year to pitch a full nine innings, and he very nearly did it without allowing a run.

Entering the ninth inning, Hernandez had allowed just two hits and two walks while maintaining the shutout. But a leadoff double by Craig Counsell and a couple of productive outs finally put the Diamondbacks on the scoreboard. Still, it was a fantastic performance from Hernandez in a stadium where he'd struggled while wearing the home white (and sometimes black) earlier this season.

The Mets' offense gave him plenty of support, as every starter aside from the pitcher himself had at least one hit. Carlos Beltran hit a long two-run home run in the third inning and also had a single, a walk and a stolen base. Lastings Milledge and Joses Reyes and Valentin each hit a double. Valentin and Endy Chavez joined Beltran with two hits apiece.

Friday night Trachsel (2-4, 4.67) will try to follow up his excellent Sunday performance with another strong outing. Miguel Batista (6-2, 4.12) will start for Arizona having shut down the Mets two starts ago. I hereby give up on predicting how the pitchers will do.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
  Dodgers 8, Mets 5
Mets 9, Dodgers 7

I don't know quite what happened here. The Mets sent our their top two pitchers, each with a reasonable claim as one of the best in the National League this season, especially if you refrain from muddying the phrase "one of the best" with any sort of number. They did this at Dodger Stadium, historically a very comfortable locale for pitchers. And yet they both got smacked around.

On Tuesday, Pedro Martinez gave up seven runs, six of them earned, in just five innings. He allowed eight hits and two walks while striking out six, which seems like a decent collection of numbers. But two of the hits were home runs and each came with a runner on base.

Heath Bell relieved Pedro and of course that didn't help matters. There were two runners on when Pedro left and they both scored while Bell was on the mound. He even allowed a run of his own. He pitched two innings and gave up three hits and one intentional walk. He struck out two.

Tom Glavine didn't do much better on Wednesday. He recorded one more out that Pedro and allowed one fewer run. But like Pedro he put ten men on base as he allowed seven hits and three walks. And he gave up three home runs which accounted for five of the runs.

The Mets' offense did fairly well on both nights, though, despite mounting injury problems. Chris Woodward started at shortstop both nights due to soreness in Jose Reyes's wrist and totaled four singles and a walk. David Wright had two singles and a walk in game one, three and one in game two. Jose Valentin had three hits, two of which were doubles. Cliff Floyd had one hit in the first game before leaving with a sprained ankle, but the injury appears not to be series.

Lastings Milledge had merely a sacrifice fly in a hitless first game. But he had a terrific game two, hitting his first major league triple and his second home run. Carlos Beltran also had a hitless game one, though he did draw two walks. But, like Milledge, he did a bit better in the second game, hitting three singles and stealing a base.

Tonight the uninterrupted week of late night games continues in Arizona. The Mets will send out Orlando Hernandez (3-5, 6.19) to face the team that didn't want him. The Diamondbacks will start Claudio Vargas (6-2, 5.20). Another high-scoring game may be in the offing.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
  I want you to know that I did not write the text of this post

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
  Mets 4, Dodgers 1

The fun thing about having hardly any information is that any little bit can cause your opinion to swing wildly in a new direction. Thus Alay Soler's third major league start transformed him from a guy who might soon lose his job to a guy who might bring some stability to the back of the Mets' starting rotation. Maybe next time his arm will fall clean off.

After adequate and awful performances in his first and second starts, respectively, Soler was excellent the third time around. He pitched seven innings and allowed just one run on six hits and one walk. He struck out seven batters, one more than he'd fanned in his first two outings combined. On the one hand he did this in the pitcher's paradise that is Chavez Ravine, but on the other hand, he did it against what has been the best offense in the National League to this point in the season. There's no telling what his next start will bring, but right now my feelings about him have swung back around to cautious optimism.

Another reassuring development in this game was the revival of Carlos Delgado's bat. The Met first baseman hit a two-run home run in the first inning and a single in the third. Jose Reyes led off the game with a home run of his own and those two gave the Mets all the offense they would need. Lastings Milledge drove in the fourth run in the sixth with one of his two singles. Carlos Beltran had two singles and a walk.

The overblown controversy of the evening belonged to Chad Bradford. He recorded the final four outs for the Mets to earn his first save of the season, which apparently bothered closer Billy Wagner. Hopefully this is just another example of the New York media creating a story out of thin air, because if Wagner is legitimately upset that he warmed up and didn't get into this game, he is far too sensitive a man for this harsh world in which we live.

Another of these damn 10 PM games is nearly upon us. Pedro Martinez (5-1, 2.50) will start for the Mets in search of his first win since April. Derek Lowe (4-3, 2.68) goes for LA having won his last three starts.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
  Giants 6, Mets 4
Mets 3, Giants 2 (11)
Giants 7, Mets 6 (12)

This weekend the Mets lost a series at home for just the second time this season, and the first since the middle of April. After a double header on Saturday which included one extra inning game and another game that lasted past nine on Sunday, the bullpen gave out. But at least a starting pitcher other than the top two pitched well for once.

In Saturday's first game, the El Duque experiment continued not to go well. Orlando Hernandez lasted six innings and gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out five. One of the walks was intentional, but he was also charged with a balk and was generally ineffective. It seems like he will be given more of a chance to succeed than Jose Lima had, but his first two starts as a Met have not given the impression that he'll last the season in the rotation.

Offensively, the Mets had just six hits and three walks in the first game. David Wright had three of those hits, two of which were doubles. Jose Valentin had a hit and a couple of walks. Jose Reyes had a triple, got hit by a pitch and scored two runs.

The offense was even less productive in the second Saturday game, putting just three runs on the board in eleven innings. Paul Lo Duca had two hits and the slumping Carlos Delgado hit a double. That double and one of Lo Duca's singles came in the eleventh and contributed to the winning run which was scored by pinch runner Lastings Milledge.

The extra inning affair didn't do anything for Tom Glavine's quest for 300 wins, but he pitched well again. He lasted seven innings and gave up just two runs. He allowed seven hits and one walk and struck out three. Two solo home runs accounted for the Giants' runs. It was the second time this season Glavine allowed two home runs in a game and both times he's otherwise limited the damage and the Mets have won the game. Aaron Heilman pitched two scoreless innings and Billy Wagner and Duaner Sanchez pitched one each.

The final score of Sunday's game is in no way indicative of Steve Trachsel's performance, which was very good. He gave up just one run in seven innings on six hits, one walk and one hit batter. Trachsel's been quite inconsistent this season, but one thing he's been able to do with regularity is get the Giants out. The last time he faced them, he gave up one run in six innings. Unfortunately, he will not get another chance to face them this season unless it is in October.

At the time Trachsel left the game, the Mets had provided him with plenty of offense to get the win. A solo home run by Wright and a two-run double by Milledge put the Mets' lead at 3-1 after seven innings. But on this day the Mets' vaunted bullpen was not at its best.

First Sanchez came in and gave up three runs on two hits and three walks while recording just one out. An error by Reyes on a routine double play ball complicated things, but Sanchez was not good. Chad Bradford came in and bailed him out a bit with a quick double play. As you might expect, Wright just hit another home run in the bottom half of the inning to tie things up. It was his tenth of the season.

Wagner pitched a scoreless ninth and we were off to extras again. Then Heilman came in and was less effective. In the top of the tenth, he gave up two runs on four hits. So Valentin and Milledge hit solo home runs in the bottom half against our old friend Armando Benitez. Milledge's was the first of his career, and Valentin's was his fifth of the season. Valentin is now hitting .284/.333/.506 and seems to have removed "second base" from the list of holes on this team. Even at the nadir of its Matsuicity, second base was never the drag on this team that the back of the rotation has been, but having someone playing well there is a nice change.

Pedro Feliciano pitched a perfect eleventh, but he got into trouble in the twelfth allowing a hit and making an error that put a second runner on. After a sacrifice, he left the game with runners on second and third. It was up to Heath Bell to shut down the Giants, and of course that didn't happen. He gave up a hit to the first batter he faced. He got out of the inning without allowing any more runs despite another hit and an intentional walk. But this time the Mets couldn't come back.

Wright's two-home run day was obviously the best offensive performance of the game. But Valentin and Milledge each had a single, a double and a home run and Milledge drew an intentional walk as well. Delgado doubled for the second consecutive game, so perhaps he's beginning to come around.

The Mets (33-22) get no break as they head west to begin a series with the Dodgers (32-25) on Monday. Alay Soler (0-1, 7.36) will start for the Mets with his job likely in jeopardy. Brett Tomko (5-3, 4.38) will start for the Dodgers.
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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