Mets Game 23: Win Over Braves

Mets 6 Braves 3

John Smoltz didn’t have his good stuff, and the Mets jumped all over him, scoring runs in each of the first three innings and chasing “Smoltzie” to the showers after only four innings of work.

David Wright looked relieved to see Smoltz leave the game. As usual, the veteran righthander was giving David fits with his biting sliders — Wright struck out twice against him. However, D-Wright smacked an RBI single to greet reliever Will Ohman.

Meantime, Nelson Figueroa gave the Mets another excellent outing, cruising through five and a third and allowing three runs on seven hits. He wasn’t dominating, but he never struggled, either. Figgy kept the Braves off-balance with his usual assortment of curves and offspeed pitches.

Unlikely hero Raul Casanova hit the game-breaking blast in the second, a two-run homer off Smoltz to put the Mets ahead by three on the scoreboard — but by ten on the mental scoreboard. Casanova’s homer established that Smoltz had nothing but slop, and took the air out of depleted Braves (Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar were both out, and closer Rafael Soriano was doubtful).

Carlos Delgado accentuated the Mets lead an inning later, breaking out of his slump by knocking a flat slider (or was it a bad changeup?) the other way and over the leftfield fence. Delgado proved his breakout was for real by crushing another homer later n the game off reliever Buddy Carlyle.


Casanova had three hits to lift his average to .333. Delgado was 2-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored, and two RBI. He was given a standing ovation after his second ‘tater, suggesting a curtain call, but he refused to leave the dugout. Much was made of it during the SNY broadcast, and he’ll likely get some flak in the tabloids tomorrow, but I don’t see it as being that big a deal. It was nice, however, to hear that kind of support from the Shea boo-birds.

Luis Castillo had three more hits, is 9 for his last 21, and now hitting .284 on the year.

Smoltz had a tight shoulder and relied on the Jorge Sosa strategy of sliders, sliders, and more sliders. As Jorge knows, that stratagem only works for so long before balls start flying over fences.

Billy Wagner finally gave up a hit, to Matt Diaz with one out in the ninth. He still has a shutout going.

Strangely, Aaron Heilman didn’t throw a pitch all day, not even in the bullpen. Hope he’s OK.

Scott Schoeneweis did pitch — an entire inning, in fact — and had lady luck on his side. The Show gave up two bombs, one by Jeff Francoeur and another by Mark Teixeira, but Ryan Church saved his butt by making a spectacular catch on Teixeira’s drive to deep right-center.

Next Game

The Pirates come to town for a three-game series at Shea. Johan Santana goes against Ian Snell in a 7:10 PM start.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. sincekindergarten April 28, 2008 at 4:54 am
    This was a good one against the Mighty John Smoltz. Maybe we now know who taught Sosa that strategy, BTW.

    What made Delgado’s HRs more special is that he got one off of a RHP and one off of a LHP. The HR off of Ohman may have caused some damage to the socreboard. Maybe he’s coming back, and a Carlos Delgado that is “right” with his swing is a dangerous thing for the rest of the division, not to mention the rest of the league.

    Figgy was pretty good, but it’s plainly obvious that his third trip through a lineup is not a good one. Have to give him credit for his heart, and for the fact that he got his first MLB hit, too.

  2. isuzudude April 28, 2008 at 6:01 am
    Mad props to SK for predicting after game 1 of the series that the Mets were going to beat up Hudson and Smoltz. I certainly wrote it off as a bunch of hopeless optimism at the time, but now you look pretty damn smart. Care to make any more bold predictions, dear ol’ soothsayer?

    It almost had the feel of Turn Back the Clock day at Shea. Delgado homering twice…two former Met farmhands, Figueroa and Casanova, delivering big performances…a bullpen that’s finally able to protect a lead. At least for a day it felt like the Mets had become as imposing as they were in 2006.

    I wouldn’t go proclaiming that Delgado is ready to break out into a 30-HR threat just yet. He teased us many times last year with games like this just to regress back into 2 for 30 slump. He needs to maintain a good hitting streak over the course of 2 weeks for me to believe he’s back as the power threat from 3 seasons ago.

  3. sincekindergarten April 28, 2008 at 7:42 am
    Well, ID, now that you ask . . . 😉

    I think that we’re going to see a better Carlos Delgado. One that can hit for power to both RF and LF. Say, .270, with 28 HRs and 90 RBIs (Someone’s gonna hafta drive Castillo and Wright in!). We’re also going to see Ryan Church shut up a lot of those who were damning Omar for trading LMillz.

    And, going further out on that limb (now that I see that it’s grown stronger), Johan will have a first half that will look like the second halves he had in the AL. Thing is, his second half won’t look like his first halves did when he was up in the Twin Cities–it’ll be a clone of his second halves to date. 22-5, pretty much.

    I’ll go further, but I’ve got to do some work here before heading home to care for my sick daughter.

  4. joe April 28, 2008 at 9:44 am
    These two games have brought me back from the ledge. But, let’s not forget the Braves were Chipperless. Though I guess us not having Moises makes it a wash.
  5. sincekindergarten April 28, 2008 at 10:19 am
    Going back to Church . . . The trade for him is going to make Omar look like a genius for landing him. Gustavo Molina does need more time, it would seem, in the minors (I haven’t the foggiest idea how long he’s been in pro ball). The answer? Brian Schneider coming back from the infected thumb. I see Schneider’s aggressive pitch calling and defense meshing well here. Just as Paulie LoDuca was an upgrade over Mike Piazza due to Piazza’s calling of a not-so-aggressive game, so will Schneider’s defensive prowess be an upgrade–keeping the runner from stealing second. That right there might keep 15 to 20 runs from crossing the plate against the Mets this year.