Mets Game 52: Win Over Dodgers
Mets 8 Dodgers 4
Someone call the authorities! The New York Mets have been kidnapped, and a collection of hungry independent-league ballplayers are playing in their uniforms!
The Mets hit, they ran, they fielded the ball, they threw the ball … it was like … what’s it called? BASEBALL, at its finest. They scored first, and they tacked on. They gave up a few runs, then answered with some of their own. They hustled down the line on routine grounders. They dove for balls in the infield. They took pitches. They hit the other way. They spoiled pitcher’s pitches. They drove in runners in scoring position with two outs. In short, they had energy and they EXECUTED. I haven’t been this giddy watching the orange and blue since the first week of April 2007.
Oh, and they’re back to .500. That may not seem too special, but considering how things were looking only a few days ago, getting even is a significant milestone.
The turning point in the game came in the bottom of the fourth, when Dodgers catcher Russell Martin interfered with Claudio Vargas’ swing with two outs and no one on. Jose Reyes followed with a single, putting runners on first and second for Luis Castillo, who smacked a double to score both runners and make the score 4-0. David Wright followed with a smash over the wall to extend the lead to 6-0 and bury Brady Penny.
Claudio Vargas threw four good frames, then gave up three runs in the fifth on two homeruns. No biggie, IMHO, as he was working with a six-run lead. I’d much rather see a pitcher with a big lead give up a few homers because he’s throwing strikes, rather than walk people. Vargas stayed through two outs in the sixth, but allowed a double and a walk before yielding to Pedro Feliciano. Pedro Lite failed in his assignment to retire lefthanded hitting James Loney, allowing a single to drive in a run and make the score 6-4. Unbelievably, Willie “Keep the Bench Warm, Rook” Randolph then called on recent callup Carlos Muniz to extinguish the fire. Muniz responded by striking out slugger Matt Kemp to end the inning.
Scott “Ol’ Reliable” Schoeneweis then did his usual routine — one and two-thirds innings of perfection, expending an efficient 15 pitches in the process. Joe Smith was equally effective, throwing 17 pitches and allowing no runs and only one hit in the last inning and a third, striking out two.
On the offensive side of things, David Wright was the player of the game, driving in four with his tenth and eleventh homeruns of the season. Luis Castillo went 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, an RBI, and two runs scored. The top five hitters in the lineup were a combined 11-for-21 with 7 runs and 5 RBI.
Amazing what a bit of motivation can do to a team. For example, Carlos Delgado. This game was the first time in three years I witnessed dirt on Delgado’s uniform. He dove to make plays not once but TWICE, staining that bright white uni with the orange clay substance covering the Shea infield. Don’t worry, Carlos, it’ll all come out in the wash (Charlie Samuels will Shout! it out). “Dirty” Delgado played the most inspired baseball I’ve seen from him since his Toronto days. Perhaps Willie should make a habit of sitting his big butt on the bench.
I’m still stunned that Willie brought in Muniz with a slim two-run lead. This could be a turning point in Willie’s reign — when was the last time he trusted an unknown rookie in a tight situation?
I love hearing “experts” such as Lee Mazzilli spout silly things such as his postgame synopsis of Brad Penny’s tough day. Maz pointed out that Penny was relying on his 95+ fastball to a “fastball-hitting team”. I don’t mean to pick on Maz — he’s one of my favorite former Mets — but just once I want to hear a pundit say that a batter is a “curveball hitter”, or a “slider hitter”, or a “changeup hitter”. That will be quipped immediately after the legitimate report of a swine flying.
The Mets host the Dodgers again at 7:10 pm on Friday night, sending John Maine to the mound against rookie Clayton Kershaw. The contest will be broadcast on SNY, WFAN, and XM 186.