Game 120: Win
Leave it to new Mets stopper John Maine to restore order and avoid a four-game sweep.
The newly anointed ace pitched another marvelous game, allowing only two earned runs on eight hits with no walks in six strong innings of work. He likely could have pitched further into the seventh, but had already hit the 100-pitch barrier that Met pitchers are generally not allowed to cross. His only mistake — if you want to call it that — was allowing man-child Ryan Howard to reach an outside fastball that was deposited into the leftfield stands. In reality, it was a pretty good pitch to just about any other lefthanded power hitter on the planet. However, Howard just happens to enjoy mashing balls to the opposite field.
Marvy Maine was supported by the sudden outburst of Carlos Delgado, who had shown flashes of breaking out of his slump yesterday in his ill-fated single to the wall. Today, Carlos was a one-man wrecking crew, going 3-4 with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. And as the ad says, we get two Carloses for the price of one. Carlos Beltran was just as impressive, going 4-5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Jose Reyes returned to form, with two hits and his 50th stolen base, and Jose Valentin was on his way to a great game before straining his hamstring. Even Mike DeFelice went 1-3 with a run and RBI as the Met lineup rebounded from the forgettable three games prior.
With Valentin hurting, I wonder if the Mets will send him immediately to the DL and promote Edgardo Alfonzo to see if he’s worth keeping around for the stretch run and playoffs. It certainly does not make sense to push Valentin with a 13-game lead, especially considering his age. Fonzie is doing OK — batting around .270 — and he might be a good veteran bat to have on the bench. As much as I love Julio Franco and Chris Woodward, we must be realists and see that neither is doing anything of consequence as pinch-hitters. Alfonzo is also an excellent all-around player (minus his wheels), and has the kind of winning attitude you like to see rubbing off on others.
Speaking of people hurting, will we see Oliver Perez or Dave Williams on Saturday in Pedro’s place? In a perfect world, Perez will come up on Friday, spend ten minutes in the bullpen with the Jacket, and suddenly find the skills that made him the most dominating young lefty in the NL just two years ago. How great would that be?
Just what are the Mets thinking about in the Shawn Green almost-deal? Is there any question whatsoever that they will need another bat for the postseason? Are we really to believe that Julio Franco will serve as the DH should the Mets find themselves in the World Series? Do we really think Lastings Milledge / Ricky Ledee / Michael Mother Tucker are the ideal situation in RF? Does Omar really believe he’s got Arizona shaking? Enough already … tell the D’backs we’ll swallow the salary, and they’ll get a subpar nonprospect in return. Done deal.