Game 123: Win
Mets 2 Rockies 0
While Mr. Hernandez basked on a beach somewhere sipping local rum and smoking a genuine Cuban cigar, El Duque was in Flushing pitching a masterful six innings.
On the heels of the horrifying news that Tom Glavine might be done for the year, The Duke stepped up and pitched like an ace. In six innings, he had eight strikeouts, and allowed only five hits and one walk. The highlight of the game was his gutsy fifth inning performance. After giving up a leadoff single followed by a double to put men on second and third with none out, El Duque spewed an array of sliders, curves, and fastballs to strike out the side and end the threat without a ball put into play. It was the kind of “rise to the occasion” that turns mortal men into gods in October innings.
The Mets managed only two runs, but it was all they needed. As the TV ad states, “two Carloses for the price of one”: homeruns by Beltran and Delgado ensured victory.
Other than those two bombs, Rockies righthander Jason Jennings continued his near-dominance of the boys from Flushing. He has a 4-1 career record vs. the Mets, and it all started with his first ML start on August 23, 2001, when he pitched a five-hit shutout and hit a home run against a much different Met team.
ChadBrad, Aaron Heilman, and Billy Wagner all threw perfect innings of relief.
After striking out Garrett Atkins to end the sixth inning, El Duque picked up the ball off the ground (Mike DeFelice rolled it back to the mound).The TV camera didn’t stay on him long enough, but there were reports that he tossed the ball into the stands before arriving in the dugout. Hmmm … was it “Doctor” Hernandez at work? It was a nice two-pitch sequence, by the way. With a 2-2 count, El Duque wasted a slider off the outside corner. Atkins smiled, possibly believing that he had outwitted Hernandez by not chasing the pitch. However, it was all part of a much larger plan, as the next pitch was also off the outside corner, but tailed back IN over the plate. Atkins gave up on it, perhaps thinking it another slider, and didn’t have time to change his mind as it was a 90-MPH fastball with a LOT of movement. (Eerily reminiscent of the tailing fastballs that Mike Scott threw in 1986, cough, cough…)
Mets get lucky on Tuesday vs. the Cardinals, drawing Jeff Weaver; I presume we’ll see our current ace John Maine going against him.