Game 154: Win
Mets 12 Nationals 6
If this were 1960, the season would be over … instead, we have eight more tune-up games.
John Maine looked so-so in his five innings, giving up five walks, three hits, and four runs. Unfortunately, this performance is making it easier for Mr. Willie to choose Trachsel as the potential fourth playoff starter. Maine did, however, strike out seven, and Randolph likes to see that sort of thing. Hopefully, Maine hasn’t pitched himself off the postseason roster; I’d like to see him come in relief of Trax in, say, the fourth inning.
Maine, actually, is starting to round out as a typical, but solid, #5 starter. He’s not spectacular, but he throws a lot of strikes, and even on bad days, doesn’t get demolished (unlike Trachsel). He manages to keep his team in the game, and when struggling, chooses to throw more strikes rather than pick at the corners and hope for people to chase. His biggest issue is the same as Heath Bell’s: he needs a good out pitch, to use 5-10 times a game, to strike hitters out. Maine gets most hurt when facing a batter with a short stroke who can battle with two strikes, fouling off ball after ball. If Maine could drop in a surprise split-finger or slider, just a few times a game, his numbers would be much more impressive. It appears he’s working on a forkball, so maybe that will be the thing that transforms him from a young Steve Trachsel to a Mike Scott circa 1986.
Enough of Maine; the story today was the hitting (finally!). Jose Reyes — who has been blistering the ball for a few weeks now — went 3-3 with two walks, his 30th double, and 3 RBI in bringing his average back up to .300.
Remarkably, the only position player in the starting lineup without a multi-hit game was the previously red-hot Endy Chavez, though even his lone hit produced both a run and an RBI. David Wright had three hits and three RBI, including his 25th homer and fifth triple of the season. Shawn Green looked good, too, going 2-4 with a walk and his 30th double, a deep blast to dead-center. He seems to be waiting better, and seeing the ball better, and his timing couldn’t be more perfect; how nice would it be for both Green and Floyd to catch fire in say, a week from now?
Lastings Milledge had a 2-5 day with two RBI and a double, cementing his spot on the postseason roster. Make no mistake, Omar and Willie will forcefeed him into the playoffs … which is fine, considering the alternative is Ricky Ledee.
Lost in all the excitement was the performance of Royce Ring, who threw one inning, 15 pitches, and gave up just one hit. More importantly, he looked very confident, and threw a good amount of strikes (10). It’s too late to make the playoff roster, but this last week is a great time to build a foundation for next year. He still has a chance to develop into a decent LOOGY.
Guillermo Mota finally gave up another run, but still struck out two in his one inning. It was kind of a relief, because you had to figure he’d give up a run eventually, and we don’t want it to be in October.
Aaron Heilman, on the other hand, remains perfect. I’ll now be rooting for him to allow a run before the end of the season, as, again, we don’t want the inevitable happening two weeks from now.
Billy Wagner did his part, giving up three hits and his last earned run of 2006.