Game 159: Win
Mets 7 Braves 4
The final score separated the two teams by only three runs, but it was never that close.
Finally, the postseason Mets showed up for a game, led by our new No. 1 starter Orlando Hernandez. El Duque put in quite a performance, dominating the Braves over five innings. He threw way too many pitches, but it looked like he might have been squeezed by the home plate ump (it was going both ways — both Braves catcher Brian McCann and manager Bobby Cox were tossed early for arguing balls and strikes), and the Mets were a little sloppy in the field, allowing the Braves a few extra outs.
El Duque allowed only three hits and no earned runs and struck out nine in those five innings, and even though he was up to 100 pitches, it looked like he’d have been fine pitching another 3-4 innings if this were a playoff game. Now is a great time for him to be hitting his stride, especially with the news that Pedro is gone for 2006.
Speaking of hitting stride, the two Carloses are heating up just in time. Delgado drove in four with two doubles, and Beltran mashed his 41st dinger of the year. BTW, Beltran must hit one more homerun and erase Todd Hundley from the Mets’ record book; it’s time to replace the louses with legitimate players.
In the same vein, Jose Reyes needs three more stolen bases to break Roger Cedeno’s record. Getting Reyes and Beltran to reach these milestons isn’t really that important, but it will be nice to see our young guns start to litter their names all over the Mets’ record book; it helps validate the ushering in of the “new” Mets era.
Shawn Green did not have any hits, but he looked very comfortable at the plate and hit the ball hard a few times. It appears that he is seeing the ball well, and is waiting longer on balls that he was previously ahead of. And though he’s sitting back nicely, it seems that he’s recognizing inside pitches in his hot zone to jerk into the right-field stands. I’ll go on a limb and predict that Green will come up with some big hits next week.
Paul LoDuca continues to quietly do everything with the bat. He’s spraying the ball all over the field, getting hits, driving in runs, moving runners over — the complete package — and showing no signs of slowing down. Although he hasn’t hit many balls over the fence, he does have 38 doubles — which is second on the team and is a nice complement to his team-leading .318 average. Does anyone realize LoDuca is currently the sixth-best hitter for average in the NL ?
Friday night pits John Maine vs. Tony Armas, Jr. If Maine has a great performance, he could give Mr. Willie reason to make him the #3.