Game 8: Win
Mets 13 Nationals 4
Before the season, there was talk of a New York team scoring over 1000 runs this year, and possibly breaking the all-time record for runs scored in a season. Of course, that team was the Yankees, but if the first eight games of the season is any indication, there could very well be TWO New York teams vying for that record.
Once again, David Wright was the star, with three hits, including a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored. Carlos Beltran hit another bomb, and it’s looking like he is on a mission to erase the disappointing 2005 season. Cliff Floyd also had a couple hits, including a double, and it looks like he’s finally got his timing and is out of his slump. Reyes continues to hit the ball with authority, even when he makes out; everything he’s hit has been hit hard. Even Chris Woodward, who got his first start of the season at second base, had two hits and three RBI, hitting in Paul LoDuca’s #2 spot in the order (Ramon Castro caught and batted 8th). Which gives you a glimpse as to how much more powerful this lineup could be if you had Woody or Keppinger at 2B at batting 8th, instead of AHern. True enough, Hernandez has been spraying singles here and there so far, but I still don’t see him hitting enough to stay here.
If there was a negative today, it was Victor Zambrano, whose 2006 debut was underwhelming: five innings, six hits, 4 walks, 3 earned runs. He threw a total of 87 pitches in five innings, 47 for strikes (compare that to Pedro’s performance yesterday: 85 pitches, 55 for strikes, in 7 IP). It’s only his first start, and he’s undoubtedly rusty, but I just can’t stomach the way this guy pitches: deliberately, at a slow pace, with too many balls. I don’t care how much his ball moves, or how much talent he has, it’s unfair to the fielders to put this guy out there as a starter and force them to endure five innings of frustration. It’s a surprise the fielders don’t fall asleep, waiting for something to happen. As great as Heilman is in the pen, I’d still rather see him switch places with Zambrano. I truly believe that forcing Zambrano to throw only one or two innings at a time, and cutting his repertoire down to two pitches, would produce an effective reliever. The idea of him starting and laboring on the mound (the way Al Leiter did at the end of his career) needs to be re-thought. Put Heilman in the rotation, and you’ll have a solid 6-8 inning guy, and won’t need to worry about shortening his games. Put Zambrano in the pen, make him strictly a sinker-slider guy, and you’ve got essentially another Heilman who can be effective vs. righties and lefties. But then, what do I know? I’m just a whiny know-nothing blogger.
Jorge Julio was given another chance, and looked so-so … which is better than awful, so we’ll consider this a step in the right direction. He was lighting up the gun at 97 MPH consistently, but left one outside to Nick Johnson, who promptly dumped it over the left-center fence. Matthew LeCroy was sitting on a first-pitch fastball, and smashed it down the leftfield line for a double. In the end, Julio gave up just those two hits and struck out two, but walked off the mound with a completely dejected look; he truly wears his heart on his sleeve. It makes you think that maybe this guy needs to go down to AAA and develop some maturity. Bring back Heath Bell !