Mets Game 96: Win Over Astros
Mets 10 Astros 3
Who said the Mets couldn’t win MLB games sending out a lineup like that?
For once, everything that could go right, went right. Heck, even David Wright was finally, right — right over the fence, that is.
The Mets offense exploded for 9 runs in the first six innings, and tacked on another one in the final frame to annilihate the Astros in front of a capacity crowd.
In addition to the offensive output, the defense was equally stellar, highlighted by outstanding plays from Angel Pagan and Luis Castillo that kept the Astros grounded.
Also inspiring was the performance of young Jonathan Niese, who allowed one measly run on four hits and two walks over seven solid innings. Other than a shaky first inning — likely due to nerves — Niese was masterful.
When I said everything went right, I meant everything. By blowing out the Astros with an offensive onslaught, the implausible DL’ing of Gary Sheffield was completely forgotten. Had the Mets lost 1-0, you can bet that move would have been the focus of the postgame interviews.
Dan Murphy hit two doubles and drove in a run out of the cleanup spot. Dan Murphy, in the cleanup spot. Yeah.
No less than five Mets had two hits apiece; they rapped a dozen all told.
Angel Pagan is a man on fire, and seems determined to prove that he belongs in the big leagues as an everyday player. Maybe the Mets should trade him while he’s on this hot streak and his value is higher than it will ever be.
In addition to his sixth homerun, David Wright saw 30 pitches in five plate appearances, walking twice. That was three times as many pitches seen by the usually patient Danny Murphy.
Jeff Francoeur is delivering everything the Mets expected and then some. If only they had his homerun bat from the beginning of the season, they might be ten games back instead of eleven.
Omir Santos and Cory Sullivan did an outstanding job of executing a hit-and-run in the top of the fourth, leading to Sullivan scoring on a DP ball a few moments later. Strangely enough, I’ve seen the about as many hit-and-runs this month from the Mets as I’ve seen homeruns.
Also interesting, Santos is providing both small ball and the long ball lately — he hit his second homerun in as many nights, and is now tied for team lead for homers in July. Dollars to donuts says he sits on Sunday, though, since it’s a day game and Brian Schneider’s getting rusty.
Jon Niese in the postgame interview reminded me of Jamie Don Weeks of Long Gone (which was an AWESOME baseball movie, btw).
Very bizarre to see John Franco relieving Bobby Ojeda in the SNY postgame show; it was kind of like time travel or a Strat-O-Matic game. Note to John: your preparation is appreciated. However, we know that “good pitching, good fielding, and good offense wins games”, and we know that a pitcher needs to throw strikes to keep the defense alert, and we can see how many batters Jon Niese retired in a row, and we know how many games out of the wild card the Mets are, etc. What we want from you is the MLB player’s perspective. For example, what does an MLB pitcher think about with a big lead? How does he keep from getting too complacent? What is it like for a young kid to have a game like this after coming back from the minors? How might a young pitcher attack a lineup like the Astros’, which has a number of aggressive hitters? That kind of thing. Leave the details and numbers to Gary Apple.
Next Mets Game
The series finale occurs at 2:05 PM EST on Sunday afternoon. Livan Hernandez faces Brian Moehler. Wow … Hampton, Ortiz, and Moehler in the rotation, and the ‘stros are in third place, four games over .500, and one game out of first.