Game 21: Win
Mets 9 Giants 7
Whew … we almost blew this one. At the end of the eighth inning, with a 7-5 lead and Billy’s inning coming up, this one seemed in the bag. It seemed all the more guaranteed when there were two out in the ninth. That is, until Barry Fathead crushed a (supposedly) 99-MPH fastball from Billy the Kid.
With two outs and first base open, there were questions as to why Mr. Willie didn’t put Juiceboy on, especially since he called an intentional walk in the first inning two games before. However, Wagner has a great history vs. Barry, and there is no doubt in my mind that he would have retired Mr. HGH if only he threw the ball inside. Instead, Wagner tossed a chest-high fastball over the middle-out part of the plate. I don’t care if he threw it 79, 99, or 199; if you give a Major League hitter a straight fastball, chest high, over the middle of the plate, there’s a good chance you’ll suffer from whiplash as you turn and watch the ball deposited over the fence behind you.
So to the sportscasters and ESPN “analysts” and others who were gushing about how “amazing” Barry Bonds is, to hit a pinch-hit homerun off of Billy Wagner: please shut up and stop with the shock. First of all, Billy Wagner is human, and this isn’t the last homerun he’ll give up this year. Secondly, I very much doubt Wagner’s pitch was really 99 MPH for two reasons: 1. Wagner hasn’t touched even 95 yet this year; and 2. the last pitch of the game by Darren Oliver — who’s lucky to break 85 — registered 98 on the Giants’ TV gun. And thirdly, Barry Bonds was one of the top 3 hitters in all of baseball without the juice; with the juice he’s an Xbox-type freak of nature playing against Lilliputian little leaguers, so he better damn well hit homeruns at will.
OK, enough of the steroid-driven ranting. Back to the game.
Jose Valentin still stinks, though at least we’ve discovered he can lay down a bunt Yippee. I still want to sign Lenny Harris. Or Danny Heep.
Enough with this Carlos Beltran crap. Put him on the DL already, and bring back Victor Diaz. Even if you won’t start Diaz, I’d rather see him as the top pinch hitter before Valentin.
Kaz Matsui is still looking good. If he can play at this level when he returns to Shea, he’ll not only endear the fans, but he’ll also have the 2B job for the rest of the year. There’s no way that no-hit AHern is a better option than a Matsui who is making the plays, batting around .270, and stealing bases.
Although Darren Oliver pitched two scoreless innings, I still would prefer to see Heath Bell in the bullpen. As it appears that the Mets will not ever demote Jorge Jorrible, Oliver needs to go.
Brian Bannister seems doomed to never get past the fifth inning, this time suffering from a pulled hammy while scoring from second. Bannister, however, is making a case to be the first bat off the bench, as he looks a lot better than Valentin at the plate.
Speaking of Bannister, if he goes on the DL, John Maine must come up. If he doesn’t go on the DL, John Maine must come up and Victor Zambrano get sent down. Maine’s ERA at Norfolk is in the low 3’s and he is already on the 40-man roster. Let’s give him a shot.
Cliff Floyd didn’t get any hits but is still hitting the ball damn hard. I predict a monster series vs. the Braves. We’ll need it.
Carlos Delgado rocks. He is hands-down the best cleanup hitter we’ve had here since Straw.
Quick note: Mike Pelfrey was promoted from A to AA this week. Will he be the next Mark Prior, and be at Shea after the All-Star break?