Mets Game 96: Win Over Dodgers
How the Mets were unable to score more than one run against Brett Tomko is beyond comprehension. But whatever.
The boys from Flushing managed one measly run off Brett Tomko, in the first inning — and it was unearned. After Jose Reyes grounded out back to Tomko to open the game, Marlon Anderson hit a fly ball in between Luis Gonzalez and Juan Pierre that Pierre called for, but allowed to drop when Gonzo was still charging toward his skinny bones. Two batters later, David Wright lined a base hit up the middle to score Anderson and take the early 1-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long, as Nomar Garciaparra led off the bottom of the second with a homerun to tie the game. The score stayed that way until the eighth frame.
In the top of the eighth inning, Roberto Hernandez showed us precisely why the Mets didn’t re-sign him for their bullpen (after being released by the Indians). Jose Reyes led off with a double down the leftfield line, and was bunted to third by Marlon Anderson. However, Bert fielded the bunt and threw it up the rightfield line, allowing Reyes to score. The next batter, Carlos Beltran, hit a bomb into the right-center seats make the score 4-1 Mets.
Oliver Perez pitched into the eighth, but was removed after giving up a one-out single to Russell Martin. Joe Smith came on to face Jeff Kent, and got the ground ball, but Jose Reyes was playing too far to the left to get a glove on it, and it trickled into centerfield to put runners on first and second. Had Reyes been just one step more to his left, the grounder would have been an easy double play. Smith was removed and replaced by Pedro Feliciano to face the lefthanded hitting Luis Gonzalez. Feliciano induced a groundball back to the box, and started the double play — however, Gonzo was called safe at first (the stop-motion replay showed he was out by hair, but a tough call to the naked eye at full speed). No big deal, as Nomar followed with an easy fly ball to Carlos Beltran to end the inning.
Billy Wagner came on in the ninth to protect the lead, and knocked down the Dodgers 1-2-3 for his 21st save. He is so money it’s ridiculous.
Oliver Perez struck out 8, walked 3, and gave up 6 hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings. An outstanding performance.
Perez was taking his time with his full-windup delivery. If you watched closely, you would have noticed that he got his knee up to the balance point, and would hold it there for half a second before continuing with his stride. I’ve noticed this in about a half dozen other starts, and it seems to be an effective technique for him in gathering his weight before moving forward — which leads to a more consistent delivery and release point. Obviously, he can’t make that pause with runners on base, but from the windup it looks good and seems to help quite a bit.
Jose Valentin fouled a ball hard off the middle of his shin and fractured his tibia. Now, anyone who has followed this blog knows I’ve been pining for more playing time for Ruben Gotay, but not in a thousand years did I want it to happen this way. Valentin is a hard-playing, all-around ballplayer, and his presence on the field will be sorely missed. It seemed like Valentin was just starting to get back into the groove, after working so hard to come back from the knee injury, and now this. Tough break (pardon the pun) for a good guy.
Jorge Sosa faces Brad Penny in a 3:55 PM EST start in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon. We’re going to bank on the theory that Penny is at the start of another second-half slide. Unfortunately, the game will be carried on FOX — so you may want to mute the TV and tune your AM radio to 660.