Game 107: Win Over Brewers
Mets 8 Brewers 5
Willie’s played about a hundred hunches this year, and, finally, one paid off.
Instead of penciling Lastings Milledge into the “8” hole — both on the field and in the lineup — he instead wrote “Marlon Anderson” in the sixth spot of the order, and “CF” next to his name. Anderson repaid the insanity by driving in four runs in his first two at-bats, including a three-run homer that put the Mets ahead 7-5 in the third and chased starter Claudio Vargas from the ballgame.
Anderson had singled in Carlos Delgado the inning before, and Ramon Castro followed with a two-run bomb that put the Mets ahead 4-3. Milwaukee answered by jumping ahead to a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the second via a walk, two singles, and an atrocious error by Shawn “Flipper” Green, who inexplicably dove for a blooper he had no chance of catching and let it bounce over his head and to the outfield wall behind him.
Green made up for the gaffe — sort of — by blasting a solo homer over the right-centerfield wall in the sixth to extend the lead to 8-5.
Oliver Perez had a strong performance, despite allowing five runs. He pitched six innings, threw 115 pitches, and gave up five hits, three walks, one homer, four earned runs, and struck out 11. If you watched the game, he was a lot more dominating than the boxscore might suggest. I’m still not sure how those five runs scored … though I vaguely remember a three-run homer by the Pillsbury Doughboy in the first inning.
After blowing Tom Glavine’s shot at his 300th career victory, Guillermo Mota came on in relief to pitch two perfect innings. Maybe Willie should put him out there to start innings more often — he seems fine as long as there aren’t any runners on base.
Billy Wagner struggled in the ninth, allowing two singles and throwing 24 pitches, but grinded out his 25th save in 26 chances.
Good thing Marlon hit that bomb in the third. I was throwing things at the TV when third base umpire Chad Fairchild (huh … same schmuck with the tiny strike zone) called Carlos Delgado out on the swing in the previous at-bat. In case you missed it, the count was 2-2, and an inside pitch looked like it grazed Delgado’s forearm as he started to swing, then stopped and tried to get out of the way of the ball. While he was getting out of the way, he dropped the bat behind him before his hands came forward — it looked like it might have dropped right on top of the catcher’s foot. If anything, it should have been called a hit-by-pitch, at the very least a ball. However, the plate umpire asked Fairchild for help and he was only too happy to punch him out. That guy must have grown up a Braves fan. Interestingly, Willie Randolph remained on the bench, and didn’t bother to argue. A minute later, Moises Alou grounded out to third (a fantastic play by Ryan Braun, BTW), so within sixty seconds the Mets went from possibly having bases loaded and none out to two out and men on second and third.
Guillermo Mota was working much more quickly than normal in this game. Perhaps a suggestion by Rick Peterson to pick up the tempo forces Mota to think less and just throw? With the kind of talent Mota has, his lack of success can be due only to whatever is going on in his head. If speeding up his rhythm helps him to be more effective, I say, “zip, zip, my friend!”
Gary Cohen has pointed a few times in the last few games, the fact that batters watch the ball on the ground as they run down the first base line after a bunt. It’s a valid point — what the heck are these guys doing? After the ball comes off the bat, put your head down and run like there’s a rabid pitbull on your butt until you’re two steps past the first base bag. End of story.
Am I crazy, or did I hear “Hava Nagila” played sporadically in Miller Park during the game? It was never played when Shawn Green — or any other Jewish player — was at-bat, though it seemed to be played at least twice when Oliver Perez came to bat (a coincidence, I’m sure). Now I know that the Brewers ownership — the Seligs — are Jewish, but I wonder how many Milwaukee fans are wearing yarmulkes under their cheeseheads? (That can’t be kosher.) Personally, I’d like to hear “Hava Nagila” played at Shea when Green comes to bat — much the way “Volare” is played when LoDuca’s up — and am not being critical of it being played in Milwaukee. Rather, I’m curious, as I thought the city was at least 95% Christian.
Julio Franco was DFA’d by the Braves to make room for Octavio Dotel, so the Mets have a chance to claim him on waivers and return him to the role of “big-mouth cranky useless ancient guy”. My guess is they’ll pass.
The series finale pits newly promoted Brian Lawrence against Chris Capuano in a 2:05 PM start. Catch it on MLB.com while at work or feign sickness from bad meatloaf at the caf and rush home to see it on SNY. (Or, record it with your DVR / Tivo.)