Game 51: Loss
Diamondbacks 7 Mets 2
So much for Soler.
Alay Soler really looks to have good stuff, a decent head on his shoulders, and good command. Unfortunately, the Arizona hitters took a liking to his pitching and battered him around for most of the five innings he performed.
Even taking away the homerun by Eric Byrnes — which again was a nine-iron shot off a pitch about an inch off the ground — Soler got hit pretty hard. Not sure what the issue is, but I’m guessing he’s either getting too much of the middle of the plate or his fastballs don’t move much, because he seems to have pretty good command of his pitches and changes speeds well.
Of course, it could just be the issue that he is still a AA pitcher, and not yet ready for prime time.
The problem, however, is that he needs to be, and this fact was struck home even stronger with the placement of Brian Bannister on the 60-day DL. That does not bode well, considering the only options left for the Mets are John Maine, who is just starting to come back from his finger injury (and still an unknown quantity), and newly acquired Dave Williams, whose ERA was over seven before being DFA’s by the Reds. Hopefully, Soler will bounce back and prove to be at least more effective than the Jeremi Gonzalez-Jose Lima debacle that we were forced to endure.
On the other side of the field, Miguel Batista did something that Mr. Willie has never seen before, and probably will never allow a starting pitcher to do in 2006: complete a game. Yes, that’s right, here it is in the 21st century, and somehow, some way, perhaps with the aid of modern medicine, synthetic designer supplements, and/or the grace of God Himself, a pitcher threw an entire nine-inning game. Randolph, of course, was shocked, flabbergasted, and in complete awe of this remarkable human specimen / freak named Miguel Batista. And unbelievably, Batista threw 124 pitches in his effort! No doubt Mr. Willie is wondering whether D’Backs manager Bob Melvin will be shot — or at least publicly flogged — for allowing a fragile professional arm to endure so many pitches in one evening.
Cliff Floyd and Jose Valentin were the only bright spots, both going two-for-four on the day with extra-base hits (Valentin a home run). The other interesting aspect of the game was the MLB debut of Lastings Milledge, who smashed a line-shot out to the shortstop in his first at-bat and later collected his first ML hit, a double, in the seventh. While it’s doubtful Milledge will remain on the big-league roster when Xavier Nady returns from his appendectomy, Lastings did exhibit his trademark lightning-quick hands, and showed the raw tools that predict future stardom.
Lost in the Lastings promotion is Victor Diaz, who was ignored when Nady went down. Is this Omar and Willie sending a message to Vic?
Wednesday night should be a barn-burner: Brandon Webb vs. Pedro Martinez. My prediction: Pedro tosses 7 innings of shutout ball, matching a one-run-allowed performance by Webb (the only run a solo homer by David Wright). Pedro is taken out for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh, as he has already thrown 101 pitches. Webb stays in the game and gets the win, as the Mets’ bullpen blows another Pedro masterpiece and the Mets lose, 4-1.