Game 58: Win
Mets 9 Dodgers 7
This was a win the Mets needed. They have entered the most grueling road trip of the season, and to start it off with a series win is vital to positive momentum the rest of the way through.
The Mets exploded for four runs in the first inning, as Odalis Perez looked as though he was pitching batting practice. Armed with a rare lead as he toed the runner in the bottom of the first, Tommy Glavine promptly gave up a leadoff homer to Rafael Furcal. Though he settled down quickly and got out of the first frame without any more damage, the second inning was another story, as he gave up another homer to Furcal and four runs total, thereby eliminating the original lead.
In the fourth inning, the Mets scored two runs to pull ahead again, and again Glavine gave up a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, this time to Jose Cruz, Jr., to allow the Dodgers within one. However, Glavine eventually pulled himself together, and kept the Mets ahead before exiting in the sixth.
Once again, the Mets showed gumption and tenacity in continuing to fight back. Though the Dodgers have a similar record, the Mets look like the better of the two clubs. If Pedro didn’t have such a poor outing, this easily could have been a sweep. At the same time, the Dodgers’ youngsters look great; it’s nice to see LA going back to the old formula of using their top young talent at the ML level — a formula which served them so well going back to the 1970s and 80s. This is a team to be reckoned with now and through the next five years at least.
It’s official: Lastings Milledge has arrived. Xavier Nady, please pack your bags; you’re on your way somewhere in return for an arm. Milledge has proven that he can hit big-league pitching, and his play in the outfield is outstanding. In addition to his remarkable assist nailing Nomar in the eighth, he also got to several balls in a hurry earlier in the game, keeping runners from considering extra bases.
For someone who hasn’t lost confidence in Kaz Matsui, and who asserted that Matsui hadn’t lost his job (well, until he announced Stache as the starter), it sure seemed strange that Willie Randolph refrained from writing Matsui’s name when penning the starting lineup in this game. With the lefty Perez starting, Mr. Willie opted to go with Jose “Stone Hand Luke” Valentin at 2B and lefthanded-hitting Endy Chavez in RF. Strange. Randolph usually follows the lefty-righty thing as if it were a federal law, and here was an opportunity to give Kaz a start at second, put Valentin in the outfield, and not only have an extra righthanded / switch-hitting bat in the lineup, but match up a little stronger defensively in the infield. If Kaz isn’t starting in this situation, in what kind of game will he? This was a clear indictment that Matsui is finished as a starter, and I’m not understanding it. Just when Kaz looked like he was on the way back, playing excellent defense, and making good contact, he’s sent to the dumpster. Though I’ll admit he wasn’t hitting very well in RISP situations, in the last five games he started, he was hitting bullets all over the field, right at people. It was only a matter of time before the balls started dropping. Relegated to pinch-hitting duties, he may never find his stroke again.
Jae Seo not only took Duaner Sanchez’s place in the Dodger bullpen, he took his glasses, too. Interestingly, Seo sports the eyewear on the mound but not at the plate.
Speaking of Sanchez, something does not look right about him. I’m not sure if it’s overthrowing, or an inconsistent release point, but he does not look like he did in April and the early part of May. I wonder if he is suffering from a sore or strained arm, and is trying to use his hips and legs more to propel the pitch. He also has a different look on his face: it’s almost fear. Rather than throwing pitches with conviction, he appears to be releasing the ball and hoping it goes to the right place. He had way more confidence at the beginning of the season.
Gosh it’s nice to have Billy Wagner closing games … even though he’s blown a few, there is such a strong feeling that the game is over when he enters … something we never felt with Braden Looper last year.
I am absolutely certain that Nomar Garciaparra’s honker is bigger than Jose Valentin’s … though I’m trying to figure out whether Jose’s stache makes it appear smaller or larger than it really is.a