Game 59: Win
Mets 7 Diamondbacks 1
I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime (OK, I didn’t think I’d see it in 2006): a complete game by a New York Mets pitcher.
El Duque was magnificent, not only with the quality of his pitches but the efficiency of his pitches; he shut out the D’Backs through the first six innings on only 66 pitches, then extended it through eight innings on 98 pitches. Perhaps he had a chat with the master of efficiency, Pedro Martinez. His slow bender was spotted for strikes all night, as batters let it drop in or waved weakly at it.
Other than El Duque, there wasn’t a whole lot of excitement, at least, not after the third inning, when the Mets bursted out of the gate with four runs. Hernandez threw lots of strikes, the Mets made great plays in the field, and it was overall a very solid, well-played game: the kind of boring win that the Atlanta Braves used to pile up routinely in years past. It was a nice break from all the cardiac comebacks of the last few weeks.
Carlos Beltran is beginning to earn his big contract. He blasted a homer in the third, stole a base, and glided effortlessly from first to third twice in the game. He does it all, and he does it with a remarkable silence; it seems like all his damage is done early in games, and then you forget how the Mets got the lead.
Jose Valentin is LOCKED IN. He’s hitting hard line drives all over the place, driving in runs, and forcing my foot so far down my throat that my pinky toe is tickling my tonsils.
Endy Chavez poked two weak singles that generated three RBI. He may not hit for much power, but he puts the bat on the ball, and that’s all you have to do when there’s a runner on third.
Lastings Milledge ripped a double down the third base line early in the game, and though he didn’t get another hit in the game, he continued to hit the ball hard (though right at people); I believe the term is “frozen rope”. This kid’s hands are lightning, and the ball explodes off his bat. If he ever learns to trust his hands, and go to right field once in a while, he will win a batting title; his raw skills are that good. It will be frightening to think of the Mets lineup two or three years from now, with he, Reyes, and Wright starting things off.
BTW: Ninth inning, seven-nothing lead: why is Jose Valentin playing second base? Explain, please ? Do we not have a superior second baseman named Kaz Matsui, who is rotting on the bench?