Mets 8 Diamondbacks 7
Bottom of the ninth, tie game, bases loaded, no outs, Carlos Delgado at the plate, David Wright on deck … if you’re the visiting pitcher, how do you get out of it ?
The answer is obvious: you don’t.
The only question was who was going to do it to you. As it turned out, David Wright was the hero — or at least one of them; you have to give huge credit to both Endy Chavez and Jose Reyes for their heroics in tying the game.
Delgado, by the way, had a godawful at-bat, especially in that situation (pitcher struggling, infield drawn in, all pressure on the pitcher). He is really struggling lately … in fact, he is in the exact same place Cliff Floyd was in a week ago: over aggressive, flying open, ahead of everything. Delgado has been known to go the other way, and you could tell by the weak, foul popups in various at-bats that he is trying to go to left to break out of the slump. However, his front shoulder is flying up and open so quickly on the pitch, he can’t keep the hands back to drive through the ball. No biggie, he’ll figure it out soon and start mashing the ball all over the place again.
Three amazing things in the ninth inning: first, how did Endy Chavez NOT get a triple out of that drive past LGonzo? I’m guessing the wet basepaths slowed him down. Secondly, how did Jose Reyes NOT get a sac bunt down? As it was, neither issue mattered, as Reyes came through with another clutch hit RBI, driving in Chavez from second with a single. But finally, how is it that the D-Backs keep LGonzo out there in left field to finish the game? Do they not have a late-inning defensive replacement?
I nearly expected Mr. Willie to tell Paul LoDuca to bunt Reyes to second, despite his being already 3-4 on the night and red hot. Thanks, Willie!
Poor Steve Trachsel pitched what Mets officials consider a “good outing”: six innings, four runs … yet he was unable to grab a victory. He must feel like Pedro Martinez, whose last four outings were slightly better than Trax’s, and yet the Mets lost all four.
Now that Aaron Heilman is clearly ineffective as the seventh-inning reliever, it may be time to start thinking about finding him another role somewhere on the staff, as he does seem to show flashes of skill and competence. Since Darren Oliver appears entrenched as the Mets’ top mopup reliever, Mr. Willie might have to consider banishing Heilman to the starting rotation (perish the thought!).
I know, I know, it’s only been a few poor outings in a row for Heilman, and I may be a little overanxious in moving him out of the ‘pen. However, as we all know, the bullpen is the Mets’ strength, and the most valuable component on the team. If Heilman continues to give up hits and runs in his relief outings, Mr. Willie will have no choice but to get him out of there. Maybe Omar Minaya can pull off a blockbuster deal for a good seventh-inning reliever, such as Ray King or Scot Shields. Sure, it may cost us a Lastings Milledge, but we’ve got to fill that hole, and fast. Who knows, with the Royals in such disarray, maybe we can pry away Elmer Dessens, in a straight-up deal for Mike Pelfrey (Pelfrey doesn’t look to have much potential anyway; the Mets envision his future as a starter).
Tuesday night will be Alay Soler vs. Miguel Batista. It should be fun to watch Soler again; I’m rooting for him and hoping he is the real deal. Who knows, he may pitch effectively enough to be promoted to the bullpen!