Archive: June 9th, 2006

Game 60: Win

Mets 10 Diamondbacks 6

The Mets scored early and they scored late. Rick Down should be a happy, content, secure man right now.

This was a big win, as tomorrow the Mets have to face Brandon Webb, and we know the Mets’ issues with pitchers named Brandon. For a team who was supposed to be concerned with the toughest road trip of the year, they’re sure doing OK.

Steve Trachsel’s Jekyll and Hyde routine has been going on his entire career; one night he’s throwing seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball, the next start he can’t get out of the second inning. Tonight, he was given a comfortable, early lead, which was extended to a very comfortable lead. Yet still, he walked six batters in five and one-third, exhausting over 100 pitches in the process. You really have to wonder what is going on in the head of a Major League pitcher who is walking the world when he is up by five or six runs. Throw the ball over the f#$%&ing plate ! I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Trachsel pitches just well enough to lose. In other words, he’s externally motivated, and his level of intensity and quality are dependent upon the conditions around him. If Mark Mulder throws eight innings of shutout ball, he’ll turn it up a notch and give up one run in seven innings; if the Mets give him a five-run lead, he’ll find a way to give up four. He’s been this way his entire career, and ain’t nuthin’ changin’ anytime soon.

Carlos Beltran remains a man on fire … as does David Wright. If these two guys keep banging balls over the fence in the first inning, this is going to be a smooth season. Beltran hits them out early and hits them out late, and when he hits them, there’s no question: they are bombs. The biggest difference I see between this year and last is his patience and pitch selection. Last year, with the pressure of the contract on his shoulders, he seemed to press, and he definitely was over-aggressive, swinging at pitches early in the count and often out of the strike zone. My guess is that he felt he had to carry the team, and swung at pitches he otherwise would let go, thinking that if he didn’t get the big hit, no one else would. This year, it’s much different: Cliff Floyd came into 2006 after a career-year 2005; David Wright blossomed as a star, and is becoming a superstar; and of course, Carlos Delgado—one of the most feared batters in MLB—hits right behind him (anyone notice a correlation between these boppers and the killer B’s he hit in front of in Houston?). This year, Beltran lets a lot of pitches go by, preferring to take his hacks at the pitches HE likes, rather than the pitcher’s pitch. The results have been outstanding: Beltran is on course to hit almost 50 home runs and drive in over 120 RBI this year. Oh, and look: his average is slowly creeping toward .300.

BTW, Beltran still rarely smiles, and his facial hair still sucks, but his English is 100% better than last year.

Interesting stat: David Wright has zero home runs when batting with runners in scoring position (29 of his 42 RBI have come with RISP). That’s a great indication of a guy who knows how to drive in runs: with men on, he obviously cuts his swing down and simply tries to put the ball into the outfield.

It’s official: Carlos Delgado is back. In addition to the fact that he is now making solid contact, he is driving the ball to dead-center and the opposite field, a clear indication that he is waiting on the ball and hitting the way he’s supposed to. That’s scary news for opposing pitchers, who have their hands full with Wright and Beltran. When Cliff Floyd comes back and starts banging, this will be one deadly lineup.

Hey, even without Floyd, the Mets currently have the best lineup in New York !

Aaron Heilman’s arm angle is still too low. And I noticed him shaking his arm after releasing the ball, something I never noticed before. I really hope I’m wrong about his mechanics being off. If I’m correct, I want Rick Peterson hanged, Mr. Willie shot, and Omar executed by Chinese water torture.

And speaking of bullpen arms falling off, Dirty Duaner held the fort but not before walking two people. It’s becoming more apparent that Mr. Willie has already destroyed his bullpen.

By the way, it was very cool to see Pedro giving Dirty advice and tips in the dugout during the top of the ninth. The jacket eventually came by and gave his peace as well.

Ron Darling, when talking about complete games and the old days, said that when he first got to the Mets, he looked at the back of a Mel Stottlemyre baseball card and was amazed that he had “31, 28, 29 … complete games, year in and year out …” Um, Ronnie, first of all, a Topps card from the 1960s probably didn’t list complete games, and secondly, Mel completed more than 20 games only once in his career (24, in 1969). That’s OK, we got the drift of your point … but stop talking out of your ass !

Sad to see Kaz go, but I’m also happy because he will get a fresh start in Colorado. After two years of throwing things at the TV and cursing out Mets management for being so stupid to sign Matsui, I had a completely different outlook in 2006, and found myself pulling for him. He was a guy who hit rock bottom in New York — and you can’t fall much further than that — yet still came back with a smile, working hard, acknowledging his poor performance, and trying his best to make good. There’s something to be said about a man who can go as far down as he did, in the spotlight of NYC, and still fight back. I wish him the best of luck in Colorado, and expect to see good things from him out there.