Reds 4 Mets 2
El Duque threw a borderline marvelous game. However, Bronson Arroyo threw much better.
Just what has gotten into Arroyo this year? His whole career, he’s been consistently inconsistent. One day, he looks like a young Kevin Brown, the next game, he looks like an old Kevin Kobel. This year, he’s been more Brown than Kobel. Against the Mets, he was fabulous, and from the first inning you could see the confidence oozing out of his pores. He’s not necessarily dominant, but his confidence plus his command makes it very difficult to get good pitches and take good swings.
To El Duque’s credit, he matched Arroyo’s performance until the seventh — though it seemed that it took him more effort. A bomb by Junior Griffey put an end to that.
Was this a bad game? Not really … more frustrating. It was merely a case of the Mets bats facing a very tough righthander who is in the middle of a career year.
Carlos Beltran hit a monster shot in the ninth to keep hopes alive, but those hopes were dashed after a strikeout by Delgado and quick outs by Valentin and Nady (David Wright snuck in a single in between).
Is it me, or is David Wright swinging and missing a lot lately? I think he’s guessing more than normal, especially as I’ve noticed him swinging at more first pitches in the last week or so. With the way he’s hitting, I’m sure it’s not a bad thing, just an observance.
Fascinating to me that Mr. Willie chose to give Xavier Nady his first start since coming off the DL against a tough breaking-ball pitcher like Arroyo. Firstly, Nady can’t hit anything moving away from him when he’s 100%, much less when he’s just coming off an appendectomy. And though Lastings Milledge has looked fairly frightening himself against breaking balls, it might have been a good experience for him. Comparing apples to apples at the plate, I’ll take Lastings’ defense and speed over Nady in a heartbeat. Willie also could have started Stache in the OF and Woody at 2B. Granted, Nady had to make his comeback start eventually, but I might have given him a slightly easier pitcher to face. It’s hard enough coming off the DL, and to have to face a guy like Arroyo, who Nady didn’t have a prayer against, could be detrimental to the psyche and hitting mechanics. Or maybe I just want to see Lastings out there ….
Speaking of, I wonder how much longer Lastings will be with us. It appears that he’ll be around until Cliffy comes off the DL, but one must wonder if he’ll stay beyond that. I smell a trade in the works, and wouldn’t be surprised to see Nady go. Washington Nationals GM Jim Bowden listed the Mets as a possible trade partner in Sunday’s Washington Post. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Jose Vidro and/or Livan Hernandez come our way, in return for a package of Nady, Victor Diaz, a fringe prospect like Chase Lambin and a couple arms such as Evan Maclane and Henry Owens. But hey, I’m not starting any rumors, it’s all speculation …
Tuesday night the Reds will trot out Elizardo Ramirez against Steve Trachsel. I don’t like this matchup, mostly because Ramirez is a young pitcher that the Mets have never seen before, and that is exactly the type of hurler that has given the Metropolitans severe trouble this year (and last year, and the year before). Oh, and then there’s the fact we’re throwing Trax, and who knows which one will show up: Dr. Trachsel or Mr. Horrendous.