Archive: July 19th, 2006

Game 94: Loss

Reds 7 Mets 4

Steve Trachsel proved not even a Vulcan can overcome a two-hour rain delay.

Why Mr. Willie put the pointy-eared Mr. Finicky out there after such a long layoff is anybody’s guess, especially when he had both Darren Oliver and John Maine fresh and ready to go. Maybe he was confused by Trax’s moniker “The Human Rain Delay”. Or maybe he was performing an experiment and measuring the amount of lactic acid built up in two hours by a pitcher who has thrown two innings.

Whatever was going through Randolph’s mind, it certainly didn’t resemble logic nor sense. Luckily, Trachsel didn’t injure himself. It could have been so easy to tell Trax that his day was over, and he’d throw again on Saturday; he’d only thrown about 30 pitches before the game was called, and would have had no problem bouncing back in a few days.

Meantime, the Mets batters, who came out like gangbusters in the first two innings, must have had their fire extinguished by the downpour. After the delay, not one batter looked like they were interested in anything other than getting the at-bat done as quickly as possible. It wasn’t until Carlos Delgado’s double in the 8th that a Mets hitter gave some semblance of intensity. Unfortunately, his gapper was not enough to inspire his teammates, who went down 1-2-3 without much of a whimper, despite the 4-4 score. As a team, the Mets were “out of it” — physically, mentally, and emotionally. One wonders what clubhouse activities were taking place during the rain delay. Team sauna? Zen meditation? Watching Lifetime movies? Reading Homer? Powerlifting? Dope smoking? It was clear that the offense wanted no part of the game once play resumed.

I suppose we can forgive our heroes this time. After all, a rain delay can’t be easy to deal with, especially now that greenies are forbidden. The shame is that the Mets had to waste great relief pitching for a lineup that was too tired and unmotivated to score runs.

One of the major mental lapses came from Jose Reyes, whose attempt to throw out Scott Hatteberg at third base in the 8th was the turning point of the game. With one out, Reyes should have gone to first, allowing Hatteberg to man third base with two outs. Granted, Jason Larue smashed a double in the next at-bat, but maybe Duaner Sanchez pitches him differently with first and second base open and the pitcher’s spot on deck. The bottom line is that it was a poor fundamental play by Reyes, because the sac fly and infield out to score a man from third are eliminated with two outs. No reason to give the other team extra opportunities to score.

Notes

Will someone please explain to me this phenomena known as Jason Larue? He’s a stubby, slow-footed catcher, batting eighth in the lineup and batting below the Mendoza line. However, it seems like every time he comes to the plate, the Mets pitch to him like he’s Barry Bonds. He’s had about ten at-bats so far, and in at least nine of them he’s run the count to 2-0. Throw a friggin’ strike! Even Mario Mendoza would get hits if he was always two or three balls ahead on the count.

Not sure what was more frustrating … the waste of good bullpen arms in a game the batters didn’t want to win, or the loss of two hours’ sleep staying up to watch the lousy game. All I can say is thank goodness I didn’t pay for a ticket, or else I’d demand my money back. I can’t get those two hours’ sleep, back though.

Rubber game has Tommy “Dozen Win” Glavine vs. Bronson “Suddenly Sandy (Koufax)” Arroyo. Hopefully the bats will be re-motivated tomorrow … I mean, today … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Game 93: Win

Mets 8 Reds 3

Is Mike Pelfrey the answer?

For six innings, it sure looked like he might be. Of course, it was only his second ML start, and even Mr. Willie was barely interested in the results. He thoroughly downplayed Pelfrey’s performance, keeping to his “even keel” way about things, and vehemently insisted that one cannot get too excited about one or two starts by a young pitcher. And he is quite right to feel that way.

But then, Mr. Willie still won’t admit that Jose Valentin is the starting second baseman, so everything he says must be taken with a grain of salt.

As Met fans, we are allowed to be excited. Yesterday’s Pelformance began to fulfill our hopes that Mikey is the second coming of The Franchise Himself, Tom Seaver.

True enough, he threw about 90% fastballs, and many “experts” have already stated that he’ll need more than a fastball to win at this level.

However, he threw 90% fastballs and still stifled a very strong Cincinnati lineup. Which leads one to wonder how much more effective Pelfrey will be if and when he actually does establish a second or third pitch. After all, with “just” a fastball, he struck out Adam Dunn and Junior Griffey, among others, instigating 12 ground balls and allowing only 2 fly balls. He showed his breaking pitch — looks to be part slider/part curve — just enough to keep the batters guessing, and did very nicely, thank you, relying on the command of his sinking fastball and infield defense. If he can continue to pound the lower part of the strike zone with his 92-96-MPH heavy ball, all the “experts” saying he needs another pitch will change their tune to ” … he’s a lot like Brandon Webb … ” (interesting, isn’t it, that no one every says Webb needs another pitch?).

Pelfrey’s strong outing was well supported once again by the powerful Mets lineup; this time the hero was Carlos Beltran, who hit his second grand slam in as many days. Beltran turned on and cah-reamed a hanging curveball far into the upper deck in left field. His monster shot gave the Mets a five-run cushion and blew the air out of the Reds’ collective balloon. Interestingly, Reds starter Eric Milton pitched around Paul LoDuca to face Beltran, who thus far has put up weak numbers from the right side of the plate. That stuff might work with Strat-O-Matic, but unfortunately for Milton he had to face the real, live Beltran and not one-dimensional card stock; and he had to toss a real baseball rather than a pair of the dice.

Notes

Cliff Floyd went 0-4 but pounded the heck out of the ball. He is looking great.

As usual, it took only four relievers to close out innings seven through nine. All arms were effective, though it took the group a total of 60 pitches in those three innings. That said, it’s possible Mr. Willie will have to go to a combination of Heath Bell and Aaron Heilman in game two.

Crazy when you think back about 25 years, and guys like Goose Gossage pitched three full innings in one game to earn a save. Of course, the Goose didn’t always have to come back and throw the next day, as pitchers often finished what they started back then.

Speaking of the old days, Edgardo Alfonzo went oh-fer-four in his AAA debut. Those who remember Fonzie’s early days know that he skipped that level and came straight to the bigs from AA.

Steve Trachsel looks to keep his winning streak alive vs. Aaron Harang tonight. Meanwhile one wonders who the Mets are scouting tonight … Benson vs. Zito, Javy Vasquez, or Greg Maddux? Or did they see Mark Redman lose a 1-0 gem this afternoon vs. Boston?

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