Steve Trachsel did everything he could to completely deject and demoralize his teammates and Mets fans as quickly as possible, and was 100 percent successful in attaining that goal.
I’m not sure what is most painful — watching Trashel pitch, watching David Eckstein foul off pitches, or listening to the most annoying broadcast team of all time (Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, and ‘man-on-the-spot’ Ken Rosenthal).
I was kind of hoping McCarver would say, just one more time, that Darren Oliver should have been replaced by a pinch-hitter in the sixth. Then I could have thrown a beer can through my TV screen and been spared the agony of watching the last three innings of the game.
Hmm… Tim, maybe you haven’t seen the Mets play this year? Maybe you hadn’t noticed that Oliver Perez is not the Oliver Perez of 2004? Willie Randolph was COMPLETELY correct in leaving Darren Oliver in the game, and keeping the bullpen fresh — because until the Mets batters showed some semblance of re-entering their minds into the game, it made sense to treat this game as a giveaway to the Cardinals. The Mets’ current roster was not built to try to come back from a Tracshel disaster — their only recourse was to give up the game and figure out a way to win Game Four. It sounds idiotic, and perhaps defeatist, but over the long run, it’s the Mets’ best chance to win a seven-game series without Pedro, El Duque, and Dave Williams.
Here’s the logic. Oliver Perez starts Game Four. If Perez does not somehow pull lightning out of a bottle and come up with a superb outing, then the Mets need to go into panic mode again. They have to pray that Perez can get through three or four innings without too much damage, then go to the bullpen for the rest of the game — similar to what was done with the Maine start. And then they need Glavine to pitch another 7-inning masterpiece.
What numnut McCarver doesn’t realize is that the Mets need all of their bullpen arms to be fresh and ready to enter the game from the 3rd inning on for the Perez start, and again in the sixth for the Glavine start. So there’s no point in wearing out valuable bullpen arms in a game that the team has already given up on.
Because that’s exactly what happened. Trashel fell behind 2-0 after the first inning, which wasn’t so bad, except that Jeff Suppan was looking dominant from his first pitch of the game. But when Trash gave up a homerun to Suppan — on an 0-2 pitch no less — the game was over. The miniscule 3-0 lead meant nothing compared to the overall feeling it created among the Mets team. Trashel has a way of not just losing games, but completely demoralizing his own team, of letting the air out of the Mets’ collective balloon. Willie Randolph was smart enough to see the air leak out, and recognize that there was no chance of the team coming back from a five-run deficit against a confident Suppan who was supported by unbelievably perfect positioning by the fielders behind him. Suppan made perfect pitches, and the fielders were perfectly placed. It’s hard to crack that kind of a defense.
So after Trashel shat the bed, our hopes for a World Series appearance are now pinned squarely on the fragile shoulders of Oliver Perez. Let’s pray that the 2004 edition shows up for the game.