The D-Train was finally derailed.
Since bursting on the scene in 2003, Dontrelle Willis has been the Mets’ #1 nemesis. Prior to this game, Willis was 11-2 career with an ERA around 2.00 against the Mets. Also prior to the game, D-Train was one of the NL’s hottest pitchers, with a 3-0 record, 3.32 ERA, and 17 Ks in 19 innings.
But the 2007 Mets lineup is unlike any other other he’s seen from Flushing, and the best he’s faced this year.
The Mets pounded Dontrelle for 10 hits and 7 earned runs in 5 innings, boosting his season ERA a full two runs in the process. Mets batters jumped on first-pitch fastballs from Dontrelle, and were handsomely rewarded. The first inning, in which Willis threw 23 pitches before getting an out, looked like an extension of Mets batting practice, as everyone but Shawn Green teed off Dontrelle’s high meatballs. Willis was also hurt by his defense, which committed two infield errors in that same first inning (the Marlins previously made 4 errors all season).
Perhaps it was the excitement and comfort of warm weather that got the Mets’ bats going. Or it could have been a great scouting report combined with effective approach. I have another theory — D-Train was tipping his pitches. I could be wrong, but the way the Mets were swinging and smiling, it appeared as if they knew what was coming.
Nearly lost in the excitement of the offense was the outstanding performance by John Maine, who for most of the game was efficient with his pitches and very quietly took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. This was not the Maine we saw in the Shea opener, but the Maine we saw against the St. Louis Cardinals. He mixed his pitches well, spotting the slider and change-up at the corners and the knees, perfectly complementing a hard running, sinking fastball and a rising fastball that evoked a number of swings and misses. He broke some bats, got a lot of grounders, and was ahead of most hitters. Maine did have his typical “flake-outs” here and there, as he walked four batters for no apparent reason. If he ever manages to eliminate the lapses in concentration, he’ll be part of conversations that include Brandon Webb and Chris Carpenter.
Once again, the Mets bullpen was stellar. Aaron Sele pitched one scoreless inning and Aaron Heilman finished the game by getting three outs on four pitches.
On the Offensive
Wow. Where to start?
Jose Reyes went 4-6 with 2 doubles, 2 runs, and an RBI. He’s now hitting .364.
Carlos Beltran is now swinging the bat with authority. He had two hits, scored two runs and drove in three with a single and his third homerun of the year. He’s up to .314.
Moises Alou went 2-4, boosting his batting average to .356.
Carlos Delgado finally busted out a double in that big first inning, though he went 0-4 the rest of the way.
David Wright extended his hitting streak to 25 games, dating back to last year. He went 2-5 with a ribbie.
Shawn Green eeked out two very cheap hits — a Texas Leaguer popup and a seeing-eye single — but those make up for the hard liners he’s been hitting right at people.
Jose Valentin remains hot, and now is hitting .279 after a 3-5 game.
Things that Make You Go Hmmm …
After getting blasted by the Mets, and challenging a radio deejay to a fight, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel announced that ace starter Brett Myers would be moving to the bullpen to become the setup man for Tom Gordon, with Jon Lieber taking Myers’ spot in the rotation. Hmmm … hey Charlie, what are you going to do about the seventh and eighth innings?
The Mets will have Orlando Hernadez on the hill against Rick Vanden Hurk. Game time is 7:05 PM.