Browsing Archive April, 2007

Mets Game 16: Win

Mets 7 Braves 2

Oliver Perez warming up in the outfield prior to ballgameWhile most of the 55,143 fans at Shea were there for the free luggage tags, a few of us were there to see the Mets and Braves battle it out for first place. On a beautiful 80-degree afternoon, Mets fans and several hundred dogs were not disappointed, because …

Ollie was ON today.

After walking 7 batters in two innings in his last disaster of a start, Oliver Perez came back to Shea to hold the Braves to two earned runs in six and two-thirds innings, striking out 9 and walking none. Maybe he needs ten days of rest between starts.

Perez was remarkably efficient, throwing 98 pitches in nearly 7 innings of work, and had a few very quick innings — for example a 7-pitch second, and several half-innings that were over before you could find the rest room. and . For a while, it seemed that everything he threw was a strike, or nearly a strike; in fact, there was a stint from the first to third inning that he threw 20 consecutive strikes. All told, he threw 72 strikes out of 98 total pitches. If only Rick Peterson can figure out a way to keep this Perez outing bottled up for use every five days,

Aside from the excitement surrounding the luggage tags, dog day, and Oliver Perez, the Mets also had a fine day with the bats, pounding lefty Chuck James for 10 hits and 6 runs in 5 innings of work. Included in the onslaught were three homeruns, by Ramon Castro, Jose Reyes, and Damion Easley. It could have been even worse, had Shawn Green swung at a meatball 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded in the first.

The two best individual efforts of the day came from — you guessed it — Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. Reyes had his typical 3-5 day at the office, with 2 runs scored, an RBI, and a stolen base. Beltran nearly hit for the cycle, going 4-5 with 2 runs and 2 RBI (he hit two singles, a double, and a triple).

Bullpen Notes

Scott Schoeneweis failed in his LOOGY role, walking Chipper Jones on seven pitches in the seventh inning. However, Mighty Joe Smith came on to strike out Andruw Jones on four pitches. Gotta love that guy. Aaron Heilman had a long eighth inning, throwing 20 pitches — 15 for strikes — but only gave up one hit and no runs. Billy Wagner gave up a walk in the ninth but otherwise finished the game without consequence.

Random Notes

David Wright hit in the second spot in the order for the first time today, but had no impact. He’s swinging the bat poorly lately, with a lot of swings and misses. He seems to be behind on pitches, so he’s either not seeing the ball or letting the ball get TOO deep. He has great fundamentals, but I think he goes overboard with the Derek Jeter approach of inside-outing every pitch. It’s great to let the ball get deep, but Wright needs to sometimes look middle-in and throw the bat-head out on those type of pitches. He might be thinking too much.

Super Joe and Lola watching the Mets game during Dog Day at SheaDog Day at Shea drew several hundred dogs, all of which were perfectly behaved in the picnic area and bleachers beyond the centerfield fence. The highlight of the day came 20 minutes before the game, when all dogs and their owners paraded around the field. Braves catcher Brian McCann in particular was intrigued by the parade, as he pet a few dogs as they walked by him in the outfield.

In between innings, a few boys called out to centerfielder Carlos Beltran and asked “Do you like Chipper Jones?” Beltran turned around, smirked, jutted out his throwing hand and tilted it back and forth as if to say “so-so”. Very cool, ‘Los — he’s obviously completely warmed up the the Shea faithful.

Next Game

The rubber match pits former teammates Tom Glavine and John Smoltz for the second time this season. Hopefully the end result will be better than last time, and methinks that Glavine will benefit from the warm weather. Unfortunately, Smoltz will likely benefit from the increased temperature as well. In any case, it should be a classic battle. Game time is 1:10 PM, and will be shown on CW 11.

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Mets Game 15: Loss

Braves 7 Mets 3

It was too much to ask of Mike Pelfrey.

Pelfrey had a tough time, allowing 6 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs in only 5 innings of work. He was clearly missing two vital tools: confidence and command. After giving up a first-inning homerun to Chipper Jones, Pelfrey turned a whiter shade of pale, and worked both Jones boys way too carefully (you can’t blame him, they are among the most dangerous hitters in the NL). Against the rest of the Atlanta lineup, Pelfrey was only mediocre, struggling with his command and lacking weapons other than an occasional, good sinking fastball.

Announcer and former sinkerball specialist Ron Darling suggested that Pelfrey — with about ten days’ rest — may have been too strong, the reasoning being that a sinkerballer benefits from slight fatigue (the arm slows down, and thus the ball slows down and dies in the strike zone). However, Pelfrey’s problems go beyond a too-strong sinker; he doesn’t have anything else to throw. His change-up shows promise but is erratic — sometimes it’s too fast, sometimes it’s too high; too often it’s both. His slider also has potential, particularly when he spots it appropriately (down and away, out of the strike zone). However, because the changeup is inconsistent, he tries to throw the slider for strikes, leaving it flat and up — not a good combination. I’d like to believe that Pelfrey’s lack of sharpness was due to the lengthy rest period, but he showed similar issues against the Nationals, and I suspect he simply is not ready. There’s no question that one day, Mike Pelfrey will be a standout pitcher — with that 95+ MPH running down at the knees, he can’t fail. But, he really needs to further develop the secondary pitches to get big league hitters out.

On the other hand, Tim Hudson was the exact opposite of Pelfrey, exhibiting an array of excellent pitches and exuding confidence. He had every pitch working — the sinking fastball, the split-finger, and the slider. He threw a “pitcher’s pitch” on nearly every pitch — even on 3-0 counts — and when he didn’t have the Mets chasing his splitfinger in the dirt, he had them pounding the sinker into the ground. Every time the Mets put a runner or two on base, the next batter would ground into a double play. It was that kind of night for Hudson — where everything went right. The only Mets to hit Hudson hard were Moises Alou, who had two hits for the third straight night, and Shawn Green, who had the only other Mets hit off Hudson. Green lashed a bullet of a grounder up the middle in the seventh that might have been his second hit, but Edgar Renteria was playing him perfectly and turned it into a harmless double-play in the seventh inning.

Bullpen Breaks

The previously nearly perfect Mets bullpen finally showed vulnerability, as Pedro Feliciano walked in a run and Amby Burgos followed his lead by walking in another and allowing yet another to score on a wild pitch in an ugly seventh inning. However, the bullpen was bound to break eventually, and better it come in a game like this — which seemed impossible to win once Hudson got going — than in a tighter contest. After the awful seventh, Scott Schoeneweis and Joe Smith came on to pitch a perfect inning each to close out the game.

Random Notes

Carlos Beltran nearly hit an inside-the-park homerun in the bottom of the ninth, but was held up at third with the Mets down by 7. He might have scored on a medium fly ball to right by Carlos Delgado, but with Francoeur’s arm it didn’t make sense to try scoring because, again, they were down by seven. He did eventually score, spoiling the shutout, on a double play grounder to short that Kelly Johnson air-mailed into the third row behind first base.

Shawn Green did his part to extend the lead, blasting a line drive, two-run homerun into the right field stands off Braves reliever Rafael Soriano. It was the first Mets homerun at Shea in 2007.

David Wright’s 14 / 26-game hitting streak came to halt. He did walk once, in the ninth, and the fans heartily booed Soriano for not giving Wright a decent pitch to hit.

Every time I saw the Braves third-base coach Brian Snitker, my mind had a moment of dyslexia and made me think it said “Stinker” on the back of his jersey — offering the only chuckles of the game.

Next Game

Saturday afternoon is Dog Day at Shea, and you can meet me, my wife, and my dog in the picnic area if you go to the game. Oliver Perez will face Chuck James in a battle of slot machines. Game time is 1:10 PM.

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Dog Day at Shea Tomorrow

Dog Day at Shea Stadium - Dog wearing Mets badgeSaturday afternoon’s game against the Atlanta Braves is “Dog Day at Shea”.

No, it doesn’t mean Jose Lima will be pitching and Bobby Bonilla playing third base.

Rather, it is an opportunity for your best friend to join you at Shea Stadium to watch the New York Mets. It only happens once or twice a year, and is barely advertised, so take advantage while you can.

Tickets are available for online purchase from the North Shore Animal League website
— $5 for dogs, $32 for humans. All of the proceeds from the dog tickets, and a portion of the human tickets will benefit the North Shore Animal League America, a network of animal lovers dedicated to saving homeless pets.

Dogs and their owners will have the opportunity to parade around the Shea Stadium outfield prior to the game (at 12:40PM). It’s BYOPS – Bring Your Own Pooper Scooper. This is the third year of the promotion, with last year’s event attracting over 700 dogs.

The Schedule:

11:00 a.m. – Gates open and contests begin (Enter through Gate C.)
12:40 p.m. – Dog parade on the field (All dogs and their owners invited to participate.)
1:10 p.m. – First pitch

Those coming to the game without their pup have no fear of stepping in doggy-doo — the dogs are relegated to the picnic area and not allowed in the regular seating areas of the stadium.

Lola the Italian Greyhound looking over Shea StadiumIf you are interested in meeting me, go to the picnic area and look for the only person in the stadium wearing a #42 Mo Vaughn jersey. I’ll be with my lovely wife and our Italian Greyhound, Lola.

In addition to the link above you can call the Mets group sales ticket department at 718-507-TIXX for tickets and questions.

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Series Preview: Mets vs. Braves II

The Showdown Begins

The Mets send Mike Pelfrey to the mound tonight to face red-hot Tim Hudson and the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium.

After last night’s win against the Florida Marlins, the Mets find themselves in first place, a scant 1/2 game ahead of the 10-5 Braves. While it’s hardly a “make or break” series, this weekend will nonetheless be an ideal opportunity for one of the two teams to emerge as the frontrunner.

The Mets nearly pulled out two wins in their initial series with the Braves in Atlanta, but lost a 3-2 heartbreaker in the at Turner Field on April 8th. Aaron Heilman gave up three doubles in the 8th inning, wasting a gem of an effort by Orlando Hernandez, and allowed the Braves to propel into sole possession of first place for the first time since April 2006. It’s taken the Mets nearly two weeks to regain NL East leadership, but the Braves can climb back ahead with a win tonight.

With the new and improved Tim Hudson on the hill, the Braves have their best chance of the weekend to beat the Mets. Hudson was re-motivated over the winter, and dedicated himself to a rigorous training regimen. So far, the hard work has paid off, as Hudson has allowed only 2 earned runs in 21 innings of work — helping him to a perfect 2-0 record in three starts. On paper, Hudson’s 0.86 ERA and 0.95 WHIP seem daunting, and a difficult challenge for second-year pitcher Mike Pelfrey to overcome.

However, Hudson can’t possibly continue to pitch as well as he has, can he? Eventually, the dam must break, and why not against the most powerful lineup in the National League?

How the Mets batters plan to approach this game should be interesting, since their main strategy thus far has been to take pitches and get into deep counts. Against Hudson, who throws a lot of strikes, that could make things difficult — you don’t want your batters falling behind 0-1 or 0-2. Though, the Mets did employ a more aggressive approach against strike-machine Dontrelle Willis two nights ago, and that produced favorable results. As always, the offensive tone will be set by Jose Reyes in the first inning. If he gets on base and scores in innning one, the Mets will have a good chance to take the game. Getting runs against Hudson early is the key to beating him, because the more he cruises, the more he beats batter mentally.

Before Reyes gets to bat, however, Mike Pelfrey needs to set the tone in the top half of the inning. This is a huge test for Pelfrey, and could give the Mets a good indication of what he’ll provide over the course of the 2007 season. First of all, Pelfrey will give us a clue as to how he handles perceived “pressure” as the game is against the Mets’ top NL rival (sorry Jimmy Rollins!), and the result will decide who is in first place. Secondly, this will be Pelfrey’s first regular-season outing against a strong offensive team (his previous start came against the feeble Nationals). How will he respond to the test? Will he crumble under the bright lights at Shea? Will he keep his cool? Will his nasty sinker and average off-speed stuff be enough to retire the better hitters in the NL? We’ll find out tonight.

Tomorrow afternoon’s game is Dog Day at Shea, and Oliver “The Human Slot Machine” Perez goes against the equally unpredictable Chuck James. This is the game the Mets have to take, as Friday will be tough against Hudson and Sunday’s matchup has the impenetrable John Smoltz vs. Tom Glavine in their second matchup of the year. Yes, Smoltz is beatable, and Glavine is on a roll. But I’d feel a lot more comfortable putting the pressure on smug-faced Smoltzie to stop a three-game losing streak than watch him ride behind the momentum of a win.

To win Saturday’s game, the Mets need to take advantage of high fastballs Chuck James likes to offer, and get into the weak Braves bullpen early (Mike Gonzalez is likely unavailable with a tender elbow). As pointed out by Alex Nelson on Metsgeek, James is essentially a fly-ball pitcher. Unlucky for him, he’s about to face a lineup of fly-ball hitters who have just started pounding the ball recently. This molotov cocktail of a mixture could result in another high-scoring game for the Mets — assuming they don’t get too thrown off by Hudson’s sinkers on Friday and the sunny brightness of the afternoon start. More importantly, Oliver Perez must completely shake off his last disaster of a start, find that mysterious arm slot of effectiveness, and put together at least five innings of mediocre pitching. The entire Mets bullpen is on about ten days’ rest, so they can take it from there — assuming, of course, that Pelfrey doesn’t have a meltdown in the first few innings of his start.

With too many unknowns at play, I’m not making any predictions. In any case, it should be an exciting weekend of baseball. Let the games begin!

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Danny Graves Update

Former Met Pitcher Danny GravesWondering what Danny Graves is doing lately?

After being signed by the Mets to save the bullpen from Braden Looper in 2005 — and subsequently released — Graves faded away from big-league baseball, save for a 13-game stint with the Cleveland Indians during the early part of last year.

Ever wonder what the “Baby-Faced Assassin” did with that guaranteed one million dollars he pilfered from the Wilpons in 2005? Or the six million he stole from the Reds in that same year?

Well, what would you do with several million extra dollars, plenty of free time, and a strong interest in watching sporting events? Build a state-of-the-art home theatre system, of course!

Thanks to RedLegNation for the tip. (Strangely, Graves is that blog’s least favorite Red … huh.)

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Game 14: Win – Mets Sweep Again!

Mets 11 Marlins 3

Break up the Mets !

The Marlins held Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, and Orlando Hernadez to just one hit each. Unfortunately for the fish, everyone else in the lineup had more than one knock.

Reyes’ only hit was a triple, and he walked twice and scored two runs. Delgado’s one hit was a double smashed down the first base line that drove in a run.

And then there was Carlos Beltran.

Beltran went 4-6 with 2 runs, 2 RBI, 2 doubles, and a homerun. Shawn Green also pounded two doubles — to the opposite field — and both Jose Valentin and Ramon Castro hit homeruns. Moises Alou did not get an extra-base hit, but did go 2-4 for the second straight game, scoring once and driving in one. David Wright had the most uninteresting day, but he did manage to extend his hitting streak to 26 games (or 14, depending on how you’re counting). Even El Duque lashed a groundball single through the right side.

Ah yes, El Duque. Working without his great stuff, he struck out 10 and allowed only four hits in seven strong innings of work. Hernandez did not have his best curveball, but it didn’t matter. When you have a substantial lead in the second inning, all you need to do is throw strikes.

The first two innings, the Marlins were sitting on his curveball, which from the side was flat. He threw all pitches almost exclusively from the side in innings one through three, perhaps because of the righty-heavy lineup, with the bulk being breaking pitches. However, once he had a six-run lead, he threw many more fastballs, occasionally mixing in overhand fastballs, change-ups, and curves. When the Fish sat on the curve, he gave them the fastball. Once they were accustomed to the sidearm slot, he came overhand. His array of angles and changes in speeds kept the Marlins bats in check — they appeared to give up mentally after the fourth inning. There is one pitch that is becoming predictable from Hernandez — the 3-2 eephus pitch. He’s thrown that slow curve nearly every time he’s had a full count this year.

All in all a fine game by the New York Mets, who have moved into first place thanks to a loss by the Braves to the Cubs. Oh, and look at that — the Braves come to Shea for a weekend series. The timing could not be more perfect.

Random Notes

In addition to blasting two opposite-field doubles — that were nearly homers — Shawn Green lost his cap running for a fly ball for the first time this year.

Amby Burgos was throwing some nasty moving fastballs, firing them into the upper 90s. He struck out two in his one nearly perfect inning, the only stain being a hit batter.

Next Game

The Mets put Mike Pelfrey on the mound to face Tim Hudson, who is on fire so far this year, sporting a 2-0 record and 0.86 ERA. Pelfrey is making only his second start of the season. Game time is 7:10 PM.

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Mets Starters Suddenly a Strength

Tom Glavine pitching for the MetsAll the brouhaha over the Mets’ supposed lack of starting pitching has been silenced in the first dozen games of the year. Sure, it’s barely 1/14th of the way into the schedule, and we’re facing around 30 more starts per rotation spot right now, but so far, so good.

Everything begins with Tom Glavine, who had a stupendous spring and has remained a stalwart through his first three starts of the season. What is most encouraging about Glavine’s quick start is that he did not have his best stuff in two of the victories — suggesting that his best performances have yet to come. The windy weather has wreaked havoc with the flight of his change-up, and the icy cold climate has to be negatively affecting his feel for the ball. Glavine’s success depends primarly on his ability to grip the baseball and apply finger pressure to specific parts of the ball — trying to accomplish this with freezing, numb fingers is difficult at best. As the weather warms, expect Glavine to pitch more effectively in his march toward win #300 — which I think will happen before the All-Star break.

Similarly, John Maine may improve as the season — and weather — heats up. Maine threw an outstanding game in his first start of the year against the Cardinals, then was bounced around in the Mets Home Opener at Shea. In his most recent start against the Marlins — in Florida — he looked very much like the guy who shut down the Cardinals in game three. Could his problems in his second start be blamed on the cold, wet, windy conditions in New York that day? The outing in Florida suggest that could be the case. He is no longer the “one-pitch pitcher” of 2006; Maine has an impressive array of off-speed stuff and, just as important, a more confident mindset. Should he continue to dominate two out of every three of his starts, he’ll be a 20-game winner.

Another starter who likes warm weather is Cuban-born Orlando Hernandez. El Duque — like Maine — has thrown two great games and one bad game. His two gems were in St. Louis and Atlanta, the one to forget in Washington D.C. With El Duque, though, it’s not necessarily the weather, but rather, how his curveballs are breaking. At his age (37? 40? 43? 52?), he’s not blowing the ball by anyone, and his fastball doesn’t sink enough to get lots of ground balls. He’s primarily a pitcher relying on flyballs and swings and misses for outs, which can be a dangerous cocktail when the curveball is hanging. If his curve is breaking sharply, El Duque could pitch a shutout; if it’s not, it could be a massacre. As witnessed in the game against the AAA Nationals, the skill level of the opponent is of no consequence when Hernandez is “off”. Unlike Tom Glavine, who can still find a way to win without his best stuff, El Duque is remarkably vulnerable without the knee-quivering deuce. At the same time, when El Duque is “on”, he can beat anyone.

Along the same lines, the eternal enigma known as Oliver Perez could be the first Mets pitcher to throw a no-hitter — but also be the first Mets pitcher to give up ten runs in one inning the next time out. He is a real-life Nuke LaLoosh or a younger version of El Duque: when he’s on, no one can beat him. When he’s not on, however, who knows what might happen. The Mets are gambling that he’ll be on more times than he’s off — as they are with Hernandez — and if they’re right, they should get somewhere between 20-25 wins between Perez and El Duque.

The wildcard in the rotation, of course, is Mike Pelfrey. He had a fairly good first outing against a weak Nationals lineup, pitching 5 2/3 innings and getting nine ground balls and allowing only 2 runs, but he gave up six hits and walked four in the process. A better test of his mettle comes this Friday against a much stronger Braves lineup. By mid-May, the Mets might find out that Pelfrey isn’t yet ready for big league competition — or he could emerge as the Justin Verlander of 2007. Luckily, the Mets have enough depth to guard against the former.

That’s where the Mets rise above the competition: starting pitching depth. While everyone raves about the bats in their lineup, it will be the surplus of arms that carry the Mets through the grueling 162-game season. Looking down on the farm, the Mets have longtime veteran Chan Ho Park to bring up as needed — a luxury many teams would like to have right now. In addition, Jorge Sosa has been impressive, sporting a 2-0 record and 0.95 ERA. Philip Humber — who may one day join Pelfrey to become the best young Mets duo since Seaver-Koosman — has had two strong starts and struck out 14 in 14 innings. He could be ready to make an impact in the bigs sometime this year. Lost in all the excitement surrounding Humber is Jason Vargas, who also is 2-0 with 14 Ks in 18 innings, a 1.50 ERA and a nifty 1.00 WHIP. Vargas is only a year removed from being in the starting rotation of the Florida Marlins, and at age 24 still has plenty of time to resurface. Jason Vargas could easily sneak into the Mets rotation and become a force, much in the way John Maine did in 2006.

With Aaron Sele available for spot starting, and Park, Sosa, Humber, and Vargas down in AAA, the Mets have plenty of viable options should Pelfrey falter, Perez implode, or someone become injured. Few other teams in MLB are this prepared to face the inevitable (the only one that comes to mind is the Twins, who have Matt Garza and Scott Baker nipping at the heels of the current Minnesota starters), as it is almost guaranteed that a starting rotation will lose at least one or two of their starters at some point in the season. In fact, looking around the Majors, it’s tough to find a rotation that is currently intact. One only needs to look crosstown to see the Yankees, who have lost half of their rotation and counting on people named Darrell Rasner and Chase Wright as their third and fourth starters. The World Champion Cardinals have lost their ace Chris Carpenter — a huge blow considering that their rotation already consisted of former relievers Braden Looper and Adam Wainwright. In the NL East, the first-place Braves have lost Mike Hampton for the year, the Marlins have three starters on the DL, the Phillies have moved their ace Brett Myers to the bullpen, and the Nationals are, well, the Nationals. At this early point in the season, the Mets may not have the best-skilled starters, but they certainly have the healthiest.

As mentioned before, it’s still early in the season. There’s little doubt that someone will falter, or become injured, and thereby kink the current plans. However, Omar Minaya did a great job of stockpiling starting pitching talent (wasn’t his offseason graded an “F” by some pundits?), so the Mets are fully prepared to counter the injuries and the implosions.

In other words, 2007 is clearly not LimaTime.

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Game 13: Win

Mets 9 Marlins 2

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?

Next Game

The Mets will have Orlando Hernadez on the hill against Rick Vanden Hurk. Game time is 7:05 PM.

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