Archive: May 13th, 2007

Mets Game 36: Win over Brewers

Mets 9 Brewers 1

As poorly as the Mets played on Saturday, they were the inverse on Sunday. Saturday’s poor pitching, weak hitting, and sloppy fielding was replaced by excellent pitching, strong hitting, and solid fielding in this 9-1 rubber game victory.

So … for everyone looking at this series as some kind of test for the Mets … it’s fair to say they passed (while the Brewers failed).

Oliver Perez was outstanding, taking a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning before allowing a solo homer to Billy Hall. The crazy thing is, the one hit given up in the previous eight innings was a fluke single to opposing starting pitcher Chris Capuano — to give you an idea of how close Ollie was to pitching the eternally elusive no-hitter.

The most difficult situation Perez faced all day was in the first inning, when he walked Rickie Weeks to start the game. After that, he retired the next 25 out of 29 batters before Hall’s homer — with two of the four baserunners reaching by error. Over 8 1/3, Perez threw an economical 109 pitches, struck out 6, walked 2, allowed 2 hits, and gave up one earned run. He’s now 2-0 in weekend afternoon starts at Shea.

Supporting Perez was the powerful bat of Damion Easley, who drove in three of the Mets’ first four runs, added a fourth ribbie in the eighth, and accounted for 6 of the Mets’ 9 runs. Easley’s two-run homer into — where else? — the leftfield bleachers in the first inning gave the Mets a lead they’d never relinquished as well as all the runs Perez would need on the day. Ramon Castro drove in David Wright later in the inning to make the score 3-zip, and Easley drove in rookie Carlos Gomez for the Mets’ fourth run in the second.

No more noise came from the home team until the 8th, when the Mets barraged reliever Elmer Dessens for 5 runs on 5 hits — all with two outs — including an RBI single by Oliver Perez, a triple by Jose Reyes, and a two-run homer by Carlos Beltran.


Perez had a chance to pitch a complete-game shutout before the Hall homer, and was removed immediately afterward. Aaron Heilman came on to get the final two outs on nine pitches.

Rookie Carlos Gomez had an exciting debut, going 2-for-4 with a double in his first at-bat, two runs scored, a stolen base, and an ESPN-web-gem-worthy diving catch in rightfield. He was visibly amped up for the game, exuding enthusiasm and aggressiveness. While it’s not fair to judge him based on one ballgame, from what he showed, he looks far more advanced all-around than Lastings Milledge at this point in time. While Milledge may have a quicker bat and a stronger arm, Gomez is faster, a smarter baserunner, and much more confident and skilled in the field. His aggressive nature at the plate is typical of a 21-year-old, but the rest of his game is much more polished than had been advertised. It’s easy to see why the Mets are so high on this 6’4″ speedster.

David Wright batted cleanup and swung the bat with more authority than he has all year. He looked extremely confident, taking good level swings and getting the sweet spot of the bat on the ball. He also stole three bases in the game for the first time in his career.

Ramon Castro went 2-for-4 in his weekly start, further advancing the legend of the Mets’ high-performance bench.

Jose Reyes went 2-for-4 as well, with a walk, 2 runs scored, and his 21st stolen base.

Who would have believed that at this point in time, Damion Easley would have one less homerun than the combined output of David Wright and Carlos Delgado?

Next Game

The Mets begin a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs at 7:10 PM on Monday night. Tom Glavine faces Long Island native Jason Marquis.

Check back here on Monday afternoon for a series preview, including insights from Al Yellon of BleedCubbieBlue.


Pelfrey Down, Gomez Up

Carlos Gomez hittingFor the second consecutive May, the Mets are rushing a 21-year-old, toolsy outfielder up to the big club.

Last year, it was Lastings Milledge, the raw talent whose performance received mixed reviews and split Mets fans into two camps: the “Free Lastings” movement and the “Milledge Ain’t Ready” group.

Today, Carlos Gomez suits up for the first time as Major Leaguer, though with much less fanfare and lower expectations.

Unlike Milledge’s situation last year, the Mets are not looking for Gomez to challenge for a starting position, nor make a significant impact on the team. The team is pretty much set with veterans Moises Alou and Shawn Green flanking Carlos Beltran, and Endy Chavez filling in as necessary. Whereas Milledge was promoted to push Xavier Nady and Cliff Floyd for playing time, and possibly finish 2006 as a starting corner outfielder, Gomez may be returning to New Orleans before the end of the week.

Carlos Gomez will provide an extra set of legs off the bench and some outfield depth while Moises Alou nurses a strained left quad (and sore shoulder, and swollen knee, and split lip, etc.). Alou did not go on the disabled list (yet), so Mike Pelfrey was sent down to make room on the roster for Gomez. If Alou’s myriad injuries do not put him on the DL, Gomez most likely will go back down to New Orleans to make room for a starting pitcher the next time Pelfrey’s turn comes up — which would be on Thursday afternoon.

In his first few weeks of AAA, Gomez tore up the PCL, but has since cooled down. He’s hitting .286 with 2 homers, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 13 RBI, and 17 stolen bases in 36 games. In addition, he’s impressed scouts with his defense in centerfield, though he’ll be playing the corners with the Mets. If those 17 SBs seem to indicate speed, consider this: Jose Reyes says Gomez is faster than him. Despite the decent numbers, he most likely would not be in Shea Stadium this afternoon if not for injuries suffered by Ben Johnson and Lastings Milledge. With his raw, unpolished talent requiring seasoning, the Mets would much rather have Gomez playing every day in the PCL than riding the bench with the big club.

That said, Gomez is starting in rightfield today, so the Mets might give him a long look in his short stint at Shea (does that make any sense?). It’s doubtful he’s any more ready for MLB than Milledge was last year (or Pelfrey this year, for that matter), but now is as good a time as any to see how close he is to making the leap. Should he show maturity beyond his years, it may make it easier for the organization to subtract Milledge in a deadline deal for a pitcher or other playoff part.

In any case, it should be fun to watch one of Citi Field’s future thoroughbreds in this limited preview. And who knows, with a little luck, Carlos Gomez just might find himself on the 25-man roster longer than anyone expects.