Archive: April 5th, 2008

Smoltz To Start

Braves manager Bobby Cox has chosen to flip-flop his starters, giving ace John Smoltz his first start of the year against the Mets in Sunday afternoon’s ballgame.

Cox claims he wants Smoltz — who has been suffering from tightness in the back of his shoulder all spring — to make his first start in warm, balmy Atlanta rather than in chilly Colorado on Monday.

Yeah, right. Whatever, dude. I’m sure it has nothing to do with Johan Santana starting for the Mets, and that the Mets’ lineup is certain to wake up against the soft tossing of Tommy Glavine.

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Mets Game 4: Loss to Braves

Braves 11 Mets 5

The Mets trailed this game from beginning to end, as John Maine couldn’t get past the fourth inning and the offense struggled against sinkerballer Tim Hudson.

The Braves scored their first run in the first inning thanks to the home plate umpire, who refused to call strike three on Mark Teixeira with two runners on base and one out. Teixeira ended up walking, loading the bases, and Brian McCann lifted a fly to rightfield to score Mark Kotsay.

The Mets evened things up in the bottom half of the inning when Carlos Delgado scored on a fielder’s choice.

However John Maine ran into some trouble in the third, as Jeff Francoeur and Matt Diaz stroked back-to-back, 2-out, RBI singles to put the Braves ahead 3-1.

In the fourth, more trouble for Maine, as he gave up a fourth run and is over 90 pitches. Seems he doesn’t like to pitch with two outs.

The Mets had a one-out, bases loaded rally in the top of the fifth, and Jose Reyes slapped a liner into left-center that should have scored two. However, the third base umpire called an out on the liner, which was trapped on a diving play by centerfielder Mark Kotsay, and Kotsay threw to second base to double off Angel Pagan, who had been on second base. Meantime, Pagan was being waved in to score by third-base coach Sandy Alomar, and in the process, Pagan blew by Ryan Church, who had seen the out call and was retreating to third. In the end, the out call was reversed, the bases remained loaded, with Church scoring. The Braves might have had an argument in that Pagan passed Church, but that occurred because of the confusion of the out call, so the Mets weren’t penalized. All in all an utter mess. Luis Castillo followed with a run-scoring groundout to score Pagan.

The game remained close until the seventh inning. Jorge Sosa began the inning on the right track, striking out Mark Teixeira. However, he then gave up a double to Brian McCann and a single to Jeff Francoeur to put men on second and third. Sosa then struck out Matt Diaz, and it looked like he might work out of trouble. Instead, he walked Martin Prado to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson worked the count full before lifting a fat fastball into the rightfield stands to clear the bases and deflate the Mets.

Notes

How many times are they going to play that gosh-darn “chop” tune? Seems like they play it every two minutes. Don’t they know they’re offending Native Americans?

With his new “standup” motion, Joe Smith looked like Jeff Nelson. Rick Peterson has Smith staying more erect, rather than crouching over, and it looks pretty awkward. Whatever, as long as it works.

During an in-game interview, Willie Randolph commented that Maine was “too strong” and was overthrowing. Looked to me like Maine was unable to get firm footing on the mound — the ground was soaked — and couldn’t find a consistent release point. You can’t blame the conditions, though, because Tim Hudson had no issues.

Ruben Gotay began his revengeful assault on the Mets with a single up the middle off Smith, then later scored. Advantage: Gotay.

Next Game

The Mets and Braves do it again in swampy Atlanta at 1:30 PM. The Mets send Johan Santana to the mound against Tom Glavine. TV coverage will be provided by SNY, thank god — I watched the FOX broadcast on mute.

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Bermuda: Feel the Love

Bermuda triangleSo the latest big news from Metsville is that Bermuda has been named the “official in-season travel destination of the New York Mets”.

I’m not even sure what that means … but, OK … whatever.

According to the press release:

As the official travel destination of the Mets during the 2008 season, Bermuda will be offering ticket holders the chance to “Feel the Love” for the island paradise throughout the entire season with prizes and giveaways. During each of the 81 home games, one randomly selected Mets fan will get the chance to win a trip for two during the “Bermuda Feel the Love Grand Slam Inning” when a Mets player hits a home run during the specially designated inning.

Great, I guess … but there’s this queasy feeling in my stomach because of the whole “Bermuda Triangle” thing. Last year’s collapse was unreal enough, we don’t need to be seeking paranormal relationships. Unless, of course, you’re a staunch advocate of BABIP and don’t believe in such forces as the baseball gods.

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