Mets 6 Cardinals 4
Miracles DO happen.
Fresh off the news that yet another All-Star and “core” player — Carlos Beltran — was unavailable due to injury, the bedgraggled and beleaguered New York Mets pulled off the impossible, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in an official Major League Baseball game.
Tim Redding was spectacular — OK, maybe not spectacular, but so surprisingly effective it felt spectacular — in holding the Cards to a mere four runs over seven full innings of work to earn his first victory as a New York Met. Key to Redding’s performance was his handcuffing of Sir Albert Pujols, holding the Great One to a mere double and one measly run scored. If you can stymie Pujols, then the rest of the Redbird lineup is cake in comparison. Indeed, Redding allowed a total of five hits and one walk to the Cardinals, and struck out four.
Meanwhile, the supposedly shorthanded Mets offense exploded for 14 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs, led by teacher’s pet Omir Santos and the previously contemptible Luis Castillo, who were perfect on the day, combining to go 7-for-7 with a walk, 3 runs scored, and 2 RBI. Five Mets drove in a run or more, and Danny Murphy electrified the crowd with one of those “over the fence” hits that fans in other cities refer to as a “home run”.
Supporting Redding’s winning performance was the bullpen, which held the St. Louis batsmen scoreless through the final three innings of play. Jon Switzer struck out one and allowed a hit in his 1/3 inning of work, Brian Stokes (yes he’s still on the roster) retired the only batter he faced, and Francisco Rodriguez cut up the Cards in the ninth for his 19th save of the season.
Alex Cora was 2-for-4 with a walk and 2 RBI from the leadoff spot, and David Wright had one single and two walks. In addition to the four-bagger, Murphy also singled and scored on a Ryan Church sacrifice fly in the first frame.
Jeremy Reed was 0-for-4 starting in centerfield in place of Beltran. Wouldn’t it just figure, the guy was a firestorm in spring training, hot as a griddle through April and May, and now that he finally has been forced into an opportunity to play, his bat is cold as ice. More bad luck for the Mets, and terrible luck for Reed. Expect to see Ryan Church and/or Fernando Martinez getting time in centerfield as a result.
In the fourth inning, Santos scored on a bomb to left-center by Luis Castillo. On the relay home, Brendan Ryan threw a perfect strike to catcher Yadier Molina, but the throw was a few feet short of Molina, who allowed the ball to skip through his legs. Ryan was charged with the error and SNY announcer Keith Hernandez spent considerable time criticizing Ryan for having his back to the plate as he received the relay throw from left fielder Rick Ankiel, going so far as to demonstrate from the broadcast booth the proper way to position oneself for accepting the throw from the outfield. However, Hernandez failed to notice, nor mention, the reason WHY Ryan had his back to the plate when he caught the ball — it was because the throw by Ankiel sailed to Ryan’s right side, and Ryan had to quickly re-position his feet and move his entire body to the right in order to catch the throw cleanly. Originally, Ryan was getting himself into the proper position (left shoulder pointed toward the target) but once the ball tailed the “wrong” way, he had no choice but to turn his back to home plate. What made Keith’s diatribe even more ridiculously pointless was the fact that Ryan made a nearly perfect throw. Despite being completely turned around, with his back to the plate, Ryan spun and let loose a fine throw that was perfectly on line, and only about 5-10 feet short of home plate. Watching the replay several times, it looked to me like Molina was at fault for not handling the short-hop — he allowed the ball to handcuff him by reaching out and stabbing for it instead of allowing it to come to him. And, in defense of both Ankiel and Ryan, the conditions were rainy and wet, and the ball was likely slick, making it very hard to get a good grip and probably the reason Ankiel’s throw was to Ryan’s right side instead of his left. For all you kids out there, yes, Mr. Hernandez did demonstrate the proper fundamental in receiving a relay throw — but understand that circumstances can sometimes force you out of the ideal position, in which case you have to “get creative”.
Next Mets Game
The Mets will attempt to again attain the impossible on Tuesday night when they host the Cardinals at Citi Field at 7:10 PM. Livan Hernandez faces Joel Pineiro.