Mets 3 Braves 2
This is EXACTLY the reason the 2010 Mets are so endearing: when they are backed up against a wall, they come back fighting!
Shame on all the impatient, critical naysayers who hit the panic button after the Mets dropped the opener in Atlanta — this team is for real and is poised to go on a rampage! In this dramatic come-from-behind win, the Mets proved they have guts, grit, and a tenacious will to win. My guess is that the locals will recall memories of General Sherman by the time the Mets leave Atlanta.
And who would be the one to carry the Mets to a ninth inning victory? None other than the team’s #1 clubhouse personality and all-around great guy Jeff Francoeur, who silenced the critics with an opposite-field solo homer off of former Met Billy Wagner to put New York ahead for good. Prior to the game, many wondered why in the world Jerry Manuel wrote Francoeur’s name into the lineup against Derek Lowe. After Francoeur’s game-winning blast, is there any question? It amazes me that amateurs are always second-guessing Manuel, thinking they know better. It’s nights like these that make it obvious why we are all doing what we’re doing for a living, while Manuel makes three-quarters of a million dollars to do what he does. The man knows how to play the matchups, and has a knack for making great hunches — no amount of experience, intelligence, or calculator-punching can re-create that skill; it’s innate.
R.A. Dickey impressed with yet another strong outing, this time plowing through 6 innings and allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks. He ran into a few jams but worked out of them with a dancing knuckler and uflappable demeanor. I think his performance was something of an inspiration for Francoeur.
Speaking of, Francoeur scored two of the Mets runs — and his doghouse roommate Luis Castillo scored the third. So there, all you judgemental critics!
As great as Francoeur and Castillo were in this game, one cannot overlook the spectacular performances of Manny Acosta and Francisco Rodriguez. Acosta was throwing BBs through an inning and two-thirds, earning the victory while bridging the gap to K-Rod. Francisco was fabulous, expending a baker’s dozen worth of pitches in a perfect ninth to seal the victory and earn his 23rd save of the season.
Bobby Cox made some very strange moves in this game, and his players made some very un-Coxlike non-executions. In particular, I’m not sure why Cox had Rick Ankiel bunting at the first pitch with none out and a Alex Gonzalez on first after a leadoff walk in the 7th, especially when Acosta appeared to be struggling to throw strikes. Cox took the bunt off after one strike, but why give Acosta a strike there and why take a strike away from Ankiel? Maybe Cox thought Ankiel was still a pitcher. Later that inning, Gonzalez took off for second and was thrown out by ten feet in what must’ve been a missed hit-and-run. Since Gonzalez just joined the team recently, maybe he misunderstood a sign? Or maybe Melky Cabrera missed the sign. In any case, the caught stealing was huge, as it was the second out of the inning and Cabrera walked on the very next pitch. Acosta would have been in a very sticky situation had it been one out and men on first and second rather than two out and a man on first — who knows how things might’ve turned out?
Next Mets Game
The rubber match begins at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night in Atlanta. Mike Pelfrey goes to the hill against Chris Medlen.