Blah blah blah. It’s getting old by now. “Get Mota the hell away from my team” should just be it’s own tag, and the post can be blank, and everyone will understand. But if I’m being fair (wtf I’m being fair to Mota?!), this game was lost in all kinda shitty ways.
With Glavine doing unbelievably well (even when he’d get into jams, he looked so good up there that I was confident he’d get out of them, and for seven innings that was the case) and Carlos Delgado waking up to hit a 2-run bomb, I have to admit I became a little complacent. Part of this was having a helluva good time at the Blind Pig, watching the game with Zoe, Coop, Mets Grrl, Matt and Regis of Mets Blog, Metsheads, and Eric (he of five thousand blogs which are never updated). I have to wonder if the Mets got a little complacent as well. After that Delgado home run (which was quite thrilling, considering his awful slump of basically all season), men would get on base but never come home. The offense was just putrid: 2 hits apiece for Alou, Delgado, and Glavine. Yes, the pitcher got two more hits than our important 1-4 lineup. That’s not a recipe for success.
Feliciano came in for Glavine in the eighth, and promptly gave up a bomb to Jimmy Rollins (man, fuck that guy). Seriously, Joe Smith can’t come back soon enough (uh, he has tendinitis in his elbow. Please God make sure he’s okay). Not just for the fresh sidewinding arm, but I swear Feliciano has been mostly crap since his buddy Smith was sent down. Feliciano and Heilman teamed up to let the Phillies tie it in the eighth on a subsequent eleventyseven cheapies that never left the infield. And that little dribbler that tied the game basically won it.
Especially when the Mets couldn’t even hit the vaunted Phillies pen [/sarcasm]. And especially with Mota coming up. Mota actually pitched a great 1-2-3 in the ninth but of course he was brought in again in the tenth, and another inning for Mota is always trouble. I don’t know what happens to him when a runner gets on base, but every fucking time it spells disaster and a big fat L. Pedro fixed his delivery? Maybe Pedro can fix his head too. Pedro is a god among men.
Nice to have Endy back. Nice that the Braves lost. Nice to have good company while watching the ensuing atrocity (boy did I get drunk!). Would be nicer to get two wins before heading to Atlanta, however.
Before the Padres came to town I kept yammering about how nice it would be to go to Shea and watch them, considering I went to school in San Diego but never traveled to Petco Park or whatever the hell the previous stadium was (there were lots of “Say No to Petco!” flyers all over San Diego around that time). Then I yammered about how I wanted to go boo the Dodgers when they came to town, seeing as we experienced a rocky Mike Piazza-induced breakup back in the late 90s.
Well I did get to see one of the two heartbreaking losses to the Padres last week (damn you Mota! etc.) and, thanks to Joe’s boss or whoever, I got free Loge seats to go see the first game of the Mets-Dodgers series. As soon as I sat down I started feeling antsy, as I found myself in a sea of goddam Dodgers fans. Guh. Nevermind that my companion was Anderson, a diehard member of Red Sox Nation, fully equipped in his damn BoSox hat. So basically I was surrounded by a lack of enthusiasm, which kinda hampered my enjoyment of Ollie Perez doing his requisite Houdini act in the top of the first.
Fortunately the Mets jumped on Brad Penny early, and after getting a few beers in him, Anderson became loud and boisterous and taunting, like a proper Masshole. With Russell Martin up we’d shout “HEY RUSSELL WHO’S THE BOSS?!?!?!” or we’d yell to Penny “HEY PENNY YOUR CATCHER FUCKS YOUR EX GIRLFRIEND DOES THAT MADE YOU SAD?!??!!?!?” Needless to say, the Dodgers fans didn’t particularly enjoy that, especially not the family sitting to our left. Eh, the little girl was pissing me off all game, so screw them (combatting her, however, was another little girl a few rows back, who kept shouting DODGERS SUCK and variations thereof…eventually, Anderson and I found an empty Loge box and moved there, surrounded by Mets fans finally thank God). David Wright hit a homer and had some sweeeeeeeet defensive gems. He always plays so well when I’m there. Sigh. Wags made it a little too interesting in the ninth, but thankfully allowed only one run for the Mets win (during Latina Fiesta night!), breaking my two-game losing streak. I’m now 7-2 at Shea. Wee.
Orlando Hernandez was just masterful in the next game. It’s funny how he just kind of quietly does his thing, no fuss, no fanfare. He just gets the job done. And then we all forget about him until his next start, when he’s brilliant again. The Mets have not lost a game he’s started since July 4th. What?! Because of some lousy run support and/or bullpen breakdowns, El Duque has less wins than Maine, Perez, and Glavine, but he really has emerged as our most consistent starter and possibly our ace. He was brilliant up until giving up back-to-back homers to Luis Gonzalez and Russell Martin in the seventh, but he was so dominant that I’m willing to forget about it.
The real story of the game, however, was the reception of Carlos Delgado in the fifth. Having gone 0-for-19 and stranding about seven thousand runners on base (including a bases loaded in the first and two men on in the third), Delgado had heard his fair share of boos. I myself don’t agree with booing your players when they’re struggling. Hell, I don’t even boo Mota. But I can see the need to vocalize your frustration, and with two outs and the bases loaded after an intentional walk to Jeff Conine, I was surely expecting a groundout and more boos. And then, seemingly unprompted, the entirety of Shea stood up and applauded. Stood up and said, “You can do this!” Cheered for him–not just to drive a run in, but to prove to us and himself that he’s still muthafuckin Carlos Delgado; that he did not deserve the past week’s jeers; that he, in fact, is still a vital aspect of this team. First pitch: 2-run single. LA came and brought some Hollywood magic with them. I honestly got a little teary. As others more eloquent than I have put it, there’s no real satisfaction in booing your own. What we crave is a reason to cheer, loudly and long. Delgado gave us that moment on Saturday, and I hope Mets fans don’t soon forget it. I hope they appreciate it. Davey certainly did.
Final game and Willie Randolph’s old “Step on their necks” adage rang in my head. Though the Dodgers scored first, I felt confident, even thinking to myself “Maine’s getting a hit here” during his first at-bat. He did, and was followed by a Reyes single. After Milledge struck out (woof), Wright doubled to score both Maine and Reyes. Can we talk about how hot David Wright is? OMG WHAT A BABE! No, really: could you have guessed, after his dismal April, that Davey would eventually be in the top 10 in NL batting average come August? Or OBP? When he somehow doesn’t get a hit, he seems to draw a walk. I hope that he’ll be looked at as a legitimate MVP candidate. He’s having a quietly great year. For all the talk about Reyes (and God how good is Reyes) being the sparkplug, the catalyst for the offense, without Wright these past few months, I don’t believe the Mets would be sitting with a nice cushy lead in the NL East. Real talk.
Well that’s all the good news (well, Jeff Kent got beaned in the head, but I guess that’s mean, even if he’s a huge douche). The bad news is that David Wells–David Wells, of all people!–sparked a Dodgers rally in the fifth, with a leadoff bunt single. David Wells, leadoff bunt single. Yes. The mind is boggled. Maine really wasn’t the same after that, and after working in and out of trouble all night, saw his luck vanish as bloops turned into hits that turned into runs. It’s quite puzzling, really, that within the span of a month/month and a half, Maine is no longer the stud ace pitcher about whom I’m most confident, and instead has become the pitcher who worries me the most.
The Mets attempted to rally (and to be fair, left lots of men on base early in the game), but ran into big hulking monster Jonathan Broxton. I had been cheering/hoping for Roberto Hernandez. As Broxton came in in the seventh I thought “Grady Little must really want this.” He did, and he got it.
If there’s a silver lining, apparently Pedro Martinez called up Guy Conti and said there was a flaw in Guillermo Mota’s delivery. No shit, Pedro? If this is true, this is the second time he’s done this, as he gave some advice to Jorge Sosa earlier. Well lo and behold, Mota mowed down all six batters he faced while in mop-up duty. If Pedro somehow managed to fix Mota while not even being here, well, he deserves both the Nobel and the Pulitzer.
The Mets are up 6 on the Phillies and 7 on the Braves. And hey look: our next four are in Philadelphia, followed by a three-game set in Atlanta. The lead may be nice, but a bigger one would be nicer. Now’s the time to show your mettle, boys.
That was some entertaining, rollicking, up-and-down series, wasn’t it? If the Mets and Padres meet in the playoffs, it’s gonna be damn fun/exciting/potentially probably heartbreaking to watch. I like that the Padres are vaunted as an all-pitching, non-run-scoring team. Oh really. Coulda fooled me.
That bottom of the sixth. That bottom of the sixth. Marlon Anderson hitting a three-run shot to cap a six-run rally in the bottom of the sixth. I could have sworn it was over, as I and Frank and everyone at Turkey’s Nest jumped and screamed and clapped. And hey, don’t look now, but Schoeneweis has been really effective! Pedro Dos also finally got some time in, pitching a scoreless, solid two innings. Really now, this was all set up to be joyous.
What the fuck has happened to Wags this month?!?!?!??!?!?!
This is the Trevor Hoffman who is the all-time saves leader?!?!?!??!
HEATH BELL, YOU’RE FAT.
I mean, really entertaining, fun game to watch, it’s just that when your team is on the losing end, there’s more than a bit of bad taste in your mouth. Aaron Heilman is really REALLY good at leaving bad tastes. I guess that befits Baby Diaper Ass. When Adrian Gonzalez hit a monster foul ball, I thought “Uh oh, Heilman better be careful.” He wasn’t. What should’ve been another classic, breathtaking comeback became instead another chokejob and another Warning! Rocky bullpen ahead! sign.
Seems like it’s always one step forward and two steps back with this team. Which always makes me go Hey, remember this?
At least the Phillies and the Braves lost.
Last night was the second consecutive loss I’ve experienced at Shea after having a perfect record all season, and both losses featured Guillermo Mota being flagrantly ineffective. What’s worse is that he was effective for 1 and 2/3rds. After a perfect sixth, I turned to Joe and said “Mota went 1-2-3! Imagine that!” In the seventh, with two outs and an 0-2 count, just about any other pitcher would probably make it uneventful and give their team a shot at making a comeback.
But oh no, not our dear Mota! He loves being our favorite nausea-inducing rollercoaster! No, our Mota gives up three runs. Oh Mota, you scamp.
Turns out those three runs would make the difference, after a mildly exciting bottom of the ninth that saw the Mets get three runs and pull to within 7-5. Then Hoffman got Beltran and Delgado. Guess you can’t pray for magic twice in a row.
- Jake Peavy is damn good. Except for when he walks the bases loaded. And then he’s damn good again, because the Mets had a lot of chances to blow the game open (when the top half of the lineup was batting, at least), only to have Peavy shut them down.
- Milledge, DeFelice, and Delgado just looked outclassed all night.
- It was a lovely, organic, stand-up cheer when Jose Reyes swiped his 67th base of the season, setting a club record. We didn’t even need the reminder, Shea.
- Were it not for Mota, that bottom of the ninth would’ve been even better. I loved the back-to-back pinch-hits by Marlon Anderson and Jeff Conine. When Shawn Green came up to pinch-hit for Lawrence in the fifth, I incredulously yelled “Where’s Conine?” Oh, saving him for a rally. Good call.
- David Wright reached base all five times he was up to bat, and didn’t even try.
- Have I said that Delgado looked awful at the plate? He didn’t look too hot on the field, either. Any chance of getting Salty next year? A catcher and a first baseman! Also he’s hot! And he hit seven thousand home runs yesterday! And his name is SALTALAMACCHIA fer Chrissake. Seriously the best name.
Lastly, where oh where is Mike Piazza when you need him.
An odd, thrilling, see-saw of a game that featured no shortage of dramatics, comebacks, potential heartbreak (many times over) and big hits. It had an air of Bigness, of Magic, didn’t it? Oh yeah, cold wind and rain also. This is August? Huh.
San Diego’s Chris Young vs. John Maine. From the very get go, NL Player of the Week Thank God He’s Hitting Again Carlos Beltran looked at Young’s MLB-leading 1.93 ERA and was all “I don’t give a FUUUUUUCK.” Two-run homer. After an RBI single by the delightfully named Milton Bradley cut the Mets lead to 2-1, Beltran shrugged and blasted a two-run double. Beltran 4, SD 1.
Then things got shitty. By the sixth, Maine had managed to throw nearly a hundred pitches, including a homer to ex-Met Mike Cameron and an RBI triple to a pinch-hitting Giles brother, coming in for Young, who’d only thrown 64 pitches, leading WFAN’s Howie Rose and Tom McCarthy to go BONEHEAD MOVE. Well, not really, considering the result. And considering SD’s bullpen. With two outs, Maine was pulled for Scott Schoeneweis, and I’m all “Oh no!” With one of the Giles on third, I’m Trying To Improve The Show strikes out the other Giles. For the first time ever, I pumped my fist and shouted “Yeah, Schoeneweis!” And I got really, really confused.
Bullpen problems blah blah. Sosa, who’s been so effective in his new role, coughs up a double and a single to give the Padres a 5-4 lead. So Beltran sighs and singles in Reyes to tie the game.
Is there any pitcher who creates his own mess and then cleans it up as much as Aaron Heilman? Heilman reminds me of a scene in that flashback Simpsons episode where toddler Bart spills milk and then mops it up with a baby’s diaper ass. I will now start referring to Heilman as Baby Diaper Ass. Maybe.
Wags comes in with the score tied, which usually means “Something bad might happen.” Padres score another run, and forgive me for cursing the heavens at this point, but with the thought of All Time Saves Leader Trevor Hoffman coming up to face the bottom third of the Mets lineup, I wasn’t feeling too optimistic. But the rest of the Mets followed Beltran’s cue and said “I don’t give a FUUUUUUUCK.” After Milledge’s lead-off single, you just kind of knew it, right? You can sense when this team is gonna create some magic. Nice sacrifice by DeFelice. Pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson with an RBI single (after the game, Willie was being interviewed and someone asked something to the effect of “In that situation, you have Anderson and Green on the bench. What makes you go with Anderson?” Me: “WTF Duh.”). Reyes blooper. Castillo (O, how I love Castillo!) with the game winning hit. Howie Rose: “They’re beating Castillo!” (see above). Fuck yes. Welcome to the team, Luis. How do you like the blown save, Hoffman?
Cold, wet, and windy. Temperature in the 50s. Tension and drama. Big comeback against a top closer, huge celebration. You sure this isn’t October?
Hooray, the Mets swept the Nationals! Did you guys know that the Nationals have been one of the best teams since July 1st? For real! And with how poorly the Mets have been playing since June, did you guys know that they have the biggest division lead in the league? Imagine that! Pedro Martinez’s rehab has been going smoothly, Endy Chavez has been on a tear in the minors and should be back soon, and Joe Smith pitched two innings on Saturday, retiring all six batters he faced. Hurrah!
It’s not all sunshine and puppies, though. On Saturday, Damion Easley collapsed while heading to second on a wild pitch, diagnosed with a third degree ankle sprain. So with Delgado still hurt, Shawn Green is now entrusted with first base. Hm. Shawn Green is an outfielder, and throughout the season, the following outfielders have gotten injured: Alou, Beltran, Chavez, Gomez. Now Delgado and Easley. Someone must really like watching Green play defense. Whoever that masochist is, Green owes him a rugelach.
The Little League World Series is one of the best sporting events in the world. They always give good narrative, they showcase kids playing their hearts out (because, let’s face it, this will be the highlight of most of their lives oh god cruel sinking reality how dare you), and they always seem to showcase a starmaking moment:
Michael Rando is totally now on the fast track to white hat/cargo short/yahdood Massholery. He will be talking about this for the rest of his life, and good for him, but man how grating will he be when he’s 50?
While talking with Joe over burgers and beer, I realized that I can’t get into a sport when I’d much rather see violent outbursts rather than figure out the strategy of the game. Hockey being one example. In keeping with that sentiment, this is what it looks like when astronauts fight:
Oh, they’re car racers? I knew those uniforms looked a little too fabulous for NASA.