Monday, August 04, 2003

Game 109-111 - Mets

Cardinals 8, Mets 2
Cardinals 10, Mets 9
Mets 13, Cardinals 5
Record: 45-66

Friday night I was hollering at Art Howe, cursing him for the same stupid reason – his reluctance to yank a pitcher who can't get it done. When you have a 2-1 lead on the St. Louis Cardinals going into the 8th, you have to see it as a good chance for a good win, something we fans deserve after all of the bad losses to bad teams this year. After John Franco faced just one batter to close out the 7th (and was pinch-hit for), Jaime Cerda was allowed to face just one batter in the 8th before Howe went to Dan Wheeler.

Wheeler's been pretty good so far, but it was pretty obvious right away that Friday night was not his night. Kerry Robinson laced his first pitch of the night into the corner for a triple, scoring Cerda's batter and tying the game. After a couple of walks, you could see that Wheeler was struggling, but Art Howe sat stoically in the dugout with a look like, "Well, I made my bed when I brought this kid in, and now I have to lie in it." Someone please tell him he can clean up his mistakes mid-inning. After a sac fly gave the Cards the lead, an intentional walk and a pair of doubles – one a two-run ground-ruler hit by relief pitcher Steve Kline, marking the second hit and first ribbies of his career – gave the Cards the game. We were in this thing, and all of a sudden we weren't.

Saturday emphasized my point even more, though there were less obvious cases of pitchers dying out there. The Mets are capable of coming back, so long as the pitching hasn't placed them in a hole too deep. A seven-run deficit after seven proved to be just a smidgen too deep, as the Mets rallied for one in the eighth and five in the ninth before running out of gas. Of note: the Mets intentionally walked two more Cardinals, and, like Friday night's free pass issuee, both of them scored, on a subsequent grand slam and three-run double, respectively. Might want to think about holding off on those IBB's. Also of note: the Mets left 20 runners on base; Timo Perez left 7 himself. Hard to take when you lose by a run.

Sunday was the only day of the series that I saw none of the game, so naturally the Mets exploded. Thanks, boys. Tony Clark hit a pair of homers (his 12th and 13th) and the entire offense hit well enough that Dave Weathers' weak eighth didn't matter, thank goodness. After a day off, the Mets head to Houston. After giving up 23 runs in three games to St. Louis, the Metropolitans could see more fireworks in that ridiculous park.

By the way, speaking of "Metropolitans," I suggest the shortened version "Mets" be switched to "Pollys," based on the way they've played for two years now. Think it could catch on?

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