Thursday, May 06, 2004

Game 27 - Mets
Must . . . Resist . . . Urge . . . to . . . Hope

Mets 8, Giants 2
Record: 12-15

This win had little to do with either of its headlines, Mike Piazza passing Carlton Fisk to become top dog in catcher homers or Barry Bonds sitting out another game with a glorified cold. While each had its impact, this game was the tale of two bullpens; it was the best of pens, it was the worst of pens, at least on this night.

The game was knotted at two going into the eighth inning. The Mets had gotten to Giants starter Jerome Williams early for a pair, and the Giants had tied it in the fifth. Replays appeared to show that the Mets had been on the gluteus maximus end of two bad calls on plays at the plate: Mike Cameron was thrown out at the plate following a wild pickoff throw, but it seemed like his hand touched the plate before the tag; an inning later, it looked like Shane Spencer gunned Neifi Perez at the plate, but it was not to be.

When Jae Seo left in the fifth with a cracked fingernail (ugh), the previously wobbly Mets relief crew came on. Ricky Bottalico, John Franco, David Weathers, and Orber Moreno -- those last three have struggled, but at least it was this year and not two years ago like Bottalico! -- combined to pitch four and two-thirds scoreless, hitless innings. Out of nowhere. Bottalico was brought up yesterday when the Mets cut funding for its Grant (Roberts) and banished him to Norfolk or waivers. [As an aside, do you think part of the reason I never had any desire to relocate back to my hometown is that when players on my favorite team really suck, they're sent there like a punishment? Just a thought for our psychologically minded readers.] Anyway, for Bottalico and company, it was a far, far better thing they did than they have ever done, or at least in a long while.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco relievers appeared a series of chuckers, heavers, and tossers when compared to their counterparts in the other bullpen. The bottom of the eighth produced six runs for the Mets, five of them off home runs from Shane Spencer and Mike Cameron. Moreno finished the G-men off with a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Mets are playing a bit better. A week ago, not one Met had double-digit RBI's. Now five do. The pitching continues to excel, though the defense still seems a little shaky. Three wins in a row is certainly nice, but it's only a start. The Giants with Bonds didn't have a winning record -- without him, they're a shell of who we saw in the World Series two years ago. A sweep completed tonight, combined with more impressive hitting and seven or eight beers, and you might spy a tiny glimmer of hope in my eye once again. I'm just that dumb.

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