Friday, June 04, 2004

Game 53 - Mets
Streaking in the Quad

Mets 4, Marlins 1
Record: 27-26

Over the Mets' last 16 games, the progression has looked like this:

Won 2
Lost 2
Won 4
Lost 4
Won 4

Quite a streaky progression. They'll have a chance to break the pattern and move two games over .500 for the first time all season when they take on Carl Pavano (Country Carl) and the Fish tonight. The Mets need to get to Pavano more than they did last Saturday, and Steve "Back on" Trachsel needs to shake off his bad outing against the Marlins Sunday. Based on those two performances less than a week ago, it doesn't look good on paper for the home nine, but they don't play the game on paper, except in Olympic Stadium, I believe.

Last night the story was Jae Seo, who, you may recall, began the season in AAA but has come on quite well of late. He's won three of his last four decisions, has lowered his ERA to a mid-four range, and has kept the Mets in the game most of the time. He won't dominate, and he doesn't eat up innings for you (6 1/3 was his longest outing), but he's a solid 4th starter so long as he can keep his fingernails on. (He was recently spotted at the Short Hills Mall in NJ buying Lee Press-Ons, so we might be all set there.)

Not much else to say about last night's win - Todd Zeile returned to earth with an 0-for-4 night, Mike Stanton elongated a stretch of middle relief goose eggs, and Braden Looper closed it out for his fourth save in four days. Sure, it'd be nice to win by seven and give these relievers a rest, but it's just pleasing to see these guys doing exactly what they're asked to do.

Meanwhile, the Mets advanced to within 2.5 games of first place, the same gap Rob's Red Sox find between themselves and the top spot. (I smell an Oriole-bashing coming soon.) Of course, the Mets are in the crowded house that is the current NL East race. Something so strong hasn't been seen in this division in eons. Four of the five teams (that leaves you, Les Émigrés) are within those two and a half games, making it anybody's guess who will emerge in the coming months.

The Braves, unfortunately, are looking stronger and stronger. J.D. "The City of Brotherly Love Hates My Guts" Drew is finally, finally starting to resemble the player worth the contract he turned down, Johnny "CHiPs & Salsa" Estrada is starting to resemble the player worth Kevin Millwood, and the makeshift pitching staff is overachieving. [Except for the Little Bulldog, sadly (1-6, 5.49).] The Marlins are hard to figure -- they're similarly streaky and have gone 10-10 in their last 20, looking consistently beatable for the first time since . . . about this time last year. Florida was 19-29 last season before going on a McKeon-led tear through October. Perhaps it was a one-year magic spell and they're reverting to an earlier level of play. Or, just as likely, this weekend they'll remind the Mets that they're the Mets and kick it back into gear.

And as for the Phils . . . hmmm. They've sandwiched a meaty 22-11 surge between a crappy end slice of 1-6 and a moldy piece of 4-8. They've been banged up, as have many teams, but every loss to a team like the Mets adds a little more adhesive to the label UNDERACHIEVER. Whitney Lester, Bart Simpson, and the Philadelphia Phillies. (Those aren't just three people who've never been in your kitchen.) Some might say that every series loss is a Bowa Constrictor, but you didn't hear that from me.

I'd love to also analyze the Expos, venting about how moronic it is that they're still playing to crickets chirping abpve the border, but you can just scroll down and read the rehash somewhere below. Same old story.

No comments: