Friday, August 06, 2004

Game 107 - Mets
Too Good for Milwaukee's Best (Blasphème!)

Mets 11, Brewers 6
Record: 52-55

It was an afternoon game, and by the time I was able to grab a score, the top of the first had finished. 6-0, Mets. Victor Zambrano had to be happy with his new team now, eh? And since more than 10 minutes had elapsed since Rick Peterson began working with the pitcher, that should be plenty of run support for him, correct? Well . . . the jury appears to still be sequestered on this particular matter. Zambrano promptly allowed three hits, two walks (the stat that Met fans are watching most closely), and three runs to let the Brew Crew back in it.

Before we go further, we should take a minute to praise the first-inning barrage. A 2-run double by Mike Cameron, who was moved up in the lineup following yesterday's request, immediately followed by a 3-run homer off the big bat of David "If Jacking Balls Out Is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be" Wright, immediately followed by another poke from Vance Wilson, who was behind the plate after yesterday's complaint from this forum. Six quick ones. Gorgeous.

After "Uncle Zam" Zambrano handed out a little welfare to the Brewers in the first, the Mets went in order in Top 2. The Brewers then could have cut away further but ran themselves out of a run when Scott Podsednik, the infrequently-caught base stealer, was gunned down by Vance Wilson. That's Vance Wilson, folks, Exhibit A for the managerial scribbling of "Piazza - 3" into the scorecard every day. Podesednik's CS preceded a Bill Hall triple, one which Zambrano escaped unscathed after a big strikeout of Geoff Jenkins.

The Mets struck again in the fourth, this time with some more help from the increasingly shaky Milwaukee infield. After two quick outs, consecutive ground balls were mishandled a la Mets vs. Braves last weekend, opening the door for a Hidalgo single, a Cameron walk, and a David Wright 3-run double. That'd be 6 RBI's for Wright, i.e., two more than he had totaled in his two weeks in the majors. After the Mets tacked one on when Wilson singled home Wright in the 6th to make it 11-3 (these two guys need to go out and hit a brewery tour together after this day at the plate), and what with Zambrano settling down nicely, things looked comfortable. Too comfortable.

In the last of the 6th, Vance Wilson was doing a little daydreaming about his previous AB's and committed a little catcher's interference. (For his part, Dave Wright had another error in the 3rd -- harmless in retrospect, but still not a great sign.) The next batter grounded one to Wright, who fired to Joe McEwing at second . . . who dropped it.

[Dammit, I knew I forgot something in yesterday's long-winded extravaganza. Super Joe McEwing had had consecutive outstanding nights at the plate -- multiple-hit, multiple-RBI stints in the hobbled Kaz Matsui's stead. (Not sure which of the gang hobbled Matsui, maybe they flew Kathy Bates in, but it was a good call any which-a-way.) And I forgot to applaud Super Joe. Sure, he'd committed a throwing error when they put him at SS (then they put Reyes there the next game and he had one as well; I guess you can pretty much ink in an E-6 every game no matter who they throw out there). But his contributions were finally of some consequence instead of the usual "hustles down the line every time, even though the throw beats him by three steps," "has excellent dugout chatter," or "the most patient 5/1 K/BB hitter in the league." And I failed to say something. In a moment of blink-and-you'll-miss-it, the window closed. Granted, it was a window smaller than those on my daughter's Fisher-Price Little People house, but I should have seen it coming. 0-for-5, one costly error.]

Zambrano struck out the next guy but gave up a single to the following batter, and the bases were full. Enter Pedro "Feliz Navidad" Feliciano, as in "I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas by tossing you a meatball for you to clear the bases with a double." Nice relief of Victor Zambrano. It's like taking a Tums and realizing you swallowed a sand burr. Feliciano, after delivering all three of his inherited runners safely home, walked a batter and induced a fly-out before getting the hook. Ricky Bottalico stepped in, though, and was yet another hero of the day. Two and a third innings worth of work without any damage helped the Mets cruise to the 11-6 victory.

Knocking the schlitz out of the Milwaukee Brewers in this series didn't salvage the Mets' situation -- they didn't even gain much ground in the division thanks to the Strohs' debacle last night against Atlanta (thank you, David Weathers). But a sweep at Miller Park is undeniably a sorely needed step in the right direction. David Wright certainly demonstrated what he's capable of doing; he's not quite a threat to break Mike Schmidt's records just yet, but keep an eye on him. And Vance Wilson, one of the few Mets' genuine draft picks that made it all the way up the ladder, has been solid with the bat and the glove (minus the interference and the occasional pabst ball). Sure, he's an icehouse on the basepaths, but that's his only drawback. Yes, we're still worried about Jose Reyes's hamm's, and the bullpen is capable of pitching like someone slipped them mickey's, and Kris Benson could crumble under the media-meisters brau-beating him and his wife on Page 6. But there's no time to think about that stuff now -- when a little lite shines on your season, enjoy the high life.

Hmm -- while writing the last paragraph, I was reminded of Shane Spencer. Not sure why.

Next up: the St. Louis Cardinals . . . at Busch. Oh, I don't have the energy for this now.

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