Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Moving Right Along

Game 34 – Mets

Cubs 7, Mets 0
Record: 18-16

Yeah, I like this team. I just don’t like everything they do, and I reserve the right to speak painfully honestly (and sarcastically) when they veer into the unlikable. Hey, I like U2 plenty, but I’m the first guy to say I found Rattle and Hum erratic, half-hearted, unfocused, and ultimately an hour-plus of crud to follow up some fine work. Now that I type it, this game was pretty much the same, except twice as long. Ugh.

This loss came down to two significant obstacles: nobody could hit Greg Maddux – or the two relievers, for that matter – and Kris Benson simply would not stop serving up gopher balls. When your “hitters” total three hits and your starting pitcher allows sixteen bases’ worth of tater, it’s . . . it’s not good.

Fran-tastic and Teddy Ro (in a game like this, the mind meanders) mentioned several times in the broadcast that the Cubs and Maddux had made complaints similar to Tom Glavine’s about getting squeezed on wide strikes since the advent of QuesTech. No, good sirs, no. Jeff Van Gundy’s recent claim has more merit, based on what we saw tonight. Maddux, like his old pal, may sometimes find his current strike zone to be annoyingly similar to other pitchers’, but on this night he was getting over 50% of the old school calls.

What was decidedly more retro than the umpiring generosity was the Greg Maddux mastery, however. Slow, slower, slowest, up, down, in, out – his command was impressive and he kept the Mets hacking at air all night. Jose Reyes was particularly defenseless, looking a fair bit like he was holding the wrong end of the bat . . . and wearing roller skates. The only guy who could figure Maddux out was Chris Woodward, who notched two of the three hits and garnered a walk. Woodward was in because David Wright’s foul-dinged foot need X-rays . . . [can’t breathe] . . . which were negative.

Benson, on the other hand . . . might as well have been throwing with the other hand. He surrendered bleacher shots to Corey Patterson (twice), Jeromy Burnitz, and rookie Jason DuBois. (A hearty hello goes out to you Google-searching Soap or Benson enthusiasts who entered “Benson DuBois” and landed here; I apologize for the lack of jokes about dummies or Kraus quips – yet. Hey, you know, Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld, who both got their first mainstream gigs on these two shows, respectively, each have a Met connection: one of Crystal’s most prominent, though not funniest roles, was the City Slickers lead who donned the orange and blue lid for most of the film; meanwhile, the Keith Hernandez saga on Seinfeld, not to mention the Roger McDowell bit, was vintage. But I digress, just a tad.)

Anyway . . . it’s best to keep things light like that after an ugly loss like this one. Pick out a bright spot or two (like, say, no Mets died on the field tonight), avoid repeated mentions of negatives like four HR’s allowed in 6 IP, and look forward to another crack at this opponent just 14 hours from now. One which features Victor Zambrano versus Mark Prior. Oh, sheist, Kraus.

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