Tuesday, May 03, 2005

You Get What You Pay For (Sometimes)

Game 26 - Mets

Mets 5, Phillies 1
Record: 13-13

See "Reason for Hope" #3 below: Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez. Yep, that about sums up this game. Pedro was double-down dealing, and Beltran, after an uneventful first three trips to the plate, took advantage of an ill-advised off-speed floater from reliever Terry Adams and rocketed the baseball off the scoreboard. Without either of these gents on the field for the Mets, the outcome most certainly would have been less pleasing.

True Fact: each of Carlos Beltran's four home runs this year have come in games pitched by Pedro Martinez. Interesting; it's as if he sees Pedro earning his (ridiculous amount of) money and decides to turn it up in the same vein. When these two are on the field at the same time, the "new Mets" moniker they're Seattle Slewing all over New York doesn't seem so silly -- these two players make the Mets what they haven't been in years.

So this is what it's like to have big-money, high-profile, free agent signings who actually perform in the early term? Is this what it feels like to be a Yankee fan? Hmmm. Doesn't feel like I'm worshiping Satan. Doesn't seem like I have a gaping hole where my soul used to be. Maybe it's because the Mets are still 2.5 games out and a million miles from that trophy with all of the little pennants on it.

In other game notes, Jose Reyes responded to my plea for patience at the plate or a demotion in the order with a resounding "Walks are for sissies" 4-for-5 night that triggered the two run-scoring innings. In actuality, he was significantly more patient at the plate, getting 2-0 and 3-1 counts with a look of wonderment at seeing them for the first time. In his fifth and final plate appearance, he got a 3-0 count and the crowd -- what was left of them after a two-hour rain delay and eight innings of Metball -- went bonkers, cracking up his teammates and even making the kid grin in a nice moment of levity precipitated by a four-run lead. Reyes took a couple of close pitches to go 3-2, then slapped one to the other side that very nearly got through for his fifth hit. He looked great at the plate, and it all had to do with cutting down on the number of wild swings at pitches far from the zone. And dammit, man, his OBP has to rise because of how dangerous a baserunner he can be.

The mudslung Fran Healy out-thunk Phils skipper Charlie Manuel, though he'll likely not get credit anywhere else for it. Fran the Man advised sternly against lifting Jon Lieber for a pinch-hitter after six very solid innings. After Jose Offerman pinch-popped to short, Lieber's replacement gave up four earned runs in 1/3 of an inning, including Beltran's ICBM that won the game for Pedro. When your bullpen is a glaring weakness (listen up, Willie) and your starter is going great guns, pulling him for a guy who's not only not good enough to start on your last-place team (especially given the depleted nature of the Phillie bench) but also ice cold -- to face Pedro Martinez -- is simply not playing the odds.

Around the horn real quick: Cliff Floyd is red hot, Doug Mientkiewicz is struggling, and my brother-in-law Patrick announced he was officially off the Victor Diaz wagon before last night's game. After last night's game, I may be with him; Diaz looks lost after being so sharp for a couple of weeks.

I don't like tonight's pitching match-up at all (the slip slidin' away Tommy Glavine vs. the up and coming Brett Myers). If the Mets manage a convincing win tonight, the Philadelphia Phillies are indeed, as Nick Luketic proclaimed today, already "mailing in the rest of the season." Which I like to hear.

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