Thursday, July 21, 2005

Pure Gravy

Game 95 - Mets

Mets 12, Padres 0
Record: 49-46

If you'd told me that this game, featuring starters Jake "The Amp" Peavy and Kaz "For Alarm" Ishii, would end in a 12-0 score, I wouldn't have been all that surprised. The Mets were due for an offensive recoil after cleating the dish ten times in two games (that's a lot for them), Peavy's an All-Star, and Ishii's been less consistent than a he/she. If you'd asked me to wager on which team inked in 12 and which laid the bagel, I'd have put a quick hundred on San Diego 12, New York 0. It was that obvious.

Good thing I only wager lager.

Even as I brimmed with confidence towards the end of this morning's post, I was putting the primer coat on the big L painted into today's entry in the Mets' schedule. And the first couple of frames supported what I considered realistically minimal expectations. While Peavy pitched two perfect innings to start, Kaz allowed a few runners but escaped unscathed. When the first two Padres reached to start the 3rd, that painful, uneasy feeling (also a little-known Eagles B-side) began creeping in, but Mark Loretta somehow bunted into a double play. (Boy, did the Padres leave their A-game in SoCal.) Time to expect the unexpected.

Doug Mientkiewicz, out on strikes more often than Lech Walesa lately, hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the third. Hmmm.

In the fifth, the Mets picked up four runs on a two-run job by Ramon Castro (!), a walk of Ishii (!), a Reyes single/SB/errant throw, and a Mike Cameron double (.). (No exclamation point for Cameron, though he has been slumping bit of late.) 5-0, which is when I got the e-mail from Jerry about a sweep. Which, not coincidentally, was when I started yelling viciously in Jerry's direction across the Potomac.

Bottom 6, and 5-0 became 12-0 just like that. After a couple of hits to lead off, Peavy was pulled for newly acquired ex-Yank reliever Paul Quantrill, who provided "relief" akin to chunky-style hemhorroid cream. Four singles, a double, a walk, and two flyballs later -- after every starting position player except Beltran had recorded a hit in the inning (and Beltran hit a sac fly), it was over to the point that I was thinking about the sweep.

Willie emptied the bench as the PA blared "Send in the Clowns," and the rockin' trio of "Blow Your" Koo, "Ring My" Bell, and "Dig My" Graves composed funeral dirges for the downtrod Pad Squad. 12-0, Mets. I just didn't see it coming.

A nearly perfect series for the denizens of Mets Township, capped off with this whitewashing of a division-leading team. The erstwhile Trolley Dodgers come rolling into town tomorrow night; after that, the Mets hit the road for two stops in Synthetic Statistics Stadia (Coors & Minute Maid; the "shandy circuit", if you will.) Most of the Metropolitans -- and certainly the team as a whole -- have experienced tremendous difficulty turning flashes of offensive spark into sustained hot streaks; the time is now, with the trade deadline 10 days away, the division lead visible to the naked eye, and some hitter-friendly venues on the itinerary, to keep the bats sufficiently warmed and the run support piling up.

Nothing like a pretty petty winning streak to get the fans all fired up again; it may not be equal parts rational expectation and blind optimism, but it's closer to even than in delusions past. Remember, all you Townshippers, what Lenin said: "The most important thing when ill, is to never lose heart. " And remember, all you Mets, what Lennon said: "Don't let me down."

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