Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rising from the Ashes in Phoenix

Games 125 & 126 - Mets

Mets 14, Diamondbacks 1
Mets 18, Diamondbacks 4
Record: 66-60

So much for lying in wait and creeping back into the fold. As soon as I urged the Mets toward a "resurgence," they promptly and definitively hung 32 runs on the sad-sack Arizona pitching staff in two nights. Lost in the drubbings will inevitably be the solid pitching performances of Victor Zambrano and Jae Seo, but who cares? There was too much to revel in during the softball-level run-scoring when the Mets were batting. (Who am I kidding? The Mets outscored our softball team over the last two nights.)

David Wright received extremely high praise from the Diamondbacks' broadcast booth (Thom Brenneman and the highly enjoyable Mark Grace) from the moment they took the air, and yet he superseded even those kudos. He hit two home runs last night, including one absolute bomb to center. (Of course, it was so out of hand by that point, the Fox Sports Network Arizona crew was busy interviewing the Ultimate Fighting Champion who'd thrown out the first pitch for fifteen minutes and stopped concentrating on things like the baseball game going on, so there was almost no camera evidence of the mammoth shot, and zero commentary.)

Wright's continued ascension towards the top shelf of hitters in the league was nearly overshadowed by a bigger surprise from a young player. Mike Jacobs homered twice more, doubled, and went 4-for-5 with five runs scored to extend the unbelievable dream that is his inaugural week in the big leagues. To project anything except for a bit of potential greatness from three-plus games in the majors -- against a shell of a team like the D-backs are right now -- would be moronic, but just for fun, look at Jacobs' current stats:
7-for-13, 8 R, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 1 2B, 4 HR, .538/.625/1.538 for a 2.163 OPS

That's just fun to look at, much like his swing. By the way, any pitcher throwing him anything (or any catcher calling for anything) that could even remotely be labeled "down and in" just hasn't done their homework. Jacobs has jumped into the cesspool that has been the Mets' 1B debacle and somehow come out smelling like roses so far. As an added bonus, he's also a natural catcher -- that's how it's phrased, you know, though if anyone can see anything "natural" about a loading up your body with plastic gear, putting on a face mask, and crouching for three hours while one guy throws balls at you, another swings a bat near your head, and a third hollers things in your ear . . . well, maybe you can explain it to me.

Five home runs last night. Jose Reyes hit the one not previously referenced, and it was a long golf shot into the right-field seats. Actually, now that I think about it, David Wright also had a double that hit the wall a foot below the top -- and it was back in that idiotic crevice in left-field, a homer over any other part of the wall. It was just a barrage of big bats, clubbing Russ Ortiz and a band of beleaguered, sweaty, unhappy, overmatched relievers. Gracie and Brenneman were begging for mercy by the fourth inning. This game had everything for a Mets fan . . . including some dark humor. With the score 17-0 in the seventh inning, Victor Diaz tagged up and took third on a fly to center. Everyone in the stadium, Mets included, shook their heads in disappointed disbelief, and at that point it was a question of who'd get plunked. Four batters later, seemingly at random, Tim Worrell decided to retaliate by hitting . . . wait for it . . . Kaz Matsui. In a way, this defused the situation entirely; going after Reyes, Wright, or even Jacobs might have turned into something ugly, but by nailing Matsui, Worrell cracked up every denizen of the Township and had to have the Mets shaking their heads with a wry smile. Here's hoping nothing more comes of it with Pedro on the hill tonight. (As an aside, in the eighth Matsui committed the throwing error I'd thought was coming two nights ago. He's persistent like that.)

The toughest line to toe for Willie Randolph and the coaching staff is to draw every ounce of confidence out of this recent outburst while keeping perspective in the kids. Boys, keep in mind that this is almost like a rehab stint, the way the Diamondbacks are playing this month. They're giving up double-digit scores every fifth game, they aren't hitting worth a damn, and their fielding is the pits. (Every time Victor Diaz hits a ball to the outfield, there's a better than good chance at least one outfielder will get a bad jump, misplay the ball, slip, trip, and/or fall flat on his face. Watch for it.) Don't get over-excited about . . .

Aw, I can't do it. You just don't see an onslaught like this very often, so get fired up, have fun with it, and see what happens next game. What a couple of ass-kickings. If this is the way they respond to my plea for a resurgence, I'll keep saying it. Resurgence.

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