Thursday, May 04, 2006

C'mon, Billy

Game 27 – Mets

Mets 4, Pirates 3 (12 inn.)
Record: 18-9

There were key hits, great glovework, wild pitching, and medium-high drama at the old park last night. Naturally, I am speaking of Rob’s and my night out at the Arlington softball park. What else could I mean?

Many of the same elements filled in the Mets’ win over the Bucs last night, but I didn’t get to see any of them until later. Rob and I were out there clinging desperately to the last threads of our youthful athleticism amongst “peers” who were in high school when the team formed. My wee cohort manned the 2B spot with as much range, reliability and flair as ever, while I typically started strong and faded down the stretch on the hill; meanwhile, our dinosauric duo collected 14 hits (all right, one or two might’ve been ruled an error if an official scorer had been around) and scored 14 times. Not bad for a pair of washed-up dudes with bellies full of beer.

At the same time, somewhere in the drizzle at William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, Pedro Martinez stymied the Pirates for six innings, Aaron Heilman threw two perfect frames, and Billy Wagner . . . made me the fool once again for applauding his recent performance. Whereas Pedro embodied all that I described in a recent "State of the Mets" post, Wags confounded me by handing the Bucs two runs to tie the thing, requiring a 12th-inning game-ending blast from (who else?) Carlos Delgado. C’mon, Billy, if you can’t handle a little praise, I’d be glad to lampoon rather than laud your work.

Meanwhile, the hitting isn’t exactly up to its projected form; the Metros went 10-for-42, not that terrible, but they posted 14 strikeouts to just four walks while leaving 12 men on base. Endy Chavez’s big night was overshadowed to some degree by batters 1-3 managing just two hits in 17 at-bats. Meanwhile, David “Something’s Not” Wright fanned three more times as his average dropped to .277.

Oh, and the Mets’ pinch-hitters were 0-for-3 on the night, continuing the dearth of timely insertions that’s a mirror image from last year’s club. Marlon Anderson led a brilliantly PH-balanced squad last year, but this team can’t seem to muster up the mojo from its subs. Jose “My Funny” Valentin pinch-whiffed yet again last night. I’d rather Pedro have hit for himself, and that’s bad.

Hitting slumps setting in, a wasted effort by Martinez, and another blown save for Wagner on a nasty night in New York. Could’ve easily meant a loss for the hometown team, yet it didn’t. There is plenty to be said for this team’s buoyancy. Shake it off, Billy, there’s a clubhouse full of guys to lean on when you stumble.

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