Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sir Duque

Game 84 – Mets

Mets 5, Pirates 0
Record: 50-34

Scoring early and often was more than a characteristic of the victories the Mets racked up before the recent slide, it was a large part of why they won. Then, during those beat-downs in Beantown and the Bronx, when the Mets couldn’t score in the first inning, it was if they didn’t know how to proceed from there. They were baffled by their own early inefficiency, and that bewilderment translated into stumbling through a hazy nine innings of lackluster baseball. I love that they’d come to expect more of themselves, but it was painful to watch.

Last night, the Metbats were back at it again, piling up hits early and . . . just early. They knocked around Kip Wells (back from arterial transplant surgery in March; modern medicine is amazing) in the first for five runs, but once they saw El Duque start mowing through the Pittsburgh lineup, they felt no need to humiliate the Bucs. I guess that’s what it was, because they didn’t collect another hit after that first inning. Two walks, and a whole slew of grounders and flyouts. It wasn’t much to watch after that premier frame, but it was nice to see Hernandez cool down a surprisingly hot-hitting Pirate squad. Oh, well, we’ll take it (we seem to utter every time we beat this club).

Tonight Steve Trachsel tries to stabilize further the questionable rotation situation, picking up where El Duque left off last night. He faces youngster Tom Gorzelanny, a fresh-faced Pirate rookie with one start under his belt this season. That gives me a peaceful, easy feeling, but making me feel less comfortable is (a) the fact that his one start was a solid no-decision against an offensive juggernaut in the Detroit Tigers, plus (b) the fact that Trachsel “disturbed his groin” last time out, a description that in turn disturbs me. He says it’s okay and that he’ll be fine.

Speaking of which, the Mets trainers are apparently being phased out in a cost-cutting strategy. In addition to Trachsel clearing himself to play tonight, the Mets are waiting for Pedro Martinez to make the final determination as to whether he’ll pitch tomorrow night. Why let managers and general managers make such decisions based on medical staff’s analysis and the player’s input when you can just let players decide for themselves what’s best? I understand that Pedro isn’t just anyone, and I understand that nobody knows Pedro’s body and its limitations better than he does. I also understand that pride in what you do and a commitment to the team can actually work against the best wishes of said team. This is where having the skipper make the final call works best. Get the full scoop on his injury, gauge as best you can the immediate and future needs of the club, and go with your gut. We really don’t need another serious injury followed by Willie Randolph shrugging and quipping, “I had no idea.” It goes back to entries #1 and #2 of my last post. Sit Pedro down and take charge of this team, Willie.

Regardless, it was nice to see the Mets put together a couple of wins to begin beating the teams they should beat once again. Can’t get but so swept up in such successes, but it sure beats the hell out of getting throttled, doesn’t it?

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