Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Game 2 – Mets

Mets 4, Cardinals 1
Record: 2-0

Last I checked in, I closed with yet another declaration of my affinity for this game, but when love becomes pure addiction, there is no greater fix than the one the Extra Innings package provides. A trip to the park can’t be surpassed in many regards, but gluttons for the national pastime can ingest maximum horsehide by flipping through game after game – further enhanced by TiVo. It’s worth admitting you’re a geek just to experience such baseball overload.

Tonight was the first night of the season to offer just that.

The obvious highlight of tonight’s action was the Met game, which became another happy jab to the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. As an aside, I’ll stop mentioning them as such when Joe Buck stops mentioning it once a half-inning. I accept and endorse his Redbird bias on the St. Louis broadcast (one of the drawbacks of the ticket), but I don’t have to listen to it. After he elevated Yadier Molina’s 2006 NLCS performance to one of all-time heroism each and every time Molina entered the batter’s box, I had to mute Mr. Buck. As this deep, digressing aside sidetracks this post before it even gets started, I mean, honestly – Molina’s numbers going into that series were way, way worse than Dent’s ’78, Boone’s ’03, Mazeroski’s ’60, Hendu’s ’86, any of the guys in the conversation. It’s painful just to think about, and catching the increasingly grating Joe Buck – in his first Cards-cast of the year and on a night when the World Series rings were presented – is not helping. Even when Endy Chavez entered tonight’s game and they aired the clip of the greatest moment of any sporting event I’ve ever attended, Joe quickly turned a tip of the cap toward Endy into yet another reminder of how it all played out. Annoying. Naturally, if the Mets had won and SNY were doing the same thing, you can bet I’d be eating it up. But they didn’t, and I’m not.

Whew. Take a breath, Whit. The Mets won. (Clearly there is still some baggage from last fall.)

Anyway . . . the Mets did win, and in convincing fashion once again. The bats weren’t nearly as dominant, thanks to Kip Wells’ effective wildness, but the defense shone for a second straight night and El Duque was super-sharp. Ignoring a Scott Rolen blast, the Duque threw seven just-about-flawless frames. That there is some music to the Mets fans’ ears, and a staving off of the inevitable “I told you so’s” to come the first time a Mets starter struggles. It has been the insight-less analysis du jour for months to use the expression “question mark” somewhere in regards to the Mets’ 2007 rotation. Here’s hoping for and believing in a solid, critic-quieting delivery from the underrated crew that updates the menu.

Scott Schoeneweis looked intermittently crisp and imprecise in the eighth, mowing down a pair of Cards before issuing a four-pitch walk to the elfin one and allowing a single to Chris Duncan (who normally hits lefties as if wearing an eyepatch). With the three-run lead and Pujols striding plateward, Willie called for Aaron Heilman while I tried to fight off thoughts of how much I’d rather have a healthy Duaner Sanchez in this spot. Heilman got it done, though, inducing an easy fly on a full count. The first deep sigh of the year, the first extended arms fist raise. Nice.

And Wagner was aces in the ninth; a terrific outing. Nicenice.

A few thoughts on the Mets . . .
Echoing ECA Mike, I am hoping Shawn Green gets his bat out of his tuchas before he’s dumped for clubhouse supplies and Lastings Milledge II: Electric Boogaloo hits right field. We the fans instinctively and fallibly believe in whoever isn’t in the lineup far more than the fellow who is. Milledge had a fine spring and still appears to be a stud prospect, but he’s not even a year removed from the rush job that had him .233ing and being the whirling dervish in Fenway. Ease him into the role, don’t fast-track him. Meanwhile, Green is a veteran hitter who deserves a few more benefits of the doubt than anyone seems to be giving him. Granted, he’s been blindly flailing the bat around like Wendy Torrance at the Overlook so far, but all I am saying is give Green a chance before hurrying Milledge back into a pressured position.

And does anyone else not like the way David Wright has looked at the plate – since say, last September?

On the non-Mets front, and back to the beautiful orchestration that was baseball on TV tonight, I managed to pause the Mets action and flip to three separate games’ final at-bats, all with the tying run at the plate or on base. Great stuff. Of comedic note was old MLC punching bag Dan Wheeler blowing a lead and taking the loss against the Pirates – thanks to old friend Xavier Nady. I chuckled way too fervently to maintain my usually balanced karma, and even had to apologize to Mr. Wheeler while doing so. It just seems like every time I watch him, he implodes as if on cue. And it’s so much more amusing now that he does so for another ballclub.

And finally, if you didn’t see former Tide/Met Jason Tyner’s stolen base tonight (one that proved to be critical, as he became the winning run for the Twins), try to find it. He stumbled and dove about eight feet shy of second base, did the worm the rest of the way in, and was somehow safe because the throw was that wide. Highly entertaining.

John Maine versus Braden Looper (!) tomorrow night. Give me a sweep and an SNY broadcast and I’ll be a whirling dervish myself.


Mike said...

I'm also worried about Wright. On the one hand, it's early; on the other, he hasn't hit for power in a long, long time. His eye seems as good as ever, but he's fouling off pitches he used to smash. Think he's injured?

Whitney said...

Lord, I hope not. It could be that he's in his own head too much -- when he muscled up (conveniently following his HR Derby night) he couldn't hit for power, and now I think he's trying for a return to his old form . . . by not ever swinging for the fences -- which isn't working, either. I don't know what's worse, a nagging injury or a mental block, and I don't want to escalate the murmur of worry into anything that gets him thinking about it even more, but it's getting harder to ignore.

rob said...

saw the tyner "effort", which was as amusing as you describe, though a bit of a blow to chico's bail bonds, as it made cabrera the loser in a game he didn't deserve to lose. nice effort by castillo on that one.