Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Game 25 - Mets

Marlins 5, Mets 2

Record: 15-10

Three increasingly problematic areas of the Met machine experienced developments last night, and two of them were positive. Two out of three ain't bad, but the squeaky wheel gets the oil, so let's focus our attention on him, shall we?

First, the good. By the time I flipped on the game last night, Mike Pelfrey had already suffered a three-run triple off the bat of Josh Willingham in Inning #1. As disappointing a first sight as it was, what the young pitcher did to bounce back over the next 5+ innings overcame that disappointment. He took the loss, since the Met bastmen couldn't cool suddenly red-hot Ricky Nolasco's sauce, but over a 162-game marathon, you look for little victories even amid the dozens of losses. And that was one.

Build on it, Pelf, and you'll help yourself.

Meanwhile, David Wright has had the Township a little on edge for a while, but there's nothing like a 3-for-4 night with a double and a home run belted to right-center to calm the masses. Just one game, we know, but it's a Dee-Dub we haven't see in way too long.

And then there's Errant Heilman. The grumble you didn't hear as I (mis)typed his name is becoming all too frequent an accompaniment. He didn't blow a lead or take a loss, but just as in Pelfrey's case, the statistic is misleading. A 3-2 deficit with a couple of frames for the increasingly clutch Mets to work their magic is almost enticing; A 5-2 hole after the unfortunately aforementioned Willingham rocketed a Heilman maneuver into the bleachers. It was entirely deflating -- it sounds odd to think there was any inflation a game the Mets had
never led, but these Metropolitans are getting it done with stacked odds of late.

Constructing the standard operating procedures of bullpen usage is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, and I've never felt that Willie Randolph was all that proficient at piecing it together. Sure, like most beginners, he can get the edge pieces to fit right (starters, closer), but the real trick is to get those inner workings snugly interlocked so that the picture looks just right. Right now an integral piece is missing (Guillermo Mota, who won't have pitched in a game since October, and who, uh, might be less infused with "special vitamins"), but we can't pretend that that one addition will automatically solve the puzzle upon its arrival. There's still time to start trying every remaining piece and make this thing work.

The Amburglar (still love it) can be way too wild, but batters are swinging just .188 against him, and his WHIP is still lower than Heilman's. He's kind of a Mota interim, able to be sandwiched into the set-up -- or, in last night's case, keep-it-close -- role along with Heilman and the sidearms. (My metaphors have been rotten of late, and the fact that I avoided any segue from "sandwiched" to "bring out the Heilman and bring in the best" is a minor miracle. Whip.)

Maybe the masses will wait most judiciously until Aaron Heilman really blows up and even loses another game before calling for a full reworking of all thing bullpen, but I'd say it's past time to at least start considering that something erosive entered his psyche last fall.

Totally unrelated music information: At the end of CCR's last great record, Pendulum, they have one of the band's final solid hits, a little rocker called "Molina," in the next-to-last spot on Side B. Immediately following is a six-minute disaster called "Rude Awakening," a droning ode to noise unlike anything Creedence had ever issued. I know, because I'd borrow my folks' Pendulum LP as a kid, and I really liked most of the album, but it was always a race to get to the record player before "Rude Awakening" damaged my ears. The legendary band released one final, terribly lackluster record after that, then called it quits. To my naive, 15-year-old self, it seemed like "Molina" had meant the end of a great group, and everything that came after it was sub-par at best.

Draw your own parallels, but to me it seems like Aaron Heilman is somewhere in the second minute of "Rude Awakening," and that's an ugly place to be. I'll just sit here hoping for the "revival" part to kick in and waiting for the always-deliberate Willie to get to the record player soon.


Timothy said...

The township has turned on Aaron in a big way.

The reaction he got from the crowd when he came in the game (a smattering of boos), the reaction he got leaving the mound after the home run inning (lustful boos), and even the reaction after his solid top of the ninth (another smattering of boos), is telling.

It may be that he never lived up to the early hype in combination with the whining about not being in the rotation, the Molina homer, and the slow start to this year, but the Shea faithful are all over him.

Whitney said...

That's not gonna help the poor midwesterner, but that's about right. He is pitching in New York, after all, and if we wants to go the route of Kenny Rogers (for once at this site, not the musical guy), he'll get shown the same love.