Sunday, May 13, 2007

What Made Milwaukee Famous

Games 34 through 36 - Mets

Mets 5, Brewers 4
Brewers 12, Mets 3
Mets 9, Brewers 1
Record: 23-13

If not famous, what made Milwaukee newsworthy over the first few weeks of the season was a dominance over the National League's wretched refuse, one that had catapulted them to the baseball's best record coming into the weekend. Thanks to the Mets, with a helping hand from the Curse of Peter Angelos, that's no longer the case. The Brew Crew's barstool still stands a little taller than the remainder of the Senior Circuit, and they're still seven games and counting better than the five other NL Central "teams," none of whom can claim a .500 record. That said, the Metropolitans' series win gave the Brewers notice that the road to the pennant may prove bumpier than the cruise control straightaway of the first six weeks.

Make no mistake, Milwaukee can mash the ball, and in flashes they illustrated the top-to-bottom prowess at the plate that will keep them in any game. The Mets' starters, however, managed to keep a lid on things most of the way. Jorge Sosa, Mike Pelfrey, and Ollie Perez posted a 3.15 ERA over the weekend; Pelfrey suffered the worst damage, 4 ER in 5 IP, and that outing bought his ticket to New Orleans for him.

The bullpen struggled mightily, however. The Mets relievers kept whipping their heads around towards the bleachers like they were celebrating the 20th anniversary of the "Bad" video. The answer to "Who's bad?" this weekend was fairly obvious. Friday night Errant Heilman made everything a lot more interesting when he served up a two-run shot to J.J. Hardy. The next day, a 4-3 deficit in the middle innings became . . . well you saw the final score. Pedro Feliciano, Joe Smith, and Scott Schoeneweis (walked into a bar?) surrendered eight runs over the final pair of frames in a scene not seen since the days of Dan Wheeler's Blanket Party Bingo. Hardy's grand slam may have at last impressed upon the Mets that he's not the hole in the Brewer lineup they might have figured.

But it was just one loss, and in truth, the only lasting damage might have come in another ding in that old vessel H.M.S. Queen Moises. Prospectus Extraordinarius Carlos Gomez passed Pelf on the elevator last night, and the young outfielder's ascension -- and 2-for-4 with a double and 2 runs debut -- has the Township crossing fingers, what with Alou spotted performing the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch more often than not lately. As we saw with a certain unnamed OF hopeful last season, however, stirring big-league openings don't always have a lasting effect.

This afternoon the story, once again, was Oliver Perez. The story is always Oliver Perez when he pitches; sometimes it's a happy story, sometimes it's a horror story. Today he took a one-hit shutout into the ninth, added an RBI single to raise his average to .353, and looked electric. O.P. has displayed that electricity with some frequency this year -- it's just that every other outing, it seems that . . . O.P. shorts. (Sorry, really sorry.)

Well, I guess Perez was half of the story. The offense came alive against the previously unbeaten Chris Capuano, then gave the Crew a taste of their own medicine when Milwaukee reliever Elmer Dessens came unglued. (Thanks, same show 8 and 11.) Everyone hit (save Julio Franco, who looked 84 instead of 48), but of note was Damion Easley continuing to make everyone forget Jose Valentin's bat, if not his glove or moustache. He homered yet again, breaking open the scoring in the first inning. Dee-Dub also raised eyebrows by swiping three bags and adding fuel to the notion that his early-season stank is fading fast.

Oh, and Jose Reyes finally shaved his head. Good to have him aboard the train, leaving only Aaron Sele unshaven. Sele supposedly had a family portrait to have taken that precluded him from going the way of the shears. Now it's unclear what keeps him from joining his teammates in this silly solidarity. If it's the dread of receiving a head-shaving and an unconditional release within days, I'd say that's a fair point.

Two solid starts, six home runs, 27 hits, and a pair of wins over the NL's top dog. Not a bad weekend. Next up: the Cubs for four, the Yanks for three. These are two teams who shelled out a lot of money for their losing records to date. Two teams with plenty to be pissed off about. Two teams far better than their performance thus far. No letdown, boys.


rob said...

whither lastings milledge?

and o.p. shorts? nice.

Whitney said...

Milledge strained a ligament in his foot somehow, and he's shelved at least until June. A run of bad luck for the guy.