Everything about the last two games completely sucks, but last night’s game…oh man.
First off: Endy Chavez is injured, and it looks bad. Well fuck. Endy was always the Met’s ace in the hole; Endy always got them the hit, or made the play that it seemed that they didn’t quite deserve to get; Endy is about 60% of the reason that I am thinking of moving to Venezuela. Endy was what allowed the entire starting outfield to go gimpy on us without anyone really freaking out or even noticing—in fact Endy’s presence on the bench, is probably what allowed Minaya to sign an outfield of brittle old dinosaurs, without anyone seriously questioning his sanity. Moises Alou makes a hell of a lot more sense if you can bring Chavez in for defense, days off, and the inevitable periods when Alou is injured—one of which we are in right now, and which does not seem likely to end anytime soon.
And Easely came up with a bum knee before the game, marvelous…the silver lineing is that this might exactly coincide with the return of Valentin.
Way to be injured right now, Lastings Milledge: the club is so strapped for outfielders that he’d be getting playing time even if he had been collaborating with Don Imus on the hip-hop adaptation of the works of the Marquis De Sade (instead of putting a track on his website that would only offend someone who had never listened to hip-hop). But he’s injured, so we’ll probably get to see some Ricky Ledee. Awesome.
Also, screw you, Aaron Heilman. I try real hard to like you, honest. I got much sympathy for the whole ‘I want to start but they won’t let me start’ thing, that seems like a bummer. But you gotta stop losing us games. Seriously.
Casey Stengel once remarked that “good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice versa.” Right now, both his old teams are built primarily around that “vice versa,” and this season (along with, oh I don’t know, THE ENTIRE GOD DAMN HISTORY OF MAJOR LEAUGE BASEBALL) is serving to prove that this is a seriously flawed premise. The Mets are where they are because their pitching has been outstanding, through no fault of the general management. Going into the season the odds that either Maine or Perez would show themselves to be a major bum were more than decent; the fact that they have both been excellent so far (knock on wood… oh please god don’t let me jinx those poor kids) is a serious piece of luck. The hell there was any sane reason to think that Jorge Sosa was going to stroll out of the minors and be lights out, but that happened and that has been huge. Going into the season everyone said that the bullpen was the club’s weakness, but it has been outstanding and one of the club’s major strengths; at the same time, the fact that it has lost two games in a row to the Phillies (who hardly even have a bullpen) shouldn’t actually shock anyone, given the initial doubts about it.
The strength of the Mets, and the Yankees, is supposed to be their offence. Delgado, Reyes, Wright, and Beltran are supposed to be coming up with key hits, and they are not. The Mets had chances to win last night’s game and score more runs, but they did not do that. The main difference between the Mets and the Yankees is that with the former the pitching has been far better than expected and with the latter it has been far, far worse.
Billy Wagner and Paul Lo Duca have apparently been calling the team out, and saying that it is not playing with the ‘fire’ that it had last year. Perhaps. Lo Duca is the same old singles machine that he ever was (knock on wood again), so I guess that he can say whatever he wants. Wagner has also been technically brilliant, converting all of his save opportunities. He’s still either a disturbing adrenaline junky or not quite the pitcher that everyone thinks, because he makes it interesting and puts runners on base, or gives up any runs that he might have to spare. I hate to do this, but I predict Wagner’s first blown save for either tonight, or sometime on the upcoming inter-league road trip. Again, sorry. Hope I’m wrong.