Mets Make Mockery of The Unit, 7-1

If this was a battle of free agent pitchers, the Mets definately won. If this was a battle for redemption after being criticised all winter long for artificially inflating the starting pitcher market in paying Benson to stay with them, the Mets won that too. Randy Johnson, $48 million for three years versus Kris Benson, $22.5 million for three years. Randy Johnson surrendered 12 hits and four runs over six and two thirds innings and Benson allowed only 3 hits over six shutout innings. The Mets won this one almost easily, 7-1.

There were tense moments of course. No Subway Series game is ever a laughter, not with drunken Bronx bums starting fights in the stands and Yankee Yobs spreading around the stadium like some sort of communicable disease. But the Mets, led by Benson, who appears to like the big stage and the pressure, and by their hitters, including the token Korean lefty reliever KooKooKachoog, who smacked a Randy Johnson offering 400 feet over Bernie Williams' head to the warning track as if to underscore the futility of Johnson's pitching yesterday, made easy work of the Yankees, setting the stage for this afternoon's rubber match and second free agent duel, Pedro against Pavano.

Nine of the first 16 batters Johnson faced yesterday recorded hits and he seemed constantly on the ropes, just another gangly, pockmark-faced pitcher with unusual height, no longer The Unit, the intimidator, the man who would bring the World Championship back to the Bronx. No, that spot in the rotation might still have to go to Roger Clemens before the end of the year. And the Mets hit him like batting practice.

After booting two infield grounders on Friday night and having the nerve to blame the Mets grounds crew, still recovering from their gambling scandal, Mr Yankee, Derek Jeter was nailed on the elbow by Benson in the 6th inning yesterday and knocked out of the game.

Jeter went as far whinge to the media after his crap game Friday night, noting "They need to stop booing Matsui and these guys when they miss balls, they should just give them a standing ovation when they catch one."

Yeah, right Derek. And it was the grounds crew's fault that you went 0 for 5 and struck out three times on Friday night too, you muppet.

So Benson did him one in for the grounds crew and appeared to thrive in the playoff-like surroundings of the Subway Series. Prior to yesterday's game, he had it known he was eager to face the Yankees and made it known this was his biggest game pitching in a looooong time which seems logical for a guy who spent most of his career pitching for a team of bottom feeders like the Pirates in exile and obscurity. "It was all exactly what I expected," Benson gushed afterwards. "The atmosphere really motivated me to play well."

After the shocking double for Koo, he wasn't done. When Jose Reyes laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to move him to third, he discovered no one was covering home plate and so bolted home and made a brilliant headfirst slide to score. Replays may have shown that it was the invisibile pinky that allowed him to be safe at the plate but it didn't really matter by then anyway. The Unit was humiliated and the Mets were showing their mettle.

And typical for Mike Piazza this season he guessed wrong yet again yesterday. As Koo went to the plate, he turned to David Wright in the dugout and said, "If he gets a hit, I'll donate a million dollars to charity."

That's why Wright was laughing the hardest of all the Mets, pointing back at Piazza after bounding up the steps of the dugout upon contact.

"It's going to be a significant amount (to charity) over the next 20 years," Piazza said rather sheepishly in the clubhouse afterward, when asked about his boast. But maybe he should donate his entire salary to charity since he doesn't really earn a penny of it as a defensive liability behind the plate and an offensive millstone around it. Haha. Maybe not so funny for Mike after all. He went two for four yesterday and raised his batting average for the season all the way up to .245, which shows you from how far down he's had to climb up this year so far.

But then again, nearly everyone had a big day at the plate teeing off on The Big Unit. Jose Reyes' two-run, tack-on triple in the eighth inning gave him three hits and four RBIs for the day. David Wright had two hits and two runs batted in. Beltran had two hits before leaving the game with a tender hamstring. Even Met pitcher were 2 for 3 on the day.

What the victory really means at the end of the day is only that this series is even and the Mets are still only two games behind the Marlins for first place in the National League East.


Pedro is still due to take the mound for the Mets today and even though it's against the Yankees, it might be a case of same daddies, different brothers.

In his seven years with the Red Sox, Martinez made 27 regular-season starts against the Yankees, going 9-10 with a 3.30 ERA.

He also faced the Yankees in five postseason starts and a relief appearance, posting a 1-2 record and 4.72 ERA.

Pedro will face the man he was originally traded from the Expos to the Red Sox for, Carl Pavano. Since 2002, Pavano has faced the Mets 9 times and has a 4-1 record with a 3.25 ERA against them. At Shea itself, he is 2-0 in 4 starts with a 2.60 ERA.

No comments: