30.4.06

Mets Reign Over Turner Field

Despite David Wright's clumsy efforts to help bobble another game for Billy Wagner, the Mets took their second straight victory at Turner Field, this time 1-0 and this time, to widen their lead over the Braves to an incredible seven games and to clinch their first series victory in Atlanta since August 26-28, 2003.



It often gets lost in the shuffle of pitching performances and homeruns, but Cliff Floyd saved at least two runs and probably the game with his fantastic, diving catch in the gap in left center in the 4th inning with two outs and two runners on, and then made a sliding catch an inning later to save Glavine's skin.

The Mets team character is officially stated. On the heels of overtaking the Giants despite Bonds' dramatic 9th inning homer in SF, the Mets have now won two straight games at Turner Field, two games, if we're being honest, the Mets would almost certainly have lost last season.

Instead, Paul Lo Duca's homer in the 6th inning, his first of the season and the only run of the game, leave the Braves in tatters and leave the baseball world with the impression that the Mets, barring a massive meltdown, are well on the road to winning the NL East, even though it's still April. And don't tell me we're getting ahead of ourselves. Does anyone truly envision the Phillies, Nats or Marlins making a concerted run at the Mets? And if the Braves are left shuddering in the shadow of their former selves in the throes of a five game losing streak, who is left?

Tom Glavine, completing his makeover from Braves washout to another ageing mound master, pitched 7 shutout innings against his former mates, allowing only 4 hits and lowering his ERA against the Braves over his last five starts to 0.93. So much for the stigma of pitching against Atlanta.

Oh so many little heroes. Wagner throwing 6 consecutive sliders to the Jones Boys and despite Wright, getting both of them out eventually before striking out
Jeff Francoeur on fastballs to earn his 7th save of the season, looking worth every penny spent. Heilman putting the Braves down 1-2-3 in the 8th to preserve the fragile lead, handing it over to Wagner.

Mysteriously, Carlos Delgado struck out four straight times. Wright also went 0 for 4, striking out twice. For all the hype, it's interesting to note that Xavier Nady is hitting only .216 in road games this season versus .436 at Shea. The only other interesting stat I have to give today is that Jose Reyes, quiet yesterday, is still hitting .357 with runners in scoring position so far this season.


The Flying Kaz Man Now Has An Eight Game Winning Streak

Let's hear it for the man we thought might end up more mocked at Shea than Jorge Julio or, dare we say it, Carlos Beltran - Kaz Matsui, who has done everything absolutely right since his return to the lineup making us quickly forget about Anderson Hernandez, hitting .344 and fielding better than David Wright.

This was a game Larry Jones said was about as close to a must win game in April you can get. That says it all about the Mets and Braves this season. Seven games is alot of ground to make up. Not impossible, mind you, but if the Mets can finish off their victim properly with an historical sweep at Turner Field, well, you can just about hear the air leaking out of the NL East race already.

*****

Alot of excitement about Mike Pelfrey's debut in Double AA ball for Binghamton, 5 2/3 scoreless innings of work, 8 Ks and 3 hits surrendered.

Couldn't help but notice Henry Owens, Pelfrey's teammate and his 31 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings pitched. The Mets aren't hurting in the pen but wow, it's something to think about as the season wears on.

If you're interested in the Jets as well, I'll pimp one of my other sites, Sports Amnesia which has the first round draft developments

Sunday it's Trax against Kyle Davies, who tossed a complete game humiliation against us his last time out.

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