19.8.06

Mets Back on Trachsel

Yeah, that's it, go right for the cornball obvious headline because dames en heren, this is just what baseball is all about in August with a 14 game lead over your nearest rivals.

Just a few days ago, kicking the tires on the Mets model which is to be unveiled in the post season some were gleefully clucking about the deep sleep that had overcome the middle of the lineup and bemoaning the paucity of quality starters. That's what happens when you lose three games by a combined 27-3 margin against your nearest divisional rivals. You start looking for cracks in the masterpiece, you start hearing an orchestra that lapses into occasional off-key variations.

But no, this was just a thunderstorm in the mind. Glavine appears to have regained form, John Maine followed him with another steady outing and Steve Trachsel, historically the weak link in this chain goes out and wins his third bloody game of August to tie him with Glavine for the team lead in victories at 12.

It isn't easy getting excited about a victory over the Colorado Rockies but Trachsel is now 3-0 in August with a reasonable if unspectacular 3.24 ERA.

And Pedro's having himself a breather, getting fitted for all sorts of foam cushions in his shoes for his calf and his toe whilst the Mets' lead in the NL East expands like the bladder of a lager gulping punter in the middle of a night of binge drinking.

And as for the slump in the middle of the batting order like a big gob of phlegm in the back of the throat well, two nights ago Beltran and Delgado coughed it out with 7 hits in 9 at-bats and last night David Wright returned to form with a pair of hits and RBIs.

10-7 for August.

Hardly eye-opening but when you consider the rest of the National League is floundering in it's own collective futility (note that the even Cardinals, who have the second best record in the NL, are 8 games behind the Mets,) it becomes clear that the only excitement remaining before the postseason are these momentary hiccups that cause the henny pennies to fall from the sky like acid rain and make, for a day or two at least, a little excitement in an otherwise spectacularly unspectacular run the Mets have been on.

Will we miss this game in the throes of next winter whether we are bemoaning an October collapse or celebrating a new ticker tape pinnacle that puts the hated Yankees to shame in their own city? Probably not. A forgettable game for all save for those 35,325 lucky enough to be there in person.

Isn't it remarkable how smooth Willie Randolph's time here as been thus far?

Last season, although we bemoaned his frequently questionable tactical decisions, he had what amounted to a free pass. We had a gimp Piazza, an ineffective closer, little power in the lineup, a slumping Carlos Beltran and an unwalkable Jose Reyes among other problems so Willie could just play it cool until the jackal cacophony faded in the distance.

This season he's still making questionable tactical decisions although these, like dips in a flat and otherwise uneventful Midwest American interstate highway road, are barely discernable and cause no commotion. It remains to be seen how he will perform in the spotlight with the forensic examinations of the nation conducted in the postseason - he may lose control of the wheel and veer sharply into a ditch or get stuck in traffic. But something about the steadiness of this Mets squad, their inner confidence, their unflappability and indominable progressions makes you almost believe that no matter what, this team will be in the World Series and some other unlucky franchise will be the sacrificial goat.

All tiny speculations on a morning following a game which typifies the Mets' resolve. Steady, productive and other than those infrequent dips, reliable.

How lucky we are to be Mets fans this season.

1 comment:

kyle in newport news said...

19.8.06

This would have been a much-celebrated date if more Mets fans were British!