11.8.06

PiazzaFest Ends In Sweep And Second Stringers

It's amazing what a day game following a night game can do.

Instead of a familiar lineup worthy of the NL East Champs, the batting order was liberally sprinkled with bench players - Day-Game-Following-Night- Game bench players like Michael Tucker, Ricky Ledee and Mike DeFelice. All players you've heard of somewhere, somehow. All players who moved like shadows in the late innings, like transluscent ghosts of unrequited ambition.


Michael Tucker relays the ball from left field and plunged himself into our collective subconscious with a nice assist in the 3rd inning

Tucker only arrived at Shea Stadium in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game and for some of us anyway, the idea that Michael Tucker, who hadn't had had an at-bat in the Major Leagues all season made one reflexively flinch inwards. Is the outfield really that thin?

The biggest absentee of all was the Golden Boy, Mike Piazza, another victim of the day-game-following-night-game phenomenon.

Mets fans were stuck with their own players to cheer rather than giving encores to the enemy and sweet irony that on the day that Piazza finally disappeared, the fans who returned, (sniffing the parametres of Shea like mice in search of cheese for a crumb of Piazza's lingering contrails, just one more curtain call, just one more homer for auld time's sake,) were stuck with the Mets "B" team.

Well, it wasn't the "B" team exactly. Jose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Delgado still started. El Duque was still making his audition for third starter in the postseason rotation. Three good Mets were all it took to beat these hapless Padres who looked about as formidable as a runway model with a broken heel. Pity the NL West. This was the division leader.

Reyes tripled home two runs in the second inning and then started the backbreaking four-run outpouring in the seventh that erasd the 3-3 tie and sent the Padres down the terlet. Wright had a pair of doubles including the hit that scored Reyes with the go-ahead run and El Duque, who after allowing a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning, faced the minimum until Brian Giles doubled leading off the seventh.

Even Endy Chavez, who technically is no longer a bench player since he's the second best healthy Met outfielder after Carlos Beltran, joined Reyes and Wright as Mets elitists with a pair of hits, at least a run scored and at least a run batted in yesterday.


He's no Mike Piazza but then again, he doesn't have to be.

There was no curtain call for Piazza. That didn't stop the Mets revisionist and delusional section of the stadium from cheering him. All it took was a little scoreboard camera catching him at the top of the dugout in the seventh inning to elicit further girlish shivers from the adoring crowd and hopeful applause. Piazza tipped his hat to the fans but their chanting wasn't loud enough for the Padres manager to remove Josh Bard in favour of Piazza as a pinch hitter in the 9th and the manager was heavily booed for his insouciance.

It doesn't escape notice that El Duque is warming up for the post season having now gone 4-0 with a 3.34 ERA since July 5th. In fact, over the last six games, Mets starters including Pedro, Glavine, Maine, Trachsel and El Duque have pitched 39 innings, allowed 27 hits and 13 earned runs (6 of which came from El Duque's two starts.) - a collective 3.00 ERA. Either the National League is giving up or the Mets starting rotation isn't as disheartening as we've been led to believe.

So here we are in the dog days of August with a bulging 14 game lead, dwarfing the competition. Think back to March and all the questions. Many of them have already been answered.

3 comments:

sanchez said...

I was glad Piazza had the day off. I'm exhausted from all the excitement. My hands are chaffed from so much clapping. My voice is hoarse from so much cheering. I needed the day off too.

Anonymous said...

From a
strictly functional and practical standpoint, there is no more convenient
way to make oneself heard over a long distance, at a substantial volume,
with more duration, than the hand-clap. Other applause options might
include table-rapping, floor-stamping, whistling and shouting (see any
American hockey game), but all involve more expenditures of energy, sore
knuckles or eventual hoarseness. It's also something that nearly all people
can do at the same volume.

Jaap said...

Nice review of the hand clap, anonymous.