Day Night Jekyll and Hyde

Game One: Mets 3 Nats 1
Opener Hits Right Notes

For six innings we were looking at a sort of Bascik Redux; the going-nowhere-fast pitcher making an every-dog-has-his-day comeback at the expense of the Mets batting order. Saturday afternoon it was Tim Redding making fools of Mets for 6 long and drawn out innings, striking out 8 and allowing only a run and it wasn't until they could feast on the Nats bullpen, Saul Rivera in particular, that they looked like they might pull this one out.

Nearly another low-scoring no-decision but saved by his teammates in the end...

Indeed, it was helpful that El Duque had a good outing of his own, albeit against the offensive laughingstocks of the National League, putting on a pitching performance so lacking in that of Jorge Sosa the night before.

And with Beltran out another day, teetering on the brink of the DL and Moises Alou having a day off because, well, two games in a row is a bit of a stretch apparently, Lastings Milledge got to be the hero of the outfield again - his RBI double in the 4th kept him lodged as the team RBI leader since the All-Star break and increased his hitting streak to 7 games, a surprise in many pleasant ways without the baggage of fan disillusionment or hotdog rumours like last season's stint in the bigs for Lastings.

The Opener was the sort of game you want for an opener in a day/night doubleheader; colourless, insipid yet indisputably successful even whilst the catcher with the cannon arm, Jesus Flores, a former Met farmhand no less, threw out Reyes AND Milledge trying to steal second in this game.

Might also mention Carlos Delgado's rare clutch hit, an RBI single that increased the Mets' lead to 3-1 in the 7th even though his average with RISP hovers around the .208 area.

And yes of course, no 9th inning is safe - Reyes and Gotay completed two nightmare tosses to first for Delgado, who handled neither of them, needlessly extending the inning and Billy Wagner's pitch count with another game to be played a few hours later...and yet, success. Nothing much to bitch about, their 58th win of the season.

Game 2 Nats 5 Mets 4
Feliciano Meltdown

It might be a rare occurence this season; Pedro Feliciano choking down a poor performance like Mama Cass on a ham sandwich, but there it was for all to see: the Mets had made a quasi-dramatic comeback on the back of an improbable Carlos Delgado two-run homer that tied the game at 3 in the 6th and it seemed a matter of time before the Mets superior bullpen outlasted that of the Nats.

In fact, the odds seem to grow proportionately with the belly of the likes of Roly Poly Ray King waddling out from the pen.

Instead it was Feliciano and in turn at the bottom of the 8th, Jon Rausch for the Nats who were coughing up the deadly runs. Felciano was positively buggered by throwing too high over and over, three runs, two walks and two hits worth in a disasterous 8th that gave the Nats a formidable 6-3 lead.

Signs of life from the 35 year old?

And damned if those Mets, showing every sign of life despite a few boneheaded late-inning moves by Willie Randolph, didn't almost come back again getting the first two runners on in the bottom of the 8th for Carlos Delgado. Delgado knocked in another run, an encouraging sign that perhaps his RISP hat is finally twisted properly atop his head and he's ready to carry the club for the second half of the season, redeeming that first half's nauseating ride through the bowels of ineptitude.

And when Schneider threw the throw to second trying to toss out Shawn Green beyond Belliard to put Green on 3rd, one got the unmistakable impression that this was indeed going to be the Mets night for a sweep. But it was not to be.

And it was not to be for most of the first half of the game with the man named Hanrahan stumping the Mets batters for five scoreless innings that netted a mere hit. And that doesn't even mention the humiliation he piled on Mike Pelfrey by hitting a triple in his first ever Major League at-bat which precipitated a 3-run onslaught that had Pelfrey on the ropes yet again - all in all, a similar scenario the Nats threw at the Mets all series - Baszik followed by Redding followed by Hanrahan, three reasonably uncertain starters making the Mets look like bush leaguers at the plate.

But these little encouraging signs (I'm not talking about Pelfrey even though eventually he pitched a grudgingly decent game and escaped getting chalked with the loss thanks to Delgado) like Lastings Milledge airmailing that moonshot throw home over everyone's head in the 3rd only to impress by charging and throwing out the runner at 3rd base in the 5th.

Of Willie's shoddy management of the bench and batting order, well the simple fact of Tom Glavine up there at the plate in the 9th inning proves he's no Bobby Valentine but Willie's allowed a bad day or two with his head in a sling rather than his shoulder and perhaps he was thrown into uncertainty by having in effect, only three guys to choose from on the bench during an exciting, see-saw game.

A doubleheader split was not as good as it could have gotten as they have now taken only one of three from the Nats at home but there's still Sunday left to redeem themselves with and 3 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies.


sanchez said...

I'll be curious to hear what Willie has to say about that idiotic choice to bat Marlon Anderson instead of Castro when Castro had to come into the game anyway. The dumbest move I've seen in months.

Jaap said...

he must have been thinking with his sling instead of his head...