Back on Short Rest, Francis Dazzles, Forces Decisive Game 5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
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Mets 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Rockies 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 x 1 5 0
It wasn't the type of game you would normally expect; a Coors Field shutout which saw 12 hits but only 1 run and several Mets were quick to accuse last night that the Rockies had returned to their evil days of illegal waterlogged baseballs to get an unfair edge.
But speculation aside, Rockies starter Jeff Francis, pitching on short rest, was simply dazzling against a suddenly inept Mets offence, scattering 7 hits and striking out 5 over 8 innings before yielding to Rockies closer Manny Corpas, who completed the shutout and helped force a decisive Game 5 at Shea.
Perez was nearly spectacular but not nearly enough...
Mets starter Oliver Perez, who hadn't pitched since a wild outing against the Marlins on the 28th of September, was brilliant in spots, and disgustingly wild again in others.
Perez surrendered only 5 hits in a complete game shutout but walked an NLDS record 8 batters en route and balked twice causing pitching coach Rick Peterson to visibly age and Willie Randolph to make uncharacteristic foot-stomping a new dance craze throughout the Dominican Republic.
The lone run was scored in the bottom of the 4th when Perez walked Matt Holliday on 4 pitches. Holliday stole second on Perez’s second pitch to Todd Helton and Helton then plunked a single into left field but a shallow-playing Moises Alou held Holliday on 3rd and with men on the corners and none out, Coors Field going mad, Garrett Adkins came to the plate with breaking the game open on his mind.
Adkins didn’t really get much a chance as Perez balked Holliday home but struck out Adkins then retired the side with only one more walk in the inning. Thereafter, the Rockies, like the Mets, remained quiet. There were only two more hits the rest of the game although Perez did manage to scatter a further five walks throughout his 8 innings of work, constantly in danger but always able to wriggle out.
Alot of those struggles were down to the fact that 5 of the Mets 7 hits were accumulated by David Wright and Carlos Delgado combined and the rest of the Mets lineup, including a horribly slumping Jose Reyes who went 0 for 4 and has only 2 hits the entire series.
"It's tough to lose a game like this," Willie recounted afterwards. "But it's one game and we'll put it behind us and look forward to returning home."
That decisive Game 5 will see Pedro returning to the mound against Rockies starter Josh Fogg, who last started the Rockies' decisive victory over the Padres on the 1st of October which brought the Rockies to the post-season in the first place.
"Our pitching has done a wonderful job of shutting the Rockies down for the most part, except for Tom Glavine and Billy Wagner, surprise, surprise," Peterson remarked bitterly or perhaps optimistically, in the post-game lockerroom. "We have to hope that Pedro is capable and prepared for a 9-inning performance but if not, we have El Duque available out of the pen and maybe even John Maine if it's necessary to see us through into the NLCS."
Is Pedro Ready To Lead Mets to NLCS?
Or Josh Fogg?
(Apologies to readers for the long pause in between Game 3 and 4, but as usual, the Army was marching elsewhere, filled with Bulls Blood, Stuffed Paprika and of course, Goulash...
A mild detour on the way to Shea