Jackie Robinson Night Unveils First Victory AND Unexpected Pitcher's Duel Until the 7th

When Jason Johnson faced Johan Santana the other day, you expected a low scoring, tense affair between two of the best pitchers in the National League and that's precisely what you got.

"All Fords are exactly alike, but no two men are just alike. Every new life is a new thing under the sun; there has never been anything just like it before, never will be again. A young man ought to get that idea about himself; he should look for the single spark of individuality that makes him different from other folks, and develop that for all he is worth. Society and schools may try to iron it out of him; their tendency is to put it all in the same mold, but I say don't let that spark be lost; it is your only real claim to importance." -- Henry Ford

Last night, Jackie Robinson Night with everyone wearing number 42, with the ever-unpredictable Ollie Perez facing Kevin Correia, who last season was one of the worst pitchers in baseball, the last thing you expected was a low scoring affair.

But that's exactly what you got through the first 6 innings which concluded with the Mets holding on tightly to a fragile 2-1 lead.

Then with Padres reliever Luke Gregerson throwing 10 straight balls to open the 7th, the game was virtually handed to the Mets on a platter. Given the Mets offensive production, this was no gimme, but the anticipation of the potential of the inning, the third time the Mets had two men on and none out in the game, was palatable.

Edward Mujica came in for the Padres and promptly executed an error on Castillo's bunt "single" to load the bases for Ryan Church with no one out. Oh sweet redemption in the first game Church didn't start all season.

A runs scores on a wild pitch before Church can even work his magic. The Padres are looking more like the Mets of Opening Night but then Church strikes out for the first out of the inning and there's no sweet irony, no sweet redemption.

Reyes is walked intentionally to get to The Magical Murphy with the bases loaded. Murph of course, was the source of significant uproar by Keef and the Lads in the boof in the 5th when he threw to the wrong cut off guy leading to the Padres only run of the night. Murph wasted 8 pitches before a sac fly made the score 4-1.

And then all hell broke loose and another wild pitch leading to two runs scoring, including Reyes from first base, perhaps the most effective base running by Reyes all season.

Bonehead fielding, wretched relief pitching out of the bullpen, generally sloppy play all around - were the Padres auditioning for the Mets role?!

But no, on the night Gary Sheffield started for Church in right field, striking out and grounding into a double play in his first two at-bats with men on, which only seemed to mock the Mets decision to sign him and indeed, Jerry's decision to even insert him into the lineup with Church wielding such a hot bat in the first place. It also buggers belief that Sheff gets his inaugural start in right field during Ollie's start bearing in mind Ollie allows balls hit to right field more than any other Mets starter.

Is there a bigger enigma than not just the signing of Sheffield but the use of him?

Well, talking about enigmas, you can't neglect mentioning auld Ollie who, after several consecutive nauseating outings, finally focused and voilà, a magical one-run, six-inning outing featuring the Good Ollie and a magical, newish change up.

The bullpen, without pressure, performed if not flawlessly at least effectively enough not to lose a 6-run lead entirely.

Showing the clear relief he feels after success, Jerry discusses The Good Ollie with the post-game press. "What kind of stuff did you have, Ollie?" he said to Perez, who was sitting in the front row to the right of reporters. "Great stuff?"

Woof, woof, what a happy story, Jerry.

So the Mets have their first ever win in Citi Field, a .500, and a little less bile in their mouths now. Let's see if they can build on that momentum because judging by the Marlins' pitching staff as well as their early best-in-the-Majors 7-1 jump on the season, the Mets are going to have their work cut out for them.


Surprise, surprise. After throwing a career-high 200 2/3 innings last season, Big Pelf likely to miss his next start due to some forearm tendonitis which at least explains his early struggles.


For those of you who hadn't heard, Lastings Milledge was "demoted" to Triple AAA.

Of course considering he plays for the Triple AAA Nats, this in effect is hardly a demotion yet the lack of glamour, the head case and the failed potential is there for all to see and because I'm quick to whinge about Omar when he gets it wrong, how about a little golf clap for Omar now? He clearly got it right, despite our misgivings about this trade initially.

Hillybilly Returns

Tucked away in the comments section under the article about Billy Wagner throwing his first bullpen session was this rare but truly dignified and utterly relevant rant on Capitalism:

Hey cool roberts I'm glad you like the Yankees guess you must be a New Yorker but Let's get one thing straight I'm not even American I'm a South Korean majoring European Philosophy at SNU(Seoul National University) and I'm sorry if I disturbed you Americans by talking about something other than baseball which I think is only a method of brainwashing proletariats to become dull to the Capitalist Exploitation System.


jdon said...

Baseball is capitalism in all its raw power, God bless it.

Viva Kevin Correia--the next Roy Halladay.

Jaap said...

Not if you're in Kansas City apparently, jdon.

but Kevin Correia, just the first in a series of no names that traditionally stymie the Mets with great mystery rather than talent. It's a Met tradition!

jdon said...

Oh yeah, I forgot about KC. Not very hard to do, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Sheffield started in place of Church on Jackie Robinson night because the Mets brass did not want to put a team on the field that does not have any African Americans. Otherwise, it makes no sense to sit Church against Right handed pitching.

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