15.5.09

Mets Overcome Disappointment and Mileage to Open West Coast Trip With A Victory

The Road Trip Of The Season that began when the Mets left from an extra inning loss in New York last night to fly to San Francisco for tonight's game, will see them off to LaLa in four days and then all the way over to Boston thereafter commenced with a 7-4 victory characterised by early sloppy pitching, a long lull in the middle innings, a bullpen failing to hold a lead and a comeback in the 9th.

John Maine's perfect bunt in the 4th more than made up for his sloppy start to the game and added to an insurance run to give the Mets a 4-2 they carried into the 8th. To that point, Giants announcers had shown more replays of a dropped foul ball by a fan with a glove and the subsequent mocking from the fans surrounding him than they had any play of the actual game.

It was rather surprising to see Maine go back out for the 7th inning having thrown over 100 pitches. He managed to get the first two batters of the 7th but when he walked the Benji Molina on 4 pitches, time was up.

After a slow start Maine ultimately pitched well. Over his last 4 starts he's pitched a total of 24 2/3 innings, allowing 16 hits and 6 earned runs. He won three of those starts, doing it all with smoke and mirrors and the only reason he didn't win all four was because of Bobby Parnell.

Brian Stokes was again the picture of success out of the pen, closing out the 7th without a worry but was removed for a pinch hitter (the suddenly hitless Magical Murph, spinning downwards, hitless in his previous 12 at-bats and then out standing there with the bat on his shoulder for strike three).

Bobby Parnell, who hadn't given up a run in May let the Giants drip runs home in the 8th, was nearly rescued by a beautiful hard slider to strike out Aurelio with men on the corners and only one out, but then allowed the Giants to tie the game having nibbled at the lead like those pedicure-giving, flesh-eating fish.

Not good news for the Mets considering Parnell is the logical replacement for JJ should that shot in the elbow not do the trick and frankly, even if the shot allows him some relief, how effective is he going to be as a set up guy the rest of the season? Worries, worries.

Reminiscent of the other night against Atlanta, Carlos Beltran doubled in the 9th and then stole third, again saved by a questionable call - (is Beltran making contributions to the Umpire Retirement Fund?). The Mets end up with an amazing 7 stolen bases on the night.

One batter later, with two men on, one out, the game on the line David Wright singles Beltran home. 3 for 3 on the night with 2 walks and one very clutch hit. As much as Wright has been disparaged this season for meaningless hits, choking in key game situations and failing to make simple throws to first base he's on the books in this game as coming through when it mattered. Now do that for the rest of the season and maybe we'll forget about the uncountable lost opportunities of the past.

But even that clutch hit is drown out by Ramon Castro's two-run single to split the lead back open to 7-4. Just over two weeks ago the Mets couldn't buy a late inning run but of late, during this stretch that has seen them jump into first place, they are no longer daunted by the spector of late inning runs or losing leads or falling behind. Even without Reyes or Delgado the offence is not afraid to score. (Or the Giants bullpen is rubbish, you decide).

Anyone else wonder if the mysterious "calf" problem that Reyes was alleged to suffer is really a benching by the manager in disguise for that pitiful base running display Wednesday night against the Braves?

Sorry kids, no game photos so soon after the game. The dark room is too light.

As a means of compensation, I offer the Fred Lewis blog a certain, infinite source of fascination and entertainment.

K-Rod puts the sleeper hold on the Giants and the game is over.

Well done, lads.

******

Not all the news is good news. The Mets are being slowly decimated by injury. Other than Reyes' mysterious injury and Putz's elbow, Delgado might need surgery. That Sheffield signing is looking better and smarter by the minute, innit?

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