Monday, April 30, 2007

Acta's Edge

Game 1: Washington 4, NY Mets 3 AP Recap
Game 2: NY Mets 6, Washington 2 AP Recap
Game 3: NY Mets 1, Washington 0 AP Recap

Has anybody seen our offense? What a miserable showing from our bats this weekend down at RFK. This wasn't like getting shut down by Tim Hudson or John Smoltz, this was Matt Chico, Jerome Williams, and Jason Bergmann. Really, with how anemic our offense was I suppose we should be happy winning 2 of 3. Time will tell if any of these kids in the Gnats rotation are actually any good, but as of now, they are not good enough to hold our offense to 3 runs in 18.1 innings. In fact, we're 3-2 vs. the Gnats this season and have been struggling more than that against them this season. All five games have been decided by 4 runs or fewer, whereas only 8 of 15 games against other teams have been decided by such a small margin. I suggest that these tight games and the relative effectiveness of the Gnats starters has to do with their manager Manny Acta. Let's call it Acta's Edge. As I'm sure you know, dear reader, Manny was our 3rd base coach last season, and as such, has unparalleled insight into our personnel. Therefore, the Gnats have better and more nuanced scouting reports than any other team. This partially explains our issues with the Gnats. The good news is that Acta's Edge should dissipate as the season continues and we don't see the Gnats again until late July. Also fortunate is that the Gnats are arguably the least talented team in the league and stink like Mo Vaughn's game socks.

Game 1 featured a strong start from Dr. Ollie. Despite allowing the Gnats first 3 1st inning runs of the season on a 3 run blast by Austin Kearns. Ollie settled in nicely, consistently going after hitters and throwing strikes. 81 of 120 pitches were strikes, he only allowed 1 additional run on 8 hits in 7 IP, striking out 9 and, like his previous start, walking 0. If he throws like that he's going to win more than he loses. Unfortunately for him, and for us, he was victimized by our our anemic offense and lack of run support, even though this was our best offensive output of the series. Miraculously, this was the only game we lost.

Game 2 was yet another quality start by Glavine. 6 innings, 1 run, 3 hits. Just like all his starts this season. However, Glavine was denied win #294 by our anemic offense. In fact, the run Glavine did allow, despite being written up as an ER was nothing of the sort. Felipe Lopez was clearly out at first on what would have been an inning ending double play, but was called safe. Willie came out to argue, deservedly so, and got tossed. The inning continued and Lopez came around to score. Meanwhile the Mets made Jerome Williams look like a pitcher who could win 300 games going hitless until Beltran lined a single in the 6th. For the 2nd time in less than a week the Mets were down to their final out when the bench came through to send the game to extras. Green and Easley (in for the injured Valentin) each singled in the top of the 9th with 2 outs. Franco delivered the 3rd consecutive hit off closer Chad Cordero, and Endy Chavez, pinch running for Green, came around to score on a beautiful slide to evade the tag on a bang-bang play at the plate. Again, Endy's Mets legacy continues to grow. The Mets went on to win by 4 in 12 innings on RBI hits from Beltran and Wright. Not a pretty game, but it was an exciting one, and we'll take the W.

Game 3 featured yet another fantastic outing by John Maine. 7 innings of shutout ball allowing only 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 8. We really needed a strong outing from him after a 12 innings affair that used almost every arm in the pen, and we got it. Again, the Gnats starter, Bergmann, was almost as good, allowing only 2 hits and 3 walks in 7 innings. Fortunately for us, one of the two hits was a towering solo shot by Beltran. That HR was incredibly impressive, the pitch was fastball up but on the outside corner, and Beltran pulled it way out of the biggest park in the majors. That was the only run of the game. In the end, we had just enough to take this series.

Now for some bad news, El Duque, who was scheduled to start tonight against the Fish, has been placed on the DL due to right shoulder bursitis. The start tonight goes to Chan Ho Park, who will be making his Mets debut. With the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs this season, Park was 3-1 with a 7.29 ERA. He's allowed 26 hits in 21 innings, including 6 long ball in just 4 starts. Uh-oh. Hopefully, the bats get going tonight Park will likely need the run support against what is statistically the 2nd best hitting team in the NL (I know I have a hard time believing that too). More bad news, Jose Valentin is apparently headed to the DL as well with an ACL injury. While no official announcement has yet been made you can expect to see a lot more of Damion Easley in the coming weeks. Rumor has it that Ruben Gotay is on his way to Shea to be our new utility infielder.

OK, I have more to say, but game time is only 2 hours away and I suppose I should post this just in case anyone out there wants to read it. The Mets snuck back into first place by half a game when the Braves lost to the Rockies last night on the strength of an extremely rare unassisted triple play and walk off HR in the 11th. I'd like to not relinquish 1st, so let's hope the offense awakens tonight against a strong young lefty in Scott Olsen who is apparently coming off his best start of the season. The Braves have the Phillies tonight and unfortunately both teams can't lose, so we're just going to have to keep winning.

Let's Go Mets!!!

***UPDATE*** It's official Valentin went to the DL backdated to yesterday, and Gotay is with the team. And while I'm updating, I can't believe I didn't shout out to Julio Franco! The man is responsible for both wins in this series with his unbelievably clutch game tying hit in game 2 and that incredible play on what I can only describe as a reverse wheel play in game 3 (Anybody seen that play before? Is that some Willie genius)?. How long until Mets fans start clamoring for Franco to be getting the starting job over Delgado... just kidding... but way to be old-timer.

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