Tuesday, May 19, 2009

David y los Muchachos

Before my time, the 1969 Mets had the storybook postseason that eluded the careers of Cub greats Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, and "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks. On a fun note, all-time great afro grower, Oscar Gamble, was a 19-year-old rookie on the 1969 Cubs.

The past fortnight for the 2009 edition of the Metropolitans has seemed pretty dramatic.

Going back to Sunday, May 3rd, they were rained out at Philadelphia. One of the ballplayers in the prophetic Bull Durham said, "We need a night off just to stop our losing streak. We need a rainout." If you believe in such superstitions, then something can be said for the rainout propelling the Mets to victories in seven consecutive games, and eleven of their next thirteen, before suffering two baffling losses in a row the past two nights.

No-one on the Mets, this side of Oliver Perez, needed to change his production more than David Wright. After the May 2nd game at Philly, Wright was slashing a respectable .284/.385/.398, but he was taking heat from the fans and media for having only 1 HR and 10 RBI while looking overmatched at the plate. The cliches were flying around, like he's pressing or he's trying too hard. The rainout definitely helped something click with David. We haven't seen any deadspin.com reports about any road meat contributing as a slump buster, but I'd bet that was going on, too. Since May 3rd, he is batting .474 with 17 RBI in 15 games. Those are numbers fans and reporters usually like, batting average and RBI. Remarkably, Wright's slash numbers for the season have improved to .359/.447/.545.

No-one on the Mets, this side of Oliver Perez, had his fortunes change more than Carlos Delgado and Alex Cora, due to injuries. Sure, Jose Reyes has been out of the last five starting lineups, but his return is expected any day now. Delgado and Cora are each probably out for the next couple of months, with hip and thumb injuries, respectively. Suddenly, the Mets lost their utility middle infielder and are faced with pressure to improve the lineup at first base, to go along with all the concern there is about the corner outfielders.

In their most recent victory, this past Saturday night, the Mets denied Randy Johnson his 299th victory. The only reason anyone may care is because interleague play is taking the Giants, and RJ's turn in the rotation, to Seattle this weekend. It would have been cool to see the Big Unit try to win his 300th in Seattle, but I don't really care. I'll be rooting for the Mariners in that one, regardless.

The end of our pointless story takes us to the last two Mets games, including the last game in San Francisco and the series opener in Los Angeles.

In the game by the bay, Matt Cain outpitched Mike Pelfrey as the Giants won 2-0. I don't know how to say it, so I'm just going to say it: Pelfrey balked three times. According to this AP article, Pelfrey said he was fighting off the yips, which is a bad word in baseball, particularly New York. Didn't the Mets have a catcher who couldn't throw it back to the pitcher's mound? We know the Yankees had Steve Sax and Chuck Knoblauch unable to throw to first base, due to the yips. It's incredibly implusive and reactionary, but Minaya should probably consider trading this Pelfrey guy at the next hint of trouble. Too bad Oliver Perez stinks.

In last night's "exasperating loss", Tim Redding miraculously pitched relatively well. However, his lineup and defense would not allow a victory. The Mets committed what has to be a season high five errors. The Dodgers only had five hits, and the Mets made five errors. The Mets' 6, 7, and 8, hitters went 0 for 15, while Luis Castillo and Fernando Tatis combined to leave ten men on base. The Top of the 11th produced a gut-wrenching lost run, by a Ryan Church gaffe, where he failed to touch 3rd base while rounding 3rd and heading for home.

In Church's words: “I just feel terrible,” Church said. “I mean, touching the bag is a simple thing to do. But obviously, I didn’t. I think it might have turned the momentum a little bit.”

I can imagine how hard it must have been for Mets fans, who stayed up late, to sleep after a loss like that. Where are the '09 Mets headed? It should be another exciting September, and at least they don't have Steve Phillips in charge of the roster anymore.

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