Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Mets' Golden Boy

I've had another day to think about it.

As much as I hate Jose Valentin... and Billy Wagner did his best to blow every game he entered... Cliff Floyd had the heart of a warrior but contributed nothing... and Scott Spiezio/So Taguchi/Yadier Molina had no business to do what they did this series...

... the blame for the Mets loss rests squarely on the shoulders of one man.

Its probably best that it was him, because if it was someone else, the newspapers would be calling for his head.

No, its not Willie Randolph - he did a decent job.

It's David Wright.

Wright was invisible this series. There wasn't a single Met who contributed less than him. Even if there were, the Mets NEEDED Wright this series.

After we lost the second game despite two Delgado home runs, you knew he wasn't going to get pitched to anymore. We're still in the series at that point, 1-1 going to St. Louis. We're then tied 2-2.

After the Cardinals got burned by THREE homers each from Beltran and Delgado - with Delgado two RBI from the NLCS record after only three or four games - you know he's not going to sniff a good pitch. Or, more accurately, all the pitches to Delgado would be close enough to him for him to sniff. Credit the Cardinals - they read the book on Delgado... bust him in with fastballs, in off the plate, up high, high and tight. I'm shocked they let him do as much damage as they did by pitching him down and away.

The Cardinals adjusted. At this point, four games in, David Wright had done nothing and the Mets were still hanging in there. But then what? Beltran and Delgado get nothing ot hit. The Cards force Wright and Green to beat them. Missing Floyd was HUGE, because Wright pressed and there was no threat behind him. Shawn Green did a good job actually... he had a couple critical hits... but he's not going to beat you. He'll stroke a single once and a while, big deal. More often than not, he won't.

David Wright had a ton of chances to step it up, and he didn't. Delgado had THREE walks in the final game, and David only had one RBI - on a bloop single to score Beltran in the first inning. I don't hate the guy, I don't want to run him out of town - but lets not fool ourselves. If David Wright showed up to ONE of the four losses - JUST ONE - we win this series.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Mets ...

I'd like to get some thoughts out on this while everything is fresh.

Mets lost Game 7 of the NLCS last night to the Cardinals. It was a classic game. It was the kind of heart-breaking loss that only the Mets can deliver. Its the kind of first pitch to last pitch, no letting up, no rest, soul-rending, gut-wrenching classic that only the New York Mets can be a part of.

I'm going to have some lasting impressions from the game and from the series. Even losing in 7 won't be able to dim some of the positive memories that I'll take from this.

Game 1:
Tom Glavine pitches an absolute gem. In the absence of Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez, Glavine pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits. Glav was dominant. The only runs allowed in the game were a two-run home run by Carlos Beltran off of Jeff Weaver. He knocked the homer in the 6th, there was no scoring before or after. Mets win 2-0.

Game 2:
I'm in attendance at Shea to watch Maine take on Carpenter. The Mets score three in the first off a Carlos Delgado home run, and it looks like we're on our way. Carpenter, the reigning Cy Young, was supposed to be the only intimidating part of the Cardinals rotation. We reached him for three in the first and one in the second but John Maine coughed it right up.

The Mets added runs in the fifth and sixth, including another Delgado home run off Carpenter, but Willie Randolph singlehandedly blew this game. In the seventh inning, Guillermo Mota gave up a two-run triple to Scott Spiezio that landed in the rightfield corner. From my seats, it appeared that Shawn Green was going to catch the ball... but the replay showed that the ball carried to the fence and Green had to leap just to make a play. Nobody wants to second guess, but in the stadium, at the time, I was pissed.

It was my feeling that Willie made a big mistake. In the sixth, Pedro Feliciano came in for one batter, who he retired. Willie then pinch hit for Feliciano with... Anderson Hernandez. Why? No idea. Especially with Duncan, Edmonds AND Spiezio up next inning, I didn't think it was a good move. It ended up burning the Mets as Hernandez made an out and Mota allowed the two run triple in the next inning.

After the triple, the game was tied... but it felt so much worse. Three times we got the lead on Carpenter, three times we gave it up. We had opportunities but couldn't hold them. The Mets went quietly in the home seventh and eighth, and we in the stadium were silenced. The entry of Billy Wagner, after his NLDS antics, didn't help anything. And that was all she wrote for game two.

I'll summarize the other games later. I need to get back to work. Let me say this about Game Seven: I can't blame Beltran. There's a lot of talk about his last at-bat... but the Mets had so many other opportunities to do something. Jose Valentin was a fucking anchor all series. David Wright, though I love him, hit two balls hard in seven games... he wasn't even making hard outs.

Endy Chavez did as expected - although he was a liability at the plate, he was fantastic in the outfield. The play Chavez made to rob Rolen of a home run was instantly the best play in Mets history. Roger mentioned to me last night that the Chavez play might be the best defensive play ever made. I've had a whole night to think about it and I can't disagree.

Situation: 1-1 ballgame, game seven, and a no-doubt backbreaking two-run home run? Chavez saved the runs, saved the inning, saved the game, and saved the entire season. Not only was it a great play simply because of the magnitude of its importance, it was great play because, simply, it was one of the greatest physical feats I've ever seen. Line drive home run, Chavez sprints to the wall, he jumps, gets full extension, and snow cones the ball. I'm surprised his arm didn't snap off. Think about it. I would be hard pressed to think of a more important situation or of a better play.