Saturday, May 07, 2005

Catcher on a Rampage!

Mike Piazza, perhaps tired of hearing all the pundits proclaim that he's done, smacked 2 HR's tonight off of Doug Davis to carry the Mets to a 7-4 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park tonight. The bats clicked again up and down the lineup, but none more so than Piazza, who over the last two games homered in three straight at-bats while only seeing four pitches.

The first homerun was a moon shot to left center. Had there been no wall beyond the stands the ball would have gone into the woods, never to be seen again. The second one was a two run shot off Davis, also to left. Obviously, this is great to see from Piazza. I've wondered if this is the same Piazza we've seen in previous years not only physically, but psychologically. To me, and I realize I'm playing amateur shrink here, but Piazza doesn't seem to have the same look in his eye while striding to the plate as he has been. Could he be frustrated with his low batting average so far this year? Could he be frustrated at the fact he's physically wearing down? Or could it be the fact that the Mets are now the new Mets, while the old Mets have been pushed to the side?

Consider that Piazza is the last remaining Met from the 2000 N.L. Championship team, and we know there was excellent chemistry in that room. I'm not intimating that the chemistry in this room is bad by any means, but I wonder aloud if with all the turnover that's taken place, if Piazza feels alone on an island. Also consider that Pedro Martinez is one of the two prize free agents bringing the Mets back to respectability, and Piazza is being prevented to catch him. Their past differences aside, this has to be some sort of blow to his ego. Combine that with the fact that there were many rumors about him being traded away with the rest of the old guard like Leiter and Franco, and you have a man who's heart may not be in it. If that guess is true, then hopefully the last two games gives him a much needed spark for the rest of the season.

Mike Cameron also starred with the bat, hitting a two run HR in the fourth to give the Mets a 6-1 lead. It was also Cameron's 1,000th major league hit. David Wright added a solo HR in the 8th, his 5th of the season.

Victor Zambrano started for the Mets, and it was by and large a typical Victor Zambrano outing...5 and 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks. Luckily, even after the obligatory run given up in the first inning, Zambrano never let the game get out of hand, getting the key outs when needed. Zambrano let two runners on in the third before striking out Carlos Lee on a high curveball, and getting Lyle Overbay to ground out to end the threat. This is about the best we can hope for from Zambrano on most long as he doesn't let the game get too far away from him and give the lineup a chance to pull ahead, that would be a big plus for the Mets. Zambrano got the win to bring him to 2-3 on the young season.

Heath Bell was teriffic out of the pen tonight, saving Zambrano's bacon with a strikeout to end the inning in the sixth, then giving up only one hit in the seventh and eighth. Things got hairy in the ninth (don't they always) after Bell walked shortstop J.J. Hardy, then gave up two singles to bring Hardy home with one out in the 9th. Roberto Hernandez relieved and got Bill Hall to pop out, but Dae Sung Koo came in to face fellow lefty Geoff Jenkins and walked him. This loaded the bases for Carlos Lee. Willie Randolph wasted no time in bringing Braden Looper to the mound, and as Lee sent Looper's 2-1 offering screaming into left field, hearts jumped into throats all over Queens. But the ball settled into Cliff Floyd's glove for the out, and there was joy in Metville as they took their 5th win in the last 6 contests. Looper earned his 7th save.

DiMaggio safe: Cliff Floyd thanked me for creating a streak counter on the webpage by going 0 for 4 and ending his hit streak at 20 games. Metstradamus...bringing doom to a hit streak near you. Thanks, Cliff.

Kaz dropped: Kazuo Matsui was dropped from 2nd to 8th in the order tonight in favor of Mike Cameron. Matsui was 0 for 3 with a walk tonight.

TBA no more?: It's still a bit unclear as to who will start for the Brewers on Saturday. Lefty reliever Jorge De La Rosa is a possibility to start for the Brewers on Saturday night against Pedro Martinez. De La Rosa's nine appearances this year have all been out of the bullpen, going 2-0 with a 4.09 ERA, 12 K's and 11 walks in 11 innings. If not De La Rosa, then it will be Wes Obermueller for Milwaukee. Obermueller made his first start of the season on April 30th after 5 relief appearances, and has no record with a 3.29 ERA, 9 K's and 7 BB's in 13 and 2/3 innings.

No comments: