Sunday, May 01, 2005


In a stadium that looks strangely reminiscent of old Fulton County stadium in Atlanta, the Mets played a game tonight that had the makings of another July 4th, 1985...when the Mets beat the Braves in a game which lasted 19 innings and ended at 3:55 in the morning. Saturday night's game against the Nationals at RFK was half the rain, took place in half the time, had most of the goofiness, and a different result. But a bizarre loss is a loss nonetheless, as the Mets dropped their 4th straight 5-3 to the Montreal Expos of Washington, DC.

Let's begin at the beginning. Victor "Jim Fregosi" Zambrano got off to a quick start, giving up a two out single to Jose Vidro, then hitting Jose Guillen. Then Zambrano, who was better off throwing underhand, gave up a two run double to budding hall of famer Vinny Castilla for a quick 0-2 hole.

Zambrano hit Guillen once again in the third. There was speculation that the Mets were sending a message to Guillen after hitting him three times in two days. The only message that the Nats should have taken was that Zambrano has Rick Ankiel like control and couldn't hit the ocean with a rock. He walked in another run in the fourth for an 0-3 deficit and was gone before the 5th inning started. It's looks like it's back to the drawing board for Rick Peterson.

Tomo Ohka, who started in place of a dizzy Zach Day, gave up two hits in 6 innings. Ohka encountered little trouble besides the 5th, when the Mets loaded the bases with one out, but Eric Valent struck out and Jose "Run, Don't Walk" Reyes grounded a 1-0 pitch to Ohka for the final out.

Then, after a Ryan Church homer made it 4-0, things got interesting. Tomo Ohka threw behind Cliff Floyd in retaliation for the Mets treating Guillen like a human dartboard. Both benches got the obligatory warning.

Nick Johnson made it 5-0 with a solo shot in the 6th, and the Mets were dead in the water that was forming in the infield puddles from all the rain. There was a 30 minute delay in that 6th inning. But they attempted another big comeback in the 8th. With righty Gary Majewski on the mound for the Nats, pinch hitter Marlon Anderson walked with one out. Then the Mets caught a break when it was ruled that Jose Reyes was hit with a pitch. The replays cleared showed that the pitch just missed Reyes' leg, but home plate ump Tom Hallion, perhaps realizing that Reyes isn't going to walk all year, decided to take pity and give him the next best thing and award him first on the phantom "hit by pitch".

Then, after Kaz Matsui reached base on a fielders choice and Carlos Beltran walked, manager Frank Robinson inexplicably left the righty Majewski in to face Cliff Floyd. Floyd, who is 5th in the N.L. in average, came through as he's done all year with a 3 run double off the right field wall. Robinson then came out to replace Majewski with righty Hector Carrasco, and in the process get himself tossed for arguing about the state of the field, which was by now completely submerged in rain puddles. Robinson should have been arguing with himself as to why he didn't have a lefty up in the bullpen to face Floyd, especially after Majewski exhibited Zambrano-like control, but that's neither here nor there. The Mets brought up the tying run in Mike Piazza at that point, but the man who looks more and more like Gary Carter in his later years grounded meekly to short for the final out.

Then before the ninth, the groundscrew made a valiant effort to cover the puddles with dirt, but it proved to be as effective as putting a sandcastle into the Atlantic Ocean, and the game was finally called after eight innings. The Mets take it on the chin for their fourth loss in a row, fall to 11-13, and will try to avoid the sweep and a five game losing streak by sending Aaron Heilman to the mound against the Nats' John Patterson.

Metstradamus prophecy: The sky is falling. Run for your lives.

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