It looked bleak as the Mets couldn't get anything going against the immortal Ramon Ortiz through the first six innings. But Ishii, who made his return to the lineup tonight was stellar. He's known for walking in the ballpark, but only had two tonight in his 6 and 1/3 innings. This was an important performance, because not only did it give the Mets a legitimate shot at victory tonight, but it made Chris Russo look like a moron. The "Mad Dog" was unbearable today on WFAN's "Mike and the Mad Dog" program about Ishii, and it was like nails on a freakin chalkboard for two hours: "Why is Ishii in the rotation? Why are the Mets so insistent on getting Ishii in the rotation? Ishii's not that good! Why? Why? WHY?" Gee, because maybe he's been a double digit winner in the big leagues two of the last three seasons? And perhaps because the Mets' other options don't have the star power of say, Noah Lowry, Brett Tomko, and Brad Hennessey? Sure, Ishii gives more free passes to batters than Dick Chaney gives to Haliburton, but Chris Russo's Giants could sure use him right about now. So the list of reasons to hate the San Francisco Giants now reads:
- Armando Benitez
- Barry Bonds
- Chris Russo
As for The Beleaguered Kaz, where the heck have you been? Stay a while this time, eh?
Why the Mets need a real lefthander in the bullpen; exhibit A: Dae Sung Koo was brought in to start the ninth against the Reds lefty trio of Sean Casey, Ken Griffey, and Adam Dunn. Griffey singled and was pinch run for by William Bergolla (no truth to the rumor that Griffey's hamstring exploded on the way back to the dugout), and Adam Dunn walked before Braden Looper was brought in to get two outs and his 10th save. I give Willie Randolph credit for not sticking to the "bring the closer to start the ninth no matter what" formula (Looper's OBA against lefties was .360 compared to a .216 OBA against righties going in), but when your only lefty option is Mr. Koo, you have scores of problems. The Mets' bullpen is actually 5th in the league in ERA, but it's Koo's gold. Mr. Minaya, please put lefty relief specialist on your grocery list...right below the eggs and the pizza rolls.
And if Looper was throwing 97 MPH because he was angry at not starting the ninth inning, good. Stay angry. If you have to grow a fu-manchu and go Al Hrbosky on the rest of the National League, go for it big boy!
Fran Healy Complaint Number One: I realize it's weird to have only complained about Fran Healy once the entire season, but don't forget I haven't had MSG for the first month or so of the season. Ryan Freel stole third without a throw to set up the Reds only run in the 6th on a Sean Casey ground out. While Ted Robinson and Ralph Kiner were wondering why Ishii delivered to the plate while Jose Reyes was covering second for the pickoff throw, Healy went into "defend my buddy Mike Piazza" mode, saying "Oh, you've gotta know how hard you can throw and sometimes you have to just hold the ball if you're Mike Piazza."
Fran, there was nobody else on base! Why in the world would you hold the ball unless you thought you were going to throw it to the left field stands and let the run score? Why would you give the runner third base without a throw with less than two outs? Perhaps because you've got a pie thrower behind the plate? Fran, have another beer so you can sound completely like Barney from "The Simpsons".