For Orel Hershiser, it was Steve Sax that converted Tracy Jones' grounder into the first out of 59 scoreless.
For Don Drysdale, it was Luis Alcaraz fielding a Don Kessinger grounder to start the Dodgers' 1-0 win against the Cubs, and Drysdale's original standard of 58 and 2/3's scoreless inning streak.
While it's too soon to start dreaming about a sentence of Hershiser, Drysdale, and Maine, Bangor's streak also started with a second baseman...Jose Valentin grabbing a pop up off the bat of Aramis Ramirez to innocently start his scoreless streak, now at 23 innings. (Can a scoreless streak start off anything but innocently? I mean, nobody gives up a run and then gets an out and sends everybody in a tizzy running around screaming "Ooooooh, here comes that big 65 inning scoreless streak!" Man, I can be an idiot sometimes. But you do have to start somewhere.)
Unfortunately, it's going to take a lot longer for Maine to reach the plateau of 59 and 1/3 if he keeps getting pulled after six innings while throwing 107 pitches (or keeps working on nine days rest). Drysdale and Hershiser basically went nine innings every time out. Did you know that Orel Hershiser not only went 10 innings in that last start against San Diego to cap the streak, but pitched two complete games immediately before the streak started? Meanwhile, in 1968, Don Drysdale went 10 innings twice in games that weren't even part of the streak?
It's just the way the game goes.
But hey, John Maine's 23 inning scoreless streak for a player of his relative lack of stature is impressive nonetheless. Tonight's win came off a team that has probably the most formidable lineup he's faced so far...even without Bobby Abreu. Most impressive was Bangor's ability to get out of some sticky jams as he did in the first inning striking out Ryan Howard with first and third in the initial frame with one out...and in the sixth, striking out Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand with first and third.
Maine's streak continues to let the Mets take a couple of breaths about where their starting pitching is. But be afraid Met fans, be very afraid. I don't want to say this can't last (hell I've photoshopped John Maine with two of the best pitchers ever), but not only are tapes of Bangor going to start to get around, but tonight's national television exposure only exacerbates the tip off to the rest of the National League. It's fun to have a fourth starter go on a run like this though, so I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.
Someone who is looking over my shoulder at this very moment is screaming at me...he's saying that now that I'm mentioning Bangor in the same sentence as Hershiser and Drysdale, Maine's streak is probably doomed. And I just want to say: that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard...that something I've said could affect the outcome of a baseball game. Like I can jinx a scoreless streak. I mean, when he says things like that, he must be a slave owning Nazi. Doesn't he know how cretinous he sounds? He makes no sense! I mean that statement is part Slobodan Milosevic, and part Genghis Khan! He's stupid! There is no God!
Why is my eye bleeding?
Speaking of yahoo Yankee baseball announcers, Paul O'Neill came up with an interesting theory during today's Orioles game...apparently, Yankee fans don't necessarily hate the Mets anymore because former Yankee Willie Randolph is managing the team.
Yeah Paul, and Met fans are singing Kumbaya in the Bronx because former Met Joe Torre won all those championships with the Yankees. Me thinks Paul has had one too many ricochets of batting helmets he's thrown in disgust to the head.
And why does Joe Morgan bother me? He's another one during tonight's Mets game trying to turn the Bobby Abreu salary dump into some sort of master plan by Pat Gillick..."Oh well that lineup had numbers but were they consistent?" Blah blah blah.
Hello? Joe? They're third from the bottom in the NL in pitching? Hello?
If Pat Gillick wasn't on a budget, Bobby Abreu would still be a Phillie!
Can't anybody here announce this game?
Hopefully, salary dumps like Bobby Abreu aren't going to happen anytime soon in Queens, and the Mets took steps in that direction with the recent fair signings of Jose Reyes and David Wright. We were all worried about it a while back, but they did the correct thing with both players, and at reasonable prices on both ends for the club, giving them flexibility for the future.
You know Reyes is happy with the financial security, having hit a grannie tonight that brought the house down.
Baseball Tonight is starting their "Best Web Gems Of All Time" series, where the panel picks the three best defensive plays for each franchise all time.
For our boys, you have to consider Ron Swoboda and Tommie Agee from the World Series, and of course, David Wright's barehander.
But for what it's worth, and for my money, the most incredible play ever occurred on June 5th 1987. You may know it as Dwight Gooden's return from his stint at the Betty Ford clinic. I remember it just as much for the Sid Bream liner to left center field that Mookie Wilson and Lenny Dykstra converged for and slammed faces together at full speed, with arms and legs flying everywhere like a mangled helicopter. Think Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron with two major differences:
- Dykstra and Wilson weren't as seriously hurt as Beltran and Cameron (Lenny and Mookie actually stayed in the game), and...
- Mookie Wilson caught the ball.
For those who remember it (I sure as heck remember it...I was there!), it's gotta be the in the top three...without a doubt.