Thursday, September 14, 2006

Peace Out, Suckers!

We should have really known that the Mets wouldn't clinch on Wednesday night...because life can be ironic sometimes, but ironic enough to depend on the Atlanta Braves to win two games to put the Mets into the playoffs?

Oh no. This is something the Mets have to do themselves.

On the strength of tonight's victory (and the weakness of two Phillies victories), the Mets have brought the magic number down to two and have eliminated the pesky Marlins from division title contention, leaving only the Phillies to wipe out. Unfortunately, our heroes will probably have to clinch the National League Eastern Division in Pittsburgh, where you know the Pirates are going to do everything they can to stop the Mets from celebrating on the field in front of their teammate, and former Met Xavier Nady, which some members of the Mets would feel somewhat creepy about.

But the Mets took care of things on their end with a dramatic ninth inning comeback punctuated by Carlos Delgado's cue shot off of the outstretched glove of a diving Miggy Cabrera (sure, now you dive) to tie the game. Delgado probably had some luck rubbed into his jersey by Pedro Martinez, who for some reason was wearing Carlos' jersey at the start of the game while prancing around the dugout (it looked like he was also playing with Carlos' car keys). There's no good way to explain it except to say that Petey is just plain nuts. (You did know that already, right? Was threatening to drill the Babe in the butt not enough proof for you?)

At the start, you could almost hear the chant from that portion of the public waiting for the Mets to fail hauntingly chanting "leeeeeeef-tiiiiiiies! leeeeeeef-tiiiiiiies!" as Scott Olsen (last seen moonlighting for the "Daily Planet") was completely shutting down the Mets while Josh Willingham (last seen becoming the next Pat Burrell) was busy being Josh Willingham. But the Mets have continued to show that there's no letdown in them even with a big lead. If you're going to beat the Mets, you had better do what the Marlins did on Monday (or the Dodgers on Sunday for that matter): pile on and don't look back. Because if the Mets are anywhere close going into their last licks, your closer is going to have to truly earn his save.

Sure, the eleventh inning wasn't such a thing of beauty, with the Marlins kicking the ball around and getting crossed up and not having their feet set to take in throws (I'm talking to you again, Miggy). But you've got to make your own breaks in this game. Meekly going down 1-2-3 doesn't give your team any chance to take advantage of those breaks. David Wright, Cliff Floyd and Delgado made it happen in the ninth, and Jose Valentin's hustle related double made it happen in the eleventh.

But let's not forget that amazing Mets bullpen (yeah, it gets boring to write that every few days but it's never boring to watch them work their magic). Note to Chris Russo: when someone brings up how good the Mets bullpen is, it's not an excuse for you to compare Billy Wagner to Mariano Rivera and completely ignore everyone else. The Mets pen gave up two hits in five innings of work to enable their team to come back and win this game. Let's put tonight's 'pen performance under the 'scope:
  • Roberto Hernandez is amazing because he's freakin' old and he still gets people out.
  • Guillermo Mota is amazing because his relationship with Mets fans is quickly becoming representative of the relationship between Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd in "Moonlighting", where they hated each other the first couple of seasons before finally hatching a relationship...which wound up killing the ratings, and killing the show. I fear that if I love Guillermo Mota, people will stop reading this blog and Michael Eisner will cancel me. So screw you Guillermo Mota! (As Metstradamus mouths the words "call me" while noone is looking.)
  • Aaron Heilman is amazing because he was supposed to have been traded by now, wasn't he? He was supposed to have been shipped off for a starter, no? He was supposed to have continued to sulk to the point of oblivion, right? No. Heilman seems to have finally gotten it together enough to gear up for some tough situations and more or less embrace his relief role (it's the "Moonlighting" theory all over again, isn't it?) Heilman pitch two stellar innings in relief tonight.
  • Billy Wagner is amazing because for all the times he's been killed, he might win the Cy Young award this season! Think about it...the Mets set all kinds of offensive club records, and they have a better chance at having a Cy Young award winner than a Most Valuable Player. Wagner is still number one in Rob Neyer's Cy Predictor...but when you put together a formula to predict the Cy Young winner, and Joe Borowski is eighth as of Wednesday, how can I take your list seriously?

So now it's on to Pittsburgh, but not before the Mets can watch their magic number drip down to one as the Phillies meet the Braves on Thursday night...and luckily it will be on TBS, avoiding having to "watch" the game on the laptop. It will be fun to listen to Skip Caray sound all somber about the Braves division streak coming to an end...because I want to know if I can tell the difference between that and say, Skip Caray normally.

Meanwhile, the Mets will spend their last scheduled off day of the regular season in a hotel in Pittsburgh, probably crowning their new ping-pong champion, or watching Petey try on more of Carlos Delgado's clothes, or perhaps trying to figure out a way to spike Keith Hernandez's Just For Men with a V8 Peach Mango Fusion Splash.

Peace out, South Bee-ach!


Jaap said...

The fact that no NL pitcher is likely to reach the magic 20 victory mark helps Wagner's chances at serious consideration but that list, ugh, Isringhausen with 10 blown saves is in the Top Ten?!!
I think Duaner Sanchez should get a few write-in votes from the cabbies of Miami...

The King said...

No props for young Lastings today, Mestra?

Mike said...

That's right, King. Helluva game for 'Stings.

sheadenizen said...

It's funny, Metstra I heard the same phone call on the FAN. I almost hit the ceiling when Russo said (and I quote)...."The Mets bullpen is decent." Decent, I screamed to noone....DECENT? Russo has no clue. It really is pathetic.
I know it would be too much to ask for Russo to ever look at the numbers. Why deal with facts when you can just make it up as you go along? Just pathetic!

Toasty Joe said...

All you need to know about Russo is that while Garcia was throwing a perfect game yesterday, Russo wondered who the last guy to pitch a perfecto was. "I guess we'll have to look that up." Amazing. Does he not remember Randy Johnson? I guess two years was kind of a long time ago.

j m said...

Look. Ripping on the Mets = callers and ratings.

I never thought I'd witness such a dominant season by the Mets and have it accompanied by a soundtrack of constant underrating, ignorance and criticism on their flagship station (and the one down the dial is really no better).

It turns out there's better places to talk about the Mets and baseball, that most people have access to. The sports radio of fifteen years ago has been effectively replaced by the internet.

Unser said...

Top 9 . . . winning run on 3rd . . . pinch-hitting for the pitcher is . . . Ricky Ledee? Ricky Ledee . . . Willie, que pasa?!

Did I hear Russo say the Mets should be worried about the Giants? Umm, no. Not worried in the least. In fact, of all the teams in wild card contention, I would most like to play the Giants in the first round.

Unser said...

One other thing - is it just me or did Matt Diaz give you flashbacks to the Cubs' Brant Brown a couple of years back?

Anonymous said...

I think I've gone to bed 10 times this season thinking the guys lost it only to wake up 6 hours later to learn they've won! Does MESTRADAMUS have stats on how often this season the AMAZIN's have gotten to the ninth inning behind and cashed in on a victory? It's got be at least a dozen.
btw, you analysis is so much better than Russo's...

Met Fan since '62
with son w/ broken leg

jabair said...

i feel bad for X having to watch from the dugout as the mets celebrate...