Monday, May 02, 2005

Ghosts exorcised?

Braden Looper was starting to fall apart in the ninth. Cristian Guzman was on third base with a two out triple, and Termel Sledge was on first after a walk. As Brad Wilkerson strode to the plate, the stands were shaking to their very foundation. And if one person felt the ghosts of Camilo Pascual, Paul Casanova and John Riggins haunting RFK stadium, then they all did.

But we're not exactly talking about the ghosts of Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio here. RFK's ghosts are very beatable, and Looper got Wilkerson to hit a comebacker to earn his fourth save and stop the Mets' 4 game slide with a 6-3 victory. The ghosts, such as they are, have been slayed for good.

It was a game that saw Aaron Heilman struggle with only 4 hits in 6 innings, but 5 walks in that same time span. It saw Roberto Hernandez continue to defy age and remain the rock of the Mets bullpen. And it saw yet another late inning rally save the day by the somewhat beleaguered lineup.

The Mets entered the ninth inning tied with the Nats 3-3. Eric Valent started by singling off of Luis Ayala. Marlon Anderson, he of the over .500 average, followed with a pinch hit single. Reyes then sacrifice bunted the runners over, then reached as catcher Gary Bennett's throw to first was late. (It was this sequence which prompted ESPN analyst Joe Morgan to so eloquently enlighten the public with this: "You know, this was a baseball kind of inning." Thanks Joe. It being RFK Stadium and all, I thought I was watching Joe Theismann trying to elude Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau. But I'm glad Joe Morgan cleared that up for me before the ninth inning...which was a baseball kind of inning. Wow!) Miguel Cairo followed up with a sac fly to give the Mets the lead for good. Carlos "worth every penny" Beltran then doubled to left center to give the Mets the insurance they needed. Beltran went 3-5 on the night.

Cliff Floyd continued his hot hitting with an RBI double in the fourth to help bring them back to a one run deficit. Floyd is hitting a gaudy .368 on the young season.

I wondered why Frank Robinson did not bring his only left hander out of the bullpen last night to face Floyd. I thought to myself: "perhaps Joey Eischen is injured." Well, he wasn't. He came in to the game tonight to face the switch hitting Kaz Matsui to lead off the seventh inning. Sadly, Eischen broke his right arm reaching for Matsui's high chopper, and he'll be out anywhere from 2-3 months. This means two things:
  1. Jim Bowden is going to have to find a lefty for the Nationals staff, who is now without one. And...
  2. The power of mere suggestion on my part is scary. I envisioned Eischen injured, and just one day later, he suffers a long term injury. Such is the curse I carry, being Metstradamus. Sorry Joey. Hey, I wonder if Derek Jeter is 100% these days...

Congratulations to Mets announcer Ralph Kiner. The baseball and broadcasting legend went an entire 7 and 1/2 innings before referring to the Washington Nationals as "the Senators" during last night's broadcast. From the man who brought you "And the final score: the Mets 3 and the Mets 2", that's one heck of a feat. Kudos to you, Ralph, and keep those Kiner-isms koming. We're all in your Korner.

I wonder if Fran Healy has strep throat...

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