Saturday, July 02, 2005

High Drama

It just wouldn't be a Braden Looper save without a tightrope walk. Looper proves life's mantra that nothing comes easy as he allowed a Carlos Delgado double to lead off the ninth inning. But after a strikeout, a sac fly and a walk, Looper got Alex Gonzalez to line out to Marlon Anderson to end the game. Not exactly Willie McCovey to Bobby Richardson in 1962, but heartstopping nonetheless. The win combined with the Phillies loss to the Braves brings the Mets out of the cellar.

Speaking of Anderson, maybe Miguel Cairo will have a tougher time getting back into the lineup than he/we thought. Marlon Anderson had another boffo game tonight, with an RBI single in the fourth to give the Mets their first lead, but doubling and scoring the winning run in the 8th inning on Chris Woodward's double (no, I wasn't there tonight. But obviously my good mojo wafted around the Shea rafters an extra day.) And Brian Daubach might not break back into the starting lineup anytime soon either, with Woodward getting big hits off of righthanders.

Also, the Mets proved tonight that defense wins championships in baseball as well as football. Cliff Floyd's running, leaping, slamming into the wall catch off Carlos Delgado was as big a momentum turner as any in the game tonight. Without that catch, it's 2-0 and counting...and Glavine might not get out of that inning. Instead, it's 1-0 and the Mets ride it to victory. Jose Reyes also wowed the crowd with a cannon throw going across his body in the seventh to get Mike Lowell by a good three steps. Reyes, to me, gets closer and closer every day to becoming a huge impact player for the Mets.

Speaking of Lowell, he deserved a better fate tonight. He's had a tough season at the plate, and tonight his problems transferred to the field as his two throwing errors in the bottom of the fifth were instrumental in bringing the Mets back to life after the Marlins had just taken back the lead in the top of the frame. Lowell first threw wide left on a Chris Woodward grounder, then wide right on a Jose Reyes grounder just two batters later. But A.J. Burnett, of course just hours after I said I thought he would be great in the Mets rotation, completely collapsed after facing that adversity. After the throwing errors, he gave up a double to Mike Cameron (who also had a HR after striking out twice against Burnett), threw a wild pitch to score Reyes, walked Beltran, hit Floyd to load the bases, then walked Wright to give the Mets a 5-3 lead.

I still think Burnett would be a great sign by the Mets...but you know who he showed himself to be tonight? He's the Sid Fernandez of the 21st century. Burnett has great stuff, just like Fernandez had. No, Burnett isn't 500 pounds of poi like Fernandez was, but a typical Sid Fernandez game would look like this: No hits and 9 K's in the first 5 innings, then would lead off the sixth with two walks...or a walk and an error, then he would get frustrated and give up a three run bomb. Of course he would have to be taken out after having thrown 342 pitches in 5+. That was Burnett in a nutshell tonight. He has terrific stuff, but faced with adversity, he collapsed. His frustration was probably more the fact that he thought Reyes was out on the wild pitch (he was baaaaaaaaaaaaaaarely safe) than the errors, but you have to learn to deal with adversity...especially if you want to pitch in New York City. It's worth keeping an eye on if the Mets do in fact have interest in signing him in 2006 (if of course he's not traded this season, in which case he'll probably sign an extension on the spot).


Anonymous said...

It made me, John, think of the conversation we had when Cliff Floyd was overcome by injuries. I remember us talking about how he was gonna be such a studmuffin when he healed up. Boy were we right!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and re: the hate list ....

Firecracker, firecracker!
Vince Coleman, Vince Coleman
Rah! Rah! Rah!


Metstradamus said...

Floyd is a studmuffin, and should be an all-star studmuffin.

And who is this "John" you keep referring to? I know not of "John".