Thursday, July 28, 2005

NL Central Booking

Four game series in Houston scare the bejesus out of me. I, as most older Met fans do, remember the four game series at the Astrodome right around the 1986 All-Star break, where not only did the Mets lose three of four (that series was so bad, I thought they were swept), but four of the major players on the team, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Rick Aguilera, and Tim Teufel, were arrested outside Cooter's Bar (which thankfully, shut down five years later).

Nineteen years later, this is another series that gives me the willies. When you look at the pitching matchups and go solely on them, this series should be a split.

Thursday: Pedro Martinez (12-3, 2.79 ERA) vs. Ezequiel Astacio (1-4, 8.24 ERA)
Friday: Kris Benson (7-3, 3.14 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (5-4, 6.18 ERA)
Saturday: Tom Glavine (7-8, 4.69 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (8-7, 2.73 ERA)
Sunday: Kaz Ishii (3-9, 4.96 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (14-8, 2.33 ERA)

But as you know, starting pitchers can't in themselves predict outcomes. Pedro Martinez faced D.J. Houlton last Saturday in what everyone thought would be a wipeout...yet the Mets needed to get to the Dodgers bullpen to get the victory. Wandy Rodriguez has an inflated ERA, but in his last eight starts he's been better than that 6.18 ERA indicates. So this is a scary series.

The Mets absolutely have to win the first two games against rookies. Why? Very simply: Oswalt, and Pettite. Oswalt is 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA in the month of July. Pettite is also 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA. Combine that with Roger Clemens (who the Mets miss this turn), who is 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA in July, and you have your answer as to why the Astros have come back from their dismal start, and why they are they have the best Astros threesome since Nolan Ryan, Bob Knepper, and the cheater Mike Scott (above).

Yeah, Tom Glavine can win (doubtful), and Kaz Ishii is in line for his "good start" (what, you mean you're not holding your breath either?), but they are going to have to take it up about 10,000 notches to beat this team in the juice box. This Astros team, with Washington dropping like a cheeseburger in Mo Vaughn's stomach, has the inside track on the wild card. They're hot, they're ahead of the Mets in the standings, and they have great starting pitching. The Mets are now asked to hang in with them.

And don't get arrested.


Anonymous said...

When you mentioned older Met fans and losses to Houston, I had expected a comment of how in '69 the only team that gave the Mets fits was Houston...who couldn't beat anyone else. Sigh...I guess your definition of older is different than mine.

Metstradamus said...

I was thrown off when I was called an "old fart". I guess it's all about perspective.

Gee, the Mets having problems against a last place team? Some things never change.