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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Ramon's revenge makes it 6 in a row

pedro vs leiter

you know it's usually pretty rare that a much anticipated pitching matchup lives up to its billing, but so far this year, they've been spot-on. a lot of that has to do with pedro continuing to fulfill the promise of returning ace-like pitching to the mets at the top of the rotation. he brought the A game once again this afternoon at shea.

for the bad guys in black, it was the return of aloquacious to flushing, the mouth that roared, and the arm that sometimes soared. the man who never knew how to shut up as a met, and continued to never shut up during the off-season was uncharacteristically silent in the leadup to today's game. duct tape works wonders. to leiter's credit, he did his speaking on the mound, and he gave the marlins a tidy, effective effort, stifling the mets for 7 innings (using up only 104 pitches!) for 1 run on 3 hits. that wouldn't prove to be good enough though.

the mets followed their unfailing winning formula. they had the starting pitching power to match the opponent's and to keep the mets close. that's all the mets need. if they're close, and they can get a crack at the enemy's bullpen, it's been lights out. pedro also went 7 innings with a stellar line: 2 er, 3 hits, 9 k's, 1 bb.

as per script, the mets bats heated up in the 8th as soon as they smelled a reliever out there. the victim this time was veteran todd jones, who got dinged by beltran for the game tying single, and mikey piazza for the go-ahead ground-rule double.

speaking of smelly, poopy pooper came in to protect the lead in the 9th for the winning pitcher of record, mike dejean. pooper came in and did his shit again, blowing the save, but was rescued in the bottom of the 9th. victor "all hit, no field" diaz came through in the clutch again with a 2-out double. ramon castro followed with the game winning single to drive in diaz against his former marlin teammates.

does poopy get awarded the win? he certainly shouldn't. i haven't seen the official box score yet, but the official scorer does have the discretion to award the win to a more deserving pitcher.

continuing sign of caution: jose reyes went 0-4, lowering his avg (and of course his obp) to .300. he got his usual strikeout, and now has 11 k's this year (and no walks). some folks want to know why i "dislike" reyes so much. i don't dislike him. i like him and root for him as hard as any mets fan. i just point out his flaws, as i do to every player (be it piazza or glavine or cammy or any "star"). reyes has to learn to get on base aside from a basehit. all his speed and electricity is useless if he's just trotting back into the dugout so much. now he can go 5-for-5 tomorrow and raise his april avg back to .400 and people can throw that in my face, but it wouldn't change my opinion at all.

jose's not going to hit .400 this year or any year. he's not even going to have a .400 obp ever in his career unless he pulls a miracle out of his sleeve. but if he is a .300 hitter, which is probably what he is, then he can't also be a .300 obp guy who strikes out 100+ times a year and never walks. that's all. i don't think that's a good pace for my leadoff/tablesetting guy who i want on base as much as possible. that's not good for a season, for a 2 months stretch or a 2 week stretch. jose has to fix that.

i saw kaz learn to take more walks instantly last april and i'm seeing vic diaz do it this april so far. it's possible. i don't expect miracles and for jose to develop rickey henderson's plate awareness overnight, but there has to be some near instant improvement in approach. there hasn't even been the slightest hint of it. in fact, he's regressing. he can change that if he wants. it's always about what jose wants, and for the most part, it's debilitated his rehab approach and time schedule. it's now debilitating his progress as a player.

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