NY Sports Dog: Good Morning Mets Fans!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good Morning Mets Fans!

Well that was exciting! I mean, in the holy crap I cannot believe we just saw that game and the Mets actually came back and won it, kind of way.

It was a game of heroes.

"Hopefully, this is the one that really kick-starts us," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "I'm real proud of the guys the way they fought back."

The Mets won it in the bottom of the 12th on a Fernando Tatis double that plated David Wright and Carlos Beltran. The best part was the team reaction to the win, but we'll talk about that here in a bit.

Final 12th123456789101112RHE
N.Y. Mets «2001100010027120
W: D. Sanchez (1-0) L: J. Miller (1-2)
HR: FLA - M. Rabelo (2), C. Ross (8), C. Ross (9), A. Amezaga (1) NYM - L. Castillo (2), J. Reyes (7), E. Chavez (1)

The game began with a dominant Ollie Perez cutting through the Marlins lineup with a live fastball and a sharp breaking curve. His one early mistake was letting a fastball get up that the Marlins Mike Rabelo hit for his second homerun of the year. But after 4 innings, it was the only hit Perez allowed.

The Mets started off in fine fashion. Jose Reyes led the game off with a double just inside the leftfield line, and Luis Castillo, yes Luis Castillo, hit his second home run of the year.

Barry Bonds: 762 HRs
Luis Castillo: 26 HRs

At Castillo current HR pace, he will need 165,364 at bats to catch Bonds.

From there it was a back and forth affair, Jose Reyes added a home run, putting the Mets up 4-2, but the Mets fell behind because Cody Ross hit two home runs, including a massive 3-run blast that put the Marlins up 5-4.

It stayed that way until the 9th, and the tension was palpable. Mets fans gnawed on their fingers; Mets players were on the top step; Willie Randolph played chess, masterfully changing pitchers and position players to set up his team for this moment.

Endy Chavez was at the plate--the same Endy who had driven in a run after replacing rookie Nick Evans earlier in the game--the pitch came inside to Endy and he turned, he turned quickly, and rocketed the ball over the rightfield fence to tie the game and energize everyone in the ballpark and millions of TV viewers.

Endy, Endy, Endy...the man of the moment, the 9th inning hero, the guy that could...and did.

"A fast ball middle in," Chavez said. "I was just trying to be on every pitch, to recognize what's coming and put the ball in play."

And the teams fought on. The Mets relief pitching was brilliant, and I say that without a touch of hyperbole. How brilliant? Let's let the numbers speak for themselves:

New York Mets
Oliver Perez 6455473 4.83
Scott Schoeneweis 1000010 1.35
Aaron Heilman 2000040 5.40
Billy Wagner 1000020 0.41
Duaner Sanchez (W,1-0) 2111021 4.34
Pitches-Strikes - Oliver Perez 100-59, Scott Schoeneweis 12-10, Aaron Heilman 27-18, Billy Wagner 11-8, Duaner Sanchez 24-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oliver Perez 2-9, Scott Schoeneweis 2-0, Aaron Heilman 1-1, Duaner Sanchez 1-3
Batters Faced - Oliver Perez 26, Scott Schoeneweis 3, Aaron Heilman 6, Billy Wagner 3, Duaner Sanchez 7

Up and down the line they were brilliant. Scott Schoeneweis threw 10 strikes in 12 pitches...he is my vote for Comeback Player of the Year.

Aaron Heilman, who has struggled mightily this year, was dominant. 4 Ks in two innings and absolutely untouchable.

Billy Wagner simply set them down.

And Duaner "Goggles" Sanchez had his best fastball of the year. He allowed a homerun to Alfredo Amezega in the top of the 12th to give the Marlins the lead, but sometimes you just tip your cap to the hitter. Goggles is back ladies and gentlemen.

Mets pitchers had 16 Ks in all against only 4 walks--all from Perez. The final line on the bullpen was 5 innings pitched, 1 hit, 1 run, 9 Ks, and 0 walks. That is brilliance. They were heroes.

So we go to the bottom of the 12th; the fateful half inning that we will look back on as the turning point, the real turning point, of the season.

At this point the Mets bench was empty and Johan Santana had on batting gloves. All three Mets catchers had been used, as had Carlos Delgado (who had a nice AB). John Maine had even been used to pinch run.

David Wright started things off with a walk. OK, tying run on, DW didn't try to do too much, and he got on base. Carlos Beltran locked in to the pitcher and worked the count back to even and delivered a line drive single.

First and third, no outs, Mets down 6-5, bottom of the 12th.

Exciting times.

Easley up, and everybody, including yours truly, was convinced he would hit the sac fly to tie the game, but he struck out instead on a nasty slider off the plate.

First and third, one out, Mets down 6-5, bottom of the 12th.

The Mets were holding out for a hero and he came to the plate with a singular purpose: get the tying run home.

As Tatis strode to the plate all the scenarios were running through our heads...walk, strike out, hit into a DP, short fly and play at the plate, pop up, etc....it is those 5 seconds of tension and thought that make baseball the greatest of all thinking man's sports.

So which would it be? Hero? Goat? I was voting hero and was not disappointed.

Fernando Tatis has 5 RBIs in his last two games, and last night's were the biggest of all. With the game, and maybe the season on the line, he calmly roped a double to left field that scored DW and Beltran all the way from first.

As Tatis crossed second he thrust his arms in the air and was mobbed by his teammates. He said afterward, "they crushed me."

A fitting comeback to a brilliant game. A great win all around. Newsday has a nice writeup on the big win.

You can read more about Tatis and his impact at the Mets site.

In other Mets news Pedro Martinez continues his march back to the Mets....you can read about it here. And also here for more Pedro!

Here's something from the NY Post on Delgado and his future this season. My take is that he will have reduced at bats, but still have plenty.

"Willie came to me (Tuesday), told me what his plans were, what he wanted to do and how I felt. I said OK. You understand I like to play but I'll take a day, see how it goes," Delgado said. "I went to the cage, worked, forgot about hitting for a day."

Ryan Church continues to stay home....we'll get you a report on him later today.

OK Mets fans...enjoy your coffee!!!

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