NY Sports Dog: Good Morning Mets Fans!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Good Morning Mets Fans!

There's something happening here,
What it is ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a bat over there,
Telling the NL East they got to beware.

The latest tune from The Buffalo Beltran is a sure-fire smash hit. In fact, it was a Grand Slam.

There's something happening here:

Yes my friends, there is something happening. It's called team baseball. The Mets are playing exactly that--picking each other up, even on a night when things didn't look like they'd go the Mets way.

Ollie Perez pitched a heck of a ballgame. 6 innings in which he only allowed 1 earned run. He walked 5, but that was in part to the ever changing strike zone of homeplate umpire Jerry Layne.

Still, Ollie continued his mastery of the Marlins, but left after 6 innings on the wrong side of a 2-1 deficit.

Ollie has been terrific in July and August, going deep into games and sporting a 2.55 ERA over his last 11 games. He did his job and gave the Mets a chance to win.

What it is aint exactly clear:

The Mets bullpen continues to have its ups and downs. The ups last night were Brian Stokes and Joe Smith, each of whom tossed a scoreless frame.

Joe Smith hasn't allowed a run in his last 9 appearances and earned the win last night. At the tender age of 24, Smith has already appeared in 121 big league games and has a 5-5 record with a 3.71 ERA.

Brian Stokes has been terrific. He has come along and proven he is a 1 or 2 inning reliever and spot starter who can get righty's and lefty's out. It's my opinion that Stokes should get the start against the Brewers, not John Niese. Dan Warthen also seems leery about starting the Mets young southpaw against the Brew Crew.

"The Milwaukee matchup, for me, is better for a right-handed pitcher," Warthen said before last night's game against the Marlins. "That's something we've certainly looked into. We've looked at the numbers. If we need another spot starter against Philadelphia or possibly against this ballclub, he would be the type of guy we'd use."

And then there's Luis Ayala. Luis decided to give Mets fans heart palpitations by allowing 4 hits and 2 runs in the 9th after the club had just taken the lead. We learned later on that Ayala had a tight hammy, but he gamely pitched on.

In earning his third save as a Met, Ayala allowed a Mike Jacobs pinch-hit RBI single and then had a long battle with Jorge Cantu. Cantu almost hit the game winning homerun, but thankfully, it hooked foul. When he hit it I thought it was gone and so did Daniel Murphy.

"I was screaming at it," leftfielder Daniel Murphy said.

Cantu's double down the leftfield line almost tied the game. As Daniel Murphy chased after the ball, Alfredo Amezega, who had entered the game as a pinch-runner, was screaming around the basepaths. Murphy approached the ball and slipped--somehow he kept enough balance to grab the ball and fire a strong throw back to the infield. In my opinion it was a game saving play.

"I left a pretty nice divot out there," Murphy said.

"That was a very, very big play for us [by Murphy] - a very big play," Manuel said. "That will probably go unnoticed, but that might have been the thing that saved us."

Jerry Manuel stuck with Ayala, and he got Wes Helms to ground out to Reyes to end the game.

There's a man with a bat over there:

A man named Carlos Beltran, but we'll get to him in a moment.

How about Luis Castillo! 2 outs, 9th inning, 2 strikes, and bam, single up the middle to keep hope alive. Then there was David Wright--the same David Wright that is scuffling a bit--single, two men on. Carlos Delgado gets plunked, and suddenly the bases are juiced and the tying and go ahead runs are on base.

Now if I'm the Marlins manager there is no way I leave Kevin Gregg in the game. It wasn't the Castillo and Wright at bats that bothered me--those were not "scary, my closer has nothing" type hits. But when you plunk the next guy on the first pitch to load the bases, you have to think something is wrong.

Thankfully for Mets fans, Gregg was left in for Beltran, and Carlos delivered, oh how he ever delivered.

First pitch, hanging splitter, Beltran's eyes opened as big as saucers, a smooth slightly uppercut swing, pure power, the ball explodes off his bat and we watch as it soars to rightfield...deep, deep, deep and gone! Grand slam--a thunderbolt hit that lit up the Florida sky and sent tremors up and down the National League East all the way to Philadelphia.

"Oh, man," a relieved Jerry Manuel said afterward. "Oh, man."

"I wasn't looking for anything in particular," Beltran said. "I was just thinking I needed to come through right there with a hit and at least tie the ballgame. As soon as I saw it, I hit it and knew it was gone."

"That's baseball," Beltran added. "We've been in that situation before. We didn't score early, but we scored when the team needed it the most."

Telling the NL East they got to beware:

The Phillies lost a heartbreaker, so the Mets now stand 2 games up on their rivals and 7 up on the Marlins.

Don't think for a minute that the Mets aren't scoreboard watching.

"I was happy because of the situation we're in right now," Beltran said. "The Phillies lost today. These are the teams we really need to beat - the Marlins, the Philadelphia Phillies - for us to move on."

The Mets win, the Mets win!!!

Big Pelf on the hill tonight--as you know, he's struggled with the Marlins this year, so a goos start by the Mets young star would provide and incredible boost right now....exciting times in Met Nation!

Enjoy your coffee!

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