A Word From Our Sponsors


Eating the Mets

What on Earth is eating the Mets?

I feel strange after today's scary win, writing as though a loss had just happened. But the Mets were incredibly lucky to win this game. Jon Lieber is one of the worst pitchers in the National League this season. And he dominated the Mets today, limiting them to a bunch of bloops and only a few spotty plays by Pat the Bat and Ryan "I Make Carlos Delgado look like Keith Hernandez" Howard ensured the victory. Howard bugs me, because he won't go with the flo as far as the batting helmets go. That was the funniest pun I've ever made, because the new type of batting helmets are these CoolFlo helmets and Howard's not wearing one and go with the flow is an expression. But you probably knew that.

There were some good things in Saturday's game, though. Glavine pitched really well, allowing only seven baserunners in his seven innings of work. After a rocky first inning, where he gave up a massive three-run shot to left to the massive Howard, I just figured it was another "here we go again" with Glavine.

Instead, he managed to do what he's done best. He took advantage of an inexperienced and aggressive Phillies team that lacked the reliable forces of Bobby Abreu, and, to a lesser extent, David Bell, in the lineup. Bell had a .310 lifetime average in 29 AB versus Glavine. Abreu was a far less successful .224 in a larger sample size, but he was always at the plate to see pitches and be passive rather than aggressive. In their places were Shane Victorino and Abraham Nuñez, who combined to go 1-7 in the game, while Victorino twice whiffed against Glavine.

Not to be outdone, Danny Sandoval, Chase Utley's replacement after the streak ended, also went 0-3 against the Mets today. Chris Coste, the rookie who has somehow made his MLB debut long after his prime was through (Satchel Paige, anyone?), also went 0-4. Glavine and his wily ways seemed to overmatch a Phillies team getting their first licks at him, while he took a beating last week against a Braves team that had seen too much of Glavine. I'm hoping he and the Jacket have worked together and have somehow turned a corner, but I'm not sure if one start makes me buy into that.

Speaking of overmatched, I have two words for you. Mike DiFelice. Somehow, DiFelice's .118/.211/.118 in 17 at-bats last year was just too much to pass up. He was also hitting .277/.373/.366 in 112 minor league at-bats. That's not too bad, right? That's just god-awful, considering he was doing it at AA Binghamton. If I were a thirty-seven year old man who had made baseball my choice career, I might be serving myself better than playing against guys 17 years younger than me at AA.
Hell, it would make sense to call up anyone but DiFelice. Put Gerald-Ice behind the plate if you have to. Jose Awfulman could probably do a better job back there than DiFelice! Actually, forget that. Awfulman made 42 errors at short in 149 games for the 1992 Dodgers. But call up Sandy Martinez, or someone who actually hasn't already proved to us that he's worthless. Jeez.

And what about Billy boy today? For the second time this year against the Phillies, David Wright saved his skin. And on another note, he also ran his damn mouth off again about his former teammates. Today, it was Cory Lidle. He apparently didn't feel a need to badmouth Arthur Rhodes, because they never played together in the poorly-named City of Brotherly Love. But he went off on Lidle, calling him a chicken. That's great, Wagner. Why don't you start doing something more productive with your time than spouting crap about your ex-mates? We get it; you're bitter. Now remind me why Takashi Saito is outperforming you again when he's making about a tenth of what you are? Oh, now you want to be quiet. I get it...


Last night's loss was crippling, as El Duque had an aberration start. It was an aberration because he got absolutely shelled, after his great last start, by the Phillies, of all teams, and it was also bizarre because he didn't give up that many runs after being shelled.

The Mets' offense seemed to be off and running against the far from stellar Randy Wolf, as he exited early in what appeared surely to be a losing effort. The Phillies? Digging into their bullpen to work the fifth inning? Against the best of the NL? In what galaxy does this game translate to their victory?

Well, El Duque triples and other whimsy aside, it somehow did.

And I was feeling pretty good going into that seventh inning, where I felt Willie somehow channeled me. Earlier that day, while fishing around in the fridge for some cold Diet Coke, I had wondered to myself why Aaron Heilman was working his third consecutive day. And then I realized. Currently, Willie has a four-man bullpen to use on the road in a close game without a lead. He doesn't use Ring or Oliver. Ring is understandable, as he's only been up for a few brief days and Willie might have a hard time defending why he brought the new guy in during a pressure situation.

But why not Oliver? Willie can't just have him work one inning in the entire week. I think, as great a long man he's been, there's just not enough need for it. The Mets have the luxury of having five starters who can go five innings (usually) and keep them from getting blown out. So Oliver never works, probably because Willie doesn't want to waste him. He can't make that long relief appearance the day after he made a short one. So Oliver is useless unless you're getting blown out, because Willie won't use him one day as he figures we might be faced with a short pitching stint.

So Willie finally used him as a set-up guy. And Dellucci seemed not to mind much about ruining my master plan to improve the bullpen, launching one over Firstings' head in right field. And that was seemingly it.

Sure, there was some excitement over whether or not Utley would keep the streak alive, but the Mets didn't look so great against master of the change-up Ryan Madson. Ever since he came out of nowhere in that 2004 series in Philly where Todd Zeile christened Citizens Bank Park with a bunch of homers, Madson has scared the bejesus out of me. And he's been better in his career against the Mets than he has against other teams, with his 2.83 ERA and 1.11 WHIP against them versus his 4.27 ERA and 1.39 WHIP against everyone. (Though Todd Zeile did hit a three-run homer off of him, and Beltran's "Thank God, we can all go to sleep now!" shot is also not to be forgotten.) And he pitched well, so he got the win. Sure, he gave up three hits in two innings of work. But he struck out four. Egh.

Pedro Feliciano gave up a home run to Ryan Howard as insurance in the ninth. Is it me, or has this guy managed to keep his ERA down by some oddity? I can't tell anymore. But he seems to walk a bunch of guys and give up a bunch of home runs and maybe it's always Chad Bradford getting him out of these jams. I think they could be excellent sidekicks for eachother, what with their funky deliveries and Chad's propensity to help Pedro out and how Pedro even can bail Chad out occasionally against lefties. They could be a crimefighting duo. Maybe they could go out and arrest Duaner Sanchez's drunk driver. Just a thought.


What's eating the Duck? I have a feeling it's not good, and I'll blog about it as soon as I can find out. For those of you unaware of the potential scandal, Lo Duca's not talking to the media for the rest of the season due to something we're due to find out today. I just get worried about these things, as the last thing this clubhouse needs is some sort of drain on the chemistry. And an unhappy Duck is just that. I have a feeling it could be adultery-related, as the photo on our left does not exactly scream "committed father and husband" to me. Whatever.

Crosstown Rivals is sponsored by JustGreatTickets.com, your home for Chicago White Sox Tickets.

No comments: