A Word From Our Sponsors


A Wild One

Them 'Lins are pretty feisty, no?

I didn't think this series would be a cakewalk, really, especially since we had to face Anibal Sanchez after his no-no, Josh Johnson, one of the best pitchers in the NL this season, and Scott Olsen, who always seems to be really nasty.

Two out of three ain't bad.

The Mets took their spoils during this series from former Marlins Carlos Delgado, Cliff Floyd and Paul Lo Duca, which was a good sign considering Floyd's recent struggles.

And I would be remised if I didn't mention the extraordinary glove work of my hero, Lastings Milledge, in right field last night. He went 2-for-3 as well.

The Mets also benefited from some nice relief work by Mota, Heilman and Wagner, who are clearly the big three in this bullpen right now.


In that vein, the Mets really exposed the weakness of a low-payroll team like the Marlins. They have a bunch of exciting young players, both fielders and pitchers, each one of them very talented. Did I forget to mention that Josh Willingham will be giving me night terrors for the rest of my existance?

What the Marlins and other small-market teams lack, however, is the payroll to expend on reliable relievers or on capable starting pitchers who will push their best into the pen.

The Mets have spent a couple million on guys like Chad Bradford and a fortune on Billy Wagner. And while acquiring non-roster players usually is a safe bet, it's much cheaper to do it with minor leaguers than with veterans.

The Mets also have had the luxury of keeping Aaron Heilman and trading last year's folk hero Jae Seo for the bullpen, despite the better urges of know-it-all radio show hosts.

The Marlins? They have Joe Borowski, Matt Herges and co. Borowski has been awful the past two games and is obviously not the closer the Marlins saw in the first half of the season.

Maybe the success of the bullpen can't be measured statistically, but when the Mets put up five innings of scoreless relief against a team, it's pretty clear who has the upper hand.

Then again, statistics do speak volumes. The three mainstay lefties in the Mets' pen (Feliciano, Wagner, Oliver) have been worth almost 75 runs over replacement players on the season. That's seven and a half wins for the Mets that they wouldn't have gotten with riff-raff like Heath Bell and Jorge Julio going out there every game.

It's also quite important to remember that the Mets lost one of their top 2005 setup men to free agency (Hernandez), another to injury (Juan Padilla) and then lost Duaner midway through the season to a late night Dominican food run.

This bullpen is good. And you have to give a ton of that credit to "Slick" Rick "Jacket" Peterson and Bullpen Coach Guy Conti. Good for them.


There's usually not too much doubt in my mind about who to pull for during a Phillies-Braves clash. Hell, I don't wonder who to pull for in an anyone-Braves clash. Except maybe Braves-Yankees.

But come on, Phillies. You really had to go and sweep a doubleheader when the Mets would have clinched if you threw the games? This division race is already a forgone conclusion and the mediocrity in the NL won't really penalize you in the wild card race for losing.

So now we have to wait until Friday in Pittsburgh to clinch. And of course, Pedro's on the hill.


Just a quick note: David Ortiz's comments make it exactly clear why I can't root for the Red Sox either.

To rag on Derek Jeter with something along the lines of my numbers are sexy and little shortstop men don't deserve the MVP just makes Ortiz look like an ass.

And, you know what, that probably isn't a bad characterization.

This page doesn't devote a lot of time to defending Derek Jeter, nor do I think he really deserves the MVP, but he is unquestionably a better candidate than the surly slugger who was unable to lead his team to victory.

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

No comments: