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And the happiest of recaps...

Well, honestly... I had my doubts.

I thought they weren't going to pull it out. I thought Bruce Chen would choke, and come up small like he usually does.

But he was beautiful tonight, giving the Mets a chance to win, unlike he usually does. John Franco and Armando Benitez did a frustrating job in relief, giving up the goahead run. I wouldn't be surprised if Chen never plays for another team after he leaves the Mets. Franco and Benitez too.

I feared a team batting Tsuyoshi Shinjo fifth against a hard thrower like Jason Marquis, born and bred in Manhasset, NY, would fare poorly. But Shinjo has a long and great career in the states ahead of him, no need to worry.

Fonzie has been slumping after he came back from injury, only hitting .247 with that bad back. Nevertheless, he won't be on the decline. I'd be shocked if he ever leaves the elite of the major leagues.

I was a little upset about the way the rest of the team hit against Marquis too, especially with Matt Lawton appearing to be worth nothing compared to Rick Reed's consistency. He's definitely never taken any substances to enhance his performance.

It was tough seeing Bernard Gilkey in another team's uniform, trying to beat us. And it bugs me to hear these foolish stories about Larry Jones moving to left to accommodate former MVP Ken Caminiti. I don't want to spread any rumors, but doesn't it look like Caminiti might be on steroids? I dunno, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was true.

And man, Julio Franco's getting old. I'm thinking he'll definitely call it a career after this year.

Javy Lopez did a nice job for Atlanta, going three-for-four. So did Chipper and Brian Jordan.

But it was all for naught. Why, do you ask?

Because of Mike Piazza. He's the greatest player in the history of this franchise, saving us from the bring on a night where we needed it most. I'll give up if he ever plays for another team or if the Mets ever do wrong by him. Even if he's in a wheelchair, this man belongs behind the plate in Flushing.

On a night when we all shed a tear for the great metropolis, making an attempt to return to glory after the terrorists destroyed our buildings, Mike Piazza cried with us, but with one swing of his Mizuno bat, a pitch from native New Yorker Steve Karsay went over the centerfield fence. And things were okay again.


What? Rain delay? Sometimes it's hard not to get caught up in the drama of it all.

And on that dark Friday night in September 2001, there was no shortage of drama.

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Life is good.

Melky Cabrera is good.

Johnny Damon is a good guy.

I'm happy.

New York 5 > Seattle 4

Starting Lines:
Sidney Ponson:
6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR
Joel Pineiro:
6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR

Good News:
Andy Phillips is good. Solo homer and that 2B down the line to get the 9th going. Would have had another extra base hit if not for Beltre's great play at third.
Nick Green is a man on fire. Ignoirng the fact that he's still hitting .157, a 3-3 game is never not good news. Keep it rolling.
Aaron Guiel continues to produce. 1 AB, 1 RBI off of one of the best closers in baseball.
Phillips at second and Damon at 1st. Good stuff. Also, priceless when a bad pickoff throw almost sails over the clearly undersized Damon and the whole team has a laugh.
Johnny Damon having a good time. I liked it when he caught the helmet that Melky threw into the air and slammed it down. He's a good guy I guess.
Melky, of course. That ball was a screamer. Oh, if you didn't know, he hit a GWHR in the 11th.
Larry Bowa's enthusiasm.
Sidnew Ponson having a good 1st game after a rough start.
Another hard fought win keeps us in stride with the Jon Lester's.

Bad News:
Richie Sexson.
The fact that we were essentally shut down by Joel Pineiro.
Adam Jones, although it's always nice to see a kid get his 1st major league hit.
One of the most absurd rain delays I've ever seen. I mean has anyone ever seen a rain delay in the bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, 3-1, tie ball game and one of the team's most dangerous batters up. Perplexing.
A tainted win due to the bad call at 1st on Po-Po's grounder.

Final Thought:
This is it, this is the run we're gonna go on and we're not gonna look back. Five in a row and no signs of slowing down. Let's do it boys.

Other News:
Did anyone see Reggie Abercrombie's ridiculous bunt single/inside the park home run? One of the strangest things I've seen in a while.

Buck O'neill played today in some sort of professional game. It was really kind of uplifting, apart from the swing he took. You hope the guy's having a good time out there.

The Braves are HOT HOT HOT. Yes, my WC pick is on a roll. I swear to God if they make the playoffs I am having a party and nobody else is invited. Pummeled the Cards who threw crazy man Jason Marquis at them. How can an 11 win guy have those 2 awfulllll starts against the White Sox and Braves. Makes no sense. Oh and my NL MVP pick? You know, just a little 5-5 with 2 HR and 6 RBI's. Nothing too much.

Francisco Liriano is a freak. The much hyped young phenom duel was plenty one sided. Kaz is good, but he's not Liriano good. Forget ROY, what about CYA?

Word has it Abreu and the Phils are asking too much. If we were to trade for him, they'd likely ask for Hughes and the only way Abreu is gonna waive his no-trade is if we agree to pick up his little SIXTEEN MILLION dollar option. Not happening. Soriano maybe going to Detroit and Maddux is a possibility in LA, says local silly man Jayson Stark.

White Sox continue to beat up on the Tiggers. They will fade. Mark my words.

Beltran hit a GS in this 2nd consecutive game. Neat.

Jon Lester is good. Whoopdedoo. Dancing in the streets. He went 8 and only gave up 1 hit. Impressive to say the least. He's 5-0 now.

That's all for now.
Cya people on the morrow.

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Big News and More Grades

Well, it's official. Crosstown Rivals is broadening its horizons. Yes, it is true, we will now be following all 4 major sports here in this fine blogging establishment. Give 4-6 days for delivery. However, since basketball and hockey so deliciously coincide, I will be taking over as resident basketball blogger (Knicks) and Schuyla will be bringing his stuff to hockey (Rangers). As for football, well although I do like the Jets, the Gints are my team. The Jets will be left to my partner in crime.
As of late, I've been bogged down by a series of computer issues (I'm starting to think I have bad computer karma), but I've fought through every imaginable problem this damn thing has to offer and I will continue my midsummer grades.
Today, it gets a little uglier as we head to the personal achilles heel of the Yanks, pitching.

Lets dive right in.

Randy Johnson:
Well, there's not all that much to say about a guy who, although he is supposedly our ace, sports a 5 and change ERA. His record of 10-7 is acceptable, but the fact that we're getting a pitcher that throws 91 and hits the corners instead of a fireball intimidator who hit 98 at times and blew it by batters is a little dissapointing. He's not the same guy he was in Arizona, and when you consider that his lifetime ERA is a tad over 3, it makes this season even more hard to understand. Did RJ wake up one morning, aged? It's hard to say, but his erratic play earns him a C.

Mike Mussina:
For those of you that don't know, Mike Mussina is my hero. Yes he has never won 20 games, but I still believed at the beginning of the year that he was more valuable than Pedro. And I think I've been validated. He has 11 wins up to this point, and his ERA is at a respectable 3.30. But it's not just this that makes him our best starter. It's just how alarmingly often he gets quality starts. 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 IP, 3 ER, these are lines that you see all the time from Moose, and frankly, with this kind of offense, it's hard to lose those games. I still maintain that he should have been an All-Star, but I'll settle for just a superb season, I suppose. An A/A-.

Jaret Wright: I have issues with Jaret Wright. They start with the fact that he has a very difficult time getting past the 6th inning, and due to this, Farnsworth almost always ends up in the game. I understand that he's been a whole lot more useful than Pavano, and I suppose he's a servicable 3 starter, but the question remains, why did we acquire Wright?, a man with a 5+ ERA for his career. In any event, I'm not a huge fan of his work, but his relatively decent ERA f 4.29 and his ability to fill a spot in the rotation earns him a C+/C.

Chien-Ming Wang:
Wang is good. I love this kid. Every once in a while he'll dazzle us with brilliance and it just makes me wonder what he'll be like in a few years. The amount of groundball outs he gets is absurd, and I personally believe his sinker is top 15 pitches in all of baseball. In him, I believe we have the best 4 starter in baseball, and I wouldn't be surprised if he went on a tear and got awfully close to 20 wins. Besides Mussina, he has been our best asset, and for this, he gets an A-/B+.

Shawn Chacon:
Doy. What happened? He was our secret weapon, capable of going 7 and allowing only 2 or 3 ER. I don't understand how he could go from so bad in Colorado, to so good here, to so bad again. It's one of the biggest mysteries of our pitching staff, and with the acquisition of Ponson, who starts tonight against the M's, he's out of a starting job. If Ponson can be stable, that might be it for Chacon in the Bronx. I doubt we'll try him in the bullpen seriously, in which case he'll either be DFA'ed, waived, or traded. We'll see. However, his 6.7 ERA is a joke, and not a very funny one. Goddamn Alaskans. D-.

Sidney Ponson:
It'll be interesting to se how he does tonight in his 1st game with us, but with no evidence to back up my grade, he gets the ever sought after N/A.

Yes I'm packaging these injured pitchers into one category. And I'm giving them a goddamn F for being so goddamn injured. Useless bastards. Actually I kinda like Dotel, but Sturtze would have gotten an F either way. In fact, I'm giving Tanyon a B+ for not entirely ruining our season. Whatever.

Scott Proctor:
Um, well he's Scott Proctor. Honestly, Icouldn't think of a more mediocre player. He doesnt do anything to stand out, but doesn't invite boobirds either. He's respectable, that's all that can really be said. What an average guy. Average can be good though sometimes. And for being so average, Proctor gets a B-/C+.

Mike Myers:
I like Mike Myers. The Austin Powers movies were especially good. Haha, I must be the 1st person to make that joke. My wit is unmatched. But seriously. I really do like Myers. First of all, he's a reliable arm in the pen, who's not going to overpower anybody, but can get some outs. he's stability, and stability in the bullpen is one thing who's stock is rising this season. I think he's our 2nd best reliever, and come postseason, he could be very valuable. B+.

Kyle Farnsworth:
There were questions when he came to New York. He was a hothead with a wild arm and they didn't know whether or not Farnsworth could hold up under the constant pressure. He has done nothing to shut his critics up. Although at times he has been very good, he seems to unravel when it matters most. Take Saturday for example. He came in, retired Dye and Konerko in a ver impressive inning. Then Torre shows his confidence in him by letting him come out for the 8th. Disaster. In the end, Mo had to come in and clean up. He's not terrible but he's npt very good either. C/C-.

Ron Villone:
I really like Ron Villone. He's a lefty weapon and he gets outs. Once again, nothing dazzling, but day in and day out he's very reliable. He strikes out a very impressive 1 an inning and is just generally very useful to Torre. Whether or not he's used as much as he should is up for debate, but he can count me as a fan. A-/B+.

Mariano Rivera:
Ol' Reliable is having another good year, on pace for a 42 or 43 save season. He's not as lethal as he once was, often digging holes for himself, but he's masterful at getting out of these jams and when he's on, he's as untouchable as ever. His sub 2 ERA will attest to that. But hey, he's just Mo being Mo. A.

In other news:
A-Rod is getting his toe x-rayed. It was injured after he fouled a ball of his foot in the midst of that disaster of a game. Shouldn't be more than a bruise.

Ponson makes his first start tonight. He'll be going up against Joel Piniero. Should be fun.


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Tradewinds a'blowing

Rumor has it that the Mets are holding Jeff Keppinger out of the AAA lineup because the 26-year old utilityman is part of a trade with his former organization (Pittsburgh Pirates).

I don't really know much more than that, but the boys at MLB Trade Rumors inspired me. Read the full report here.

Nevertheless, if something goes down, Crosstown Rivals will be the third or fourth blog to bring it to you.

EDIT: Amazin' Avenue has the story about a possible Keppinger-for Ruben Gotay swap. Gotay's a fringe prospect who regressed last season after a strong showing in a cup of coffee in 2005. There's not a ton to talk about here.

A few other quick hits:

  • I always tell Dyslexia that Atlanta's Wilson Betemit is the best player in the big leagues and is bound to be a big star.

    Tonight: He went 4 for 6, hitting a homer (8) and a double (14), driving in five runs while scoring three. He's now hitting .298 on the season. Sure, it was against Jeff Weaver, but still. He's the best player.

  • Alex Rodriguez just cost me an entire week in fantasy. 3 errors in one damn game? Come on!

  • Doug Mientkiewicz is still a prick. I'm almost embarrassed to be able to spell his last name.

  • And all bickering aside, we're glad to see that Peter Gammons is out of the hospital. Unfortunately, most victims of ruptured aneurysms either die or fail to regain much of their previous mental function. We wish him best of luck with his rehab.

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  • Call to Arms

    The Mets' pitching stinks.

    I thought about that statement before I said it. Because even though they stink, the moundmen of Flushing have the best ERA in the National League. Think about it. How bad must the pitching throughout baseball be if a team that gave a bunch of automatic loss starts to Victor Zambrano, Jeremi Gonzalez, Alay Soler and (most of all) Jose Lima has the best ERA in the major leagues? Huh?
    They're third in the league in strikeouts with a staff that has been led by Steve Trachsel for the past two months. Huh?

    They've allowed the fourth fewest hits in the league (with last night's Cubs allowing the fewest) on a staff where their ace has been battling an injury and their next best starter has seen his ERA climb nearly a full run in his last ten starts. Huh?

    It's sort of like that Winston Churchill quotation. "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried." The Mets' pitching staff is the worst in all of baseball, except all the other ones.

    So does anyone really care if they make a deal? In a market where Livan Hernandez costs you Lastings Milledge and Barry Zito costs you Milledge, Heilman, Bannister, Wright, Reyes, Pedro, Beltran and Delgado, does it really make sense for the Mets to make a deal?

    I'm thinking no. Pelf/Maine/The Amazing Disappearing Brian Bannister is probably a better way to go.

    Even if we'd be able to bring back the man they call Kristin, otherwise known as Mr. Anna. He'd probably cost us Milledge, too.


    Last night, the Mets did their best Spinal Tap imitation, and went to eleven.
    If you haven't seen This is Spinal Tap, you should probably view the below clip and then stop reading this blog and go rent the movie.

    Anyway, you probably all know that the inning was the best in franchise history, two grand slams by left-handed hitters that went to left-centerfield and finally an epiphany about how the Cubs of Saturday were an aberration.


    I figured all hope was lost for this Mets team, with the "Don't look now, we concede nothing" Braves fast charging. They've moved to 43-49, winning their last 5, while on an 8-2 roll in the past ten.

    Forecasting the Braves, it seemed like this year would finally be their downfall. No fluke performances from relievers and starters coming out of nowhere, à la Jaret Wright in 2004 and Jorge Sosa in 2005. Even though I did at first fear the wrath of the funky-armed Brave duo of Peter Moylan and Ken Ray.

    And fearing the Braves' relievers seems like it was a good idea. The guys who helped them from nowhere last year (Sosa, Chris Reitsma, Blaine Boyer, Macay McBride and Kyle Farnsworth) are stinking up their respective joints, but now they've a new breed.

    This new squad includes McBride, Moylan, Ray, Chad Paronto (right), Kevin Barry, Oscar Villareal and ex-Rick Peterson project Tyler Yates, who made a cameo appearance in a blog posting from earlier this year.

    Egads. If that doesn't inspire postseason confidence in a team, I don't know what would.


    Yours truly will kick back at two Mets games this weekend, attending Friday's incomparable Merengue Night festivities (minus the concert, of course) as well as Sunday's Mets-Astros game.

    I should have far more comprehensive wrapups for those games and maybe some pictures too.


    In the spirit of the Fonz, who joints the radical offshoot of the Mets based in Norfolk, let's all say "Eyyyy!"


    One final note. I was watching NESN (New England Sports Network, aka the Red Sox/Bruins channel for those of you not in the Northeast) and they were showing a rerun of a Devil Rays-Red Sox game from early 2002.

    I get a huge kick out of watching these, just on account of looking at how bad both teams were.

    The lineups:

    1. Brent Abernathy 2B
    2. Jason Tyner LF
    3. Randy Winn CF
    4. Steve Cox 1B
    5. Ben Grieve RF
    6. Greg Vaughn DH
    7. Toby Hall C
    8. Chris Gomez SS
    9. Felix Escalona 3B
    SP Joe Kennedy

    1. Rickey Henderson LF
               Carlos Baerga PH/2B
    2. Johnny Damon CF
    3. Nomar Garciaparra SS
    4. Manny Ramirez RF/LF
    5. Tony Clark 1B
               Shea Hillenbrand PH/3B
    6. Jose Offerman DH
    7. Jason Varitek C
    8. Lou Merloni 3B
               Trot Nixon PH/RF
    9. Rey Sanchez 2B
               Brian Daubach PH/1B
    SP Derek Lowe

    The game featured relief appearances by Casey Fossum, Rich Garces and Ugueth Urbina for the Red Sox.
    Devil Rays manager Hal MacRae attempted to use Victor Zambrano for a six-out save. Isn't that a joke in itself?

    So let's see. The Red Sox's starting lineup actually contains a bit of talent, as everyone but Rickey played in the major leagues last year. And even the pinch-hitters all played big league games last year. Daubach and Awfulman got terribly lucky though as they benefited from a tumultuous situation at first base for the Mets. Sanchez/Awfulman/Daubach/Rickey haven't played games this year. Somehow Merloni's actually played for the Indians.

    Derek Lowe's going strong for the Dodgers, while the other relievers have not fared so well. Fossum's pitching for Tampa, while Garces is long gone from baseball and Kim was released by the Rockies earlier this year. Urbina, well, he's sitting in a Venezuelan jail cell (right) accused of trying to machete and ignite his employees.

    Now let's look at those good ol' Devil Rays.

    Abernathy? Baseball? 'Fraid not. Played in about twenty games for Minnesota last year after failing to show in the big leagues in 2004. Currently on a minor league deal with Milwaukee.
    Tyner, the former Mets prospect with a swing that couldn't bruise a pear? Just called up by the Twins after Torii Hunter hurt his foot.
    Randy Winn? Going strong for San Fran, actually. Remember when he was the only Devil Ray All-Star and was essentially traded to Seattle for Lou Piniella after the Mets refused to give up Aaron Heilman for Sweet Lou? And they hired Art Howe? I do.
    Steve Cox. That wasn't even a question. 2002 marked his last year in the Major Leagues.
    Ben Grieve? The former second overall draft pick got into about 40 games with the Cubs over the last two seasons. He went to the other side of town on a minor league deal with the White Sox.
    Greg Vaughn? Let's laugh. Heartily. He looked like he was on more steroids than anyone ever when he hit a whopping 50 homers for San Diego in 1998. He parlayed that into a 4-year, $34 million contract with the expansion Devil Rays, committing grand larceny in the process. He was released later in 2002 after hitting .163 in 69 games. He attempted a comeback with Colorado in '03, hitting an improved .189 in 23 games. That was the last we've heard from him. And, no, he's not related to Mo even though it totally seems like they should be.
    Toby Hall? Still in the big leagues, though dealt to LA with Mark Hendrickson for Jae Seo and Dioner Navarro earlier this year.
    Chris Gomez? Playing as a utilityman for Baltimore the past two seasons. Recently activated from the DL after breaking his hand earlier in the season.
    Felix Escalona? Somehow he played in ten games for the Yankees last year. He hit .286, including some walk-off hit that I vaguely remember. I'll ask Dyslexia about that.

    Joe Kennedy's out for a while with shoulder trouble. He was traded from Colorado to Oakland last year.
    Victor Zambrano, you ask? He'll be fine. He's probably done with organized baseball for a long while. He was traded to the Mets for some kid with Kaz in his name. Matsui, I think.

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