Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Free Baseball

The other day, Eric commented to me that he didn't think this team looked like they had that comeback ability in them that made them so dangerous in the late innings last year. Well, how do you like them apples, Eric? I bet you're feeling pretty foolish now. You really have egg on your face this time, don't you. On a night when the Mets couldn't get anything going offensively, when it looked like they were gonna waste a masterful performance by El Duque (for the record, Feder says that when he tries to throw those curveballs that Duque was throwing tonight on his playstation game, everyone hits HR's,) it wasn't David Wright or Moises Alou, the Carloses or the Joses, it wasn't even Shawn Green or Paul Lo Duca (although, God I LOVE HIM) that came to the rescue. It was Damion Easley, who with 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th and down to his last strike, sent one over the left center field fence to put the Mets on the board for the 1st time and give us even more free baseball.
Great teams find ways to win. When all goes to hell, they find a way to squeak by on a pinch hit HR and a game winning bunt single. Incredible job by Chavez recognizing that the right side was playing back and dragging that bunt up the line for the win. This came after Speier (JZ?) delivered the most obvious balk in the history of baseball. In fact, this might have been the first time I ever knew it was a balk before the ump called it. Willie has to find more ways to get Chavez involved. He is our Antwan Randle El. The goal has to be to get the ball in his hands (at the plate, in the field, on the basepaths) and just let him make plays. He's not talented enough to be an every down or day player, but he has that big play ability that makes a difference in games and Willie has to be more creative in finding ways to use him.
Shawn Green gets a gameball for hustling and stretching a basehit up the middle into a double. I went on the record, saying Lastings Milledge would be the everyday rightfielder by May 15, but the way Green has been playing, Milledge should start boarding up his windows because he might be down in New Orleans for a while. Amazing Kiddush Hashem by Green. Terrible Chillul Hashem by me.
I'm told tonight was another amazing night of whiteboarding, which I am happy to hear, but more so, I am pissed off at Penn Law for forcing me to take finals this week and causing me to miss the excitement at Shea.


Eric said...

For the record, I made that comment after a loss. I can't be held responsible for anything I say after a loss.

The said...

i dont get the new orleans thing.

AniOhevMets said...

I was on hand for my first Met game of the season last night. Great weather, 2 kosher hamburgers at $6.75 a pop, Field box seats between home plate and the visiting dugout, and I was happier than a pig in shit. I must say that after years of watching boring junkballers (see: Steve Trachsel, Bobby Jones, Rick Reed, seemingly every Mets pitcher between the Gooden Era and the Pedro Era), it is a pleasure watching a guy like El Duque toying with hitters the way he did yesterday.
One sequence that stood out in my mind was when he faced mewly licenced-lumberjack Todd Helton (thats the only explanation I have for his facial hair) with 2 out in the sixth. As i watched the replay of this at-bat on my MLBTV account today, this was not as apparent, but this one 6 pitch at-bat was, short of the late game heroics, the most interesting part of the game for me (I guess my vantage point somewhat behind the plate made this all the more entertaining). He started him off with a classic 12-6, 68 MPH curve ball that hugged the knees for a called strike. He then threw 2 straight fastballs (88 & 89 MPH respectively); the first was taken for a ball inside, the second (up in the zone) was fouled back. On 1-2 he threw another nasty curve losing 19 MPH from his previous pitch (that's 70 MPH for those keeping count). The 1-2 Curve seemed to straddle the outside corner as Helton was frozen, but he got the all-star-type ball-call from John Hirschbeck. Duque then dialed it up with a whopping 85 MPH fastball, that Helton got good wood on, but was way out in front, and fouled it off deep down the right field line. Now, that pitch, was THE pitch of the at-bat for Helton to do his damage. At 2-2, he was definitely sitting fastball, but being that he was STILL so far out in front, meant it was obvious that Duque's changing speeds was affecting his timing. Major league hitters, especially great hitters like Helton should not be that out in front on a fastball. Finally on pitch #6 of the at-bat, El Duque unleashed a WTF-ball that had not resembled any of the 80-odd pitches he had thrown all night. It had the movement of a curve-ball, but the radar gun had it at a little-league speed of 52 MPH; and they were being generous. It seemed like he flipped the ball to the plate with an overhand delivery that differed from his normal three-quarter style. Helton was completely confused and seemed to double-clutch on his swing managing a weak 2-hopper back to the mound for an easy 3rd out. If you want to watch this 2 -minute sequence on MLBTV.com, it starts at the 1:41:40 mark.
I know El Duque will take a break for 6 weeks at some point this season with some sort of BS injury. And that is fine with me. Just give us your 24-28 starts and be ready for the post-season. That is all a Met fan could want from this guy. He is a masterful pitcher, and for a real fan of the game, he may be one of the most exciting guys to watch on the mound. To go the distance this year, I really think that having him healthy in the post-season will be more important than any Pedro comeback.