Sunday, June 24, 2007
Back in the New York Groove
It's been nice to see the Mets show a little of the ol' "Fire in the belly," as Dallas Green might have put it, over the last couple of nights, coming away with a couple of victories over the A's, who have proven to be a tricky bunch over the last several seasons, stemming from the General Managerial Mastery shown by ex-Met farmhand Billy Beane, but notwithstanding still a young group; one that could be had at the right moment.
True, one of the members of that Famed "Moneyball" draft in 2002 (which mysteriously includes a little-known 40th round draft pick by the name of Jonathan Papelbon), Joe Blanton, proved to be a tough customer on Saturday, holding the Mets scoreless over 8 innings on Saturday night in a rare game that I was actually able to see bits and pieces of throughout the evening. The Mets were able to counter the A's pitching with zeroes of their own, despite a little bit of shaky fielding, behind a good, solid rebound effort from Orlando "ElDuque," Feliciano, Heilman and Wagner (and only the Mets could somehow manage to use 4 pitchers in a 1-0 game). Friday's game certainly didn't have quite the same drama as Glavine himself was able to rebound from a couple of miserable outings of his own and post a solid 9-1 victory on Friday.
More importantly, the Mets were able to win a series for the first time since San Francisco was in town at the end of May, and were able to win back-to-back home games for the first time in just about forever. Hopefully, this finally means the corner has been turned on this recent miserable stretch and some good, solid play is to come.
One could not let the appearance of Mike Piazza at Shea pass without mention, and although I only saw him on the bench on TV as he rehabs from an unfortunate shoulder injury (and is apparently returning to his familiar Catching post once his stint on the DL ends) and bringing out the lineup card to an inevitable standing ovation from the Shea fans. Of course, Mike forever holds a place in the hearts of all Mets fans, and once he does hang up his spikes for good, a spot on the Left Field wall—:and in Cooperstown—is waiting for him.
And then there was LoDuca's tantrum in the 6th. "Good Italian temper in me, was the quote from Paulie, whose head bobbing, eye-bulging, equipment-tossing tirade became far more entertaining following the game than it was, locked in a scoreless duel earlier in the evening. And, of course, LoDuca's ejection from the game led to the other exciting moment of the evening, which was Ramon Castro chugging home from 2nd as David Wright's line drive landed just in front of John Buck, and then bounced pass him, rolling to the wall, and bringing home the game—and more importantly, series—winning run for the Mets, making this weekend a much needed winning one in Queens.
Scott Schoeneweis nowhwere to be found on Friday or Saturday. Coincidence? I think not. And Thank God for that.