October 18, 2006


Mets' reality hits home (John Harper, 10/18/06, NY Daily News)

In the end, there was no one in particular to shoulder the burden of failure. Every Met regular had a hit on this night. But where were the big ones? What happened to all that thunder from two nights ago?

More to the point: What now? [...]

When two of the big guys finally came through in the eighth inning, Delgado with a single and David Wright with a double, it was left to Green and Valentin.

Tony La Russa went to lefthanded reliever Randy Flores, and here is where the Mets needed a dependable righthanded bat off the bench. But Julio Franco is the best they have, and he hasn't looked good at all in the postseason.

So Green was allowed to hit, and Flores beat him with a fastball, producing a shallow fly to center. La Russa then went to his closer, Adam Wainwright, who struck out Valentin looking at a curveball that he thought was outside.

The Mets are still so much better that it's hard to favor the Cards by much even with a 3-2 lead in the series, but two questions arise (besides the obvious Heilman one): (1) why does Beltran continue to bat left-handed against Kinney?; and (2) is Willie Randolph the only person in baseball who doesn't realize Valentin's hot stretch was a fluke?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 18, 2006 8:30 AM

Beltran hits left handed against Kinney because Kinney throws a wicked back leg breaking ball and hitting from the left should give him an edge - in theory.

The Cardinals are playing much better than they have since the all-star break. If they're returning to pre-break form it'll be tough for the Mets to take the last two games. It's a shame though, because the Mets stand a much better chance against the Tigers than the Cards do.

Posted by: Robert Modea at October 18, 2006 1:55 PM

Kinney's splits show him to be more effective against lefties because that pitch breaks in on them.

Posted by: oj at October 18, 2006 4:22 PM

This has been the rare series where "the genius" TLR hasn't ruined things by trying to prove he's the smartest guy in the room. Of course, he's tried to ruin things, but fate just isn't on his side this year.

It also helps that the Cards 2 and 3 pitchers have just been dealin'. I mean, who would have thought Weaver could not only hold on, but dominate for 6 innings? And forget about Suppan, masterful.

Power pitching wins in the playoffs. When you don't have that, you are in trouble. Here, neither team fields power pitchers, so the whole series is a toss-up.

Posted by: Pepys at October 18, 2006 4:42 PM

Just got back from Mets-Cards Game 6.

oj - assuming you are right, and I don't agree, what is your alternative to Jose Valentin?

Posted by: Matt Cohen at October 19, 2006 1:26 AM

You have to pinch hit for him in any at-bat that matters.

Posted by: oj at October 19, 2006 8:02 AM