October 20, 2006


One Swing Crushes Mets' Hopes, Sends Cards to Series (TIM MARCHMAN, October 20, 2006, NY Sun)

Of all people, Perez and Chavez were the last two who were supposed to have saved the Mets' season, which they almost did. Perez, owner of a 3–13 record this year, came to the Mets in July as part of a minor trade, not only two seasons removed from a campaign in which he'd established himself as one of the game's most brilliant young pitchers, but so far removed from the pitcher he'd once been that his continued viability as a major leaguer was in question. From mechanics and conditioning to desire and health, nothing about him wasn't doubted.And Chavez, on his fourth stint with the Mets, was signed as a 25th man — a brilliant defender whose inability to hit much better than Rey Ordonez made him little more than a luxury. Willie Randolph put faith in them, though, and didn't expose them, and they turned into assets. Down the stretch Perez showed every sign that he could with time become the dominant starter he had once promised to be. Playing every outfield spot and left alone near the bottom of a powerful lineup, Chavez was one of the very best reserve outfielders in the major leagues, working his way on, stealing bases, and playing wonderfully in the field. Still — this?

That's how it went for the Mets. The vaunted lineup, on which everyone who was paying attention expected they would have to rely to have a prayer of winning this series, completely collapsed, no more so than last night, when they went hitless after the first inning until the ninth.They managed to get none in both with the bases loaded and no outs and later with one on, none out, and Carlos Delgado and David Wright coming up. Instead it was Perez, Chavez, John Maine, Chad Bradford, and even Aaron Heilman — who pitched as brilliantly as we've become accustomed to until giving up the last run of the Mets' season and probably wouldn't have been in position to give it up if not for Billy Wagner's meltdown over the last week — who bore the brunt.

There's no shame in losing, though — there was nothing but honor in the tenacity with which the Mets fought short-handed, and if the offense failed in the end, so it will sometimes happen.

It was a beautiful season, and a series as dramatic as any we've seen in many years — and it's only months until the Mets will take the field again

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 20, 2006 7:47 AM

Does this mean we have to wait until next year to see the National League win a World Series game?

Posted by: Brad S at October 20, 2006 8:35 AM

So much for the Heilman theory . . .

Posted by: AC at October 20, 2006 9:44 AM

He's a starter, not a reliever. Their best reliever is still warming up in the bullpen....

Posted by: oj at October 20, 2006 9:50 AM

Should be a quick series for the Tigers.

In more pressing matters: Are people in the St. Louis organization simply scared to tell Tony La Russa how goofy his sunglasses look? La Russa in the dugout at nighttime has gotta be one of the cheesiest sights in sports.

Posted by: Tom at October 20, 2006 10:37 AM

Tom -

You're right, plus he couldn't stop fiddling with them. It was almost as annoying as watching that Braves coach rocking in the dugout.

Posted by: ratbert at October 20, 2006 10:44 AM

The green-eyed monster rears it's head.

Posted by: Pepys at October 20, 2006 12:07 PM