Monday, April 23, 2007
I Hate The Braves
Game 1: Atlanta 7, NY Mets 3 AP Recap
Game 2: NY Mets 7, Atlanta 2 AP Recap
Game 3: Atlanta 9, NY Mets 6 AP Recap
As I've gotten older I've gotten considerably more mellow. I was an angsty teen. I used to hate all kinds of things (soft music, child proof caps, lima beans, dentists, etc.) but these days I don't really hate on things the same way I used to. But I still hate the Braves. I think I hate them more right now than I ever have. It's an all-consuming hatred that fills my stomach and throat with the fire of a thousand suns. I hate Bobby Cox. I hate Chipper and Andruw Jones. I hate Jeff Francoeur. I even hate Chris Woodward now. The hatred is so intense that it spills over into non-baseball things. I hate Ted Turner. I hate the entire city of Atlanta. If it weren't for peaches and the Allman Brothers I would probably hate the entire state of Georgia. I hate the last line of the national anthem. OK, maybe not that last one, but you get the point, I hate the Braves. Needless to say, I am not pleased by how this weekend's series with the Braves went. Although I have to admit I do feel a little bit better having ranted about my hatred of all things Braves related. You just have to let it out sometimes. I've been seriously depressed since this series ended.
We came into game 1 on Friday half a game up on the evil, despicable, vile Braves in the NL east. The game was completely dominated by the pitching of Tim Hudson. He was extremely sharp, as he has been every start this season, and pitched 8 innings of shutout ball. Pelfrey wasn't awful, but he would have had to have been perfect to give us a chance to win this one. David Wright's hitting streak came to an end, shortly after being jinxed on this very blog by this very blogger. Lo Duca appeared to be struggling with his injured hand, looking terrible at the plate and behind it. Reyes had his first error of the season, leading to 3 unearned runs against Feliciano to put the game away. Basically it was a crapfest throughout, the only bright spot happened in garbage time, when the Mets put up 3 against Rafael Soriano. The home run apple made it's season debut on Green's 2-run shot. It's hard to believe that it took almost 6 entire games for the best hitting team in the majors to hit one out of their home ballpark. It also took the Mets 6 series before they dropped game 1. Both happened. Sometimes we're going to get shut down by a great pitcher. While it sucked to watch, you can't be that upset by this one.
Game 2 was a completely different story. Ollie made a triumphant comeback after a 9 day layoff since Walkfest 2007. He was incredible, giving up 2 runs in 6.2 innings on 9 hits and 0 walks. He was a strike throwing machine. 72 of 98 pitches were strikes, including 33 of his first 39, and he never even got to a 3 ball count. Incredible. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Ollie is not really this pitcher either. I suspect we're going to have to put up with this Dr. Ollie and Mr. Perez routine all season, but he's 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA (granted that ERA deserves to be much higher, but its not). I'll take it. Ramon Castro got the start over Lo Duca, presumably because of the day game after night game thing, but maybe also because Paulie's a little dinged up, and continued his torrid start, hitting a 2 run shot and drawing a walk in 4 plate appearances. Castro is batting a hefty .353 so far this season. The bats came back to life in this one as well putting up 7 runs on 11 hits. Beltran went 4 for 5 finishing a HR short of a cycle. Reyes went 3 for 5 finishing a triple short of a cycle.
Game 3 was easily the most tightly contested, most exciting, and ultimately, most frustrating game of the series, if not the season. 17 games into the season, the Mets have only played 7 games decided by 3 runs or fewer, and we have come out on the losing end in 4 of those 7. This promised to be a low scoring affair with 2 future hall of famers taking the hill, but it didn't turn out that way. The Mets got yet another quality start out of Glavine who gave up 3 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings while becoming the 2nd Mets starter in as many nights to pitch at least 6 innings without walking a batter. He left the game with a chance to win #294. Smoltz looked unhittable early, throwing 4 scoreless innings before starting to get touched up in the 5th when he started hanging sliders. (Quick side note: Gary, Keith, and Ron do a tremendous job broadcasting these games. I wouldn't have noticed that was what happened to Smoltz had Keith not pointed it out to me. I've been watching on MLB.TV so sometimes a get the other teams crew. There is not a crew that comes close to providing the level of insight to the intricacies of the game that our guys do. Big ups to Gary, Ron, and Keith.) Smoltz who held the Mets to 2 of 18 his first 2 trips through the lineup, got touched up for 7 for 10 afterward and left the game on the hook, giving up 6 in 5.2 innings. So at this point, Reyes just cleared the bases with a triple, we've got a 6-3 lead after 6, Glavine won the battle of the starters, I'm thinking this one's in the bag. Take that Braves! You can't bring that crap in our house! We'll just hand this over to our outstanding bullpen and send the Braves out of town as the losers they truly are. No problem... right? Wrong. Now, I am a Willie guy, and I'm grateful for the role he has played in turning this team around, but I was flummoxed by his bullpen management in this one. First, he sent out Burgos, who actually pitched well and should have had a 1-2-3 inning had Green not gotten spooked by the wall and miffed what should have been an easy out. That was ruled a hit, but surely should have been ruled an error, and Burgos' run should have been unearned. Anyway Willie, I thought Burgos wasn't used in close games, especially in close games when the wind is blowing out to right center, I mean, he's a fly ball pitcher. Oh, it's a different look than Glavine? Okay, but so is Smith and he's actually been our most effective bullpen arm and has pitched less in this series. Whatever, no great loss, we'll just bring in Pedro and get out of this mini-mess. Schoenweis? But, he's walked more batters than he's pitched innings. See Willie, he just walked Johnson, who had a HR already in the game but was given the golden sombrero by Ollie yesterday. And here comes the tying run in the form of Edgar Renteria and, oh shit... Actually, that pitch that Renteria took out of the park to tie the game was a good one. It was a breaking ball down and away, certainly a ball if Edgar doesn't hit it. It looked like a pop-up off the bat, and it looked like Beltran thought he was going to catch until it carried over the wall. Bad break. But good teams take advantage of extra outs and extra men on base and now the game is tied. Crap. Good thing we still have my boy Joey S. in the pen to handle the 8th... Heilman??? Wait a minute, I thought he'd been demoted to mop-up duty, and didn't I hear something about him struggling with elbow tendinitis, and he pitched a full inning last night, and he's been moping around like a 5 year old without his favorite toy every time the camera's catch him. OK, I guess this was his job last season, and I remember beating the Braves a few times last season. Valentin commits the rare error, Heilman plunks a guy and now Heilman's facing Kelly Fucking Johnson who hits the 2nd 3 run HR in as many innings, we're down 3 and I have a searing pain behind my left eyeball. Thanks a lot Willie. You know, Johnson really struggles with hard throwing lefties, as evidenced by the fact that Dr. Ollie struck him out 4 times yesterday. I seem to recall we have a guy like that in our pen. Oh yeah, he's our closer! And this is a tie game at home late in the ball game, that seems like a time when a closer might traditionally be used, or does Wags only work in blowouts now? Aaargh! What the hell Willie! This was a huge game against our biggest rivals for first place in our division! This was no time to be fiddling and experimenting with the bullpen! Put our best arms on the mound! Don't feed me that crap about how it's a long season and every game counts the same and blah blah blah. Every game does not count the same. Games against the Braves count at least twice as much, literally because they are the next best team in the division and every loss against them is a win for them, figuratively even more so as they are our arch-nemesis and we need to make a statement by tanning their hides. It would be great for morale. For me personally, these games probably count 5 times as much just because I hate the Braves so much. I don't just want to beat them, I want to demoralize them. I want them to finish 20 games back. I want them looking up at the Gnats and the Fish and the Phils. I want them mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in July. I want Braves fans, all 2,000 or so of them, to be as goddamn frustrated as I am right now.
Anyway... where was I? Oh right. We lost the game, and the series. We fall to a miserable 11-6, with 4 of our 6 losses coming against the evil, despicable, vile Braves, who move back into first place having won both series against us this season. In fact, the Braves have come from behind to win 3 of those 4, 2 Ls going next to Heilman's name in the paper. We had 2 errors in this one, although it should have been 3, and our bullpen got thrashed. It's like some kind of bizarro Mets when we play the Braves. It's eerily and horribly reminiscent of the bad old days where we'd play the Braves, they'd be in our heads and we beat ourselves. I think I may have mentioned this already, but I hate the Braves.
Hopefully we can get back on track tonight against the Rockies. John Maine, who has been great thus far this year, goes against Tyler Buchholz, who is making his first start of the season after allowing 4 ER in 6.1 innings of relief work. Maybe if we can clobber the Rockies this pain behind my eyeball will begin to dissipate and I'll be able to snap out of my funk.
Let's Go Mets!!!
Posted by - at 2:41 AM