Saturday, April 07, 2007


Braves 5, Mets 3 (NYM: 4-1, ATL: 4-1)

I knew the Mets weren't going to go 162-0, but I still wanted to see just how long they could stretch the season-opening win streak. I guess it was just four games. But the Mets were done in by one of the things that keyed them to their 4 straight wins - their defense.

The Mets looked all set after the top of the first, after jumping out to another 1-0 lead - this one from an unlikely source: a homer by Paul Lo Duca. Tom Glavine gave it right back, though, and you could tell by the way he was working that career win number 292 was not going to come easy - of course, it didn't come at all.

The Braves' first started with an innocent grounder to second, which turned into their first baserunner when Carlos Delgado dropped the throw from Jose Valentin. Kelly Johnson then came around to score on a grounder to short. Matt Diaz homered in the second to give the Braves the 2-1 lead, and the Mets their first deficit of the season.

In the fifth, the Mets did their manufacturing run thing, after a leadoff walk by Jose Reyes. He stole second, went to third on a grounder to second by Lo Duca, and then scored on a single by Carlos Beltran. The Mets knocked around John Smoltz, but he seemed to get the outs when he needed to.

Unfortunately for Glavine, the outs couldn't come because of his defense. After no errors in 4 games, the Mets committed two on Saturday. In the bottom of the sixth, with the bases loaded, Shawn Green dropped a Matt Diaz fly ball that allowed one run to score. The next batter, Woodward, flew out to right off Pedro Feliciano, and Green made a nice running catch, but the ball was deep enough to score a run to make it 4-2. Then Joe Smith came on and got a groundball, but it was too slow for Reyes to make a play, so the Braves took a 5-2 lead. All 5 runs were charged to Glavine, but only two were earned.

The much-improved Braves bullpen held the Mets to one run the rest of the way, though the Mets did threaten Bob Wickman in the ninth. Trailing 5-3, Carlos Delgado walked, and David Wright singled (extending his hitting streak on an otherwise horrid day - 3 strikeouts against Smoltz). With two outs and runners on second and third, Green lined one towards right field, but the ball was snared by Craig Wilson at first. A tough way to end the game, but it showed the Mets still have that ability to come back late in games, and you still get the sense that they're never out of a game.

CHICK-FIL-A JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: No one really stood out in this one, so we'll go with Matt Diaz, who had a homer and lifted the fly ball that Shawn Green dropped. At least he put it in play, and you have to give him some credit for that - chances are the then-go-ahead run would have scored anyway. Diaz finished 1-for-2 with 2 RBI and a run scored.

NOTES ON THE GAME: The Braves have no true leadoff hitter, now that Rafael Furcal is gone. They also have no true second baseman. Kelly Johnson is playing second and leading off, but I also noticed this on Friday night, when Chris Woodward was the starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. That's a step back from Furcal, and Marcus Giles at second.

ALSO THE WAY I FEEL: Tim Kurkjian was guest host on Mike & Mike In The Morning the other day (I think it was Thursday), and the subject of the DirecTV/other cable providers Extra Innings packages came up. (An aside: I find the Mike & Mike show to be much more tolerable when someone like Kurkjian or Buster Olney is on for the entire show rather than the regular Mikes...but that's another story for another day.) Kurkjian said he has DirecTV, and the day he got it, he says, "was, other than the days my kids were born, the greatest day of my life." So, he said, it wouldn't be right for other people to not have the opportunity to get the package. I agree.

SNY 2007: Friday night was my first chance to see a Mets game on SNY. Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez were in the booth, and were very good (for the amount I saw before I fell asleep). A couple of notables:
-Slightly newer, snazzier graphics.
-Good ads - one, a tribute to Ron Darling for being named best New York sports analyst (I think, I was a little fuzzy on the award). The other was hilarious - it was a cartoon of Cohen, Darling, and Hernandez sitting on the couch watching the game, and Hernandez keeps saying, "I sound great. Wow, I'm doing a great job." And Darling and Cohen end up taking off Hernandez's mustache, and the announcer says, "Watch the Mets with Gary, Ron, Keith, and Keith's mustache." Good stuff. I hope there are different commercials like that each week. Hilarious.
-Also, forgot to mention this, so might as well here - Lee Mazzilli is the new studio analyst this year. I haven't seen enough of his work to comment yet.

1986 ROUNDUP: I don't remember seeing him all last year on camera, but Roger McDowell is still the Atlanta Braves' pitching coach. They showed him on Friday night, and either Keith or Ron said, "Roger smiled a lot more as a player." I thought that was funny.

MORE BROADCASTING: Caught the Reds' games over the weekend, and Grande was doing the games. Wonder what kind of a rotation they have going there. I'll have to keep an eye on that.

A WORD ON THE WEATHER: This year is more extreme than most, but I feel like every year there's a hubbub about the season-opening weather, and moving all of the openers to warm weather cities. Now, I don't know that that's a foolproof option - I hear there's a chance of snow in Arlington, Texas, for the Red Sox game Saturday night, which is surprising to me, but I feel like this is always a controversy in April every year, and then it dies down and is forgotten. I do feel, however, that this year has been extreme, as I mentioned above, extreme not only in weather, but also in outcry over the weather. And I think there will be some fallout - especially since Cleveland and Seattle are losing a game because of the weather, and because Victor Martinez got hurt in the bad weather, AND because of the controversy on Friday surrounding the weather and the way the game was called off. I don't know how much fallout, but I feel like the situation won't die away so easily, and maybe there will be some change next year.

BEAT THE STREAK: After no hits Friday by Xavier Nady and on Saturday with Derek Jeter, I'm going with as sure a thing as I can on Sunday, with the Cleveland doubleheader. I'll take Grady Sizemore - all he needs is one hit in two games to get me started.

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