Sunday, April 29, 2007


Mets 1, Nationals 0 (NYM: 15-8, WAS: 8-17)

If John Maine keeps going like this, he's going to need to clear some space on his mantle. Maine improved to 4-0, lowering his ERA to 1.35, as the Mets took two out of three from the Nationals in Washington, DC. Right now, he's one of the best pitchers...not just in the National League, but in the majors.

Seriously, I'm not exaggerating. He's fun to watch. He's just mowing batters down. Now, I know the National League is a bit different offensively than the American, but he's pitching very impressively.

All the offense the Mets needed in this game came from Carlos Beltran, who BUNTED in the first inning. It drives me nuts when he bunts. After Jose Reyes singled, stole second, and then David Wright walked (hitting second - more on that and the walk in a bit), Beltran laid down a bunt. The announcer on MASN said he was probably bunting for a base hit, but Beltran was not busting it down the line. So the problem here is twofold - 1) if you're bunting for a base hit, run faster, Carlos, and 2) swing away, for crying out loud! Anyway, Reyes and Wright were stranded, and nothing came of that.

In the sixth, Beltran got a pitch up high, and swatted it out to right. That's what he should be doing every at-bat. The Mets had a 1-0 lead, and held that lead with the help of Aaron Heilman (two-thirds of an inning, but he loaded the bases), Scott Schoeneweis (one-third of an inning, inducing a bases-loaded groundout), and Billy Wagner (recording his fourth save of the season).

This has to be mentioned, but first I should say that Paul Lo Duca rested Sunday, as did Carlos Delgado, so Julio Franco started at first base. In the seventh inning, with runners on first and second, the Nationals laid down a bunt. David Wright stayed back to cover third, and Franco charged from first - he looked like Keith Hernandez. When the ball hit the ground, Franco was right on top of it, picked it up, and fired to third for the out. It was a great play, especially considering it was made by an old man.

Another fact worth noting - David Wright walked twice. He has now walked in ten straight games, thirteen total in that span. So he's not hitting, but he's getting on base. That's good that his slump isn't affecting his plate discipline. I wish I could tell you what's wrong with his hitting right now, though. Maybe his bat will wake up in Arizona.

The Mets host Florida for three games, then go on to Arizona, where the past couple of years they have absolutely caught fire. This should be a good week for the Mets - so good, in fact, that they are my choice for the "New Baseball Pool" this week.

NHL on NBC Player of the Game: For the third time this season, John Maine. He went 7 scoreless innings, striking out 8, while giving up 3 hits and walking three. He's just been fantastic all year.

TURNING TWO...HUNDRED: No double plays again on Sunday, so this item is going to be temporarily retired (I'm just not as excited about it after the confusion from It will be replaced with:

WHAT A STEAL!: Jose Reyes had two stolen bases on Sunday, increasing his season total to 16. I expect him to shatter the team record this season, 66, held by Roger Cedeno of those (soon) infamous 1999 Mets.

INJURIES: Jose Valentin left Saturday night's game after feeling/hearing a 'pop' in his leg. He was in New York on Sunday, not with the team, getting that checked out.

Orlando Hernandez also was in New York to have his pitching shoulder checked out. He apparently felt pain there. He was supposed to pitch Monday against Florida, in New York. It remains to be seen whether or not he will make that start.

AROUND THE MAJORS: What happened to Josh Hancock of the St. Louis Cardinals is just horrible. That's going to be tough for the guys on that team.

The Rockies beat the Braves, putting the Mets back in front of the Braves by a half game. In that game, Troy Tulowitzki turned an unassisted triple play (the second triple play of the season - the Phillies also turned one). Tulowitzki is a good defensive player - he impressed me at Shea earlier this week against the Mets. How about this, too - he hit a triple.

Brian Bannister started for the Kansas City Royals on Sunday - and pitched well. The former Met gave up 3 runs in six-and-two-thirds innings, but on just 4 hits. I thought it was his first start of the season, but it wasn't. It looks like he's made at least one other start, maybe another appearance, too.

The Dodgers and Padres are heading to the 17th inning, so that's exciting. But I just saw a hilarious Coors Light commercial in between innings - I won't describe it - just keep an eye out for it. It's about new bottles where the mountains on the label turn blue when the bottle gets cold. The key line in the commercial - "It turned blue!" Really funny.

BEAT THE STREAK: Season high continues - I'm at six games, after A-Rod's hit. I'm going with Vladimir Guerrero against Odalis Perez on Monday.

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