By Mike Steffanos
Mets 9 - Brewers 3
This game lived up to that old "closer than the final score would indicate" cliché. Brian Bannister was in constant trouble for 5 innings, walking 5 and falling behind batters all day, but left on the long side of a 4-1 score. Darren Oliver came into the game in the sixth and gave up a monster 2-run homer to Geoff Jenkins to tighten things up to 4-3, then Aaron Heilman contributed 2 absolutely crucial scoreless innings, but he tapdanced in and out of trouble in both of his two innings, allowing a hit and two walks.
Finally the Mets offense took most of the suspense out of the game by hanging up a five-spot in the eighth for the final margin of victory, and Jorge Julio actually managed to pitch his first scoreless inning of the year in the ninth -- although Bill Hall crushed a double off the wall that would have easily been a home run had he gotten any elevation on it at all.
The Mets offense came back from its one game hiatus to put up some crooked numbers today. Xavier Nady opened things up by crushing a 2-run homer off of Ben Sheets in the second, then drove in the third run with a sac fly in the fourth. Carlos Delgado keyed that game-breaking eighth inning rally with a line-drive 3-run homer. Jose Reyes managed a hit and walk, scoring twice. David Wright went 2-4 and also scored twice. Paul Lo Duca went 2-3, scored a run and also drove one in.
Cliff Floyd still looks bad at the plate, going 0-3 with a strikeout. Anderson Hernandez looked really bad going 0-4 -- he's not even making solid contact very often. They're probably going to have to start exploring other options there fairly soon. While they're at it, they might ask themselves if Jose Valentin is going to give them anything except for strikeouts off the bench -- I'd rather see Endy Chavez pinch-hitting in a key spot now, and Chavez sucks. I have nothing against Valentin as a person, but at bat he projects a level of futility at least as painful to watch as Julio's pitching performances.
They finally mentioned Keith Hernandez on the telecast today. Apparently he's been on a vacation and coming back tomorrow. Ron Darling has been getting much better, and contributing more than just agreeing with Gary. At some point it might be interesting to hear the 3 of them together.
Nady is one streaky bastard, but he has a chance to be a decent ballplayer.
Home plate ump Ron Kulpa had a small strike zone again tonight, and that seemed to affect both Bannister and Heilman. Still, I'd like to see both of them throw strikes more consistently. The Houdini act only goes so far.
The Mets face the hated Braves tomorrow night at 7:10. Pedro Martinez will be opposed by Jorge Sosa.