By Mike Steffanos
Cardinals 1 - Mets 0
The above title sums up my feelings about disappointing games like tonight's. Steve Trachsel finally gave the team the lift they so desperately needed from him, and it all went to waste as a failure to deliver in the clutch cost the Mets another game. Make no mistake about it, Mark Mulder pitched a terrific game against them, but failure to deliver a runner from third with less than 2 outs on two separate occasions cost the Mets a chance to win on the eve of Lima/Gonzalez time.
Trachsel, who has drawn heat in this space and others for failing to produce even as an effective bottom of the rotation starter this year, was as good as he gets, and almost as effective as the heralded Mark Mulder. A walk to Pujols and a double on a pretty good pitch by Scott Rolen in the sixth were all the damage the Cardinals could inflict on the soft-tossing right-hander. Problem was, the Mets could do nothing against Mulder.
There only real chance to score early in the game fizzled in the fifth when Kaz Matsui could only manage an infield pop out with runners on first and third and Mulder came back from a 3-0 count to get Trachsel to fly out. After that, the Mets could muster nothing until the ninth. A Jose Reyes double led things off, and then Willie elected to have Lo Duca bunt him to third. Mulder seemed to pitch around Beltran, finally walking him. He quickly got ahead of Delgado, but hit him to load the bases. David Wright, who had 2 hits on the game, came up with a chance to tie the game on a productive out. LaRussa countered by bringing in Isringhausen. When he struck out Wright on a 2-2 pitch you feel the air come out. The slumping Floyd worked the count to 2-2, but never looked as if he was on one single pitch. He ended the game with a meek grounder to Pujols.
Thoughts on the game
We can at least take some comfort that Trachsel finally pitched well, although I'd like to see him do it a couple of times in a row.
Pujols was 0-3 today, although he did walk and score the winning run.
Home plate umpire Jim Reynolds had a generous strike zone, which worked in both pitchers' favor.
This game would have hurt a little less if it came when the Mets weren't struggling for wins, and right before Lima and Gonzalez. It really was a well-played, well-pitched game.
Lima time tomorrow afternoon at 1:10 ET. He seeks to lower his 9.31 ERA against Jason Marquis.