By Mike Steffanos
Game 1: Giants 6 - Mets 4
Game 2: Mets 3 - Giants 2 (11)
The Mets and Giants played 2 games on a long, wet, ugly day at Shea where there probably shouldn't have been any baseball played at all. The conditions were so abysmally poor that you have to be careful about drawing too many conclusions about what happened.
This game got off 2-1/2 hours late under conditions that were barely adequate for play. Orlando Hernandez got the start, and pitched well for most of his outing. Well-hit doubles by Randy Winn and Steve Finley got the Giants on the board in the first inning, but Endy Chavez had a highlight reel moment to end that inning when he made a nice running catch on Ray Durham's liner, then threw to first to double up a gimpy Barry Bonds. The Giants added another run in the third, but El Duque escaped a base-loaded jam and some real damage. Then he settled down a little while the Mets started scoring some runs against Matt Cain.
Reyes tripled in the third and came home on Chavez' groundout. In the fourth, David Wright had a leadoff double and then Cliff Floyd doubled him home to tie the game 2-2. Floyd would later score on a wild pitch to make it 3-2 Mets. In the fifth, the Mets added another run when Wright singled home Reyes with 2 outs.
It looked good going into the sixth. Even after El Duque gave up a leadoff single to Barry Bonds he got the next 2 outs and looked poised to have a successful outing. But Pedro Feliz tripled on a ball Endy Chavez almost made a play on in CF to make it 4-3, then Eliezer Alfonzo hit his first major-league homer to make it 5-4 Giants. Just like that, the day had turned. Of course, the Mets had four more chances to do something about it, and predictably squandered the home sixth, seventh and eighth innings without even landing a baserunner. Darren Oliver allowed Barry Bond's RBI single to pad the lead to 6-4 in the ninth. Armando Benitez allowed a pair of walks in the ninth, but shut the Mets down.
If I was Willie, I might have stuck with Hernandez in the sixth, too. He only wound up with 104 pitches, and it was a doubleheader. If he's going to help the Mets, he needs to be able to go 6 innings regularly. What disturbs me more is how easy it can be to pitch to the Mets at times. Granted they were missing Carlos Beltran, who didn't start either game of the doubleheader, but they still seem like a work in progress on the offensive side. If Delgado starts hitting again that will, of course, make a difference.
Feliciano and Bradford pitched well. Again, I understand this was a doubleheader, but I don't think I would have brought in Darren Oliver into a 1-run game. But still, I can't kill Willie for that.
With Glavine starting, and a loss already in the books, this was an important game. The weather, which was allegedly supposed to improve as the day went on, seemed to just get worse. Glavine got victimized by a pair of fluky home runs. Jose Vizcaino hit one in the third that was probably as hard as he can hit a ball at this stage of his career. Randy Winn tied the game in the sixth on a ball right down the line that probably wouldn't have made it out otherwise.
After scoring a pair with clutch 2-out singles from Reyes and Lo Duca in the third, the Mets offense took a 7-inning nap. They squandered an opportunity with first and second, no outs in the fourth. They went down in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh. They had Reyes on 2B with no outs in the eighth and stranded him, then did nothing in the ninth and tenth.
Meanwhile, pitching kept them in the game again. Glavine got them through 7, and should be able to pitch Wednesday after only throwing 85 pitches. Heilman gave them 2 strong innings, throwing 17 strikes and only 4 balls, and showing command of his pitches low in the strike zone that he had been struggling with. Wagner pitched a 1-2-3 tenth that including coming back from a 3-0 hole to get pinch-hitter Bonds to ground out. Sanchez survived a 2-out HBP and walk to make it through the eleventh, and then the Mets offense woke up just enough.
Brian "Wouldn't It Be Nice" Wilson came in to pitch the bottom of the eleventh, and Paul Lo Duca greeted him with a single to LF. Carlos Delgado followed with an opposite field double to LCF that left-fielder Jason Ellison probably should have caught. Lo Duca, who had to hold, advanced to third. Lastings Milledge came in to run for him -- a key move, as it turned out. After intentionally walking David Wright, Felipe Alou brought in lefty Jonathan Sanchez to pitch to Cliff Floyd. Floyd got ahead of him in the count, but got jammed and popped out to third. Chris Woodward lifted a fairly short fly ball to RF Winn, but Milledge had just enough speed to elude the tag at home and score the winning run. No way Lo Duca scores on that.
Again, this was a day that no baseball should have been played. I'll take the split and look to tomorrow. Nice job by the bullpen, and Delgado is showing signs of coming out of that slump. Hopefully Beltran, who pinch hit in both games, plays tomorrow. 1:10 PM, Trachsel versus Matt Morris.