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Mets Open Up a Can of Whoop-Ass at Wrigley

Mike SteffanosMonday, July 17, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 13 - Cubs 7

The wind was blowing out at Wrigley field today. It took the Mets a while to find it, but once they did, they managed to ride that jet stream to their largest inning in franchise history en route to a come from behind win and a series victory over the Cubs.

The game started out anything but promising for the Mets, as Orlando Hernandez struggled with his control and location. For the second time this season he failed to make it out of the second inning, allowing 5 runs on 2 walks and 7 hits, including a home run by the opposing pitcher, in 1-2/3 dismal innings. Meanwhile Cubs rookie Sean Marshall was cruising with a devastating breaking pitch and a comfortable 5-0 lead. But Darren Oliver and Pedro Feliciano kept the Cubs off the board through the fifth as the Mets slowly chipped back into the game with solo home runs by Chris Woodward and Cliff Floyd in the fourth and fifth. Then came the historic sixth inning.

It started inauspiciously enough as Woodward flied out to center and Beltran hit a grounder to second baseman Todd Walker. The tin-gloved Walker bobbled the ball for a second, and a hustling Beltran reached base on the error. Delgado and Wright followed with soft singles and Cliff Floyd came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. The left-handed Marshall got ahead of Floyd, but Cliff battled and managed to launch an outside pitch to left field that the wind carried for a grand slam that put the Mets up 6-5. Xavier Nady followed with a walk, and Marshall's night was over.

Roberto Novoa came in to face Ramon Castro, and induced a groundball to third that looked like a sure double play, but Walker made his second error of the inning, dropping the throw, and all hands were safe. Endy Chavez pinch hit for Pedro Feliciano and singled home Nady and moved Castro to third. Chavez stole second and Valentin followed with an infield single to load the bases. Woodward forced Castro at home for the second out, but Beltran followed with the Mets' second grand slam of the inning. Delgado's double and Wright's home run completed the scoring as the Mets hung an 11-spot on the Cubs and turned a 3-run deficit into a 13-5 rout.

Bradford gave the Mets a scoreless sixth. Aaron Heilman was touched up for a pair in the seventh, but Heath Bell and Duaner Sanchez got them home with no further damage.

Thoughts on the game
Let's add today's debacle to El Duque's chart of games pitched since the beginning of June:

Orlando Hernandez
*Didn't return after rain delay.

In the words of my friend Shari from Take the "7" Train:

... you can either get brilliance or a garbage outing from Hernandez, the problem is you never know which one it will be.

I'll say. In his last 5 outings, El Duque has gone 7 innings in 3 terrific starts and 1-2/3 innings in two dismal starts. I'm going to hope that today had mostly to do with 11 days between starts and hope Hernandez comes back with a good one next time out.

Aaron Heilman continues his bafflingly bad pitching. After a nice 1-2-3 inning his first game back Friday night, Heilman retires the first 2 batters in the seventh, but then goes full on Ronny Cedeno and then walks him with an 8 run lead. Sure enough, he goes full again to pinch hitter Phil Nevin and gives up the 2-run blast. Juan Pierre then singles, but Heilman gets Walker for the final out.

Sanchez, on the other hand, was nasty in the ninth -- blowing them away with his fastball, getting them to chase his slider, and striking out the side.

The Mets will be off tomorrow before beginning their series in Cincinnati on Tuesday night. Mike Pelfrey makes his second big league start.

This game is being discussed in the MetsMerized Mets Talk Forum.

Box Score

Comments (5)

Not to be taken as an excuse for Aaron Heilman, but he was pitching in the same game conditions as those Cubs pitchers. Clearly it was a day for home runs. That doesn't explain the walk, of course.

dd -- You're right, I'm just starting to get frustrated with him, I guess.

1. Heilman: I am a naysayer. Coming into the league Heilman was projected as a middle reliever and possible closer. And that is where he is. He cant get thru an order twice. I see him as a Scott Williamson. With relivers a HIGH premium, and Bell, Sanchez, Oliver doing their roles well, Heilman will be in a deadline trade.

2. Carlos gomez: Milledge is on a tear again and making a statement. Gomez is hot and Fernando Martinez is hot. The mets could get ANYONE with a package from Heilman, Gomez, Nady, Ahern. Other sellers will be noting this and asking for Milledge but settling for Gomez. I can see a fit in San Fran, who in the aftermath of Bonds could clean house.

3. A note on Fonz: It is a testament to the credibility of omar et al that Fonz is back. His older brother Edgar is still in the organization and fonz easily could be a future coach. but right now he is EXCELLENT insurance for CHRIS WOODWARD who compares to Graffanino, or dellucci as a utility man with power and could be traded to a team ala San Fran, colorado.


4. the Mets are leading a 'un-metlike' charmed life. I think Pelfrey, Maine and Bannister (even Humber) could fight for 2 slots next yr, But Glavine is exposed again, Pedro has questions, Traxx is a 1.89 WHIP, and El Duque is 'a question mark'. Omar was astute in letting his minor league talent secure value because now he has a plethora of trade options. note some teams are getiing ready to scrap...organizationally (Phillies/San fran) and will follow the Jeff luria model...(scorched earth followed by over fertilization). In doing so a carlos gomez already anoited as the new raul mondesi is a great cornerstone.

As for Los Mets; Milledge IS my RF. With Chavez platooning in RF there is a great r-l combo with all world defense. Again I think Nady has been great. But a ML proven young OF with notable power could easily fetch a good arm.

You don't know what Heilman is unless he gets a chance to start and use that slider as a third pitch. He didn't have that when he was starting games early last year. As for the rest, they will need to hold onto some of their young talent or they'll be nowhere by the time the new stadium opens.

I'm sure there will be a deadline deal this year, unless Pelfrey really wows in his next few starts. I doubt they have faith in El Duque or Trax to be their third starter.

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