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Dog Days, Indeed

Mike SteffanosFriday, August 4, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


Phillies 5 - Mets 3

Another disappointing result against a team in our division, another repeated failure to get that one clutch hit or sacrifice fly. As we head into the dog days of August, with two months left to go in a regular season and the Mets sitting on a big lead, I think my biggest worry as a Mets fan now is the fear of consistently seeing the kind of mediocre baseball out of the Mets that we've seen from them since the Atlanta series.

Orlando Hernandez started for the Mets tonight, and for a little while it looked like he was primed for a quick exit. He walked Jimmy Rollins and David Dellucci leading off the game, and didn't come close with the first few fastballs he threw. But then he came back to strike out Utley, Howard and Rowand to get out of that one, and looked as good doing it as he looked bad previously. Still, it was a struggle for El Duque in the six innings he lasted. His final line was 3 runs on 7 hits. He struck out 7 and walked 3. He was hurt by a showboat umpire that called 2 balks on him, including one to score a run. He wasn't great, but he kept the Mets in the game and lasted 6 innings in a 115 pitch effort.

The story again for the Mets offense was a failure to deliver in the clutch. They had 2 on and 1 out in the first and couldn't score with Delgado and Wright at the plate. They had other opportunities to get the big 2-out hit and couldn't. In the seventh, down by a run, they had Delgado on third with one out. Cliff Floyd needed to put a ball in play but struck out, then Julio Franco struck out to end the threat. You get the idea.

For icing on the cake, Philadelphia's last two runs came on solo home runs by lefties David Dellucci and Ryan Howard against lefties Darren Oliver and Pedro Feliciano. The Mets have a lefty-heavy bullpen to use against the lefty-heavy Phillies and still can't make it work.

Thoughts on the game
Since my silly little charts make me happy, let's update El Duque since June 1:

Orlando Hernandez
DateOpp.IPRERHKBBHRWHIPTeam
Result
6/3SF65585311.83L
6/8@ARI91133200.56W
6/14@PHI*32243011.33W
6/19CIN72287211.43L
6/24@TOR1.26642113.00L
6/30@NYY72273111.14L
7/5PIT70047200.86W
7/16@CHI1.25572215.40W
7/22HOU73348220.86W
7/29@ATL83037000.38W
8/4PHI63377301.67L
TOTAL63.1322959541881.226-5
*Didn't return after rain delay.

What I still like from El Duque, even in a mediocre game like tonight's, was that he's still throwing strikes. Even despite walking the first two batters, he only walked 3 for the outing. For a guy that is at least 41, he's striking out an impressive amount of batters. With a break here and there he could have had the "W". Still, it wasn't a memorable performance, although he did hit a triple.

Reyes and the overworked Lo Duca remain hot at the top of the order, with 3-5 and 2-4, respectively. The problem was that Beltran, Delgado, Wright and Floyd combined to leave 13 men on base. Floyd has cooled off again after heating up for much of July, and he simply isn't driving in runs. With Nady gone, Floyd is going to play a lot, and needs to pick it up. Willie might want to consider giving Wright the day off just to change things up, he still doesn't look great at the plate.

Let's get them tomorrow.

Box Score

Comments (3)

When they say baseball is a long season, it's a L O N G season with some painful long games.We said it many times this year, they leave to many on base. We said a few times they need a brawl or something to snap them out of la la land.Again they seem flat,no eye of the tiger. With that line up we should be winnig by 5 runs a game. Thats the little boy Met fan in me, screaming at them. Hey, snap out of it. We sure can use a 10 game winning streak about now. That would make this little boy happy and this senior citizen smile.Oh well, good morning anyway.

Hey, we're still 11 up no matter how you slice it. Could be back to 13 after the weekend. Just get through the next 60 with no more big dings.

Slightly off topic, but what was up with some of the fans at Shea last night? Ok, you hate the Phillies, but you would have thought we won the pennant the way fans kept going crazy when Utley didn't get hits. This was the 10th longest hit streak of all time, people. I don't know about you, but I enjoy watching some baseball history being made.

The way some of the fans acted though, you would have thought Utley was a Yank or a Brave. The Phils are no threat. They are not our rival (even though we still hate them). They suck and will continue to suck for at least another couple years.

IMO, as a baseball fan, let Utley have his streak. I would have liked to have seen what happened if he sniffed 40. It's August. Gotta make it interesting.

Rev Al -- Since they had that 8-game winning streak in June they have been 22-21. It's time for them to wake up a little.
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NJ Dave -- like I said to the rev, playing only .500 over more than 1/4 of the season with this team isn't good enough. I know they've had their ups and downs but they need to put another good stretch of games together.

Although I never root for a player to continue a streak or pitch a no-hitter against the Mets, I was surprised that Utley was booed like that. There was no reason for it, and it kind of looked low-class. Maybe there were a lot of Yankee fans there rooting against Utley catching Dimaggio...

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