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Mets Win Fourth in a Row Behind Pedro

Mike SteffanosWednesday, August 9, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 4 - Padres 3

Pedro Martinez gave the Mets 7+ strong innings as they managed to survive 3 solo home runs -- 2 by Mike Piazza -- to take another close game and stretch their winning streak to four games.

Pedro got off to a strong start tonight, setting down the Padres in order in the first two innings. Meanwhile, the Mets were jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead on a Delgado RBI single in the first and Jose Reyes' RBI single in the second. Pedro survived a mini-jam in the third, stranding a pair of baserunners, and the Mets tacked on when David Wright started a 2-out rally with a double, and Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez both came up with clutch 2-out RBI singles. But once again, the Mets offense went into an early shutdown, and the Padres slowly climbed back into the game.

Mike Piazza beat Pedro with solo home runs in the fourth and sixth innings, inching the Padres closer, but fortunately Pedro was getting just about everyone else out. He made it into the eighth inning, where he retired Dave Roberts for the first out, but faltered by issuing back-to-back walks to Giles and Cameron, putting the tying runs on base. Afterwards Pedro admitted to trying to be too perfect in his pitches to both batters. With Piazza coming up again, Willie lifted Pedro in favor of Aaron Heilman.

Heilman started Piazza off with a change-up, and Mike was looking for it. He took Beltran almost to the wall in centerfield, just missing putting San Diego ahead. Both runners tagged on the play, advancing to second and third. The Mets elected to intentionally walk Adrian Gonzalez, and the move paid off when Heilman retired Todd Walker on a popup on which Jose Valentin made a nice play.

Billy Wagner came into the game with a 2-run lead for a change, and that was just too much prosperity for the little redneck. After retiring Blum on a ground out, Wagner threw a belt-high fastball over the heart of the plate to the light-hitting Josh Barfield, and the kid absolutely crushed it to make it a 1-run game. Wagner went full on pinch hitter Josh Bard before retiring him on a grounder to Reyes, and then did the same to pinch hitter Ben Johnson before striking him out looking on a very good slider for save #26 on the year.

Thoughts on the game
Pedro looked good tonight. He didn't have his perfect control, and only struck out 2 batters, but looked strong in winning his ninth game of the season. He threw a lot of off-speed stuff tonight and got a lot of ground balls -- just not from Piazza.

Milledge made a nice play in the second inning on a run and bunt play, moving all the way to third on Pedro's bunt and then scoring on Reyes' single. Great instincts, great play. On the negative, he looked terrible in stranding 4 men in scoring position -- striking out twice and looking bad doing it. When they walk Endy Chavez intentionally to get to you, you need to pick it up, kid. (Endy did go 3-3 tonight.) I still worry that Milledge is in a little over his head right now.

Wagner is heartburn waiting to happen. A guy that throws as hard as he does should be able to get away with centering a fastball sometimes, but he doesn't anymore. Thank God for the 2-run lead.

I thought the Mets fans overdid the love a little after Piazza's first home run, and more so after the second. Then when he came up with 2 on in the eighth, they booed him, and that was really silly. If I was there, I would have given him a standing ovation before the first at bat and polite applause the rest of the way. I told you how I felt about Mike before the series started, but I'm also realistic. He's being paid by the Padres now to beat the Mets, and he's doing his job. Although you'll never catch me booing him, I'll root for him again when a game is a blowout, after he retires, or when the Padres are playing somebody else. Sorry if that offends anyone, but I'm a Mets fan.

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

Box Score

Comments (9)

Mike, I'm with you 100% with the fan reaction towards Mike Piazza tonight. A standing O before the 1st at bat is a must, but after that, only applause is warranted. Booing, after giving Mike several standing O's, was indeed silly and uncalled for. As for Wagner....UGH! He still has plus stuff, but cannot seem to locate it consistently. If he doesn't throw heaters chest-high or higher, then they have a good chance of getting hammered. His slider is more erratic than ever, and he gives none of us a feeling of game over when he comes in lately; I feel ok with him, I just don't feel like he can consistently close the door without a lot of danger first. Milledge simply isn't ready; end of story. We get glimpses of real talent every now and then, but fewer and much farther in between lately. I'd like to see Willie and Franco take hold of this kid and keep a shorter leash on him; get him together with Beltran and Wright too, and have him emulate their work habits in the underground cages hours before the games. Stay attached to Franco's side during games and learn how to be a major-leaguer in mind, body, and work habit. Michael Tucker?? Ricky Ledee?? Possibly Ruben Sierra?? Let's not get too carried away Omar; we don't want the bench ending up like it was under Art Howe or even last year at times! One of those 3 maybe, but not 2, and definetly not all 3!(I still think Marrero's value to us was at catcher, where Willie would rarely use him; remember, he was a starting catcher for the Cardinals would quite a stretch, and also did more than a little catching with the Braves). They may have to keep an eye out for a right-handed hitting outfielder though, if Milledge continues to struggle with the bat as badly as he has been. I continue to believe that the Mets will miss Nady's steady and occasionally big bat in RF, and he wasn't horrible in the OF, even though he had his moments to be sure. His bat and experience looks good right about now, although I realize why Omar felt the need to make that move; it still would be a much deeper lineup(especially with Cliff out) if Nady were still in RF.

George -- Wagner is like a left-handed Looper right now. Milledge, who knows. It wouldn't surprise me if everything just clicked for him and he took off, or if he struggled until they replaced him. He could go either way right now. That really was a nice piece of baserunning in the second. I think they miss Nady, too, especially when facing a lefty.

Whoa...whats wrong with Wagner, has he forgotten his fastball got him here....wheres the Mullet in all this....dont they brainstorm? Milledge is mentally not ready, hes not the sharpest tool in the shed apparently, and if his ego blinds him to his reality then he could be headed for a fall. Youre 100% right about being attached at the hip with Franco for a mentor, perfect test of his willingness to evolve. I too miss Nady, but I re-state my conjecture on Perez...this kid has a way live arm and we may yet be cheering Omar's future vision again. Mets are hangin' tuff but were noy showing the "killer instint" to put em away. We need to apply the chokehold on these weak teams. Questioning if this team has actually fired on all cylinders at any time this year...Delgado slumps, Floyd is hurt then hurt again, Pedro goes down, etc....has there bbeen any sizaable stretch where everybody contributed at the level of their peak ability atthe same time??...The west coast trip??...and lastly Ruben Sierra is Franco-lite,is this really happening??

"Piazza homers twice in loss to Mets." Sounds like an old Met headline. I think we will be fine with Wagner, just don't go into the 9th by one run. Can you imagine the terror in the hearts of Met fans, if we were only in first by one or two games. I can hardly take it now in my padded room with no razor blades. Thank you Lord for the big lead. You know just how much I can bear.

I have no faith or patience in Billy Wagner-sure right now his "Interesting" 9th innings are no big deal, but wait until the play offs when everyone is starting from scratch and there are no 13 game leads, and no huge leads in the game. I said when they were in the talking stages of signing him that it was a mistake to sign a 34 year old guy who is or was a flame thrower-they are injuries waiting to happen and even if they don't get hurt once they get a little older they lose a mph or two off their fast ball and it's a big problem in close games. Not to mention how Wagner chokes in big games-he kiled the Phillies Wild CArd hopes last season, and we all know what he did for the Astros in the play offs.
There are very few guys who can slam the door 1-2-3, and I don't think the Mets needed to pay Wagner all of that cash to be no better than Benitez, Looper Franco and the rest of those guys.
They should have signed BJ Ryan who is younger and more intimidating. I knew we wouldn't be getting a Mariano Rivera, but I didn't expect to get a DOug Sisk as a closer either.

n8genius -- Perez got bombed again last night in Triple A, so I don't think we'll be seeing him any time soon. They were firing on all cylinders on the west coast trip in June, maybe getting a stable starting rotation will help that along again.
Rev -- Amen.
Shari -- Everything you say is true. My hope is that teams have won the World Series with mediocre closers in the past few years: Arizona with Kim, Marlins with Urbina, Red Sox with Foulke. I'm just hoping he gets hot at the right time.

I have a nice thought! How about we win our games in the playoffs and WS with blowouts that we don't need a closer.

Hi MIke-I just hope we have enough pitching to do what the White Sox did last year-what used to be done -use your starter for 8 or 9 innings.
Maybe I'm just old school, but it gets me nuts when I invest and an hour and change watching a game until the 6th inning thinking my team is winning and from the 6th to to the 9th inning it's a completely different ball game so to speak because our starter who was cruising got pulled because he threw 110 pitches. Of ocurse it doesn't bother me when the shoe is on the foot much, but the way the game is and the way the pitchers are handled drives me up a wall.

Rev -- I'll sign for that!
Shari -- Don't forget the umpires used to have a much bigger strike zone. A lot of those complete games were only 100 - 120 pitches. It's a whole different game now. I still think we have enough bullpen to win if the rest comes together.

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