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Your 2006 NL East Division Champs

Mike SteffanosTuesday, September 19, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 4 - Marlins 0

The Mets clinched the NL East tonight with Steve Trachsel on the hill and Jose Valentin powering the offense. What were the odds against these words being written 5 months ago.

It was a playoff atmosphere at Shea Stadium tonight, and Steve Trachsel responded with the type of outing that most likely has earned him a playoff start. He really was that good. This was vintage Trachsel tonight, and it's something we haven't seen much of this season. With the electricity flowing through that stadium tonight, for him to pitch like that -- he just couldn't have scripted it any better. Follow this up with a couple of decent performances and he's a virtual lock to pitch in October. I know he's a wine connoisseur, and I hope he has a bottle of something special put away to celebrate with tonight, because he's earned it.

How fitting that Jose Valentin hit 2 huge home runs tonight. If this Mets team has been about anything this year, it's been about guys stepping up and accepting the challenge. If there's a position player that personifies this, it's Mr. Jose Valentin.

Great defense behind Trachsel tonight, and impeccable relief work from Mota, Heilman and Billy Wagner. And let's give some credit to the SNY guys -- they've had their share of screwups this year, but their post-game coverage was flawless tonight. Instead of rushing to tell us what the Yankees did, they stayed on the Mets and went commercial-free for a long time after the final out. What a terrific job -- for at least tonight, they were the Mets network that we all hoped they'd be.

Kudos also to the Mets themselves. When Cliff Floyd caught the final out -- and how fitting was that -- he took a moment to turn and acknowledge the fans. After the team had been in the locker room for a while, many of the players came back out on the field and celebrated with the fans. The sight of David Wright going down the line slapping hands with people brings home to me one simple fact -- this is a team that gets it.

Here's Steve Trachsel's updated chart since August 1:

Steve Trachsel
Total (9 Games)49.1262550262284.561.467-2

With due respect to Gary Cohen tonight, I do feel that it was extremely important for Trachsel to step up with a solid game after 4 fairly brutal games (highlighted in blue above). Trachsel was throwing his curveball for strikes tonight, and also had an effective splitter at times. He was very aggressive with his fastball, throwing it for strikes and spotting it in good locations.

Enough analysis for tonight. This was really, truly special. It's been a real pleasure to share this magical season with all of you who stop by here. A night like this unites Mets fans in a way that most of the Yankee-centric media doesn't have the slightest clue about. This season has a sharper focus and a special enjoyment from sharing this with all of you. Now let's go win the rest of this damn thing!

Box Score

Comments (4)

WOW! There was a playoff atmosphere in our house last night,I didn't have to much sleep but it was worth it all. Watching it from beginning to end, I felt like I was there. The tv after game coverage was awesome,and what a treat to the fans who hung around after the game. That would have been Selma and I. They would have had to throw us out and send us home. Last night I was glued to the tv, watching and loving every second of it, jumping up and down, yelling and cheering, laughing and crying, the whole 9 yards. Selma said its like 86, I said; somehow for me its better.I see a team being built into a long run of great seasons. WOW! I am looking forward to see who makes todays lineup and what kind of shape they will be in. Man if your going to get swept, this was good timing, to set up the celebrating on our turf. They looked ready for the playoffs last night, they made me ready. LETS GO METS.

Hi Mike- I dont know about you, but I got a little teary last night when they clinched. Like I've been saying 2000 was nice but I nver believed they earned it-they backdoored their way into the World Series and I never believed they deserved to be there that year.
This one they truly earned, a collective team effort-as you said who would have thought we would be talking about how great Trachsel and Valentin were in the clincher? It reminded me alot of 1986-when unexpected soureces stepped up and won games-like Ray Knight did back then. I'm still not convinced they will win it all-and even if it happens to end with the NLDS I am thrilled with this season and there is alot more to look forward to.

Watching Trachsel work his way through the Fish lineup I kept referring back to Bobby Jones shutting down the Giants in the playoffs in 2000. Steve wasn't quite that fine, but he was plenty fine. I wonder if he's got another one or two of those left in his arm.

Fact is, the Mets have been getting mostly good starting pitching recently. Maybe with the business of wrapping up the division behind them, now that they're just playing baseball, the Mets' bats will wake up. And what felt like a slump might turn out to be an exercise in good timing.

Let's Go Mets!

Rev - If that game had happened while they were still on MSG, we would have had maybe 1/2 hour of post-game coverage. SNY really got it right last night. I was glued to the TV until they finally started talking about the Yankees on SportsNight.
Shari - Last night was by far my favorite since 1986, and for the same reason. I got a little teary, but it must have been allergies, since of course I would never cry. Yeah, allergies, that's the ticket...
dd - I never thought I'd see the Trachsel I saw last night ever again. If this one shows up in the playoffs, even once, I'll be psyched. I'm with you on the bats. Everyone has been talking about the struggles against lefties, but they've just been down in general. Better now than 2 weeks from now...

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