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:
|Total (9 Games)||49.1||26||25||50||26||22||8||4.56||1.46||7-2|
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!