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Mike SteffanosSunday, October 1, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 6 - Nationals 2

Final Record 97-65

The Mets finished the 2006 regular season the same way they started it, with a win over the Washington Nationals. The victory was their fourth in a row, and number 97 on the year. The victory total ties the 1999 wild card team for the fifth most wins all time for a Mets team.

The Mets did all of their scoring in a 6-run second inning. Oliver Perez gave them 4 solid innings at the start, and then Roberto Hernandez, Pedro Feliciano, Chad Bradford, Guillermo Mota and Aaron Heilman took care of an inning each to close it out. Perez was touched up for a run in his 4 innings, and Heilman allowed the other before closing it out in the ninth. The game was the final one in Frank Robinson's career as a manager.

Rather than spend a lot of time dissecting a game that had the feel of a spring training contest, I'll just share some general observations. Cliff Floyd started and played most of the way in left field. He's obviously still hobbled, and I have to wonder about him in the playoffs. Through no fault of his own he is a defensive liability in the outfield, so he will really need to hit to justify playing time.

For the offense, Shawn Green and Jose Valentin both had 3-hit games. Both have been struggling somewhat, and both will be needed starting Wednesday afternoon. David Wright also stayed hot with a pair of hits, finishing with a .311 average in his second full major league season. Anderson Hernandez had a 2-run triple that ballooned his RBI total for the year to 3. Along with his solid hitting, Shawn Green also had a nice defensive play in the outfield, as did Lastings Milledge late in the game.

Perez has come a long way since coming to the Mets, though the bare numbers aren't very impressive. I wouldn't be one who is in favor of Oliver on the playoff roster, but if the Mets decided to go that way it certainly wouldn't be indefensible. More importantly, with Pedro's career in doubt -- and a shoulder injury at his age with so many major league innings under his belt threaten more than just an 8 month layoff -- I suspect Oliver Perez will be an important part of the Mets plans for 2007.

It's too early to think about next year, though, because the Mets are playing meaningful games in October for the first time in 6 years. It looks likely that the Mets will be facing the Dodgers on Wednesday, as the Padres are romping to an apparent easy victory as I write these words. So ignore all of the dire talk about Pedro's future and our starting pitching in the playoffs. Two years ago this team was managed by Art Howe, enduring its second consecutive 90-loss season, and there truly was no light at the end of the tunnel. Today we have 97 wins and a berth in the NLDS. We've come a long way, my friends. The marathon is over, the sprint is about to begin.

Box Score

Comments (9)

Let's go Mets!

If one was to total up the innings and games played that the Mets lost to injury, I wonder where they'd rank in the National League?

The Mets won the regular season not because they were the healthiest, but because they were the best team in the National League.

I'm ready for more; how's about youse guys?

Let's Go Mets!

This post-season participation is kind of cool, isn't it?

Yeah, I could get used to it. But then I said that in the winter of '86, and again, less pompously, in the winter of '88.

Carpe dodge'em, baby...seize the Dodgers!

No Ollie breakdown? Yesterday was no different in quality from most of Ollie's (or VZ's) starts. Alot of damage to Ollie comes at the 90-100 pitch count when the slider gets up...again similar to Victor. But was the pitch limit to protect him for a possible 4th start?

This 3 game sweep which followed a 2 out of 3 game win streak for the Nats over Philly was not insignificant. Why?
I think the Mets CAN dial it up when they want to. I also think they wanted to finish in the 95-98 win range and did just that. also keep pace with the Yanks/AL champ.

a dodgers series has that 1988 luster all over it. also the dodgers are built like the 1999 Mets with alot of mercenaries, late season pick ups and the suprising Japanese pitcher. To lite a bigger fire....The 1988 NLDS loss in my mind led to the very dark dark 10 yr span until we became contenders again.

NostraDennis -- Seize them by that what? :)
Micalpalyn - I didn't bother breaking it down for Perez, but I did say it wasn't indefensible for him to make the roster. I think it was important to start playing well again, it wasn't like they were playing mediocre -- they were terrible for a while. Not going to argue it with you anymore, though, it's not worth it.

We dont argue.

Why not be the first to give out grades on the season. I'd love to hear your blurbs on each player, their expectations vs accomplishments.

Seize the Dodgers...by their teeny little Lasordas!

Micalpalyn - of course we argue sometimes. Nothing wrong with that. You keep me honest. Good point on the grades.
NostraDennis - :)

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