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There Will Be A Tomorrow

Mike SteffanosThursday, October 19, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


Mets 4 - Cardinals 2
NLCS Tied 3-3

John Maine facing Chris Carpenter was supposed to be an overmatch. Tony LaRussa bragged about Carpenter after game 5, while the pundits wondered whether Maine would wilt under the pressure. Everything seemed to be going the Redbird's way in the first when a Spiezio single followed by a Pujols double had 2 runners in scoring position with no outs. Maine came back to strikeout Jim Edmonds and, after hitting Encarnacion to load the bases, ended the threat by getting Scott Rolen to fly out to right.

Jose Reyes, who sparked the offense all night and played solid defensively, had a Lenny Dykstra moment, driving Carpenter's third pitch of the game out to right center to give the Mets the lead. The Cardinals managed to get 2 on with one out again in the third, but Maine got Edmonds to fly out and struck out Encarnacion to end that one. The Mets struck again in the in the fourth when Green singled home Beltran, but again struggled to get 2-out hits to pad their lead. Maine had an impressive fifth, striking out Pujols on a couple of good sliders.

In the top of the sixth, approaching 100 pitches, Maine walked Edmonds leading off the inning. He retired Encarnacion on a soft fly to left, and Willie decided Maine's work was done. Chad Bradford came in and induced a 6-4-3 double play that featured an amazing turn by Jose Valentin. Edmonds was running on the play and slid hard into Valentin, who sidestepped him neatly and still had time to nail Rolen at first.

Bradford stayed in to start the seventh and allowed a leadoff single to Ronnie Belliard. After Yadier Molina was retired for the first out, LaRussa sent up Chris Duncan to pinch hit. Instead of bringing in Feliciano, who gave up a homer to Duncan yesterday, Willie brought in Mota, who induced an inning ending double play. In the bottom of the frame, the Mets finally got a big 2-out hit when La Duca singled home Tucker and Reyes to put the Mets up 4-0. Turns out they would need those runs. Although Heilman was impressive in a scoreless eighth, Wagner was far from impressive in allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in the ninth and bringing the tying run to the plate. Fortunately he retired Eckstein for the final out, but made us all sweat in a game where that shouldn't have happened. He didn't seem to trust his fastball tonight, and hung several sliders. Ugly.

John Maine
He walked 4 guys, and was definitely nervous in the first, but he held it together and gave the team 5-1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out 5 and allowed only 2 Cardinals hits. He had that good high fastball working, and showed an excellent slider at times. He made Pujols look foolish on one. Despite the walks, he threw a decent amount of strikes -- 54 out of 98 pitches. It was a game to grow on, and should stand this kid well down the road.

Jose Reyes
While Wright continues to struggle with a single in 4 at bats, Reyes got the Mets going with the homer, and finished 3-4 with a pair of runs scored. That's how it works on a team, when one star struggles another must pick him up.

Defense
Along with Maine's remarkable poise, terrific defense all night was the difference for the Mets. And now, despite the prognostications, there is a tomorrow after all.

Believe.

Box Score

Comments (21)

Maine was BRILLIANT and will be a serious big-game pitcher for us as long as his career continues. He has ice running through his veins.

Willie should have learned his lesson about putting Wagner into the game in a non-save situation. The man is NEVER motivated to get anyone out if we're tied or up by more than 3 runs. Josh Willingham, So Taguchi... it makes me question how well he knows his guys.

Speaking of knowing his guys, I can't believe he went with the wrong Oliver to start Game 7. DARREN should be the one starting this game. He earned his stripes in Game 3 by saving the bullpen some serious work and deserves to start this game after being nothing short of amazing pretty much all season. With Perez going against Suppan, this does not look good for us. But I guess at times like this, ya gotta believe.

Let's Go Mets.

Maine was BRILLIANT and will be a serious big-game pitcher for us as long as his career continues. He has ice running through his veins.

Willie should have learned his lesson about putting Wagner into the game in a non-save situation. The man is NEVER motivated to get anyone out if we're tied or up by more than 3 runs. Josh Willingham, So Taguchi... it makes me question how well he knows his guys.

Speaking of knowing his guys, I can't believe he went with the wrong Oliver to start Game 7. DARREN should be the one starting this game. He earned his stripes in Game 3 by saving the bullpen some serious work and deserves to start this game after being nothing short of amazing pretty much all season. With Perez going against Suppan, this does not look good for us. But I guess at times like this, ya gotta believe.

Let's Go Mets.

Double post. Whoops.

Excellent wrapup. I do look forward to watching John Maine win games for the Mets in the days and years ahead, and I do love the contrast between the Mets defense and that of the Cardinals.

Man, have they ginned up the Juggs guns even higher? It read Cris Carpenter throwing 96, 97 mph last night, which I flat-out do not believe. Assuming that they did recalibrate the gun to read faster, then Billy Wagner isn't throwing any faster than everyone else. It's been a long season for Wagner. Could he just be worn down? Perhaps that, and the detail of his laying a pitch into Taguchi's wheelhouse, is the root of his problem last night.

Youse guys realize that Oliver Perez has as good a chance as anybody to be the Championship Series Most Valuable Player? Would THAT be a gas!

Hi MIke- Like I said yesterday they pulled it out in Game 6 twenty years ago, and I'll say it again win or lose tonight-a fantastic season.
I do think a Mets-Tigers World Series would be really fun and interesting to watch. As you said in your post BELIEVE.

Game 7. Ahhhhhh....

It's all gravy, baby.

I echo Matt's thoughts (even though he's already echoed them himself) on which Oliver ought to start. But that decision seems almost insignificant. Every arm except the one attached to last night's hero, our man Maine, is available tonight. I wouldn't be dismayed, and fully expect, five or six or even seven pitchers to be thrown out there.

And wouldn't it be interesting if, in the seventh inning of a tie game, Willie asks for one good inning out of Glavine? Not a prediction; just a scenario that makes me chuckle softly.

My co-worker Larry, a Yankee fan who SAID he roots for whichever New York team goes the furthest, was tweaking me yesterday. "Mets are in trouble, baby. Mets are in trouble."

Resisting the urge to toss of a bad-taste plane joke, I offered instead, "Yeah, Larry, and the Yankees are in trouble, too. Jeter just hit into the sand trap on the 14th hole at Shinnecock. What are they gonna do?"

Larry just shook his head and walked away muttering.

Dito to Shari, Amen.... Wagner is like the cat who plays with the mouse before he kills it. Mr. Wagner stop playing with the food we give you. Just do it... Most of the "fill in" rotation shows a lot of promise and may not be just fill ins anymore. I pray Oliver shines in the spotlight tonight and adds another page to a great year and history of the N.Y.Mets...It sure would be nice if we had a laugher of a win tonight and a easy 9th inning.

Now, we don't hate the Yankees over here, do we, so much as we despise the attitude that so many of their fans take. Is that pretty much the consensus?

With that in mind, allow me to share an excerpt from Bronx Banter, an excellent website ordinarily devoted to those Yankees, only the Yankees aren't playing just now, and the writer has graciously taken to rooting the Mets on, even to the extent of attending last night's game. Honest guy; here's what he had to say about Mets fans:

Maybe I'm just bitter, but there doesn't seem to be nearly as much negativity among Mets fans as there are among their cross-town counterparts. Even when Billy Wagner pulled his John Wetteland act in the ninth, the stadium got quiet, but no one was ranting or raving about how terrible he was or predicting the imminent demise of their team's season. Maybe its the difference between the upper deck crowd and the bleacher creacher crowd I'm used to in the Bronx, but I can't get through a regular season game without hearing countless predictions of failure from the Yankee "faithful" ("their gonna strand these runners" "he's gonna hit into a double play" "why'd Torre bring him in, he's gonna blow the lead" "here we go . . ."). Meanwhile, in the Mets first NLCS appearance in six years, down a game and facing elimination, I didn't hear a single fan get down on the home team. You gotta believe indeed.

>

A great quote from Tim Marchman, who writes sports for the New York Sun:

"Thanks, Anna Benson."

As I watched Perez pitch a shutout against the Braves in Sept. I thought, what a great way for this guy to end his year. And now he's pitching Game 7...wow. Amazin how the MEts have turned what could be bad situations into good ones...

Ah, I wonder what Anna thought of Main's performance..

GO METS!

The quote was:
"Maybe I'm just bitter, but there doesn't seem to be nearly as much negativity among Mets fans as there are among their cross-town counterparts. Even when Billy Wagner pulled his John Wetteland act in the ninth, the stadium got quiet, but no one was ranting or raving about how terrible he was or predicting the imminent demise of their team's season. Maybe its the difference between the upper deck crowd and the bleacher creacher crowd I'm used to in the Bronx, but I can't get through a regular season game without hearing countless predictions of failure from the Yankee "faithful" ("their gonna strand these runners" "he's gonna hit into a double play" "why'd Torre bring him in, he's gonna blow the lead" "here we go . . ."). Meanwhile, in the Mets first NLCS appearance in six years, down a game and facing elimination, I didn't hear a single fan get down on the home team. You gotta believe indeed."

Hmm...Could this guy be a Mets fan in training? Hence, one of the big differences between being a Mets fan and in rooting for the Evil Empire. I like to refer to Yankee fans as "Sore Winners" in that even when they win they have something to complain about. Hell, just compare two of the diehards who used to call into WFAN on a regular basis: the late Doris from (Cough! Cough!) Rego Park and Jerome from (The Yankees Stink! They're DONE. D - O - N - E, done!)Manhattan. Yankee fans think their team OWES them a World Series championship every year while Mets fans are excited when their team makes the playoffs, and if/when they win it all it's a miracle and somehow exacerbated by freaky things and/or fate... the Mookie dribbler between Buckner's legs, the no-name guys playing the game of their lives, etc. Remember '73? The Mets were the OVERWHELMING underdog but the fact that they took the WS to 7 games and scared the A's made it a great series, even if they didn't win. Okay, I'll shut up now!

Matt - I wouldn't worry too much about who starts the game. If Perez falters at all early look for Darren Oliver. [Your post was so good it needed to be repeated] :-)
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dd - Actually, that was one of the more mediocre wrapups all year. I was so burned out after that game I was lucky to get anything down. As for Wagner, I've noticed when he gets out of psynch his velocity sucks. He has a lot of off and on mechanical problems for a veteran 2-pitch pitcher. Oliver Perez winning MVP would just about cap off this crazy series.
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Shari - We certainly need something fun to watch until the Blueshirts start playing.
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NostraDennis - Good comeback.
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Rev - I'll second your thoughts on the laugher, and I've stopped trying to figure Wagner out.
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dd - If he wants to hear a Mets fan get down on Wagner, all he has to do is tune in Joe B. on WFAN. I'll second the thanks to Anna.
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Sydd - It's been a strange ride, that's for sure. I felt the same thing and said as much here.
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=Chuck= - That was amazing. I never saw anyone get the whole history of the Mets into a comment before. :-)

If we believe we will be living to fight another day...

Well tonight I just plan on kicking back and enjoying it-no matter the outcome I am couldn't be more pleased with the 2006 season-that is of course if Billy Wagner blows a one run lead, then I will go crazy.

As for our Blueshirts-they are giving Shannahan the Gretzky treatment, the rest of the team is in such awe of him that they pass the puck to him no matter whether he is open or not.

Shari, Mike - Sorry about those Blueshirts.
Then again, I root for the Isles, so I have my own problems.

Blueshirts or Isles, you think you have problems. I have the Yankee farm team and some stupid Penqins farm team up here in the Poconos. Thank GOD for the Mets and this Met family to keep in touch with a real team.

I hear you, Rev.

Thanks! I thought I wrapped it up pretty well. Let's go Mets! ~cc~

Hi all- As I'm watching OP pitch a beauty tonight-I have to comment on the Blueshirts-
I think they need another West Point team retreat to get them all on the same page.

Rev Al- The Penguins have alot of young talent-I think you'll be pleasantly surprised this season.

Ed- Who is the GM over there for the Isles these days? Is it still DiPietro?

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