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El Duque Does It Again

Mike SteffanosSunday, June 24, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 1 - A's 0
Played Saturday, June 23, 2007

He's not throwing a 90 mph fastball or striking out a batter per inning as he did last year, but Orlando Hernandez still figures out how to get it done. Although once again the team failed to reward him with a win, the Mets have El Duque to thank for their first series victory since winning the rubber game against the Giants on May 31. By matching zeroes with the A's Joe Blanton, Hernandez kept the Mets in it until they were finally able to score a run. He managed to strike out 7 Athletics despite a fastball consistently in the mid 80s because his slider was working all night. He even struck out Eric Chavez with a 53-mph breaking pitch which took so long to reach home plate that dew was forming on it before it got there.

El Duque threw 119 pitches in his seven innings of work. Number 119 was the eighth pitch of the at bat to Mark Kotsay, and got him swinging with 2 on and 2 out of a scoreless game. It was vintage El Duque. Though his record is only 3-3 through 11 starts after last night's no decision, he could easily have 7 or 8 wins with a little run support.

Orlando Hernandez (Last 5 Starts)
Season (11 Games)68.1232149522372.771.056-5

View Orlando Hernandez' Full Season Stats

The offense didn't wow, and the defense was not sharp. Lo Duca may have fired up the team a little with his sixth inning ejection, but at the time I wished he stayed in the game and finished that at bat. Maybe it was fitting that winning a series (and consecutive games for the first time since a 4-game winning streak May 25-29) came by pulling out a game that wasn't really a thing of beauty. Now as fans we will watch this club and see if they can continue to take steps forward. Showing a killer instinct by winning today's game would be a nice step.

Box Score

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Comments (8)

Give credit to Joe Blanton. The Mets did have some life, Delgado lined really hard into the first baseman's glove for a double play. Carlos Beltran came through with a clutch hit in the Lo Duca inning, but Ledee got thrown out. As soon as Blanton was removed, the Mets struck, without making an out. And then they came out today and continued to hit. Time for some further revenge on the Cardinals.

The beautiful part about his eephus pitch is that his motion to the plate is exactly the same as if he's throwing a fastball. There's no giveaway that it's coming. His arm speed is the same. Release is the same. It's like a David Blaine magic trick. You don't know how he does it.

Just a couple of sides: Joe Blanton was lights out. As good as El Duque was, JB was equal or better.
EL Duque: You among others refere to Ollie as erratic. El Duque to me has been hot or cold. Yes his 'ephus' pitch was working but the A's chased his slider too, something the Yanks did not. I thought Glavine also benefited from a slightly extended strikezone (at home?) too.
Gomez: We need to start doing some serious analysis on this kid. His defense is GG..period. So far he is making Endy look sub par in the OF. And his offense....yesterday was a new milestone and his bunt single...He brings to the table the tools of a young C. Beltran clone. If Alou does get back I like him in the Cliffy role of last yr.
Reyes: Is there any paralel to the appearances of one Rickey Henderson and the surges of JR. Its seems whenever rickey is around Rey has another gear.

Ceetar - Blanton was very good. As for the Cardinals, I'll be happy if the Mets just continue to play good ball. The revenge thing doesn't play very big for me, to be honest.
Dave - I saw a couple of guys who threw true eephus pitches, which is just a ball literally lobbed to the plate. Besides the deception in the arm speed and delivery you mention, what amazes me is that El Duque's pitch is a breaking pitch that actually breaks pretty well.
Ed - Did I ever mention to you once or 1000 times that you lose me when you write something like this? I've been supportive of Perez since before the season began. When I say he is inconsistent, I'm not knocking him. I believe he is only approaching how good he will be.

We have so many good exchanges here, I wish you would stop doing this. Why do you insist on leaving comments that make it sound as if I knock Perez here? I'm honestly tired of it, please stop it. I'm sorry if I don't see things exactly as you do, but when you mischaracterize my views it's somewhat insulting. I don't do that to you.

As for El Duque, he was every bit as good as Blanton in the only stat that counts -- the score. By the way, check the stats:


In 7 of 11 starts, El Duque has allowed one earned run or less. In another he allowed 2, and he has had 3 bad starts. Too bad that can't earn him some respect from you, but it does from me. He's a pitcher, and that's nice to watch. He's also a positive role model for some of the younger pitchers, including Perez.

When I was on MetsBlog's radio show last week I made the point about how much I liked Gomez.


He reminds me of a young Reyes, totally raw, but tremendous ability and belief in himself. He could strike out 3 times and then drive the ball in his fourth at bat. I think he'll be a very good player, maybe a star. To say that he is ahead of Chavez defensively at this point, however, is hyperbole.

I stand corrected, on both accounts. But I think we can agree that Sat's game was monumentous. A big win against arguably the AL's best pitcher right now, especially after floundering against Chen Ming and Santana.

Another good read on Gomez who obvoiusly is turning heads.


Ed - I think the Mets always knew what they had in Gomez. Now others are starting to realize. Scout.com had Gomez rated #1 in the system this winter, and he's making them look very smart.


When Lastings came up, pundits (including one (unamed)GM) were quick to say Gomez was better. Lastings IS good, but Gomez has been near flawless. He is quick, covers mucho ground etc. He consistently makes great defensive plays with none of the mistakes....heck even Green has played better defense since Gomez has been up. And his splits are mind boggling, albeit just 32 games worth. To me his 'coming out' was the yanks game last week, when he battled for a hit off Mariano.


I think Gomez could conceivably stick with the club the rest of the season, although it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if Alou ever comes back and he plays every day in New Orleans for a couple of months. Even if that happens, I think he's here for good in 2008. He is a heck of a player.

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