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)||68.1||23||21||49||52||23||7||2.77||1.05||6-5|
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.