By Mike Steffanos
Mets 3 - Tigers 0
Played Friday, June 8, 2007
Every season offers up its own story lines, both good and bad. On one hand, 2007 has offered us the sad sight of outfielders dropping like flies, but on the other we have been treated to some much more cheerful stories regarding our starting pitching. None has been more improbable than the one being written by a 30-year-old journeyman pitcher from the Dominican Republic, Jorge Bolivar Sosa.
Although he seemed to have the inside track on the long man job in the bullpen once Dave Williams went down, Sosa pitched poorly enough this spring to punch a ticket to New Orleans. However, instead of sulking and biding his time as so many others have done, Sosa worked hard on making his delivery more deceptive and changing his pitching patterns. Great numbers with the Zephyrs and the failures of Mike Pelfrey and Chan Ho Park earned him a promotion to the majors, but no diminishment of the skepticism surrounding his talented but enigmatic right arm.
With 7 starts since his return Sosa has more than answered the skepticism. He's won some big games for the Mets, and really given the team a shot in the arm. Not only is he pitching well, but he's doing it without the benefit of huge leads. Last night was 0-0 until Wright's fourth inning homer, and 1-0 until Delgado added his solo shot in the seventh. By the time the Mets got the insurance run to go up 3-0 in the ninth, Sosa's day was done.
The Mets played some great defense behind Sosa, but the offense was absent for most of the night. Both pitchers benefited from the huge strike zone of home plate ump Marty Foster. For those of you too young to remember the 1960s and 70s, that was the strike zone that hitters had to deal with back then. Not only were both pitchers getting the corners, but Foster was actually calling strikes clearly off the plate. He was consistent, though, and called them for both pitchers.
With that type of strike zone it's no surprise that the innings went by quickly. In fairness to the hitters, it's hard to take pitches when most are called strikes, but the Mets hitters seemed almost in a hurry to get back out in the field. In the eight inning Tigers starter Chad Durbin retired Ricky Ledee on 2 pitches and Ramon Castro on 1. Jose Reyes came up, and he should have at least taken a pitch or two to give Sosa a breather. Instead, he grounded out to Sean Casey on the first pitch for a four-pitch inning. Durbin only needed 84 pitches to pitch into the ninth. Again, the umpire had something to do with it, but the Mets continue to struggle with plate discipline, and that's a big contributor to their recent slump.
David Wright was doubled up in the seventh when Lo Duca popped up a pitch while he was attempting a straight steal of second. Not his finest hour, but I actually appreciated the aggressive play. Wright's line drive homer to right-center was vintage Wright, as was a hard line out to second in the ninth. Nice to see that kind of hitting from him, particularly since he looked really bad striking out on three pitches in the second.
|Jorge Sosa (6-1)|
|May (5 games)||29.2||12||12||20||18||12||3||3.64||1.08||4-1|
|Season (7 Games)||44.1||13||13||29||27||15||4||2.64||1.05||6-1|