By Mike Steffanos
Dodgers 8 - Mets 6
Played Saturday, July 21, 2007
Back when Jorge Sosa was pitching great I remember thinking that on days when he didn't have the great slider things would get pretty ugly for him. Sosa's success was based on pitching backwards and using just enough fastballs to set hitters up for the slider. Yesterday afternoon's game pointed out another potential hazard -- when Sosa can't throw his fastball for strikes and they can sit on his slider, he's equally vulnerable.
It's obvious that Sosa's hamstring is not back to 100%, and that's hampering him, too. That's not the whole story, however. A look back at his last 6 games, dating back to his loss to the Dodgers in LA last month, demonstrates pretty clearly that he wasn't pitching that well in the games before the hamstring injury. The only two really solid starts in that stretch were against the offensively-challenged Cardinals and Padres. Sosa has been a real shot in the arm to the Mets this season, but really does seem more suited to be a reliever long term.
|Jorge Sosa (Last 6 Starts)|
|Season (13 Games)||74.1||38||36||68||43||26||7||4.36||1.26||8-5|
We won't dwell too much on Gotay's pivotal error (pardon the pun) in the sixth inning. It seems likely that Gotay will get the bulk of the innings at second unless he completely falls apart, and the Mets will have to work hard with him to get his defense up to at least to average. As much as many of us love Anderson Hernandez' defense, he has proven not to be a major league hitter, and that seems unlikely to change. Gotay's a nice kid who works hard, and provides some offense.
I'd be surprised if A-hern stays on the roster once Easley comes back. He has little value as a pinch hitter, and taking up a roster spot long-term would somewhat reverse the bench flexibility gained from finally jettisoning the 1-dimensional Julio Franco. Easley is no gold glover, but he's competent enough to use as a defensive replacement in close games.
There have been some positives on this road trip, even in a couple of the losses. Needless to say, winning today's game would be a huge shot in the arm, while losing it would be a momentum staller.
Nothing is very predictable in the NL East this year. Sitting a game-and-a-half behind the Mets on Monday morning, the Braves were expected to be in first place at the end of a week that saw them home against the Reds and Cards while the Mets were on this west coast swing. The Mets did their part by dropping 2 of 3 to San Diego, but the Braves were swept at home in 3 games by the Reds. The Braves rebounded to pound the Cardinals for wins in 2 of the 3 games so far in that series, but the Mets managed to keep pace in la-la land. If the Mets could win today's game, it ensures that the Braves will actually lose a game in the standings for the week, even if they beat St. Louis tonight. Big game today -- and it's time for the Mets to make the next step back to being a quality team by taking it. Will they? That's anyone's guess in this crazy season.