By Mike Steffanos
Game 52: Mets 8 - Dodgers 4
Almost a third of the way through the season and the Mets had to put together a 3-game winning streak to get back to break-even. What a strange couple of years this has been.
Playing well and showing energy, (Was that Carlos Delgado making a diving stop on a ball down the line?) the rejuvenated Mets are showing signs of life just when it looked like they were flatlining. Now it's possible to write about a game and do more than whine about the same old things that have been going wrong for a year.
I have to say, though, I find myself cautiously optimistic rather than giddy. I think at this point I need to see a real prolonged stretch of good play and energy to buy back into this club as a legit contender. Still, even cautious optimism seemed like a dream a week ago.
I made a point in yesterday's post that the Mets were starting to catch a few breaks again. Case in point last night was when Carlos Muniz faced Matt Kemp in the pivotal at bat in the top of the sixth.
The Mets had seen a 6-0 lead cut to 6-4, and the Dodgers had the tying runs on base with two outs. Kemp is a good fastball hitter, so Muniz starts him off with 3 sliders. The first one hung up out of the zone for a ball, then the second one didn't break but caught the inside part of the plate for a called strike. The next one was a classic hanger, but Kemp was a little quick and fouled it off. Three sliders -- not a real good one in the bunch -- and the count was 1-2.
Schneider next calls for a fastball, low on the outside corner. Muniz completely misses with that pitch, but the net result is a high-inside fastball that completely ties up Kemp. He strikes out, and Muniz is the hero -- despite not putting one pitch where he wanted it. That's living right.
By the way, our friend Gary Sparber has some great pictures from last night's game, you can check them out here. I like the action shot of Endy throwing his bat at the ball for an infield hit in the seventh. Come to think of it, that's another example of breaks going the Mets way again. That drove in a run and allowed Schneider to come up and drive in another. A close 6-4 game became a more comfortable 8-4 game.
Speaking of Endy, that was a heck of a throw in the first place. A number of pundits have been calling for Endy's head this year because he hasn't been hitting. While I agree he's got to pick it back up to justify a spot, his defense is so good and he brings great energy and professionalism that I can't help but root for him.