By Mike Steffanos
Game 159: Mets 7 - Cubs 6
In the bottom of the ninth yesterday, Carlos Beltran delivered the big hit that was sorely lacking late in Wednesday's game. While perhaps not an artistic success, this one kept things alive going into the final rainy weekend of the season.
Kudos to Pedro Martinez, who pitched with guts and smarts in keeping the Mets in this one. If Ricardo Rincon had managed to escape damage in the seventh inning, Pedro's final line wouldn't have been too bad.
As it was, however, being charged with 5 runs in 6+ innings actually lowered Pedro's September ERA 7.77, and marked the only time this month he has allowed less than two baserunners per inning (1.83).
You could actually see the bones of a way of pitching where Pedro can be an effective pitcher again, but you wonder if he can stay healthy long enough to get into a groove. It will make an interesting discussion for an off-season that we continue to hope won't come too soon.
Just a couple of quick notes:
Ramon Martinez has become a candidate for surprising late-season hero, and good for him. He has been slowed by injuries over the last two seasons, but before that he was a respectable major league player. He's never been more than that, but if he can maintain respectability he's probably the strongest option at second base right now, though I would probably work in Castillo or Argenis Reyes against tougher righties.
Don't know why everyone got so down on Ricardo Rincon for giving up the home run to a player who wound up 5-5 on the game. Considering that his job was to be just another September bullpen arm after a season in the Mexican league, he's done pretty well.
Finally, I was annoyed to read this somewhat condescending piece today by Steve Politi on NJ.com:
As the steady rain continues to drench Shea Stadium today, I'm beginning to worry. What will Mets fans do to channel their inner angst if their team does not play a game today? ...
The baseball action on Thursday night was about as thrilling as late September baseball can be, and the tragedy is, some Mets fans are not enjoying a minute of it. They are so fixated on the collapse last fall, so certain the next shoe is going to drop directly on their heads, that they can't just appreciate how fun this ride has been the last few days.
Um, Steve, perhaps if you and your colleagues in the press weren't beating last season's collapse into the consciousness of Mets fans on a daily basis for over a year, they'd be more into the exciting pennant race rather than dreading their team missing the playoffs again and having it thrown in their face repeatedly for another year.
On the one hand, you guys have milked the frustration and angst for every bit of juice you could get out of it, in the process reinforcing and indeed increasing said angst and frustration. Then you turn around and write patronizing items like this making fun of those fans for feeling that way? Nice... What a true turd.