Carlos Bel-TRAN! (as ESPN's own Jon Miller might say) What better way to rebound from the worst loss of the season by winning the next night in the bottom of the 9th, in just about the most inspiring way possible. You can't make this stuff up. Great job Met fans, about 20,000 of whom stayed vocal at Shea despite hard rain and Ricardo Rincon. Maybe Jim Baumbach at Newsday can rescind this insulting column, where he called out Met fans for booing this season. Here are your less enraged game thoughts:
- Ryan Church must have read my post last night suggesting he be benched. How else to explain his 3-3, 1 BB, 2 RBI breakout night. His bob and weave with Cubs catcher Koy Hill to score the tying run in the 8th joins Johan Santana's broken bat single on Tuesday as the most bizarre but awesome plays of the season. Also, major credit to Fernando Martinez and Robinson Cancel, who made this win possible with 2 out hits.
- Where do I begin with my criticism of Daniel Murphy's disastrous AB in the 9th? Here we go:
a) Bunting is stupid in most situations. Why give up outs unless it's a pitcher batting?
b) This is the same Daniel Murphy who hit a triple last night, and is .325/.408/.496 on the season right? And you want him to attempt to give himself up to move a runner over?
c) Guess how many sacrifice bunts Murphy has successfully executed this season, between the minors and majors. I'll give you a hint, it's less than the number of Mets World Series titles (2), and more than Giuseppe Franco's financial interest in Procede (0). Yes, Murph has ONE sac bunt this year. And he goes up there to bunt in a stressful situation, against a guy throwing 95 mph in the pouring rain. Mindblowing. Luckily, Bel-TRAN redeemed him.
d) Murphy was born 1 day after I was, which has nothing to do with his bunting skill. It's just weird that a guy who's basically the same age as me is playing such a big role in this pennant race.
- My brother came up with a solid New York Post headline, had the Mets lost: "Cubs Scrubs Put on a Clinic". I would've gone with "Feel the Hoff-Power". Micah Hoffpauir had the greatest night of his life, going 5-5 with 2 HR, a 2B and 5 RBI. And he's supposedly fighting for a playoff roster spot. The Mets would gladly borrow him if the Cubs don't need him.
- I really hope the Cubs don't rest Alfonso Soriano, Derek Lee, Geovany Soto and Aramis Ramirez this weekend vs. the Brew Crew. Lou Piniella: please give Carlos Marmol, pretty boy Jeff Samardzija and Kerry Wood plenty of much needed tuneup work this weekend.
- I admit, I turned the game off to watch the premiere of "The Office" following Hoffpauir's 3-run homer. However, I was following the game on ESPN Gamecast simultaneously. The Office did not disappoint, nor did the Mets.
- Boy does Keith Hernandez want the Mets to beat the Phillies for the division. It's his favorite discussion topic. Also, could you imagine Keith as a manager? Every AB would feature a hit and run, and every 3-0 count he'd have his batter swinging away.
Unfortunately Ryan "Lloyd" Braun (to credit an anonymous commenter) put a slight damper on the night's festivities, hitting a walkoff grand slam against the punchless Pirates. The Mets are 1 game back of the Phillies, and are tied with the Brewers in the Wild Card. I'm slightly nervous, given Mike Pelfrey's struggles this year vs. the Marlins (4 G, 19.1 IP, 7.91(!) ERA, 1.81 WHIP).
The Phils likely face John Lannan, Odalis Perez and Shairon Martis this weekend. The Brewers face a formidable trio of Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis. The cardiac arrest Mets will be up against Chris Volstad, Ricky Nolasco, and Scott Olsen, who would love nothing more than to embarrass the Mets on the last weekend of the season for the 2nd year in a row.