Much as I’d like to dwell on the positives from Wednesday night ; Jose Reyes becoming the 9th Met to hit for the cycle ; Jose Valentin continuing his utterly improbable career revival with a two-run HR off Chris Hammond that briefly gave New York a 5-4 lead, Jet Blue serving beverages that don’t appear to have been tampered with, etc. this game really comes down to What The Fuck Is Wrong With Billy Wagner. Much as I hate to invoke the names of Johnny Fucko or Braden Looper, Wagner’s tendency to create his own jams (his most spectacular meltdowns since joining the Mets have come on occcasions when he’s started an inning with the bases empty) is cause for concern, 9 1/2 game lead or not.
The roller that David Wright scooped up in the top of the 9th? It might well have hit the 3rd base bag. Carlos Delgado clearly swung at ball four with Beltran on first and nobody out in the bottom of the 9th, but the former’s failure to get on base and/or move Delgado into scoring position, nor Wright hitting into a game ending 6-4-3 double play, means nearly as much compared Wagner’s blown save of the year. The whole point of “shortening the game” is getting the ball to Wagner — something Heath Bell and Aaron Heilman managed capably.
Of course, maddening inconsistency is consistently on display all over the place. Despite dropping four of six, the Mets have surrendered no ground to the Phillies, losers again tonight to the Yankees, 5-0. If Philly can lose when Ryan Howard has 7 RBI’s, surely they can accomplish the same when he has none. Cole Hamels saw his record fall to 1-3 — someone tell Steve Carlton to lay off the voodoo doll,
Boston rookie Jon Lester won his 2nd consecutive start, striking out 10 Nationals in Boston’s 10-3 win at Fenway. David Ortiz hit a grand slam and George Thorogood earned a little more money from that Sam Adams commercial.
Florida’s 9 game winning streak came to a halt at the hands of Baltimore’s Eric Bedard. The Orioles starter looked awfully sharp against the Mets last Friday and was enough tougher on the Fish, striking out 12 in 8 shutout innings.
Lance Berkman hit his 20th HR of 2006 in Houston’s 5-3 win over Minnesota. Perhaps Scott Boras can petition to have client Kyle Lohse sent back down. Twins sensation Francisco Lirano will have Roger Clemens tomorrow night at Ken Wanna Lay Field on ESPN. It’ll be a tough call what to feature on the CSTB Idiot Box ; the Liriano/Rocket duel, or Jay Mohr and Marcelo Balboa in a remake of “LadyBugs” (ESPN Classic)