“I’m wondering where that fan is that leans over and catches balls. We need one of them young fans again,” said Roger Clemens, reacting to the Mets’ Carlos Gomez robbing Miguel Cairo of a 3 run HR in the last of the 4th, doubling Hideki Matsui off 2nd in the process. The Amazins’ rookie LF proved himself a likely candidate for a future Rocket drilling by bunting for a pair of singles and scoring the Mets’ first run on a Jose Reyes single in the 3rd.
Reyes — he of the Wise potato chip posters plastered all over River Ave. — was no small annoyance to Clemens, either. Jose-Jose-Jose drilled a hanging curve from the Rocket into the right field seats in the 5th inning and stole 3 bases on Jorge Posada, at least one of ’em on a pitchout. He also made a nice snatch of a poor Captain Red Ass throw in the 2nd inning on Bobby Abreu’s swipe of 2nd base.
The enigmatic Oliver Perez was nothing short of fantastic, winning a mound duel against a first ballot Hall Of Famer with one of his finest performances in a Mets uniform (7.1 IP, 5 hits, 6 K’s). True, he was bailed out by Gomez, but with the exception that scary 4th inning, Mr. High Socks did a masterful job staying changing speeds and showing the sort of poise that few could’ve imagined when he was acquired in exchange for the X-Man last year. Granted, he fell behind on far too many occasions, but there were at least 5 three ball counts that didn’t result in a walk or a Yankee hit.
After a thoroughly brutal road trip, the Mets’ bullpen reverted to early season form, Pedro Feliciano and Joe Smith combining to leave Derek Jeter stranded on 3rd in the last of the 8th, and Country Time blowing away Matsui and Cano to end the evening.
I cannot claim, however, that merely ending a 5 game losing streak has soled all the Mets’ woes. Carlos D. is “killing the Mets” insists Joe Beningo-Gazingo, and after watching Delgado flail his way into 4 K’s (three of ’em against Clemens), it’s hard to disagree. And while we’re waiting for Delgado to come around, surely the Willie Randolph can find a better option for DH in interleague games than Julio Franco. I never thought thought I’d say this, but even calling up Fernando Tatis from New Orleans would be a more efficient use of those at bats. That said, the combined 93-years-old pitcher/batter pairing of Clemens and Franco had me fumbling for the cell phone in order to consult with the Elias Koteas Sports Bureau. Whoever answers continues to insist that I have the wrong number, but I think they’re just being uncooperative.
Derek Jeter’s double to right in the top of the 8th was one of those “Endy woulda had it” moments. Or, if you prefer, Ricky Ledee would’ve had it. There’s something absolutely crushing about watching Shawn Green pull up to play the line drive on a hop…and the ball got past him, anyway. But full credit to Green — no one runs harder after balls that have rolled to the warning track.
On a night of such ill-will and rude behavior between fellow New Yorkers, it takes a very special person to lead an entire subway car of strangers in a postgame chorus of “New York, New York”.
That special man is Jeff Jensen.
Of course, Jeff was attempting to lead the crowd in a chat of “A-Rod Is A Closet Case” and they were trying (in vain) to drown him out, but the important thing is that he brought people together.