It wasn’t so long ago that the Oakland A’s big three of starting pitchers was the envy of most fans in baseball. They’ve all scattered by this point, with Mark Mulder currently rehabbing from shoulder surgery, Barry Zito introducing the skeptical 37-year olds in the Giants’ locker room to Guster, and Tim Hudson…well, until recently he was keeping himself occupied with soul patch-farming, but this year he woke up on the right side of the bro-couch and decided to become the best pitcher in baseball. With a little help from the Mets, Hudson actually managed to improve upon the 0.86 ERA he had going into tonight’s tilt at Shea. His NL-best ERA now stands at 0.62 after holding the Mets to three hits and no runs over eight brilliant innings.
The same could be said for Mike Pelfrey (above), if “three hits and no runs over eight brilliant innings” was the same as “four runs and 92 pitches over five innings.” The bullpen wasn’t much better, with the Braves launching five doubles in the game and Chipper Jones (naturally) going deep; somewhere, at his undisclosed location, Willy Aybar presumably enjoyed watching. Anyway, as long as Hudson was awake and standing near the mound, the Mets didn’t have a prayer in this one, although the game did provide a few interesting subplots — primarily the dueling Jorge Julio impersonations of Ambiorix Burgos (0.1 IP, 2 BBs, 1 WP) and Rafael Soriano (1 slider that no one could hit, 30 95 MPH fastballs up in/out of the zone, one of which Shawn Green turned around for a monstrous if meaningless home run in the ninth), as well as a couple of innings of The Ralph Kiner Show, in which the Mets beloved octogenarian booth fixture tells long stories about baseball in the ’50s and periodically forgets what he’s talking about.
But what about the evening’s other big contest? I know, I didn’t watch, either. Only 16,000 or so lucky/entirely notional fans did, but what a game they saw. Final score: Nationals 6, Marlins 5 in 14 innings.
Also, in a game little remarked upon by a media fixated on the Colorado 14ers upset of the Idaho Stampede in the NBDL Playoffs, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees. Norma Rae Rodriguez went deep twice, giving him 12 homers with nine days still remaining in April, but Mariano Rivera and his new 88 MPH cutter wasn’t fooling anyone in the eighth, as the bottom third of the Red Sox’x batting order came back from a 6-2 deficit to claim a 7-6 win.