Mets 8, Braves 7 (14 innings)

….and the Atlanta Braves are now closer to last place (12-17, 8 games behind New York) than they are to first.

A few observations after rubbing my eyes and letting everything sink in ;

1) I’d like to cut Billy Wagner some slack given that he allowed a HR to Wilson Betemit after he’d pitched a scoreless 10th, but it’s impossible to deny that he’s been crummy of late.  Baseball Prospectus’ Will Carroll described Wagner, pitching thru finger pain apparently, as “a ticking time bomb.” Just the sort of thing you love to read about the reliever who is owed $43 million over the next 4 years.

2) Was last night the occasion of Jose Reyes’ first intentional walk?

3) Which object of brutal verbal abuse from the Shea crowds is fast becoming a fan favorite, and deservedly so?

a) Carlos Beltran
b) Kaz Matsui
c) Jorge Julio
d) all of the above

Perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, especially in the case of Matsui.  But all three have been big contributors of late.  Beltran has been terrific since his return from the DL, Matsui has never looked so competent at 2B (and he’s easily the club’s most accomplished sacrifice bunter since Brett Butler), and Julio has genuine value as the last man out of the pen.

4) You’ve gotta feel good for Cliff Floyd, whose 11th inning HR off Chris Reitsma bailed out Wagner and is hopefully the begining of a turnaround for the Mets’ left-fielder.  Floyd’s recent struggles at the plate haven’t affected his fielding (marked better than two seasons ago) and many of his at bats have ended with solid contact, albiet a ball hit right at somebody.

5) Chuck James might’ve walked into a door.

David Puddy lookalike/soundalike Todd Pratt was interviewed before the game by SNY and with all due respect to the former Mets catcher, his expressions of love and respect for Braves management are a little embarrassing.  Bobby Cox-as-L. Ron Hubbard?

presumably, some of these folks had more sleep than me :

Games like these are bereft of implications because a player can be red hot for eight innings and ice cold for six. Strengths are weaknesses and weaknesses are strengths. Wagner is Julio and Julio is Wagner. Floyd’s a hero and Floyd’s in a slump. The ball carries like it’s Citizens Bank (in whose home clubhouse I hope more than a few players were watching to the bitter end) and the ball gets stuck in a wind tunnel than can only be Shea’s. Everybody failed in the clutch and the entire team came through. – Greg, Faith & Fear In Flushing

That was an impressive outing by Jorge Julio, who faced the heart of the Braves order in a tie game and prevailed. A well-deserved win by a guy who has overcome an ugly introduction to some of the toughest fans in the world.Mike’s Mets

It was just a matter of who would run out of gas first…luckily it would be Jorge Sosa, who surprisingly made it through five outs before finally imploding. But how costly will this win be? Consider: while both bullpens will be tired going into Saturday afternoon, the Braves have Tim Hudson, who you can lay even odds on going nine. Who do the Mets have? Someone who isn’t going to go nine innings.Metsradamus

For everyone who questioned Carlos Beltran’s value to this team: if Beltran didn’t advance to second on the passed ball by Brian McCann in the 14th (which many players wouldn’t have been able to do), David Wright’s would-be game-winning hit would have been a ground rule double and Beltran would have had to stop at third. – Eric Simon, Amazin’ Avenue