The Mets week in review is much like my week in review as I traveled to see the Mets play in San Diego and Los Angeles. The 7-game Southern California swing was a test of the Mets who in the 6 weeks prior to the All Star break played very poorly. Winning three of four against the bottom-feeding Reds was not the evidence I needed to prove that the Mets were turning things around. Since San Diego and Los Angeles are two of the top teams in the National League and since historically the Mets struggle on the West Coast, these seven games would be indicative of whether the Mets are contenders or pretenders.
And the verdict is??? Good. The Mets won four games, a decent showing overall. They lost the series to the Padres but ironically it was in their loss to the Padres in the rubber game of that series that proved to me that they’ve regained their fighting spirit by rallying to tie the game in the 8th inning. That revitalized spirit carried into Los Angeles where they won 3 of 4 from the Dodgers and continues at Shea where they’re now playing the (admittedly bad) Pirates.
Before reviewing the game, let’s review where I’ve seen the Mets (and other ball clubs) play in my baseball travels. It should go without saying, but I’ve obviously seen the Mets play countless home games at Shea Stadium as well as numerous Red Sox games at Fenway Park and I won’t enumerate each of those games here. Games not involving the Mets are in italics.
1985: Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium (I recall attending at least two other games at Yankees Stadium earlier in my childhood)
1997: vs. Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards
1998: vs. Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park (this was a road trip for me at the time)
1998: vs. Philadelphia Phillies at Veteran’s Stadium
1999: vs. Montreal Expos at Stade Olympique
1999: Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium
1999: vs. Philadelphia Phillies at Veteran’s Stadium
2000: vs. Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park
2001: Montreal Expos vs. San Francisco Giants at Pacific Bell Park
2001: vs. San Francisco Giants at Pacific Bell Park
2004: vs. Chicago Cubs (3 games) at Wrigley Field
2004: Tampa Bay Devil Rays vs. Chicago White Sox at New Comiskey Park
2004: vs. Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park
2005: vs. Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium
2006: vs. Milwaukee Brewers (2 games) at Miller Park
2006: vs. Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park
2006: Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium
2007: vs. San Diego Padres at PETCO Park
2007: vs. Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium
In total I’ve been to games at 12 active ballparks and 3 former ballparks seeing the Mets play in 12 of the 15.
Mets 1, Padres 5
An ugly start to the road trip that didn’t make me feel like getting up for the 6 am flight to San Diego the next morning. The Mets played lethargically and seemed to revert to their miserable June ways. The only highlight is that Jorge Sosa returned from the DL and threw a decent game and wasn’t too shabby at the plate either. The other highlight was that I wasn’t here to see this dismal game in person.
Players of the game (I award up to ten points, maximum of 6 points to one player, distributed among the Mets players who had the biggest impact in the game):
Mets 7, Padres 0
My first game at a Petco Park and it was a good one. Orlando Hernandez pulled out one of those gems he sometimes throws with seven shutout innings AND he followed Sosa’s lead with a good day at the plate and even stole a base! Better yet, the Mets offense came alive led by Carlos Delgado, Jose Valentin, and Paul LoDuca. I had a good time watching the Mets play good baseball.
Mets 4, Padres 5
For six innings it looked like the Mets had reverted to their sluggish play of Monday night getting nothing going versus Greg Maddux. But then the team rallied in the 7th & 8th innings, capped by David Wright’s three-run homer which tied the game at 4 runs apiece. Unfortunately, the Padres were able to rally back off an unusually sloppy Joe Smith in the 8th inning. I have to admit that even though it meant watching my team lose that I enjoyed the vibe of Trevor Hoffman’s heavy metal entrance and the Padres’ fans cheering him to another win. The funniest part of the game is that Scott Linebrink, who surrendered Wright’s game-tying home run, was booed mercilessly as he departed the field at the end of the 8th inning. Yet he was the pitcher of record when the Padres regained the lead and thus got a win for his poor efforts. Baseball rules are delightfully weird.
Despite the loss, the Mets rally made me feel more positive about this team than I have in quite some time.
Mets 13, Dodgers 9
I love a pitchers duel. With future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine and former Red Sox postseason hero Derek Lowe taking the mound in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, one would expect to see few runs scored. One would be wrong. This was an ugly, sloppy, messy and far too long game. Yes the Mets won, and it’s certainly good to see the offense on fire, but as a baseball purist, I just have to say yuck!
Mets 4, Dodgers 1
This is more like it. The wonderful Oliver Perez was a master on the mound. Carlos Beltran slugged a 2-run homer to help put the Mets ahead for good. Even the Dodgers run came via a home run by old friend Nomar Garciaparra, and I can’t deny him that.
Mets 6, Dodgers 8
I was busy visiting the Getty Center and going to church so I missed the Mets only loss in the series versus the Dodgers. From what I read the offense is still on fire and got the Mets off to an early lead, but shoddy pitching and fielding couldn’t hold it. There are worse ways to lose and the sting doesn’t hurt so much if the team rebounds and wins in dramatic fashion in the very next game.
Mets 5, Dodgers 4 (10 inn.)
I missed this game too since sleeping off my redeye flight took precedence. It sounds like a good one though, perhaps one of the classic games of the season. It’s already being called the Chip Ambres game since the player called up only to play a handful of games delivered a 2-out single to drive in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th.