Mets Week in Review: 4-10 June

Coming off a bad series with the Diamondbacks, the Mets welcome their division rivals the Philadelphia Phillies and then travel to Detroit to take on the defending American League champion Tigers. Could be a tough week taking on good teams with a lot of injured players and the offense in a slump.

5 June 2007
Phillies 4, Mets 2

Glavine is cruising and the Mets take an early 2-run lead on a Paul LoDuca single. Glavine gets the first two batters in the next inning, but puts his grubby hands on a ground ball coming through the infield, slowing it down so that Reyes can’t field it in time. And suddenly, just like that, the Phillies have a rally and the Mets lead is erased. I was really exhausted so I nodded off the next few innings, but woke up for some excitement in the ninth inning where the Mets seemed to be rallying with two outs. Alas, they didn’t score. The game went to extra innings and I went to bed. The Mets lost in the 11th.

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):

Easley 1
Franco .50
Glavine 2.5
LoDuca 1.5
Mota .5000
Schoeneweis .50
Smith .50
Wagner .50
Wright 2.5

6 June 2007
Phillies 4, Mets 2

Déjà vu? Sure feels like it. I didn’t get to watch this game but once again the Mets squandered an early lead with the bullpen playing the part of goat for this game. Is it Panic Time? Sure feels like it. The Mets are in a downward spiral, riddled by injuries, and unable to hit. The Phillies are on a roll after a slow start and seem to be a real contender for the division. The only saving graces for the Mets is that their starting pitching is excelling beyond imagination and that the Braves keep losing too.

Beltran 3
Delgado 1
Hernandez 3
Newhan .50
Reyes 1.5
Wright 1

7 June 2007
Phillies 6, Mets 3

Arrgghh!!! It is definitely panic time. Swept! Three straight losses to the Phillies. Three straight games where the Mets had a lead. The offense is pathetic, just 7 runs in 30 innings. The bullpen cannot be trusted. This may be the Metpocalypse!

I tuned in near the end of this game. Or what should have been the end of the game before Billy Wagner surrendered a game-tying home run to Pat the Bat Burrell for his first blown save of the season. I shouldn’t tune in to games in progress. I walked into a bar this evening just as Curt Schilling’s no-hit bid was busted up. Anyhow, extra innings were just ugly as the Mets couldn’t get anything going and the Phillies just wouldn’t stop. And the offense had even shown some signs of life with three straight homers in the sixth.

Ugly. Awful. Miserable.

Delgado 2.5
Gomez 1
LoDuca 3.5
Maine 2
Wright 1

8 June 2007
Mets 3, Tigers 0

What, me worry?

Nothing cures what ails you like a good old fashioned pitching duel, especially when the Mets are on the winning side of the match up. Powered by Wright & Delgado homers and the dominant pitching of Jorge Sosa, the Mets won their first ever appearance at the Tigers new ballpark (they were swept and pretty much mauled at the old Tiger Stadium back in 1997). Of course I’m married to a Tigers fan so I will not gloat and I do feel a bit bad for the Tigers, but the Mets really needed this win right now.

FAFIF’s take on the Tigers and this game is an interesting read.

Delgado 3
LoDuca 1
Sosa 3
Wagner .50
Wright 2.5

9 June 2007
Mets 7, Tigers 8

Sigh! The Mets go down again for the fifth time in six games. It is encouraging the flailing offense stirred themselves up to rally in the late innings and make the game close. It is discouraging that my favorite Mets starter Oliver Perez had his worst outing of the season giving up a season high 5 earned runs in five innings. On the whole, that’s not too bad as many starters can get wins out of such a performance, but Guillermo Mota didn’t help in his “relief” appearance. Everyone’s entitled to a bad day, but it’s bad timing for Perez as the team is trying to pull itself out of a slump. He’s still my Ollie though, so I’ll forgive him.

Beltran 1.5
Gotay 1
Heilman 1
Ledee 2
LoDuca 1.5
Perez .50
Sele .50
Wright 2

10 June 2007
Mets 7, Tigers 15

The Mets fall to 1-5 all-time in the Motor City. If this is any indication of how the Mets play in Detroit maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t go to the World Series last year. Still I’d rather the Tigers beat the Mets for the championship than having the freakin’ Cardinals win it (as they did).

Tom Glavine who has had many a bad start in his Met career and hasn’t won a game in a month had his worst start ever on Sunday. The rest of the team isn’t doing so well either, losing 6 of 7. At least the offense is scoring runs again. Apparently the offense and defense cannot play well at once.

One person who saw a silver lining in all this is Mets Guy in Michigan who for one day got to see several Mets guys in Michigan, on field and off. Meanwhile, Dave Mills posts the Top 10 Mets Questions Right Now at Mike’s Mets. Greg at FAFIF, ever the cockeyed optimist, has the most positive, uplifting spin on current events.

Easley 2
Franco 1.5
Gomez 2
Reyes 1.5
Wright 3

Squab the Deck

Birds seem to love our house. On two occasions we were forced to evict starlings nesting in our dryer vent (whom we affectionately named Scratchy and Scratchy II), birds of all feather like to rest on our bathroom window to watch us shower, and pigeons gently coo us to sleep.

After a long stretch of cold, wet weather we once again ventured out on our porch only to discover another nest, this one belonging to a pigeon. The mother pigeon was rather skittish and probably for good reason not trusting of the human trying to fix his bike so near her eggs. We named her Didi after a rather skittish person we know. Any time one of us went out on the porch, Didi would run frantically down to the edge looking over her shoulder the whole time and then fly off to the power lines.

A few days later the eggs hatched, producing two cute in a very ugly way pigeon squab. Didi is a bit less skittish now that she has her young to protect, although she has to venture off more often in search of food. I expect the wilds of Somerville are good places to hunt down the pigeons natural prey: bread crumbs and stale french fries. Being good hosts we try to keep an eye on the baby pigeons while Didi is away. Needless to say, our landlord doesn’t like this at all.

I searched online for information about baby pigeons (such as the plural of squab) and learned that seeing baby pigeons is considered a rare feat. I also found a site that tells how a baby pigeon grows. Apparently our two chicks will spend about four weeks total in the nest while mother Didi stuffs them with gourmet meals. After that time the squab will look more like pigeons and start to fend for themselves a bit more. I also read that the male pigeon is involved in caring for the young, but I’ve only observed one pigeon tending this nest (like I can tell them apart).

Didi guards her eggs.

The freshly hatched squab chicks.

One week later, one week uglier. Sorry Didi, I know they’re the apple of your eye.

More on the pigeons as they develop.



Curb Appeal

For the past month and a half there’s been a spate of construction workers digging up the corners of every intersection in Somerville in Cambridge. At first I thought it was part of a city beautiful program to repoint all the intersections. It turns out that they’re actually installing curb cuts for handicap access with nifty rubber no-slip thingies perhaps as part of a crosswalk safety improvement program.

Several years ago, a geologist friend of ours came to live in Boston (for what turned out to be a short stay). He pointed out with amazement that all the curbs in the Boston area are made of stone. I guess because I grew up in New England I took stone curbs for granite — er, granted — but once he pointed them out I couldn’t help noticing them. It’s true too, miles and miles of stone line our streets and sidewalks whereas in other parts of the country the curbs are made of concrete.

The amazing revelation of this public works project is just how <i>deep</i> the curbs go. When the corners are excavated I can see the stone going down 2-3 feet into the ground. What we see on the street is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. I wonder just how much stone is holding back the streets from the sidewalks. Not only that, but I wonder just how long the curbs have been in place. The streets and the sidewalks are repaved regularly (albeit not often enough in some cases), but the curbs appear to be hardy enough to withstand snow & ice, errant SUV drivers, and road improvement programs across generations.

The public works department curb cutters came to our neighborhood recently so I took some photos of the curbs. Had I any foresight I would have put a ruler or something to provide the perspective that is sorely lacking in these pictures.