Thursday, April 10, 2008

Angel from Heaven: Pagan wins it in the 12th

The Mets beat the Phillies in twelve by a score of 4-3. Angel Pagan scored Reyes with a single in the bottom of the 12th.

Winning Pitcher:

Jorge Sosa (1-0) threw just one pitch in the game, retiring Pedro Feliz on a groundout. Because he was the last guy to pitch, he gets the win. Scott Shoeneweis is the real hero though. More on that later.

Losing Pitcher:

Tom Gordon (0-2) was cruising, retiring five batters in just thirteen pitches in the eleventh and twelfth innings, but then gave up a two-out double to Reyes and the game winner to Pagan.


-Maine was okay tonight, but I don't think he was quite as good as his line indicates. He went 6+ innings, giving up five hits and just one run, a homer by Pedro Feliz in the seventh. But he had just one strikout, and walked five hitters. I didn't think his slider was all that great, and he seemed very erratic, though his ball to strike ratio wasn't all that terrible(35 balls, 55 strikes). He didn't have his best stuff, but was in line for the win until Heilman let the Phillies tie it in the ninth. I think that really shows how far he's come as a pitcher: he can not have his best stuff, walk five and strike out just one, and not really have a great slider, yet still go over six innings, give up one run, and be in line for the win.

-Do you want the bad first or the good? Let's go with the bad. Aaron Heilman is really struggling. He gave up the lead in the top of the eighth inning, and just looked absolutely terrible doing it. He was booed off the field at the end of the inning, and though I don't usually condone booing anybody who wears a Mets uniform, I probably would have done the same thing if I were at Shea tonight. He's had a very slow start to the year, and if the Mets want him to be a set-up man for Billy Wagner, he REALLY needs to be a lot better than that.

We aren't even talking about being consistent yet; he just needs to be somewhat reliable. SNY took a vote at the during the game, asking which player would help the Mets most when he comes off the Disabled List: Pedro, Alou, El Duque, or Duaner Sanchez. The answer was Moises Alou, and that is probably the correct one, but I bet Sanchez got a lot of votes after that eighth inning.

-Aside from Heilman, the Mets bullpen was rather, dare I say it, phenomenal. In the seventh inning, after Maine gave up a home run to Pedro Feliz and a double to Chris Coste, Randolph removed Maine and replaced him with Pedro Feliciano. Feliciano had a rather mediocre outing last night, and it was pretty important for him to get in a groove pretty quickly with the top of the Phillies order due up. He walked Jason Werth on five pitches, and the tension screw around Shea Stadium tightened cruelly. But then he struck out Shane Victorino, Eric Bruntlett, and Chase Utley all in a row, the latter on a steady diet of deadly sliders. When Feliciano doesn't locate his slider, he becomes ineffective very quickly. But when he gets it over for strikes and gets hitters to chase after it, he is almost impossible to hit- especially for lefties.

-For the rest of the bullpen, Wagner pitched a scoreless ninth, Joe Smith was pretty good in the tenth, but put the Mets in a tough situation in the eleventh, when the Phils had runners on first and second and one out, with Chase Utley at the plate Ryan Howard on deck. Randolph did the only thing he could do in the situation, and went toleft-hander Scott Shoeneweis. Shoeneweis had recieved most of the blame for the loss on Tuesday, whether it was justified blame or not. But here, he got Utley to ground into an inning-ending double play, and retired Ryan Howard and So Taguchi to start the twelfth. They replaced him with Sosa only because Pedro Feliz is a right-handed hitter, and Sosa retired him on one pitch. Still, major kudos to Shoeneweis, whom every Mets fan and his brother has ripped for the last year. I admit that I have often fallen victim to this. But, to get some perspective, this is just one nice game. Let's see him sustain it.

-What has Angel Pagan not done for this ball club? Clutch walk-off single in the twelfth, but I just love how he goes the other way from the left side of the plate. He did it twice tonight, and both times got hits. He's been, as Gary Cohen put it on the SNY broadcast, a god-send for the Mets. Ron Darling noted that the only thing Pagan hadn't done for the Mets was hit a walk-off homer. Though he didn't do that, a walk-off hit is a walk-off hit, no matter how far it travels.

-By the way, it was nice to see Reyes smoke a double into the gap there to set up the game-winner by Pagan. That was a frozen rope to right-center. Hopefully he can keep it going into the next series, because as Ron Darling pointed out, the Mets won't be nearly as good as they can be unless #7 gets going.

Wow, I wrote a ton. That's what happens when you feed we malnourished Mets fans with a walk-off win over the Phillies. Ahh....

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