The Return + Indy Review

Pedro's return from a two-month stint on the disabled list went about as well as we could have hoped. Or, in the words of itsmetsforme from last night's game thread:

i got everything i wanted
pedro makes it off the field under his own power
pedro has a fair outing
pedro wins
pedro breaks 90 mph
no midgets die

The overall numbers were unspectacular: 6ip, 7h, 3r, 3bb, 3k. His control was not especially sharp, but he stuck it out for 109 pitches and handed a big lead to the bullpen. Try as he might, Scott Schoeneweis didn't hang around long enough to blow a 9-3 lead, and you swag contest-ers who predicted a Billy Wagner appearance were the beneficiaries of Show's hasty regression to the junk heap.

The big lead that was came courtesy of an eight-run fifth inning for the Mets' offense and incomparable suckiness by Barry Zito. Zito's fastball has averaged 83.8 mph, which is absurdly slow. Not Jamie Moyer slow (80.7 mph) or Tom Glavine slow (82.3 mph), but Zito lacks the effective off-speed pitches of those other two crusty veterans. The Mets put together their biggest offensive inning of the season, thanks in no small part to San Francisco's porous defense. Whatever, we'll all take it at this point after Oliver Perez's splendiferous bed-crapping from Monday night. The Mets send John Maine to the mound looking for the series win against Matt Cain on Wednesday afternoon.

3,000 miles way, Joba Chamberlain was making his inauspicious debut as a starting pitcher for the Yankees, showing some opening night jitters before getting pulled in the third inning with a 2-1 lead. Chamberlain walked four and struck out three in throwing 62 pitches over two-and-a-third. Fortunately for Yankee-haters, the void left by Chamberlain's departure from the bullpen has been filled by a grab bag of suck, which they gladly illustrated by allowing seven runs in the first four innings following Chamberlain's early exit.

While the general consensus is that a great starter is more valuable than a great reliever, there are plenty of folks who have questioned the Yankees' decision to move Chamberlain to the rotation. It was clearly the plan all along, but there's some merit to the argument that a borderline-impenetrable 8th-9th inning combination is one of the keys to postseason success. If we look back at those great Yankee teams in the late-nineties, aside from a dominant Mariano Rivera, those teams generally had terrific bullpens. The Jeff Nelsons and Mike Stantons, not to mention Rivera in a setup role in 1996. The luxury of having a Chamberlain providing tat 8th-inning bridge to Rivera is even more pronounced when juxtaposed with his immediate replacement, human gasoline fire Kyle Farnsworth. I think Chamberlain will be a fine starter, but the transition from reliever to starter probably won't be quite as seamless as the Yanks and their fans had hoped.

Though it had no bearing on my availability to watch the Mets game, Kim and I were at the movies again last night and, as they did the first two times we went, the Mets won again. We saw the new Indiana Jones film, which echoed the mixed-bag-edness of the Mets' first two games in San Francisco. Fans of the franchise will find plenty to like: The action scenes are solid, the chase scenes were very reminiscent of earlier Jones installments, and the adventure-ness of the whole thing was definitely enjoyable. I'm about to "spoil" the movie here, so if you haven't yet seen it and want to be surprised, maybe skip ahead a bit.

*** Begin Spoiler ***

A spaceship? Or, as Samuel Jackson might say, "A mother!@#$ing spaceship?" We waited nineteen years since the last Indy film for this? Jones & Co. travel the world looking for the crystal skull and, once found, travel the world again in search of the golden city. They battle Russians and killer ants, rapids and rabid natives, and the denouement two decades in the making involves crystal-skeleton-ed aliens, a portal to another dimension, and a spaceship. If the last three Star Wars episodes weren't evidence enough, it should be clear as gravy that George Lucas has officially run out of ideas.

*** End Spoiler ***

So the ending was prepoculous, and basically ruined what was an otherwise decent action flick. I had a few other gripes (really? swinging from vines? really; really? iron-lined refrigerator? really), but it's pretty incredible that certain aspects of the film -- again, the ending in particular -- ever got greenlit. Harrison Ford, despite pronouncing "nuclear" as "nucular" in one scene, was believable as the aging archeologist-hero. Karen Allen's return was nostalgic but unnecessary, as her character had little to do and served little purpose aside from the aforementioned nostalgia.

We saw the movie for free, so I can't really complain. It was a summer blockbuster-type movie, so I guess it succeeded in that role. I don't know that I can recommend spending $20 for a pair of tickets, but it's worth a rent when it comes out on your favorite shiny, digital disc format.

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