Don't look now -- seriously, don't -- but the Mets are atop ESPN.com's Power Rankings for the first time since . . . well, ever probably. When was the last time at any point in a season when the Mets might have been considered the best team in all of baseball? We know that 1988 was the last time the Mets had the best record in baseball this late in the season, and ESPN.com was just a glimmer in Al Gore's eye back then. Whatever . . . it feels good is all.
Moving on . . .
The Mets have been winning fairly handily in the early going, but tonight they were back to playing good, old-fashioned Mets baseball. Everyone knows what I'm talking about . . . your stomach is just kicking your ass watching the game. You're a little bit hungry, but you know if you eat something you're probably just going to throw it back up when the next pitch leaves the pitcher's hand. Just grueling, gut-wrenching, disembowling, seething, enormously-gratifying Mets baseball.
The gold star goes to Tom Glavine tonight, who struck out as many Brewers in six innings (11) as he typically averages over the course of three or four starts. Rain delays normally wreak havoc with a pitcher's preparation, but that rain must have kicked Glavine in the ass because he was on his game tonight.
You know who wasn't on his game?
Aaron Heilman. Heil gave up two singles and a walk on just ten pitches before getting yanked in favor of Duaner "Gogs" Sanchez. Duan wasn't fantastic tonight, allowing two of Heil's runners to score while walking two and giving up a single in two innings of work. Still, he managed to keep it together and hand a one-run lead over to Billy Wagner.
Wag was pretty sharp tonight . . . not lights out or anything, but he got his pitches over and he kept the Beermakers off the board and secured the Mets' seventh consecutive victory.
I'll admit, even with the rain delay I missed the first five plus innings of this game . . . I was watching "Crash", this year's so-called "best picture" at the "Oscars". A good flick, interesting, compelling. I didn't see a lot of movies this year, but I have a hard time believing that Hollywood, as banal and yawn-worthy as many of its movies can be, didn't put out a single movie better than this in the past year. In fact, I thought "Domino", which I saw last week and which spent all of three weeks in theaters, was probably a better flick. Anyway . . .
A few random thoughts from the game:
- For all of the things that Paul Lo Duca does "the right way", his baserunning snafu in the fifth inning was one of the most colossally-foolish mistakes a player could possibly make. Jose Reyes just scored, and Duca would have been on third with David Wright -- aka Johnny TwelveRBIinNINEgames -- coming up next. Just dumb.
- The booing of Carlos Beltran is just a fuzzy memory at this point. After two more walks today, Belt's now hitting .276/.439/.586. He has ten walks in nine games . . . it took him twenty-four games in 2005 to draw his tenth walk. This is a different player -- really, the player we thought we were getting -- than the Mets had in 2005.
- Victor Diaz will be in Norfolk before the end of April.
- Anderson Hernandez is useless at the plate. Honestly, there are at least four pitchers on the Mets I would rather have hitting than Hern: Glavine, Trachsel, Zambrano and Oliver. Hell, even Brian Bannister collected two hits the other day, I'd take him, too. Bann had two hits in one game, including a double! Hern has five hits in nine games and zero extra-base hits. Jeff Keppinger is hitting .273 with six walks and an OBP of .414 in AAA. The Mets are winning -- a lot -- so Hern's weak stick is overshadowed, and at least he's making all the plays in the field. When the Mets start losing some ballgames they may realize that they are giving away an awful lot of outs every game by playing Hernandez instead of Chris Woodward or Kepp.
No rest for the best . . . the Mets are at it again at 1pm on Saturday, looking to make it eight in a row.