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Game Notes: Mets vs Padres (04/23/2006)

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Fun game last night for the Mets. It was nice to see the offense get going for the first time in a while. Carlos Delgado went 1-for-1 with three walks and an HBP. His batting line stands at a gaudy .348/.434/.742. The flip side of the offensive coin is Jose Reyes who, after a terrific start to the season, now looks like the player who was so frustratingly inept last year. He's hitting .237/.275/.382, and his OPS of .649 is lower than Delgado's slugging percentage.

In other news, can Ramon Castro get a little more playing time people? Castro was 3-for-5 with a homerun and two RBIs against the Padres last night, and has three extra base hits in just twelve at-bats this season. Comparatively, Paul Lo Duca has just four extra-base hits -- all doubles -- in 53 at-bats. Lo Duca has a very solid .362 on-base percentage, but it would probably make a lot of sense for the team if Castro played two out of every five games. Not that it would happen, just that it would make the Mets a better team and it would help prevent Lo Duca from tiring out midway through the season as he has done every year of his career.

The rebirth of Jorge Julio took another positive step as he threw two scoreless innings, striking out four and not walking a batter. He loaded the bases in the ninth on a dropped third strike, an error and a single, but got a ground ball double-play to end the game. Julio has made eight appearances, the first four of which were terrible and the last four of which were terrific.

         IP    H    R    SO    BB
4/5 - 4/15   3.2   11   11     6     2
4/16 -       5.0    2    0     9     0
His true level is somewhere in between these two stretches, but he has made a visible change to his pitching in the last few appearances. His fastball can normally reach 98 or so on the radar, but it certainly appears as if he's taken a little off it -- still 95-96 -- and he's pounding the bottom half of the strike zone with regularity. It's very encouraging because if Julio can pitch anything like this on a consistent basis the Mets could very well have the best bullpen in the league. I'm not drinking the Julio Kool-Aid just yet, but I have liked what I've seen and I'm hopeful that he can keep the good vibes going.

Cliff Floyd hasn't been getting a lot of hits but he's been punishing the ball the past few games, right at opposing fielders in many cases. He's been swinging the bat very well, so I expect him to string some multiple hit games together in the coming weeks.

It's been a good road trip so far. The Mets have taken two of three, the lone loss coming in extra innings and in a game that the Mets could very easily have won. They'll have their proverbial work cut out for them tomorrow as Victor Zambrano gets in a little batting practice pitching.