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Game Notes: Mets vs Giants (04/26/2006)

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I really can't say enough about the Mets' win yesterday, because it was such an important game for a number of reasons. For starters, the Braves had already lost to the Brewers, which meant that a Mets victory would stretch their lead to five games, the same as it was before losing two straight to Atlanta last week. Secondly, with the Mets leaving San Francisco to play the Braves this weekend, a win would give them a bit more momentum heading into that series. Lastly, and most importantly, a win would go a long way towards distinguishing this particular Mets team from the teams of the past few years, because this was exactly the kind of game that those other Mets teams would have lost.

This game was an absolute dogfight, and we have the Win Probability graph to prove it. This thing looks like Pinocchio's polygraph, with so many ups and downs, so many leads taken and promptly given away. And what can you say about Barry Bonds, whose oft-rumored declining bat speed took a day off as he smashed a 99 MPH Billy Wagner express 400+ feet to left center field. Wagner gave up three runs -- all unearned, thanks to another error by David Wright -- but he had a zip on his fastball that we haven't seen yet this year, and struck out the side in the ninth.

I don't blame Randolph for intentionally walking Bonds, since I know I was hollering at him not to. As I mentioned earlier in the week, the intentional walk is almost always a bad idea, and in this instance it would have put the tying run on base and brought the potentional winning run to the plate. The Mets pitched to Bonds andhe hit the ball a mile, but I still think it was the right call even if it didn't work out this time.

After not drawing a single walk in the first two games of the series, the Mets racked up eight in yesterday's finale, seven of which were of the unintentional variety. Jose Reyes walked twice and was on base four times in seven plate appearances, though his first walk was erased when he was picked off by Matt Morris in the first inning. Carlos Delgado walked twice (once intentionally), was hit by a pitch, and hit a homerun and a double, and is basically pretty good and stuff.

From the "it ain't all peaches and cream" department, Brian Bannister left the game in the sixth inning after injuring himself while running the bases. The early diagnosis is a strained hammy, though we should know more following today's MRI. If Bann has to go on the shelf for a while, the Mets have a few options:

  1. Move Aaron Heilman from the bullpen back to the rotation
  2. Give Darren Oliver a few spot starts
  3. Call up someone from AAA, preferably John Maine and not Lima Time!
  4. Call up someone from AA or lower, like Mike Pelfrey or Alay Soler
As much as I would like to see Heilman back in the rotation, I wonder how smart it is to shuttle him back and forth if it's only going to be for a couple of weeks. Still, the Mets have a very capable righty in Heath Bell just begging to be called up, having struck out sixteen to just three walks in nine innings at AAA Norfolk. Bell could slot into Heilman's spot in the pen and the Mets wouldn't be losing too much, particularly if Bannister is only going to be out for a couple of weeks. There really are any number of options right now and I think a lot depends on the results of Bannister's MRI and the length of his absence from the team.