The site was down for a loooong time last night, and we actually missed our first game thread in the three-plus years of Amazin' Avenue. While that fact saddens me for a number of reasons, it also made me think twice about having a game thread for tonight's game since the Mets are officially 1-for-1 when AA goes threadless. The reason for the downtime was a hardware failure following a recent server upgrade for all of the SBN hosted sites. Our incredible tech team determined the cause fairly quickly, but it took quite a bit of time to make sure there were no other points of failure.
Unlike our servers, the Mets had comparatively few points of failure last night, as they put together a very strong effort from start to finish. Yes, it was against the Nationals, again, but the immediate need was to generate some good feelings in the clubhouse and amongst an increasingly frustrated fanbase, and a nice 7-2 victory will quell the torrent of complaints for one day at least.
Carlos Delgado was appropriately dropped in the order from fifth to sixth, with Ryan Church and his hot bat sliding into the five-hole. Church went 2-for-5 with a couple of ribs, but the change did little for Delgado, who went 1-for-5 with an RBI-groundout, dropping his average to .208. His .589 OPS is just 43 points higher than his career slugging percentage of .546.. He is an offensive and defensive sinkhole at a position that expects considerable offense and passable defense. I don't verily believe that he is a sub-.600 OPS hitter at this point in his career, but his days of .900 OPSes, and possibly even .850 OPSes are squarely in the rearview.
Ironically, the only regulars who didn't collect at least one hit last night were franchise cornerstones Wright and Reyes (though Wright did draw a walk). Even The Dominican Out Machine™ Luis Castillo collected a couple of singles (and might've had a third if his sharp liner in the seventh didn't stay up long enough for Milledge to run it down). For all of Castillo's faults -- and there have been many to this point -- he has drawn enough walks to give him a respectable .343 on-base percentage despite his .246 batting average. He is slugging an anemic .262, but has swiped five bases in as many attempts, so that's something I guess.
Johan Santana was terrific, allowing just two runs on a two-out double by Tim Redding in the fourth and otherwise shutting down a nothing-special Washington offense. He wasn't unusually dominant -- just four strikeouts in seven innings -- but he only walked one batter and went 2-for-2 at the plate with two doubles and a walk. Duaner Sanchez continues to look sharp, pitching another perfect inning, and Billy Wagner closed things out in the ninth, walking a batter but also picking up a couple of whiffs.