August 19, 2010
Fork the Birds? -- 14 Innings..Again
On a sun drenched Wednesday afternoon at Busch in St. Louis the Cardinals leaned heavily on Adam Wainwright to put an end to their current 3 game home losing streak that had seen the Redbirds fall 2 games behind the Reds in the NL Central race.
Once again the Birds on the bat left those bats in the clubhouse as they struggled against Milwaukee lefty Randy Wolf. The Cardinals season long lack of solid fundamentals was once again center stage as Wainwright couldn't get a bunt down, trying to sacrifice runners from 1st and 2nd with one out in the 5th with the Cards trailing 1-0. From that point on St. Louis managed just 1 base runner until the 9th (Brendan Ryan reached via HBP in the 8th) when the Redbirds rallied to score twice but were closed out by future Hall Of Famer Trevor Hoffman who earned his 7th save of 2010 and 598th of his career striking out Ryan with 2 on to bail out closer John Axford and give the Brewers a sweep of the 2 game series.
Later Wednesday night in Arizona the Reds rallied to score 8 runs over the 8th and 9th innings and open their lead in the division to 3 games.
While Cincinnati has played the "lower echelon" (Astros, Brewers, Cubs and Pirates) of the Central at a 29-11 clip thus far in 2010 the Cardinals have been unable to gain any ground due to a pedestrian 20-18 record. While St. Louis holds a 10-5 edge head to head with the Reds, if they have any intentions of winning this division, vast improvement is need and must begin next week as they head to Pittsburgh for 3 games, Washington for 4 games and Houston for 3 on a trip that should provide a great opportunity for this talented team to win at least 7 games before returning for what they now hope will be a pivotal 3 game set at Busch versus the Reds September 3rd, 4th and 5th.
At Minute Maid Park in Houston Robert Allen (RA) Dickey brought his knucleball and the Mets hopes for yet another quality starting effort against the Astros having split the 1st 2 games of the 4 game set against the NL Centrals 4th place team. While Dickey struggled with command of his signature dipsy doodle pitch early, he was able to pitch into the 9th inning allowing just 2 runs on 9 hits, walking 1 and striking out 6, and losing his chance at a win by giving up a 1 out game tying homer on light hitting Geoff Blum's first HR of the year that evened the game at 2. (Dickey's 8th home run allowed). After the homer on his 120th pitch of the night Jerry Manuel removed RA and gave the game over to his much maligned bullpen on this night which included Hisanori Takahashi, Bobby Parnell and Elmer Dessens, who combined to hold Houston to just 2 hits until the Mets could post a tally in the top of the 14th inning on Ike Davis' sacrifice fly which scored Jose Reyes with the go ahead run after the Mets had wasted a base loaded opportunity in the 10th and runners in scoring position in the 13th. Manny Acosta became the latest to "replace" the "disqualified" Francisco Rodriguez as the Mets closer and recorded the final 3 outs on ground outs, collecting his 1st save and making a winner out of Dessens (3-1).
Jose Reyes led the Mets with a 4 hit night, including his 8th triple, and stole 2 bases in addition to scoring the game winner in the 14th, while David "Ducky" Wright doubled and singled in 6 at bats before removing himself from the game after his 14th inning single suffering from lightheadedness and apparent nausea. The Mets later reported that DW was ailing prior to the game.
Wright is back in the Mets(60-60) line up for the Thursday series and season finale in Houston as the club seeks to win a road series for the 1st time in 2 months as Pat Misch will make his 2nd start of 2010 facing Bud Norris (5-7, 5.42).
A series win , let alone a road series win will hopefully get the club moving in a positive direction in which winning a few more series will keep Mets fans hopes alive in a season riddled with incompetence, ineptness and downright ridiculously bad on and off field actions and distractions.
The Mantra remains:
FIRE JERRY MANUEL !!!
FIRE OMAR MINAYA !!!
and as ALWAYS WE REAL METS FANS BELIEVE & :
LET'S GO METS !!!!!!!