Kevin Devaney here again, finishing up tonight from Shea Stadium after another wild night.
As I’m sure you know by now, the Mets rallied for a pair of runs in the 12th off Giants closer Armando Benitez and won 5-4. Jose Reyes drew a walk and forced Benitez into two balks before Carlos Delgado smacked a walkoff homer to end it. Wow, Benitez blows a game at Shea. Sounds familiar.
Anyway, watching Oliver Perez throw another strong game tonight got me thinking. Let me pose to you a hypothetical situation:
Game 7 of the World Series – Mets vs. the Red Sox at Shea Stadium (the National League won home field thanks to a Jose Reyes walkoff inside-the-park home run in the all-star game). Josh Beckett is lined up to pitch for Boston. The Mets, however, are faced with a difficult decision.
You see, Tom Glavine pitched Game 5 and Pedro pitched Game 6 (he threw a gem, too, something like 8 shutout innings with 9 Ks). The Mets need a starter. El Duque is working out of the pen. Jorge Sosa isn’t an option.
It’s either Oliver Perez or John Maine.
Who do you want taking the ball?
When I posed the question to a buddy today, he didn’t hesitate Ã¢â‚¬â€ Perez all the way, he said. I figure most would go with Maine since it seems everyone is just waiting for that day for Perez to be reborn as the erratic pitcher he was with the Pirates early last year. Maine, to Mets fans, seems like a sure thing at this point.
But watching Perez tonight swayed me a little. He’s got something that I really like, a certain air when he’s on the mound. He showed how resilient he was tonight, bouncing back after two first inning home runs to retire 18 of 19 until the seventh.
When it comes to playoffs, I’ll take a guy with the most guts, which in this case is Perez.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ In my research tonight, I realized the Mets have lost only four series (out of 17) Ã¢â‚¬â€ three to the Braves and one to the Marlins, all 2-1. Oliver Perez is 4-0 on those series’.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Guillermo Mota will rejoin the Mets tonight now that his 50-game suspension for failing a drug test is up. The optioned Burgos to New Orleans to make room for him.
I really, really hope Mets fans are hypocrites tonight if Mota pitches. Shea Stadium booed Barry Bonds tonight, chanting “You cheated” when he pinch hit in the 10th. If they’re taking such a moral stance against Bonds, I hope they do the same for Mota. I don’t expect them to make a similar chant. But if they cheer him louder than normal, I’ll lose a lot of respect.
It won’t surprise me if they do because, apparently, cheating isn’t wrong if it’s for your team. Mota cheated and, maybe worse than Bonds, he got caught.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Delgado, after hitting two home runs for the second time in three games, was asked tonight if he was ‘back’. His response: “I never left.” He didn’t but his production did. It seems he’s really straightened it out, though. He has nine RBI in the last three games and 19 RBI in his last 17 games. He also has 42 career multi home run games.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ The Mets have four walkoff wins on the year and 15 comeback victories. This was their first walkoff home run of the year.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ With a 33-17 record, the Mets have matched their third best start through 50 games in franchise history. The best was in 1986 at 35-15; second was 1988 at 34-16 and the other 33-17 start was in 1972. Wow. Those years should mean something. (Note: the Mets had no business not getting to and winning the World Series in 1988).
Ã¢â‚¬â€ The Mets haven’t made an error in eight games.
I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think Delcos will be back for tonight’s game. He’s really sick. I’ll try to get the job done.