UPDATE, 7:35 p.m.: Sorry I’m a little late. As I said before, the wireless was off in the press box here at Dolphins Stadium (a place I mistakenly called Pro Player earlier today).
Anyway, it’s Oliver Perez (9-7, 4.00) vs. Chris Volstad (4-3, 3.42) tonight. The Mets, as is their perpetual wont, scored another first-inning run, although you have to admit they did a bad job just scoring one.
David Wright struck out with two on and no out. Interestingly enough, Wright is fourth in baseball in RNBI, or runners NOT batted in. I pulled the stat from this Jayson Stark column (you may not appreciate some of the other material in it). It appears Stark got it from Baseball Prospectus.
Perhaps some of you were right recently when you chided me for pimping Wright as an MVP candidate. It appears he’s just had more opportunities to drive in runners than anyone else in baseball.
UPDATE, 9:05 p.m.: Perhaps Ollie Perez deserves a little credit so far tonight. I know he’s had a couple poor efforts against Hanley Ramirez, but he’s allowed just three hits and one earned run. He had five walks, but one was intentional and allowed him to escape a jam in the sixth. Two others were to Ramirez, who he clearly didn’t want to pitch to.
Against a predominantly right-handed hitting lineup (they have eight in there tonight), that’s a good effort by Perez, whose BAA vs. lefty hitters is .159 but against righties it’s .096 higher.
I asked Dan Warthen before the game if Perez had exorcised all his 2 1/3 IP, 6 R, 5 BB demons. Warthen said “I don’t want to jinx him…” then went on to say he thought Perez had, indeed, righted the ship.
In the meantime the offense is struggling against Chris Volstad, who retired 11 straight in a game the Mets need to give themselves a cushion against Philly.
Interesting note: some guys watch the Phillies-Cubs game in the clubhouse before BP. They roared when Ryan Howard was called out at first on a horrible call. Howard’s ground ball would’ve given the Phils a 3-2 lead. One of the writers said, “Oh, that’s a bad call,” to which a reliever (can’t remember who) replied, “No it’s not.” Soriano hit a bomb in the bottom of the inning, of course, and the Cubbies went on to win.
UPDATE, 9:17 p.m.: Chalk up three more NRBIs for Wright, who is 5 for his last 24 with seven K’s.
That was a huge, huge strikeout. It was a 3-and-2 pitch that probably would’ve been a ball.
UPDATE, 10:58 p.m.: Just an insane finish.
Jerry Manuel summed up the night best. I paraphrase for now, but he basically said the team looked like it was going through the motions, and that’s exactly what made Beltran’s game-winning grand slam all the more important. He gave them a victory they didn’t appear all that interested in achieving.
As for Luis Ayala…ugh. He told us afterward that his right leg (either a quad or a groin, he called it a hamstring but pointed toward his inner thigh) bothered him in the ninth. Manuel said he stuck with Ayala because his only other options were Pedro Feliciano (that went out the window after he didn’t face Mike Jacobs) and Nelson Figueroa.Â Not great options, indeed.
So who will close tomorrow night after Ayala’s almost-meltdown: “I don’t know what I’m doing,” Manuel said.
Crazy. Sometimes it’s hard to believe this team’s two games up in first. Other times it almost seems just as improbable.