METS (80-63, 1st NL East):
7 Reyes, SS
19 Church, RF
5 Wright, 3B
15 Beltran, CF
21 Delgado, 1B
17 Tatis, LF
3 Easley, 2B
23 Schneider, C
46 Perez, LHP
NATIONALS (56-88, 5th NL East, 24 1/2 GB):
6 Hernandez, 2B
15 Guzman, SS
11 Zimmerman, 3B
44 Milledge, CF
34 Dukes, RF
8 Boone, 1B
1 Harris, LF
53 Nieves, C
31 Lannan, LHP
I’ll be back shortly with updates during the game. First pitch is 7:10.
UPDATE, 7:20 p.m.: Jose Reyes’ leadoff single snapped an 0-for-15 skid. Jerry Manuel said before the game that Reyes was doing the right things and wasn’t worn down. He felt Reyes would snap out of it tonight or tomorrow, and he very well may have.
UPDATE, 7:45 p.m.: That’s another big hit for Damion Easley, who now has 42 RBI in 303 ABs this season. That’s about an 85 or 90 RBI clip for a platoon second baseman, so it’s not surprising that Manuel told us (again) before the game that he likes Easley’s production at the bottom of the order. … Luis Castillo is more and more becoming a forgotten man.
UPDATE, 8:02 p.m.: Manuel continues to pull the right trigger. He told us before the game that Ryan Church appeared ready to play full-time, which was why Church found himself in the lineup today against LHP Lannan. Second at-bat? Boom: 395 feet to right field. That’s a heckuva premonition.
UPDATE, 8:09 p.m.: I believe that mammoth clout by Carlos Delgado banged off the scoreboard display for tonight’s American League starting pitchers, just behind and to the right of the Home Run apple in the right-center field alley. They estimated it at 440 feet, but it may’ve been even longer. Wow.
Delgado now has 34 for the year and 465 for his career, tying him with Dave Winfield on the all-time home run list.
He appears intent on knocking down the garish old Shea scoreboard one home run at a time.
More importantly for the Mets, they now lead 5-2 as Philly trails the Marlins 7-1.
UPDATE, 8:26 p.m.: Oliver Perez has now allowed 30 runs in 41 1/3 innings of work against the Nats in his career. My question: How, exactly, is that possible?
UPDATE, 9:05 p.m.: A ball off the bat of Anderson Hernandez just came screeching back into the press box, about 10 feet to my left. It hit off a wall and came to rest.
It reminds of the time early this year â€” the extra-inning game against the Nats â€” when a foul ball came into the press box and almost hit me in the arm. It smacked against the wall behind me and off my leg, and I picked it up. Somehow, someway, another writer who shall remain nameless asked to look at it and ended up putting it in his/her bag. To this day I’m not really sure how he/she felt it was there ball.
Anyway, that was a quick aside from what has turned out to be an incredibly ugly game for the Mets. They were in control and the Phillies were getting pummeled. Now it’s a fight. You have to pin it on Perez, who just can’t seem to focus in low stress environments.
Of Ollie’s many mysteries, it is perhaps the most confounding. Throwing strikes is hard. But pitching against the Nats is easier than pitching against the Yankees or Phillies. No debate. It just is.
UPDATE, 9:38 p.m.: Another at-bat, another battered scoreboard.
This time Delgado’s poor victim was the Azek sign that displays strikeout totals in the right-field bullpen. It was Delgado’s 35th of the year, and it sent the bullpen into jubilation. (Coincidentally, the Azek sign is not working tonight. Hmmm…)
Delgado’s second homer of the game gave the Mets a 10-8 lead, and it upstaged Carlos Beltran, who, for those not following along, hit a two-run homer to give the Mets a 9-8 lead.
Beltran’s play has gone unnoticed next to that of Delgado â€” and to a lesser extent that of David Wright and Jose Reyes â€” but just consider what he has now done. Beltran has his third straight year of 100 RBI and 100 runs scored, and is creeping ever closer to 25 home runs and possibly shoring up a third straight gold glove. Everything he has done has allowed the team to overcome the recent slide of Wright.