August 2006

Mets 82-49 after 131 played

MoustacheWhie Kaz Matsui watched the balls said over his head, Jose Valentin’s "Wild Mustache Ride (R)" resumed as Jose Valentin blasted a pair of long balls. That power show, plus David Wright’s slump-busting (hopefully) grand slam and another (!?) great night by Dave Williams helped this one go to 11 after the previous night’s 10-run affair.   And with the 11-3 victory in Denver, the Mets’ magic number further shrinked on Wednesday night to just …

16.

And that’s over the Phliadelphia something or others, it’s hard to read the names from this far ahead.

No. 16 could have been the most magic of all, but history will show it was a shooting star. We’re talking Dwight Gooden, Dr. K. It’s after him this blog is named after, of course.

The Mets’ 82 wins after 131 played put them on a pace for 101.4 wins. While they have one fewer win than the TIgers, thee Mets’ .626 winning percentage is the best in the game

Mets 81-49 after 130 played

Belt_3It could very well have gotten ugly early Tuesday night. But Steve Trachsel held strong, winning his 14th, which amazingly is just one short of the NL lead, and the offense does what the offense does, teeing off on the Rockies’ staff to the tune of double-digit runs in a not-as-close-as-it-sounds 10-5 victory, one in which the whole offense was in tune. 

The win further lowered the Mets’ magic number to …

17.

And you know what I mean, cuz the way it looks, is way beyond compare.  The number’s inherent magic goes well beyond the first track of the first Beatles album, of course. It was also Keith Hernandez‘s number, as well as David Cone‘s, who donned it in honor of Mex. And, of course, bronze-medal winner Dae Sung Koo.

The Mets lead remains 15 1/2 games over Philly, although the Marlins are coming on strong, with nine straight wins. The 81 wins ensures the Mets to not have a losing season, something that was inevitable, but it’s still nice to know it since we’ve had so **** many.

Mets 80-49 after 129 games

BaseYet again, the Mets take advantage of another club’s mistakes, with the wacky third inning of Monday’s  8-3 win a lovely example. Bunt hits when they weren’t meant to be, reversed calls that never seem to happen — and all capped with real, genuine base knocks.  And another great outing by John Maine — hey we have a keeper, don’t we? — ties it all up in a neat package.

With the victory, the Mets magic number continues its freefall, landing at …

18.

ChaiStraw!  Good number.

The lead over the Phillies is now 15 1/2 games, 17 over the Marlins as of this writing.

Mets 79-49 after 128 played

GreenDeficits that once seemed insurmountable — yes, three-run deficits used to feel that way, you know — can now be smashed in an instant. The balanced Mets order is humming right now (how many times have I written that this season?), with Carlos Delgado back to his old self, Carlos Beltran remaining his recent self Shawn Green fitting right in. And don’t forget ENDY.

Saturday night, the hittinig overcame up-and-down pitching in an 11-5 victory over the Phillies. Impact: high. The magic number dipped to a precarious (for the opposition, of course)…

20.

To this Mets fan, it’s one of the most magical numbers of all as Howard Johnson — the author’s favorite all-time Met, as well as dear old dad’s — sported it on his back for so many years.  Today, it’s on Green’s back, a worthy successor.

The 20 is, of course, over Philly, which dropped to 14 1/2 games out. The magic number over the Braves is 16, and then we can finally put that damned division winning streak to bed. 

With the 79 wins over 128 played, the Mets are on a pace to win 99.98 games, which we certainly won’t round down.

Mets 78-48 after 126 played

Delgado_2That loud thud you may have heard late Thursday was the St. Louis Cardinals. Carlos Delgado’s responsible for the other loud noise — that was his sixth homer in seven games, part of a nice little offensive showing put on by the Mets in their 6-2 sweep-completing win. Shawn Green added an RBI single in his Mets debut, a nice touch.

The win was the Mets’ 11th in a row at home, tying a club mark. It also was their first sweep of the Cardinals since 2000. Does it make up for Rick Aguilera’s inability to close out the Cards in October ’85? Not at all. My heart remains broken. But this sure feels nice.

The victory, combined with a Phillies implosion at Wrigley, lowers the Mets magic number to …

22.

That’s over the same Phillies, who are next in the Mets’ crosshairs with their weekend visit to Shea. It’s also a very magic number in Mets lore, having been worn by ’86 World Series MVP Ray Knight. It was also donned by Donn Clendenon, who also won the World Series MVP — in 1969. Al Leiter also wore No. 22 to the postseason.

Oh, and as a postscript to a commenter from yesterday — I referred to the Cards’ "faux ace" in discussing Mark Mulder. I had absolutely forgotten that they had Chris Carpenter, that’s how little praise and press he receives (and undeservedly — he is indeed a bona fide ace). But I’ll stand by the fact that Mulder was brought in as a No. 1a, not as a No. 2, or the No. 5 he’s pitching like. And I’ll also stand by my thought as Beltran as the NL’s MVP. He probably will split the vote with Wright and Reyes, but that doesn’t mean he’s not the most deserving player in the league.

Mets 77-48 after 125 played

Reyes_4Steve Trachsel — 13-game winner. Jose Reyes — there are more than five tools, right? Because he has like 17. St. Louis, you scare us none, with your faux ace and runner-up MVP. It was a 10-8 win for the Mets, but you see, we can hold a big lead, even if we let the opposition narrow the gap.

A nice win, and one that lowered the Mets’ magic number to a mere …

24.

Not only was it Willie Mays‘ number with the Mets (and Giants) but also, briefly, Kelvin Torve‘s (and Rickey‘s but he had a bit more cred). Right now, it’s just the the number of Phillies wins and Mets losses combined that launches the Amazin’s to the playoffs. 

With their 77 wins after 125, the Mets are on a pace to win 99.79 games, which I’ll round up to a smooth 100.

Mets 76-48 after 124 played

Belt_2Best game of the year? Perhaps. The steady buildup of the day Tuesday — good news after good news and then followed by good news — mirrored the steady buildup of the game’s drama. And it all added up to one that’ll be talked about for a long time, even if it wasn’t necessarily the top game of the year.

Tom Glavine? Healthy after he takes baby aspirin. Shawn Green? His acquisition is a mitzvah, and I’ll join him at shul on Yom Kippur — no games on Oct. 2, the day after the season ends and the day before the NLDS begins.

And then, of course the game. Albert Pujols could be MVP. But met face to face with his primary competition for the award, it was the Met who came out on top, when Carlos Beltran sealed the 8-7 sayonara win off ex-Generation K’er Jason Isringhausen in the ninth.

And to think, it was another Carlos — Delgado — who was the Mets’ headline for eight innings, slugging homer No. 399 and slamming homer No. 400. He’s back, and at a nice time, too.

Add everything up, and with a nice thud, the Mets’ magic number hits … 

25.

That’s over the Phillies. It’s just 15 over the Nationals. The Mets are on pace to win 99 ballgames come Yom Kippur.

Oh, and welcome back Timo! And go to ****, Braden!

Mets 75-48 after 123 played

Duque_2It was not a good start to the day Sunday, with Tom Glavine‘s season now in doubt because of a blood clot. But El Duque picked up the slack and eased some worries, delivering a gem, and thanks to the Carlos-‘n’-Carlos power company, the Mets completed the sweep with a 2-0 win over the Rockies.

The victory dipped the Mets’ magic number to …

26.

That’s over the Phillies, who held on in a slugfest over the Nationals. 

Mets 74-48 after 122 played

LastingsYup. That’s pretty much how the ’86 club would have done it, too.  The opponent would cruise along and before anyone even realizes it, the Mets are ahead, erupting for a merciless rally.  Only afterward, the ’86 club would get wasted and get in a bar fight. Oh well, times change.

Great that so many of the greats were there to see the win, although too bad that a few like Knight, McDowell, Maz and Davey weren’t. Did Doug Sisk really not get booed?

And everyone looked great in the throwbacks, especially Lastings Milledge, who was particularly shiny on a night of stars and as the Mets doused the Rockies, 7-4.

The victory clipped the Mets’ magic number to …

27.

That’s over the Phillies, who won big over D.C., and also made a non-splash, adding very aged Jamie Moyer to the staff. Philadelphia, which still harbors Wild Card hopes (what’s a Wild Card?, the division leader asks…), are 14 games back of the Mets.

Mets 73-48 after 121 played

Steve Trachsel suffered just a minor, one-inning hiccup, prolonging a recent stretch in which he’s been remarkably good, and the Mets feasted on a fine burst of offense in the middle innings as they took care of the Rockies in the series and homestand opener, 6-3.

The victory, combined with the Phillies’ defeat at the hands of Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals dropped the Mets’ magic number below the 30 mark, to a hardly perceptible…

28.

That would be the very same number "Fresno" Bobby Jones — one of the author’s favorite pitchers of last decade, for some reason — wore on his back for much of the ’90s at Shea.

The division lead over the Phillies now stands at 14 games.