Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 18, 2006
BASEBALL: NLCS Game Six
Well, this is it. The LIRR picked a horrible night to go out of order; I had quite an odyssey getting home on time for the first inning.
Second and third and one out after a Pujols double. Maine not looking too steady here.
Ha-yooooge strikeout for Maine getting Edmonds. Two outs, but then Maine hits Encarnacion, to set up two outs and bases loaded for Rolen.
Maine gets Rolen to fly out weakly. Like Pedro and Piazza, Rolen has an uncomfortable habit of being seriously out of gas come October.
Maine and Oliver Perez were both essentially throw-ins in trades - and here the Mets are with Maine standing between them and elimination, and Perez possibly starting tomorrow.
Profesor Reyes goes yard! 1-0 Mets. No shutout for Cy Carpenter tonight. Hey, the last Game Six at Shea the other team had Clemens going, and the Mets wore him out, getting him to throw 138 pitches. Let's see a repeat; Carpenter's good but he's no Clemens.
Beltran grounds out to first; Pujols does not try to race him to the bag.
Top Two, 1-0 Mets
Why is it that the really good Latino players so often have names like Pedro and Carlos and Fernando and Manny, instead of, say, Yadier?
Maine could really be a solid pitcher someday. He's the same general type as Maddux, Glavine, Brad Radke, Rick Reed, obviously more in the vein of the latter two.
La Russa is complaining about the count. I think he's trying to ice Maine.
Bottom Two, 1-0 Mets
Wright is still due.
DP by Valentin. They're gonna need more than one run tonight.
Top Three, 1-0 Mets
Eckstein really is the closest thing going these days to Wally Backman. Leadoff walk.
Maine gets Speizio to whiff on a low pitch; they walk Pujols and Maine falls behind Edmonds before getting him to fly out to right.
First and third, two out (Eckstein went to third on the fly).
Chavez beats out a leadoff bunt. Nobody expects the Venezuelan bunt! That really was a great bunt.
OK, wireless internet is back. Reyes is on second, after being tackled by Belliard to avoid trying for third on a slightly wild throw. Belliard basically sat on him. Then again, Reyes went into him awfully hard.
Lo Duca grounds out.
Belliard is definitely not built like a middle infielder. He's built more like a shopping mall security guard.
Not much happened in the fourth, except that a walk to Molina means Carpenter won't lead off the fifth. The Mets still need more than one run.
Beltran gets on for Delgado, Wright on deck...need some runs here.
Delgado crushes the ball to straightaway center, might as well have hit a popup. One out.
The funny thing about all the guff Wright is taking is, he batted .333 with 4 RBI in 3 games in the NLDS, he has a double and a homer in this series. But he needs to do more for people to feel like he stepped up.
Green singles in a run. About time he contributed. 2-0 Mets.
Speizio hauls in a short fly by Valentin. Even as a veteran infielder playing out of position he hasn't been any worse out there than Green.
Top Five, 2-0 Mets
Good recovery by Maine on a grounder he knocks down. The longer Maine goes, the better relievers the Mets can bring in. Saving the pen for tomorrow is secondary, since you need to win tonight or there is no tomorrow.
Pujols bats with two outs and the bases empty and down by more than one run. This is how it should always be.
Pujols whiffs on a low pitch outside the strike zone. He's done plenty of damage in this series but the Mets have also made him look bad more than usual.
Bottom Five, 2-0 Mets
Reyes is on again, which hopefully will drain some energy from Carpenter keeping him on first.
Nope - instead, Lo Duca hits an odd-bouncing grounder, so Reyes goes to second with two outs.
Top Six, 2-0 Mets
So far this looks a lot like Game One, but I don't see this ending 2-0. Maine has thrown 86 pitches; he might go seven innings at most, but this is probably his last.
Bradford is getting warm. Feliciano can't be far behind.
3-1 to Edmonds. This does not have the look of another 1-2-3 inning.
Leadoff walk. I'd leave Maine in a bit longer - he is still pitching a shutout - but he can't have much rope here.
2-1 to Encarnacion. If he gets on, curtains for Maine.
Bloop into shallow left; that drops in front of Floyd, but Chavez hustles under it for out #1.
Maine comes out after 98 pitches, still pitching a shutout. One more run and you would just leave him in until they draw blood, but Willie is nervous here. Let's hope everyone else has it tonight too. The Shea crowd gives him a well-earned standing O.
Bradford enters the game with a 2-0 lead, one out and a man on first.
Bradford goes 3-0 to Rolen. Uh-oh.
Bradford deals a beautiful 3-0 strike on the outside corner; if he threw that pitch all day nobody would hit it.
Bradford gets the double play! La Russa proves that he was right to bench Rolen earlier. Would La Russa rather be right than win the pennant? Don't answer that.
Bottom Six, 2-0 Mets
Can I say just now that I'm not excited about the prospect of Mota entering this game?
Carpenter is going after Wright with contempt for his bat. This is painful to watch for a guy who so rarely slumps.
Wright and Green both strike out looking.
Top Seven, 2-0 Mets
Just saw a Ned Lamont ad with lots of pictures of Lieberman with Bush & Cheney. I won't get political here, just passing that on that Lamont thinks he can win voters in this telecast. Interesting.
Bradford still in. Belliard singles - Bradford gets two quick strikes and Belliard hits a bouncing grounder up the middle, just luck that it gets by Bradford.
Bradford gets ahead of Molina, too. He's throwing well, but guys like him can get chipped away even when they do.
He's got Molina down 1-2. This time, he needs to put him away - maybe another GIDP?
Molina hits a towering fly to CF. I'm not sure Beltran even opened his eyes to catch that one.
Pitching change. I think I have seen enough of Uncle Ernie and his heartburn.
Mets need eight more outs.
Mota comes in to face Duncan. I have a very bad feeling about this.
1-1 to Duncan. Foul, 1-2. This is a very big inning.
Mota gets Duncan to hit into a DP. I bow before Randolph's genius.
Bottom Seven, 2-0 Mets
Valentin bunts, is thrown out. Now, I know Looper's healthier and tougher this year but he's still one of those guys you want to give a chance to dig his own hole.
Heilman warming up.
I'm not sure why Tucker is hitting here. I'd try Floyd in the two out none on situation and hope for a Big Fly.
Tucker flies out to left, except that Speizio butchers the ball. Reyes is up.
Tucker is running; I would not mind risking him running here, since if he is thrown out Reyes leads off.
I'm guessing right now that this game comes down to Wagner with the bases loaded. Probably against Pujols.
La Russa overthinks, Tucker steals on a pitchout. Reyes gets an easy infield single as Eckstein can only knock the ball down in the hole.
Reyes steals second uncontested. The Cards had to hold the ball but if Lo Duca gets a hit that will be very costly for the Cards.
And so it is: LoDuca drills a single up the middle, 4-0 Mets. Looper Time!
Which ends, as Tyler Johnson comes in. Tucker goes up there with Dave Roberts in 2004 and Otis Nixon in 1999 for LCS-turning steals.
Error on Rolen. Which brings up Delgado with two men on. I would be throwing things right now, were I a Cards fan.
Delgado grounds out.
Top Eight, 4-0 Mets
The Mets will win this game, or they will suffer a catastrophic bullpen failure that will make Heilman and/or Wagner persona non grata at Shea for life. No middle ground remains.
Five outs remain. Speizio comes up, Pujols on deck, can not tie the game.
And the Speez pops out on the first pitch. Albert bats again with 2 down and the bases empty. Let him hit it off the 7 train.
Pujols singles, Edmonds up. They are talking about Perez vs. Oliver for Game Seven. Um, let's make sure first we have one.
Edmonds whiffs. Heilman does his job. Wagner will get his chance to pull out his set of matches and gasoline. Always leave 'em wanting more, Billy.
Top Nine, 4-0 Mets
Wright pops up. Vindication will await Game Seven. If there is one, of course.
Green gets drilled in the butt. That looks intentional, but I can't imagine why.
Rolen throws high, but gets Valentin. Man, he's had a terrible night.
La Russa is wearing those shades again. It's 11:00 and it's very dark out.
Chavez takes a 3-0 strike halfway down his shins.
Top Nine, 4-0 Mets
Wagner will enter the game in a non-save situation. You know, like that 4-run lead he blew against the Yankees.
I don't want to be too hard on Wagner, who was (with Hoffman) one of the NL's two dominant closers. He's probably going to nail this one down. I just don't entirely trust him.
First two pitches out of the strike zone. Here we go.
2-2 to Encarnacion. Trachsel is up in the pen just to frighten the fans. Encarnacion singles. This gives us a test: the fork in Rolen's back or the monkey on Wagner's?
Rolen bounces a double off the fence. The crowd is restive. Justifiably.
Why did Heilman come out?
1-2 to Belliard on a ball in the dirt that almost goes as a wild pitch. He bounces a grounder; Wright wisely takes the easy out at first. Molina is up.
Molina flies out quickly to CF. Taguchi comes up; La Russa is just gambling here. I guess he had nobody fit to hit for Molina.
0-2 to Taguchi. Wagner has his required degree of difficulty here.
2-run double to left for Taguchi. !#^%!$%!$^#*!%&!%&*!^#*&!^#*&!
Game Six, one out away. Why does that sound familiar? Ugh.
Nobody ever goes out to talk to Wagner in these situations.
Eckstein grounds out! We go 7!
Maine is giving a distracted and detatched interview while giving high fives with his left hand. Those two insurance runs sure came in handy.
They just asked Randolph who is picthing Game 7 and why: "Oliver Perez, and I like him." A Choo Choo Coleman-esque answer.