Baseball Crank
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.

Top One

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.

Bottom One

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.

1-2-3 second.

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).

Bottom Three

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.

Top Four

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.

Bottom Four

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

Looper Time!

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.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:22 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Looked to me like they should have given Maine some Xanax 1/2 hour before the game.

Posted by: Dwilkers at October 18, 2006 8:47 PM

One thing I like about Maine, especially in the context of how the Mets use their bullpen, is that he's a fast starter. He doesn't stick around long, but he does usually have good first innings.

Posted by: Jerry at October 18, 2006 8:55 PM

I can't believe they didn't get that interference call at second just now. That may be the most blatant runner interference I've ever seen.

Posted by: Dwilkers at October 18, 2006 9:20 PM

I disagree with Randolph's decision to yank Maine just then. Maine was cruising, I thought he should have at least finished out the inning.

Posted by: Leon H Wolf at October 18, 2006 9:59 PM

Strike that objection. :-)

Posted by: Leon H Wolf at October 18, 2006 10:05 PM

He'll probably homer after I say this, but can we use somenody else just once besides Tucker?

Posted by: paul zummo at October 18, 2006 10:30 PM

Lo Duuuuca! Nice to see the paesano come through!

Posted by: paul zummo at October 18, 2006 10:39 PM

FINALLY. A 2-out hit w/ runners in scoring position - and RBIs. It's about time.

Posted by: Al at October 18, 2006 10:42 PM

Hmmm, do they go with Wagner in the 9th? I'm guessing they will, just because he hasn't pitched since Sunday.

Posted by: paul zummo at October 18, 2006 10:55 PM

Errr, Friday, not Sunday.

Posted by: paul zummo at October 18, 2006 10:55 PM

I confess, I'm too nervous to watch.

Posted by: Allah at October 18, 2006 10:55 PM

Wuss

Posted by: Crank at October 18, 2006 10:57 PM

If I turn it on, I'll jinx them and they'll lose.

Their fate depends on me.

Posted by: Allah at October 18, 2006 11:07 PM

Taguchi: oh, and that half-strike call by the ump also. You've got to be kidding me.

Posted by: Al at October 18, 2006 11:16 PM

Just haaaaaaad to make us sweat there. Hopefully Wagner's gotten his suckiness out of his system for tomorrow night.

And let's start the debate. For whatever reason, Oliver (Darren) is comfortable out of the pen. Go with Oliver (Perez) to start the game, and have Oliver (Darren) ready to come in at the slightest hint of trouble. And let Trax be a spectator.

Posted by: paul zummo at October 18, 2006 11:19 PM

Oliver Perez in game seven. Assume crash positions. I do have to respect Willie for being decisive, but I have my doubts that he's right.

Posted by: Jerry at October 18, 2006 11:38 PM

Oh, like Card fans are going "Sweet! Suppan in Game 7!" I sink not.

I know he outdueled Clemens in Game 7 two years ago, but that was two years ago. I'm gonna go ahead and say it'll be a 10-8 Mets win.

Posted by: Linus at October 19, 2006 12:45 AM

Tony LaRussa wears sun glasses during games so on one can see his eyes. This prevents any tip-offs as to what he's thinking....do you play poker?

Posted by: Gingerguy at October 19, 2006 7:02 AM

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.

Heh. Those were about my thoughts too from right after LoDuca gave them a 4-0 lead on. There's power in that crowd up there but it most definately cuts both ways.

Maine would be a hero in this town this morning that was a gutsy performance IMO. 25 year old rookie in game 6 of an LCS and he pitches 5+ innings of shut out ball? Wow. And he had nothing but a fastball and a change-up. If he could throw a breaking ball for a strike he'd be deadly. Heh, he was so shook up in the first inning, did you see him drop LoDuca's throw on his first pitch?

Man even my wife was throwing stuff at the TV when Belliard threw himself on Reyes in the third. The only thing I can figure is they didn't get that call because the Ump didn't think Reyes was trying for third.

/agree with Linus too, Cards fans aren't dancing in the street about the idea of Suppan going in game 7.

Posted by: Dwilkers at October 19, 2006 7:08 AM

Excellent thread, Crank. Your best yet. I love the catastrophic bullpen failure riff. Very accurate, very apt.

But I can't disagree with you more about Green. His fielding has been atrocious, but he's swung a great bat since game w vs the Dodgers! He's working the count, hitting the ball hard, driving guys in. What more do want from him?

I'll be very happy not to see Wagner again until they show him sitting in the Comerica bullpen Saturday night.

Posted by: Mike at October 19, 2006 8:42 AM

I'd be happy not to see Wagner again until he's sitting in whatever vehicle is carrying him up Lower Broadway during the parade (crossing fingers...no jinx, no jinx!).

Posted by: mikeski at October 19, 2006 9:44 AM

Great game and a good job by Maine. Still rootin' for my Cards, but I like good baseball. I think Maine showed you what he was made of.

Posted by: maddirishman at October 19, 2006 11:06 AM

Well, think of it this way -you have in Billy Wagner what the Indians had in Bob Wickman: guaranteed heartburn whenever he takes the mound.

At least Wagner (allegedly) has a fastball, however...

Posted by: Mark at October 19, 2006 12:34 PM
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