Monday, April 7, 2008

Disgust out of Atlanta

As usual, the Mets had trouble in Atlanta. We had started to turn that streak around the last couple seasons, in which the Braves actually failed to win the NL East, so hopefully this isn't a bad omen.

I was looking forward to John Maine's first start of the season. He had a break-out season last year, and I'm looking forward to this year with great excitement for him. Unfortunately, he just didn't have it on this day. He lasted just four innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and three walks. We still had a chance to come back though, but the bullpen went on to allow another seven runs, including a grand slam given up by Jorge Sosa when it was clear from the previous batters that he had no control that day. Sosa probably should have been pulled prior to facing Kelly Johnson, but I won't criticize Willie Randolph for it. Nor will I get down on John Maine. I fully expect him to come back strong in his next start.

And of course, there was the ridiculous call by the umps. For those who didn't get to see it, the Mets were down 4-1 in the 5th inning with the bases loaded and one out. Jose Reyes hit a shot to left-center that bounced into the diving fielder's glove, which should have scored two runs, but somehow the umpire said he caught the ball. It was perfectly clear to me watching it happen live on television that it bounced; it hit so far in front of his glove that I couldn't even call it a trap. Angel Pagan obviously saw it bounce, and took off from second to score, so was easily doubled off at second to end the inning.

In a rare display from Randolph, although it was impossible not to, he ran out onto the field and protested quite strongly. The umpires got together, and thankfully, for my sanity and the protection of any breakable items surrounding me, they reversed the call. Ryan Church, who was actually passed by Pagan at third because he saw the out call and stopped (a whole other situation), was allowed to score, and Pagan was put at third where he would eventually score anyway on a groundout by Luis Castillo to bring the score to 4-3. Although, in the end, it proved to not matter that much, as the Braves went on to win 11-5, but at the time, that would have been a huge killer to this team if that call had stood. I'm also quite surprised that Bobby Cox somehow managed to not get himself ejected in that inning.

I was looking forward to facing Tom Glavine. I knew his comments after the last game of the season, where he said he was not devastated following his 7 run, 1/3 IP, season-ending performance, were taken too harshly by Mets fans, including myself. And he got a chance to explain himself and his rationalization in a pre-game interview on SNY. But I still can't help but feel utter, complete hatred towards him. And I so badly wanted to take it to him this series. But the weather wouldn't cooperate, forcing the first game to be rained out and postponed. This pushed Tim Hudson back to what would have been Game 2, and they decided to leave John Smoltz in as the starter in the final game, because they didn't want him to come off the DL and pitch in Colorado. So that meant that Tommy was the odd man out, and Mets fans will have to wait a bit longer to have some revenge.

I was looking forward to Johan Santana's second appearance, and first against the Braves. However, after averaging 7 1/4 runs in the first four games, the offense disappeared this game. Johan gave up just one run in 7 innings, along with a double and two fine defensive plays. He also got his first loss as a Met, leaving the game losing 1-0. The Mets would be able to add a run in the ninth, but not before Aaron Heilman gave up a two-run HR to Mark Teixeira. And with that 3-1 victory, the Braves swept the Mets in the 2-game series.

Not a whole lot has changed with the Braves; Larry Jones is still a Met-killer, and I still hate him. The biggest change from last year though is he's not the only one who will kill us. Mark Teixeira batting behind him is looking just as scary, if not scarier. I still have to say they are the third best team in the division, but that gap is looking smaller than I thought.

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