Friday, July 4, 2008

Three Cheers for the Orange, White and Blue

...and black. And on Irish Night, green. And pink, if you will only attend a sporting event if you can wear pink team paraphernalia.
Happy Fourth of July everyone!! The Mets are coming off their biggest offensive series of the year, and I think that's reason enough to celebrate. Bring on the bbqs, the fireworks, and have a few drinks, because the Mets have learned how to hit with runners in scoring position. If we forget about the hiccup on Monday night, the team played three competitive games, even coming back from being down 4 runs on Wednesday night and leading before losing in the bottom of the 9th. In the series, the Mets scored 25 runs and had 46 hits. Going into the important 4 games series with the Phillies, this is exactly what the team and fans want to see. On Wednesday night, Pedro had a rough start before settling down after a rain delay. All was forgiven after some clutch hitting that put the team ahead. I wasn't even that upset with Aaron Heilman, who only gave up one run in the entire month of June, he pitched a scoreless inning before coming back out in the 8th. Heilman hit a batter, who eventually scored on Chris Duncan's home run off of Pedro Feliciano.
Now, is it just me, or does Chris Duncan (son of Cardinals pitching coach and brother of Shelly) look a lot like our own Devo?
He won't let me put an actual picture of him up, so if you don't know him, just take my word for it, but I digress.
The good news about the Phillies series is that Cole Hamels pitched last night and tonight, they will be facing J.A. Happ. The Mets tagged him for 5 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings in his only other Major League start in May. With Johan pitching tonight, I'm gonna say that the Mets have a chance, but you really never know. They might have some problems against Moyer and Kendrick on Saturday and Sunday, but with the 'good' Ollie and Maine pitching against them respectively, I think these games will be close. Monday should be a wild card, with old Pedro against a 3-6 Eaton. Who wants it more?
Hopefully, the Mets will keep their bats alive for this all-important stretch. What is refreshing to me is that Jerry Manuel as come out and said that this series means a lot and that everyone on the team knows it. Another guy named Willie would NEVER put more emphasis on one series over another. Meanwhile, everyone else knew that the players, fans and analysts were thinking that a series against the Braves or Phillies is more significant than say, a series against the Pirates or the Reds.
Today's New York Post said that Jose Reyes and Keith Hernandez had a confrontation on the team plane in regards to Hernandez's comments that the Mets baby Reyes. Reportedly, the two were close to exchanging punches before others intervened. Reyes' friends had told him about comments Hernandez made during broadcasts about the shortstop's tendency to need a pacifier after certain plays. The 'stache thought it was about time for the Mets to stop tolerating that type of behavior from Reyes, who is 25. I guess Reyes didn't like that he was being talked about negatively on the air, by someone who was sitting a few rows down from him. It is probably best that the two aired it out...I kinda wished they fought though (okay, not really, that clearly would not have been good for the team, publicity-wise or anything).
In Wimbledon news, no one should be surprised that it will be a Federer-Nadal final. Rafa steam-rolled over Roger in their final at Roland Garros last month, but the grass has always been Roger's home court advantage. I was away for last year's Wimbledon final, a five-set marathon, but I heard it was fantastic. Hopefully this year will also be an epic. I would love to see Nadal win in England to be the first since Bjorn Borg to pull off the near-impossible-- winning the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year.
On the women's side, the Williams sisters are playing each other in the final, something they haven't done since Wimbledon 2003. The sisters have been very impressive on their respective runs these past two weeks. Neither Venus nor Serena plays at their best when they have to play each other, but I'm going to pick defending champion Venus, who is almost as at home on the grass as Federer is.
Have a great holiday Mets fans! Enjoy those burgers and fireworks.

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