Record: 30-22 Change on last season: +11
Just when hope begins to fade, along comes a decent all-round performance; good pitching, some clutch hitting, and we blank the Mets, with our biggest margin of victory all season. Indeed, you've got to look to July 17, 2003, to find a more convincing Arizona blowout on the road; that's all the way back to the first game after the All-Star break, when we plunked the Padres 9-1 in San Diego.
Halsey proved his poise once again; two starts ago, he out-duelled Clemens, this time entered the bear-pit of Shea Stadium, and pitches seven innings of shut-out ball in front of 34,000 Mets fans. It wasn't easy. In the first, the Mets had a runner on third with one out, but Halsey got the two biggest NY names, Beltran and Piazza, to line- and strike-out respectively.
In the first three innings alone, the Mets sent eight batters up with runners in scoring position. The results? No hits, a sacrifice and a walk. Overall, Piazza and Beltran (combined salary this year, over $27,600,000) - went 0-for-7 against Halsey (2005 salary, $317,500). The Mets tried to run against Halsey, including a double steal, but he calmly adjusted his approach and stopped that.
Beyond allowing six hits, a walk and no runs over seven, Halsey also helped his cause, getting his first hit and first RBI with an infield hit in the seventh. However, perhaps his best at-bat was a perfect sacrifice in the sixth that moved two runners over, and allowed Counsell to deliver a two-run single. That doubled our lead from 2-0 to 4-0, and gave us much-needed breathing room.
Generally, Counsell was the hero, with three hits and three RBIs. He got a leadoff single to start the first, then came home on Cruz's homer, to give us a 2-0 lead before the Mets got an out. Two hits each for Green, Tracy and Snyder: the bottom half of our order really came through, slots six through nine going 9-for-21. And Koplove and Valverde pitched shutout innings to complete a gratifyingly solid game - the first in a while where we've actually looked like winners.
Thanks to Dodger Thoughts for picking up on the Green vs. Ortiz piece from yesterday. So far, the results of our poll seem to agree with my view that Green will be the biggest bust long-term - though this might be the result of an influx of disgruntled ex-Green fans! :-) Suggestion over in the comments at Amazin' Avenue: "Is it just me, or Shawn Green looks really thin...could be no vitamin S this year." All I will say is in response, is that the 2001 Dodgers roster - when he hit 49 home runs - lists him at 200 lbs, which is exactly the same as on the D'backs site this year.
And with that, on to today's preview. Much to do, so little time!