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AZ 1, Mets 6 - Vote For Pedro

Record: 30-24 Change on last season: +9

So said a shirt in the crowd at Shea last night - and though it came from Napoleon Dynamite, it might well have been talking about the NL Cy Young award. A toss-up between Martinez and Peavy for the best (non-Arizona) pitching performance I've seen all season, and I think these two will likely be in the mix come year end. I don't think Willis can stay the distance and Clemens' win total continues to suck, at three wins in eleven starts.

The third series lost by a 2-1 margin, but it's clear that not all series are alike. Not only were we on the road, where a loss is more acceptable, we also outscored the Mets 9-8. And the whole dynamic was different: in this case, we hammered the Mets in the opener, could have taken the second, and probably never had a realistic chance in the third.

However, it did bring home the difference between a staff ace like Vazquez, and an ace like Martinez. With Vazquez on the mound, we know we always have a good chance; but Martinez takes this to a whole new level. It shifts from "can our pitcher stop the offense from scoring?", to "how the hell do we score off this guy?"

And yet, we were ahead. Tony Clark, getting a start at first, launched a moon-shot to the bleachers, while Estes allowed only one hit the first time through the order. I began to think we might just pull this off, and beat another Cy Young winner, like we did in Houston.

Then, with one out in the bottom of the fourth, the wheels fell off. No: make that the entire transmission dropped out, while doing a strictly-legal 65 around Route 101. Carlos Beltran levelled it on a homer; Piazza walked, then huffed his way around to score on Floyd's double. He should have been nailed at the plate - where defibrillators were standing by for the Mets catcher - but Counsell's throw was poor.

Indeed, rather a lot of them were poor: Craig made three errors on the day, all on throws. This was the first multi-error game of his entire career, and doubled his total for the season to six. His fielding percentage (.978) is now worse than Royce Clayton's (.981), though for both range factor and zone rating, he remains in the top three major-leaguers.

Here's the difference in the game:

           IP  H  R ER BB  K
Estes     5.1  8  6  5  2  4
Martinez  8.0  5  1  1  0  9
After Counsell doubled with one out in the third, Martinez tightened the noose very effectively, retiring thirteen straight D'backs. By the next time anyone reached base - with two out in the seventh - the Mets had a 6-1 lead. Green had two hits, but no-one else made much of an impression; especially after that fourth, the team just kinda wilted, and it felt as if they couldn't get out of town quickly enough.

Heroes + Zeroes, Series 18: vs. Mets, on road

Halsey: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 0 ER
Webb: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 1 ER
Green: 5-for-12
Estes: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 ER
Cruz Jr: 1-for-13, 5 K
Gonzalez: 1-for-12, 5 K

On the zeroes front, you may wonder why Cruz is above Gonzo, despite a worse batting average. Cruz's hit was a homerun, Gonzalez's a single; it gave Jose 2 RBI's, while Luis had none. Estes is also included, for blowing up after allowing the tying home run in the season finale.

Halsey's shutout seven trumps Webb's heroic defeat, while Green pipped Counsell (4-for-12, 3 RBIs), largely because of Craig's triple serving of errors yesterday. A quick nod to Mike Koplove, who over the past two series has pitched 5.2 innings, allowing one hit, no walks, and no earned runs. This is much better than we've seen from him for a while.

As noted previously, we've traded Doug Devore to the Giants, in exchange for reliever Matt Herges. Though I'm not all that impressed with Herges, he should still be an improvement in the bullpen of late; he may even get some save opportunities, with Lyon on the DL, and Bruney not exactly blowing the other teams away.

The loss of Devore is certainly nothing to get to concerned about: the rise of Carlos Quentin has pushed him some distance down the list of outfield prospects. I think it's a trade with no real downside, and definitely some potential up.