Congratulations to the NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals--I didn't think you had it in ya.
During the NLCS, we were pounded with media verbiage about pitching. First St. Louis didn't have enough, then in Games Six and Seven, the Mets didn't have any. Before he was a hero, Jeff Weaver was a bum, and John Maine and Oliver Perez were both found guilty of impersonating a playoff starter before they even had a chance to present their best evidence.
Listen: the reason St. Louis is league champion is that the Mets' vaunted hitters, except for the one fluky game, never bothered showing up.
When Carlos Beltran took the curveball strike with the bases full to end Game Seven, it was just another example of how throughout the series, the supposed best lineup in the league did absolutely nothing in the more than adequate opportunities presented them.
After finally mustering a single RBI base hit with runners in scoring position yesterday, the Mets were given another as a gift when Wright's bloop dropped in during the first. But that, and you gotta say predictably, was that.
Kudos to Oliver Perez. He pitched his ass off. And Chad Bradford, and I'm even in a mood to be forgiving of Aaron Heilman. The Mets aren't going to be watching the World Series on their WEGA's because of their pitching.
The Mets reminded me of the Astros Thursday night, with Carlos Delgado playing the role of Lance Berkman. Suppan was obviously afraid to throw in the zone to Delgado, and because the Cards' starter was elsewise mowing down disappearing acts like Wright and Valentin, the Cards effectively nullified the Mets' biggest bat.
Maybe it's just me, but I thought Delgado had to recognize what was happening, and instead of playing it so fine, I think he should have expanded his strike zone a little bit, in the hopes of maybe going outside the zone to grab that big extra base hit no-one else was gonna get.
Hard to criticise a player for walking; hard to rag on a guy for showing discipline and staying inside the zone, but you know what? If Delgado k's three times, the Mets still lose 3 - 1.
So it was worth a shot.
So who knows. Good luck to the Cardinals, I say. They may have had some already, but give them credit for staying focussed, and even, perhaps, playing beyond themselves.
Given the way their regular season ended--and we Astros fans watched it firsthand--it can't have been easy to turn that ship around so completely, so quickly.