I'm feeling kind of guilty.
First of all, I worked you all up last week expecting a live blog, and wasn't able to carry through because I didn't check the FOX schedule here in Massachusetts. I feel like I let you down.
Secondly, I fell asleep in the top of the eighth inning of Friday night's game, and didn't see the end of the Mets' big game with the Braves. I feel like I let the Mets down. (How else to explain the lack of a comeback at home?)
So today, I'm going to make up for both of those transgressions by paying extra close attention to the Mets-Braves game (which is being televised here for sure), and then writing about it for your entertainment.
Let's begin the Mets-Braves live blog.
- The FOX offerings today are Mets-Braves, Cubs-Dodgers, and Twins-Tigers. Red Sox are on now, the Yankees are at 10 eastern, and the Rays are at 7. The guide on the TV says we're getting Mets-Braves. I'm 99% confident it will be the Mets - but that 1% won't kick in until I actually see the game at 4:10. Now I just hope the threatening clouds overhead come through with some rain so I can justify sitting around all afternoon live-blogging.
1:35pm - Today's game is huge. The Mets are 4 games back after last night's loss - another loss would drop them to 5 back, which is huge considering they could have entered the All Star break tied for first with a sweep. Another big element - the Mets are now only a game-and-half in front of the Phillies...so they need to win and keep that distance...if not extend it.
1:40pm - Oh. I mentioned yesterday when I wrote about the Cliff Lee trade rumors that the Mets' only deal last year was for Jeff Francoeur, which I wrote came after the trade deadline. I thought that was the case, but Gary Cohen mentioned last night on the Mets' broadcast that yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the Francoeur deal. So I apologize - don't know why I thought it was a later trade.
- Another great SI review by Justin. I can't tell you how much I look forward to these things each week. Rated PG-13 for strong language
this week, I've linked to the archive of his SI Reviews. Speaking of Sports Illustrated, Ike Davis is featured in this week's "Pop Culture Grid". His answers make you like him even more.
2:28pm - Thunderstorms here. Feeling good about my decision to live-blog.
3:59pm - "The Kilborn File"? Since when?
4:09pm - This new batch of GEICO commercials has been pretty good. I like the Abe Lincoln one.
4:10pm - Alright, let's go Pelfrey. (Incidentally, I'm shocked Yunel Escobar is in the starting lineup. I think that speaks to how banged up the Braves are right now. He was awful last night, and he's already in Bobby Cox's doghouse...I wonder if it's showcasing him as much as possible to deal him. I don't think he has a long-term future as a member of the Braves.)
- How come I'm not hearing any natural sound (like the foul balls off Prado's bat)? What's going on here FOX? Hm. Leadoff walk by Pelfrey. Shocking
4:15pm - OK, Kenny Albert. Apology accepted. I didn't realize you were reading. Sounds like the sound is fixed.
4:20pm - Again survived the leadoff walk. Now the crack of the bat sounds fake. By the way - feel free to post your comments throughout the afternoon. I'd love for this to be interactive.
4:26pm - They did this last night, too. I like Jose Reyes hitting second with Angel Pagan in the leadoff spot. Would love for this to be a huge first inning after the leadoff hit by Pagan. Maybe he'll run here.
4:33pm - Interesting graphic there by FOX. Ike Davis matches up quite well statistically with Jason Heyward right now - after the way Heyward started the year, that didn't seem possible.
4:35pm - Boo. They've been doing that way too often. Pagan has set the table in Reyes-like fashion...then gets stranded. Not going to win doing that all the time.
4:49pm - Bright side - the Braves have stranded five in two innings. Bad news - waaaay too many baserunners.
4:55pm - Always fun when Chipper makes a bad error against the Mets. Name your kid that, Larry.
5:04pm - Most consecutive All Star appearances by a Met? I'll say Seaver. No one really sticks around the Mets very long.
5:15pm - Please don't leave Pagan out there. Drive him in, David.
5:16pm - So frustrating.
5:19pm - Speaking of frustrating, Omar Infante just beat out a ground ball to shortstop. I can't really blame Jose Reyes here - what drives me even more nuts is that every single ground ball should be run out the way Infante just ran it out. He's probably going to get a call from the players' union because he just exposed the lack of hustle by every other ballplayer....usually 'routine' ground balls are handled as lackadaisically as Jose Reyes just handled that ball, and the runner is out by three steps. Good for Infante, I guess.
5:22pm - Go figure. Then Ike Davis hustles his butt off to almost make a great play, but the Mets suffer for it. Hey, look, bases loaded again. And this time it's not Pelfrey's fault. This is where he falls apart...
5:25pm - Ouch. Hope that's not serious for Prado. I once saw Jermaine Dye break his leg with a foul ball like that when he was with the A's.
5:26pm - Ooh. Love the 1-2-3 double play.
5:28pm - Wow. Nice job by Pelfrey getting the ground balls. Laboring overall, though. 7 hits in 4 innings (though a couple of those were little ground ball cheapos). 3 walks. 77 pitches.
5:35pm - What a worthless interview with Tommy Hanson. Don't know what I was expecting...but I think not even bothering to put a mike on anyone in the Braves dugout would have been better than that. I guess I liked hearing that the Braves pitchers have a hitting contest going. I remember when I read about Mets' pitchers in the mid-to-late '80's having RBI contests. Nice memory.
5:42pm - First and third, no one out. Can't keep doing this.....
5:43pm - Trivia answer: Seaver and Strawberry, 7 consecutive. Surprised a little about Strawberry. 1-0 now. I'm afraid the Braves aren't done.
5:46pm - You might want to sit down...shocking news...bases loaded for the Braves, no one out.
5:48pm - And Pelfrey is gone after another ground ball. Hard outing for him today. He's gotten a lot of ground balls, which is what you want from him, but the Braves keep getting hits. Good move getting him out right now, though. This has implosion potential. It's 2-0 Braves. I'll gladly take the Mets getting out of this inning only down 3-0 after a double play or so.
-Southern Bureau just sent me a text that he's watching the game at a bar. He says Kevin Millar is even annoying on closed captioning.
5:53pm - Well that was going great until the double by Tim Hudson. (Another point for him in the Braves' pitcher-hitting contest.) Funny that Hudson and Hanson both have T.H. as their initials. OK. 4-0 at home. The Mets can come back from this. I hope. Good news is, as slow as this game is going - it's still early.
6:02pm - Unless things change over these final four innings, this is going to be a very disappointing end to the first half of the season.
6:08pm - OK. This is where the all-hands-on-deck attitude of the Mets entering this weekend series will hopefully pay off. Hisanori Takahashi comes on, for a 1-2-3 6th inning, he'll go a couple of innings now (like he did after John Maine left his start early against the Braves in their first meeting in April). Hopefully the Mets can make their comeback while he's keeping Atlanta at bay...and now would be a good time, with the top of the order due up again.
6:16pm - What do you know, Angel Pagan setting the table again, Jose Reyes striking out again. Why was he selected to the All Star team?
6:20pm - OK. A Wright walk. Best chance they've had all day. First and second, one out. Let's go Ike.
6:22pm - Yuck. Third double play. Bright side: Tim Hudson's on my fantasy team.
6:27pm - What's this all about? Someone hurt and denying an injury? Looks like Reyes, and Wright ratted him out. Good. Reyes is not helping them. He hurt himself diving back into second base on a pickoff play last night...I was surprised they left him in the game. Do NOT let him play in the All Star Game. First of all he doesn't deserve it this year. Secondly he doesn't deserve it because he's hurt. Thirdly, he's still hurt, and playing will aggravate the injury. Lastly, Reyes had better not be mad at Wright. That was absolutely the right thing to do.
6:36pm - Nice work by Takahashi. At the rate the Mets' offense is going, he'll have another inning, though, because I doubt they'll get 5 guys to the plate here in the 7th inning.
6:39pm - Look at Jason Bay taking one for the team. Nice soft one off the hip.
6:41pm - Over the last three games the Mets are 1-for-25 with runners in scoring position. I've watched those games. That sounds about right. Oops. Groundout to end the seventh - make it 1-for-26. That's good, though - we'll get another inning out of Takahashi.
6:47pm - It's making me uncomfortable hearing Bill Hohn talk about how hot he is. And clearly Kenny Albert wasn't listening the first time they showed the "Sounds of the Game" portion, and the Mets' assistant trainer gave Hohn an energy drink. On the subject of these broadcasters - it doesn't sound like Albert much likes Millar's comments either.
6:49pm - Great effort by Takahashi today. Just wish his teammates would help him get the win he deserves for keeping them close. Two more chances - beginning with a pinch hitter then the top of the order. Maybe it'll happen here in the 8th.
6:56pm - Thought maybe Tim Hudson out of the game would be a good thing - Jonny Venters now shutting down the Mets.
6:57pm - Whoa. Kevin Millar's Cy Young picks: Ubaldo Jimenez, Adam Wainwright, Roy Halladay, and.....Mike Pelfrey? Maybe in April. Josh Johnson has to be in that conversation. Millar should know better - he watches all the games with MLB Network. That's inexcusable.
7:03pm - Kevin Millar just did a Marv Albert imitation - Kenny did not like it. Meanwhile, there is a game going on, and Fernando Nieve brushed back Troy Glaus. Is there bad blood brewing here? Jeff Francoeur ran into Glaus' arm last night on a tag play at first, and Glaus thought it was intentional - Francoeur did nothing wrong. The play happened because of a lazy throw by Yunel Escobar - that's who Glaus should have been angry at. I wonder if Nieve was sending Glaus a message for some wrongly directed anger?
7:09pm - To the bottom of the ninth - David Wright leading off. Down 4, this is a tall task.
7:12pm - Oooh. Wagner in a non-save situation. With the Mets, this would result in a 5-run inning. Let's stay tuned.
7:15pm - So much for that. What a disappointing stretch for the Mets. This is all too reminiscent of early May, when the Mets had games to prove themselves, against the Reds, Braves, Giants....now they've lost two out of three to the Reds, two straight to the Braves...they go to San Francisco following the All Star break...it's like every time they have a chance to take a great stride towards first place, they hit a wall.
Now they need a strong start from Johan Santana to avoid falling 6 games back of first...and they may enter that game in third place, behind Philadelphia as well, depending on what happens tonight.
Thanks for sharing this frustration with me if you made it all the way through. Back with the Sunday Paper in the morning and a post-game reaction to the final game before the All Star break.