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Nationals vs Mets: Game Report..."Chico and the Maine..."



"...I've already got Maine figured out," My Brother Scout, Braves Fan and Source For All Things Baseball says, referring to tonight's New York Mets' starter, righty John Maine. Scout continues, "...if you swing at his pitches out of the zone, then he beats you, but if you make him throw strikes you can win." (ed. note - "Well, that seems simple enough.") 


Lastings Milledge moves from the two spot to fifth in the order with Ronnie Belliard, who immediately makes the move pay off, up second, connecting on a hit and run single that moves Cristian Guzman, on with a leadoff walk, to third base in front of Ryan Zimmerman...who flies out to right. Guzman tags and scores. 1-0 Nationals. Nick Johnson walks on four straight. Will Manny Acta's move pay off twice in the first inning?...Lastings Milledge receives a round of boos from the Shea Stadium crowd as steps to the plate. Milledge's is swinging, up 2-0, and he takes a shot at a high fastball and connects, but only enough to fly out to right. Austin Kearns flies out to right as well, New York left fielder Ryan Church makes both catches. 


Nationals' starter Matt Chico leaves a 2-2 breaking ball up in the zone, and Ryan Church deposits it way over the wall in right. 1-1 ballgame...


..."I woke up this morning and took a moment to look at the Sports section of the local daily newspaper, the Newark Star-Ledger, to see what the Mets' beat writers had to say about last night's 6-0 Mets' win over the Nationals, and the title of the article I found pretty much sums up what I've had to tolerate for thirty-or-so years now as a DC fan in the New York metropolitan area of the US..."Mets have no trouble swatting Nats", is what Star-Ledger Staff Writer Jeremy Cothran goes with for his game recap title, and it just gets better from there, (randomly quoting Mr. Cothran):

"It's hard to justify progress against one of the Nationals League's worst teams." 

"...'Worst teams' OK, that's true so far." ...Mr. Cothran continues...

"Sure the outclassed Nationals have carved some space for themselves in the NL East's basement, losers of 10 of their first 11..."

"Outclassed? What do you think about Mr. Cothran's comments, Metsphan?" I ask my old friend, who has kindly invited me over to watch the Nationals and Mets in widescreen HD...


"Sure we beat (the Nationals) pretty good, but I was thinking, 'How about winning a game against the Phillies, or someone decent,'" Metsphan says, "I think the newspaper writer's basically right." 


...and the last line by Mr. Cothran is about the one point of last night's game that everyone still wanted to talk about today...


...Ryan Zimmerman up, bases loaded, one out in the third. Mets' pitcher Mike Pelfrey's just walked Milledge to load the bases loaded when Zimmerman pops out on the first pitch, or as Mr. Cothran puts it:

"Zimmerman -- who foolishly swung at the first pitch..."


...But why "foolishly"? Do you take a pitch and make Pelfrey throw a strike or assume he will throw a strike and try to take it for a ride? It's a tough choice, but neither decision is "foolish", especially not in the third inning, down 2-0...


...Back to the live action...Austin Kearns puts one one row deep in left center as Angel Pagan tracks and then watches it go...the Mets' fans throw it back, but it still counts... 2-1 Nationals. Wily Mo Pena earns points with the DC Faithfull by turning a single and an ill-advised throw to first, behind the runner, from center by Carlos Beltran, into a runner on second with a heads-up play. "Doesn't matter," Metsphan says, "...there's no way that this guy(Chico) isn't going to give up four runs tonight.


Wasn't he your Opening Night starter?"


"No, Odalis Perez wa--"


"Doesn't matter, they both stink." 


Chico, for some reason, throws an 0-2 pitch over the plate to Jose Reyes who hits one right where Kearns did to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth. Chico lets two more on without recording an out. Carlos Beltran makes Chico pay for another hanging slider with a three-run blast to left that gives the Mets a 5-2 lead. 


Ronnie Belliard takes a two-out walk from Maine to put two on in front of Ryan Zimmerman, chasing Maine, who exits to a standing ovation from half-empty Shea. "Generic" Joe Smith is on in relief. Smith spins a 1-2 fastball back into the zone to get Zimmerman staring, ending the inning with a backwards K.


"Curve that hat!" Metsphan yells at Cordero. "Yeah what's the deal with that," his wife chimes in as she arrives home. Cordero's on the mound. Cordero lets Luis Castillo on with a two-out single, but ends up working out of the inning without allowing any more runs scored by the Mets. 5-2 in the eigth. 


New York Closer Bill Wagner's on in the ninth to face Wily Mo Pena, who flies out to center. Johnny Estrada grounds out...pinch hitter, Aaron Boone...down swinging. The Nationals lose their second straight to the Mets. 


Nationals now 4-11.