10.19.06

NLCS Game 7 : Wainright Freezes Beltran, Cards Advance

Posted in Baseball at 11:21 pm by

Cardinals 3, Mets 1 (Cardinals win the series, 4-3)

(I’m lost in the stupormarket)

After Yadier Molina’s stunning 2 run HR off Aaron Heilman (above) in the St. Louis 9th, the Mets failed to mount a rally against Adam Wainright. Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez led off the last of the 9th with singles, but Wainright caught gimpy PH Cliff Floyd looking, and was fortunate that Jose Reyes’ subsequent liner was hit right in front of a running Jim Edmonds.

While Paul Lo Duca worked out a 5 pitch walk (and was summarily pulled for Anderson Hernandez, representing the winning run at 1st), Wainright recovered to strike out Cards-killer Carlos Beltran on three pitches, the last being a called third strike.

New York squandered another golden opportunity when Delgado advanced to third on Scott Rolen’s throwing error in the 6th. With Delgado and Wright on the corners, Jeff Suppan intentionally walked Shawn Green, but came back to strike out Valentin and Chavez to escape unscathed.

I’m looking for some comedy in all of this, and other than Scott Rolen cutting off Chris Myers when the latter asked if things were all hunky-dory with La Russa, I can’t find any. The Mets got way more out of the likes of Maine and Perez than they had any right to expect in this series, but the same has to be said of St. Louis’ Jeff Weaver, Jeff Suppan and their entire No Name bullpen (other than Braden Looper). While holding Albert Pujols to one HR and one RBI over the course of 7 games should’ve guaranteed a Mets victory, Molina totally neutralized the Mets’ running game, and David Wright was just as quiet as Pujols.

Sorry to continue to harp on it, but Mota and Wagner’s performances in Game Two will be in a constant loop in my head throughout the winter far more than Heilman’s lone mistake to Molina. Jeff Suppan was named the series MVP, and deservedly so, but in the spirit of fairness, I think Molina, Scroatface, Jeff Kellogg and Billy Wagner should’ve all received a vote or two.

Much as I’d like to stay groanly at the injustice of it all — the undermanned Mets having to make their way through the post-season wars without Pedro, El Duque, Uncle Cliffy, Brian Bannister, Tom Seaver or Cleon Jones’ cock, the Cardinals were held together with gluestick, HGH and string. Rolen’s bum shoulder, Pujols’ hammy, Izzy’s absence , having to plug recent castoffs like Weaver and Wilson into prominent roles, etc. Both of these clubs were flawed, but the one area we counted on the Mets having a huge advantage was the bullpen. And while there was mostly strong middle relief work through the series, Mota, Wagner and Heilman’s failings took a huge toll.

Congrats to the Redbirds and almost every single one of their greatest-fans-on-earth. To Beltran, Delgado, Reyes, Wright, Endy Shernoff-Chavez, the dear departed X-Man, Pedro, El Duque, Glavine, Boogie Shoes, Duaner Sanchez, Aaron Heilman, Maine, Gary Cohen, Jeff Wilpon’s Lovely Wife and almost every single one of you, thanks for a terrific last 7 months.

There’s another competition of some sort or another starting on Saturday, but until then, I’ll be beating the dog, making inapproriate phone calls to George Brett and photoshopping Mets uniforms onto Barry Zito, not necessarily in that order.

For those struggling to find a silver lining in this disappointing result, cheer-the-fuck-up. Not only have the Mets scaled heights of late that were unimaginable in the Art Howe Era, but you can now live a Chris Cotter-Free existence until March at the earliest.

21 Responses to “NLCS Game 7 : Wainright Freezes Beltran, Cards Advance”

  1. Steve Pal says:

    At least Mets fans won’t have to worry if Carlos Beltran takes a curtain call or not.

  2. HigH cHEEsE says:

    I’ve stayed away all season – because I’m really superstitious and the team played well without me checking in on my fav. blog on my boss’ dime – apparently it didn’t work. I’ll get back to screwing my boss over tomorrow Sorry, to have been gone so long I missed you .

  3. Sean says:

    Hey at least it was ‘Chris’ Floyd and not Cliff Floyd getting rung up for the first out of THE INNING THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Thanks a lot Tim MotherFucking McCarver. Maybe next year they can put my drunken father in the booth with him.

    Zito, Carlos Lee, Julio Lugo and Tomo Ohka, here we come?

  4. GC says:

    Cheesy,

    good to hear from you. Even better to know that the Mets’ failure isn’t down to Heilman, Wagner, Omar & Willie leaving Da Edge off the roster, Wright & Reyes having a substandard week, Trachsel not showing up in Game 4, Spiezio’s scroatee or Wevie Stonder’s magnetic necklace. It’s all about you taking the year off.

    On behalf of bossess everywhere, I say thanks. On behalf of all Mets fans planning spousal / pet / self-abuse early this Friday morning, I say don’t let it happen again.

  5. GC says:

    Sean,

    if your dad is a civil war buff, I think you and Fox might have a deal.

  6. you forgot agbayani says:

    Endy-Shernoff Chavez. Oh-my-god.

    I was pissing in the mezzanine bathroom (a.k.a. farm trough usa) when the building literally shoke. Later I found out it was Shernoff…

    A catch that would have gone down as the best ever, and the bottom line, with all of the pitching injuries, calf theatrics, california sommelier collapsing, gritty, gutty crazy performances by bangor and ollie, we lost because…

    We can’t hit a curveball.

    The walk to the 7-train after tonights loss reminded me a walk Will Leitch’s Nazi heros ordered my great grand-relatives to take from the train cars 62 years ago in europe.

    Do something to stop the bleeding GC, my heart is destroyed.

  7. Marc says:

    From my vantage point midway up in Section 39 tonight, the Endy Chavez catch was absolutely fucking phenomenal and even with the loss, it was worth the price of admission (free, supposing no family member remembers to bill me for my ticket!).

    I’ve never high fived so many random people in my life. And to see the entire Mets team standing on the field waiting to high five Endy as he ran back in was pretty fucking cool.

    Too bad he couldn’t cap it off in the bottom half with 2 outs and the bases loaded.

    I almost grabbed you a Mets NL Champs tshirt for 50% from a dude in the parking lot on the way, but as funny as the shirt would have been… I couldn’t see you fitting into the XXL he was trying to sell for $5.

  8. aaronh says:

    fuck the cardinals, and fuck will leitch.

    fuck will leitch like the multiple penises that have fucked his girlfriend simultaneously and were later written about in the gay magazine Men’s Health.

  9. GC says:

    Marc,

    sorry your trip to NY is off to a such a rough start. Your t-shirt thoughts are appreciated, though after my postgame binge (thought about flipping the spread over, ala pissed managers of yore) but I couldn’t let all that malt liquor, fudge and rotisserre chicken go to waste, especially when no one else would touch it. So I think size XXXL would’ve sufficed.

    y.a.f, aaron, I am pleased to know that in a time of great distress the readership is ready to play the Will Leitch-Holocaust-3-Way-Action card. So much more classy than congratulating the Cards, Anheiser-Busch, etc.

    Speaking of which, how about that prominently displayed tub of Bud in the Cards’ clubhouse? I guess if we’re supposed to believe successful millionaires would celebrate winning a pennant by drinking Bud, we can also believe that Jay-Z serves that shit at his parties.

    I’m feeling pretty bad for Heilman and Beltran right now, and in the grasping at straws department (opened earlier by y.a.f. with his Leitch comment) I’m gonna blame the Mets P.R. department for having Ron Darling throw out the first pitch. They really shoulda brought back Matt Dillion on one day’s rest. Ever heard of going with the hot hand?

  10. Marc says:

    I can only imagine the NY press will have a field day with Beltran’s strike out, but if they want to be consistent, they better go after David Wright for his A-Rod, Jr performance in the series.

  11. Mike says:

    Can I do a little second guessing here? Aaron Heilman threw 20+ pitches on Wednesday, and was over 30 pitches following that great at-bat by Scott Rolen. And from where I sat in Mezz Sec.6, Country Time was the only guy throwing. If there ever was spot for Mota/Roberto H, that was it.

    On the one hand, Willie gets high marks for the season numbers, and making all of the starters’ woes throughout the year seem harmless. But on the other, he’s got to use a little strategy now and then. Despite the team’s speed, he hasn’t squeezed once in two seasons. And was there a single hit-and-run play in the entire NLCS? I cant recall one. The Cardinal infield (not to mention pitchers) never had to worry about being surprised.

    Then again, tons of credit needs to go to Dave Duncan’s staff for shutting down a great offensive team. I’m still proud of them. But its going to be a long winter knowing that Willie Randolph was out-managed by Tony LaRussa.

  12. john says:

    Out-managed? I don’t think anyone wanted to see Wagner, and Heilman was solid apart from the fatal mistake. I think most managers would rather go down with Heilman there than anyone else. On the other hand, I don’t understand why Cliff Floyd/some other PH wasn’t bunting in the bottom of the ninth. And maybe Endy and Valentin should have switched spots in the order.

    But for the Genius, why on earth was Preston Wilson starting? And hitting second? Okay, Scroatee’s a lefty and a worrisome fielder, but So Taguchi is a righty, a better fielder, and having a perfect postseason.

  13. GC says:

    Mike,

    Mezz. sec. 6? well, la di da!

    agreed, Mota relieving Heilman after Rolen’s single might’ve been a good move. And that was a whale of an AB by Bowa’s fave 3B —- bum shoulder and all, he almost won the game with the Endy takeaway, and his 9th inning single past Reyes was big big big.

    re : Willie’s lack o’ strategy.

    Between the Molina terrorism (imagine Johnny Bench reincarnated as a fat .200 hitter!) and the windmill action generated against some of the Cards hurlers, I suspect Randolph was deathly afraid of the strike ‘em / throw ‘em out DP, and with good reason. But I continue to be amazed how in situations where the Mets are ice fucking cold (and this predates Willie’s tenure by a wide swath), runs are rarely manufactured and bunting is just the crap that hangs off the railing. Given that Glavine appears to be the most adept at this subtle art, maybe he should pinch hit in the 9th instead of Uncle Cliff.

    And to digress for a moment, as much as it sucks (inhumanly) that Heilman and Beltran’s 2006 campaigns had to end to ingloriously, that was one brutal AB for Cliff Floyd’s last in a Mets uniform.

    To paraphrase the late Cory Lidle, Dave Duncan’s pitching staff was just a bit more prepared.

  14. GC says:

    John,

    I think most managers would use the reliever with the sick 4 year zillion dollar deal wherever they were told to. Mike’s point about Heilman’s pitch count is well taken, but I was scared witless by the prospect of Wags taking the mount with anything less than a double digit lead last night.

    Flipping Endy and ‘Stache in the batting order? Switching 7 and 8 worked pretty well for St. Louis last night.

    Valentin was a revelation, one of the biggest surprises in all of the game after his lost ’05 season and miserable April. Chavez has probably earned consideration as an everyday player in ’07 and his HR swipe off Rolen was (excuse the hype here) the most clutch defensive play of any Met, ever. But the former’s inability to hit a ball in the air in the 6th was a killer, as was Chavez striking out afterwards.

    1st & 2nd with none out in the 9th, whoever is hitting for Heilman has to move those runners over. I don’t know if Floyd had any business holding a bat last night. If Anderson Hernandez’ only possible use in the series was to pinch-run, I don’t know why he was on the post-season roster. Was Chris Woodward even on the roster for this series?

    I’ll refrain from crying about Da Edge not making the cut and put it another way — wouldn’t keeping Jeff Keppinger the entire year have made sense, just to have someone approaching an able-bodied person under the age of 47 available late in games? It’s really astonishing that a club with such resources could be spread so thin when push came to shove. I realize that Omar and Willie can’t be held accountable for say, aging pitchers who pull up lame, nor is this a ploy to take the heat off David Wright. But Chavez excepted (who was really a starter from Game 1 onwards), they got NOTHING out of their bench.

  15. David Roth says:

    Of course I was hoping for something, anything, in that bottom of the ninth, but I kind of had this feeling before Cliff got up there that his last at bat could be some sort of special, historical Kirk Gibson type moment. But while it was brutal, it wasn’t really any worse than the performance the rest of the team put out. Except for Reyes and Delgado and, oddly, Shawn Green and his “empty” .300, the rest of the team did not hit in the postseason, at all. It would’ve been nothing short of miraculous to win a game after being no-hit for 8 innings.

    I really didn’t think Heilman needed to come out after the Rolen single. He was rolling, had been all series, and I didn’t think he’d have much trouble with Molina, honestly. My girlfriend can attest to this. She overheard me say those exact words, right before I started punching myself.

    Also, while I know a lot of things led up to this being so important, I would like to say this about Beltran’s last at-bat: you are a chump if you go out with the bat on your shoulder and the bases loaded in Game 7 of the NLCS. That’s kind of a baseline thing.

  16. Rog says:

    Valentin’s a good hitter; he was on my fantasy team a couple of years ago and his average sucks but in a good lineup he can be counted on to rack up ribbie’s and homers, if not OBP.

    That Cards/Tigers World Series is probably going to get ratings in the area of Small Wonder repeats.

  17. mike says:

    Great game all around. The Cards had a shitty season and basically walked ass-backwards into postseason play, so I’ve got to think it could have gone either way.

    You’d think the Anheuser-Busch products would flow out of the taps in St. Louis, but they’re just as expensive (if not more so) than anything else in the liquor aisle. You can get a six-pack of way-superior Schlafly for the same price.

  18. GC says:

    Rog,

    one of the nation’s most talented bloggers and radio hosts has long maintained that Billy Corgan did his best work on “Small Wonder”.

    Still, I don’t know if you’re right about the low ratings. Once Fox decides to make Todd Jones the focus of the Series, I suspect the entire country will fall in love with him.

  19. mike says:

    “mezz sec 6″ comment was just to say that i had a good view of the bullpen, and did not see anyone warming up besides wagner. This says to me that Willie was leaving Heilman in for a second inning (third in two days) no matter what happenned. I dont know how you do that in a game 7. Heliman has been great all season, no doubt. But his one flaw is that when he gets “tired” (throws too many pitches under duress), he has a greater tendency to leave a pitch up in the zone. Isn’t that the thinking that kept him out of the rotation? I’m not going anti-willie here in any big way. The guy has done a great job. But I think he made bad choices at the end of the game.
    As far as choosing Cliff Floyd…. My guess is that Willie was counting on Wainwright’s inexperience. At that point, Wainwright was on his way to a big choke. So who better to a) take advantage of a mistake pitch? and/or b) who else on the bench could get around on a 94 mph fastball? It seems that small ball might have been a better choice, but at the time it didnt seem like such a bad idea…

    And yes, a 3 pitch strikeout (3rd one looking) is an ugly ugly way for Beltran’s great season to end. But it was till a great season. Go Mets 07!

  20. mike says:

    Oh… This is apparently attributed to Curtis Sliwa (?!) but I like it anyway:

    W.A.G.N.E.R. = We Are Gonna Need Extra Runs.

  21. GC says:

    sorry Mike, but any references to where you sat at a playoff game that don’t include the words “upper deck” are strictly verboten. That Donald Trump, “sec 6″ shit might play elsewhere, but not in the blue collar, rough & tumble likes of CSTBville.

    Indeed, though Wagner was throwing in the pen during the Mets’ turn in the 8th, no one else was ready to go.

    Now that you mention it, Ramon Castro might’ve been as good a bet to get ahold of one as the injured Uncle Clifford. But we can go back and forth on this all day — if Floyd turns on a Wainright fastball, he’s the new Kirk Gibson and I’m cutting and pasting articles about how Verlander and Rogers are gonna eat the Mets alive.

    For those who cannot bear a day without baseball, Grand Canyon vs. Phoenix in the Arizona Fall League at 4pm EST, free audio :
    http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/multimedia/afl_audio.jsp?sid=l119

Leave a Reply