For one game, at least, the Mets played the way they promised during spring training as they rallied in the eighth and ninth innings to severely damage the Florida Marlins’ pennant aspirations.
Three players stood out: Tim Redding, Jeff Francoeur and Cory Sullivan.
* Redding has pitched well since joining the Mets’ depleted rotation, good to the point where he should be brought back to compete for the fifth-starter or long-relief role. Of all the throw-ins into the rotation, he has outpitched Bobby Parnell, Nelson Figueroa and Pat Misch. He also has a strong track record against Philly.
* Francoeur has been a joy to watch since coming over from Atlanta. He clearly likes playing in New York and hustles all the time. He should be rewarded with an extension. Given a full season, he could hit 20 to 25 homers next year.
* Sullivan is an absolute professional. Teams need role players such as him and the Mets would be wise to bring him back, as well as Alex Cora.
Carlos Beltran knows all about losing, having beginning his career with the woeful Kansas City Royals. This season has been a flashback.
“It was like this for many years in Kansas City. Every single year.” – Beltran
The 1967 American League pennant race was arguably the most gripping in history with Boston, Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit all in contention in the final week. For much of the season, the Angels were in it, and were the first to fade away. Next to go were the White Sox, who had a domineering staff but couldn’t score and runs.
On this day, Carl Yastrzemski hits his 43rd homer, but the Red Sox lose to Cleveland. Harmon Killebrew homers twice as Minnesota beats the Angels. Detroit’s Mickey Lolich threw a 1-0 shutout at the Yankees.
The Impossible Dream
At the end of the day, Minnesota (91-68) led idle Chicago (89-68) and Boston (90-69) by a game and the Tigers (89-69) by 1.5 games.
The Red Sox beat the Twins on the season’s final day, but had to wait around for Detroit to lose to the Angels to clinch.
I followed that race with a transistor radio late at night and pulled for the Red Sox as I grew to like them because Tony Conigliaro was one of my favorite players growing up.
Tim Redding is pitching for a job in 2010. What are the other Mets playing for? Redding (3-6, 5.25) is 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA in six outings since returning to the rotation, numbers that add up to effectiveness and worthy for consideration as a long-man or fifth starter. A .500 record makes it as a fifth starter, and that’s what he has been over the past month. He gave up two runs in seven innings last Saturday against Washington in more than a quality start. Actually, those are the numbers the Mets are seeking from Mike Pelfrey.
I like Redding as he’s a no-excuse kind of guy. He’s been stand-up and hasn’t thrown his teammates under the bus, which Mets starters would be justified in doing lately considering the offense. Over the last 16 games, the Mets have scored three or fewer runs 10 times. In that span, they have lost 13 games.
It has been draining, said manager Jerry Manuel, who for now, has a vote of confidence for next season.
“The losing is really difficult. It takes a lot out of you,” Manuel said. “You’re not playing for anything, but there is still a level of pride. You try to still give your fans hope that things will be OK.”
With his start tonight, third baseman David Wright will move ahead of Howard Johnson to set the club record for games at third base with 836. Wright enters the series on a 2-for-15 slide. He has batted .200 in 11 games against the Marlins this year.
The Marlins lead the season series 10-5.
The Mets claimed Jack Egbert on waivers from the Chicago White Sox.
Egbert, 26 and from Staten Island, made two relief appearances for the White Sox in April, and gave up eight runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings. Seems like he’ll fit right on in.