Ten and one-third innings pitched, no earned runs allowed. Not a bad start to young Kyle Davies' career. Davies doesn't have dominating velocity or movement, but he throws in the low 90s and his location is very good. Mark Lemke was also talking on the post-game show about how Davies' delivery is deceptive and that makes his fastball appear faster. He also has a very good change-up, which also makes the fastball tougher. I can't imagine that he won't be touched up at some point in the next few weeks now that major league teams have film on him, but he's provided the Braves with two good starts in spots that they've really needed them. The sad thought behind all the excitement is that he might just be pitching his way into being the centerpiece of a trade for a quality outfield bat (or a shortstop during next off-season if Furcal flies the coop.)
Other thoughts on the game:
1. Wifey and I sat close to first base and there was an obnoxious Red Sox fan a few seats down who was riding Doug Mientkiewicz mercilessly for the entire game for keeping the World Series ball. Aside from the fact that the heckler probably wouldn't just give up a six-figure asset if he ever had one, the vitriolic reaction from the fan annoyed me. You would think that Sox fans would be so happy to have won the Series for the first time in 86 years that everyone from that team would be untouchable for the rest of time. You'd think the fans would be happy, but no. If this loudmouth is representative of Red Sox Nation, then the Nation are a group of people who thrive off of their own unhappiness. They don't know how to handle success, so they try to find villains from the team that broke their 86-year duck. Nice.
2. Jose Reyes, one of the fastest players in baseball, hit into two double plays last night. I'm no Elias Sports Bureau, but I bet that he doesn't do that again in his career, since he had only grounded into 5 in over 700 plate appearances prior to last night. Reyes would drive me crazy if I were a Mets fan because he has neither power, nor plate discipline. Pitchers can throw him anything and know that he'll swing if the ball is close, rather than forcing the pitcher to pitch from behind. Reyes' defense is also spotty. He made an error on Monday night that allowed an insurance run to score and last night, he failed to make a play on a Langerhans liner in the Braves' three-run 5th. Speaking of balls going off of gloves...
3. As further evidence of my "Andruw is held to excessive standards" idea, a guy sat down next to me last night because he noticed that I was keeping score and wanted to know how many strikeouts Davies had. He then said that he thought that Mike Cameron's triple that chased Davies should have been an error on Andruw because he got the heel of his glove on the ball, never mind that Andruw was diving at full extension in the right-center field gap at the time.
4. Things that annoy my wife: the drop-down Cingular logos that denote strikeouts for Braves pitchers weren't working last night. Things that amuse my wife: children making farting noises with their hands.
5. Continuing with the "Mike Piazza is done" theme: the Braves stole on him at will last night. His throws have poor velocity and most of them skip in front of second base. When Furcal got on in the 5th, I told Wifey that he would be going on the first pitch because he knew that he didn't need a good jump to steal on Piazza. For once, I was right. The Mets operate from a disadvantage when any single by a semi-fast batter becomes a double or triple because of their catcher.
6. Chris Reitsma looked great last night. He completely dominated the Mets' hitters for two innings, or at least he did after Chipper made a nice play to turn a Miguel Cairo liner into the first out in the 8th. One defensive play can be the difference between a long, painful inning and a quickie. Victor Zambrano knows that this morning, as his throwing error was essentially the deciding factor in a close game. Back to Reitsma, I was concerned by the decision to leave him in to pitch a second inning, but he made it through two innings only throwing 18 pitches.
7. David Wright is the Mets' best hitter. Given that, why is he hitting 7th? Wouldn't the Mets have benefited from having him at the plate in the key situations that Piazza blew over the past two nights? Willie Randolph needs to get past Piazza's reputation and put together an order that can score some runs. If he could do so this weekend against the Marlins, that would be great.
8. John Foster, like Davies, requires some bullpen help to remain perfect on the season, but it bears mentioning that he hasn't allowed a run in seven and two-thirds innings this year.
9. Not to be a curmudgeon, but the offense produced only one earned run and one double last night. Marcus Giles had half of the team's six hits, but his only unsuccessful at-bat was a strikeout with Furcal on 3rd and one out in the 5th. Andruw and Estrada were both hitless, although they both lined balls right at outfielders. Mondesi looked completely overmatched when he pinch-hit in the 8th against Roberto Hernandez.
10. Pete Orr in left was an interesting experiment and I approve of getting him more at-bats, but there is a definite defensive trade-off there because he doesn't have good instincts in the outfield.