GARY: Be sure to join us Sunday, October Second, for Fan Appreciation Day when the Mets close out the 2005 regular season. The first 25,000 fans attending the game with the Rockies on the Second will receive a blue fleece Mets cap, compliments of I Love New York. For tickets, stop by the advance ticket window at Shea or Keyspan Park, visit the Mets Clubhouse Shops, log on to mets.com or call 718/507-TIXX.
Lefthander Jason Vargas takes the mound for the Marlins with a one-nothing lead. Well, this WAS to have been the night when Mike Lowell played his first-ever game at second base in the Major Leagues, but it's not gonna turn out that way. Because Miguel Cabrera, after being hit on the knee by his foul ball has come out of the game. So Lowell has moved to his natural position at THIRD base and Joe Dillon is gonna play second base instead.
So Lowell's big night at second base is short-circuited. So Dillon is now the number THREE hitter in the Marlins' order, he's playing second base.
Jose Reyes leads off against the lefthander Vargas. First pitch, looped in the air, shallow centerfield, that may fall in, and it will for a BASE hit. Played on a couple of hops by Juan Pierre, and Reyes aboard with a bloop single to center.
So after Pierre led off the TOP of the first inning with a BUNT single, Reyes, the only player in the league with more stolen bases than Pierre, leads off the BOTTOM of the first with a bloop hit and we'll see how quickly he can run.
HOWIE: Is this not the way things have gone for the Marlins lately? It's bad enough that they lose Cabrera, but because he was hitting third, they are forced to put Dillon, a very inexperienced player at the Major League level, into the THREE spot, and that hampers the Marlins in a couple of ways, not the least of which is you lose Cabrera's bat, and now who knows for how long?
GARY: Reyes leads at first, the pitch coming to Cairo, taken outside, one and oh. Cairo, just six for his last sixty-one, getting a start at second base tonight after Anderson Hernandez started the last two days.
Cairo hitting just .241, two home runs and only FIFTEEN runs batted in in two hundred and NINETY at-bats. With a lefthander that he's probably never seen before, it's gonna be difficult for Reyes to get a read here. Basestealers will tell you lefties are either very easy to run on or almost impossible.
Here's the one-oh, he's RUNNING, and a foul ball back into the crowd, and Reyes did not have ANY jump at all. Not sure if that was a hit-and-run play, because Reyes did not have any kind of a jump. Had Cairo not swung at that pitch, he could've been out by a mile. Even with Lo Duca struggling right now with that hamstring.
It'll be interesting to find out after the game if that was a designed hit-and-run because that was the jump Reyes had, a hit-and-run jump where you make sure you don't get picked off.
Reyes with fifty-five steals, he's been caught thirteen times.
Vargas with the one-one, check swing on a changeup and he went around, and now Cairo in a one-and-two hole.
For Jason Vargas, this is his ELEVENTH Major League start. He also has made four relief appearances. Got off to a TERRIFIC beginning, but he has struggled lately, and that's kind of been his history. They feel as though he wears down late in seasons, and over his last four starts now, Vargas is oh and three with a 7.41 ERA. Lost to the Astros his last time out.
Throw to first, not in time.
Vargas overall five and four with a 4.37 ERA. He's walked twenty-six batters in sixty innings, and that's a few too many. But the Mets are seeing him for the first time and generally that has not worked in the Mets' favor.
Snap throw to first and Reyes falls back into the bag.
The Marlins' defense is now Carlos Delgado at first base, Joe Dillon at second, Robert Andino the shortstop and Mike Lowell at third. Jeff Conine in left field, Juan Pierre in center, Juan Encanarcion in right, Paul Lo Duca catching. And another throw over and this time Reyes is back easily.
So Vargas spending a lot of time working on Reyes at first base. Carlos Beltran waits on-deck.
One-nothing Florida as the Mets bat in the bottom of the first.
Vargas stepped into the number five spot in the Marlins' rotation around the first of August.
One-two to Cairo taken high as Reyes runs, the throw to second is over the head of Andino and backed up by Dillon, and Paul Lo Duca just couldn't stride at ALL as he made that throw to second base and he sailed it, and Reyes has his fifty-sixth stolen base of the year.
HOWIE: And that TIES Reyes with Scott Podsednik of the White Sox for the Major League lead now in stolen bases.
Remember last night on a stolen base attempt Lo Duca came out of the chute and threw SIDE-arm and FLAT-footed and here he got up a little better but had nothing on the throw.
GARY: It's awfully difficult for him to come out of his stance to make a throw with that hamstring injury.
Two-two to Cairo, fouled back underneath us and out of play, still two and two.
And YET, when the Mets were down in Florida a couple of weeks ago, Lo Duca after throwing from his KNEES once and throwing poorly, was able to gun down a couple of Met baserunners, but there he made a bad throw.
So the Mets have the tying run in scoring position with nobody out, Cairo trying to get the ball to the right side if nothing else to get Reyes to third with Beltran on-deck.
Vargas the lefthander looks to second, Andino makes a run to the bag, but Vargas holds the ball as Reyes wasn't far away.
Time for the Home Depot Hit For The Cycle Contest. Home Depot: You Can Do It, We Can Help. Tonight's contestant, Sean Campanella from Mount Vernon. If a Mets' player hits for the cycle in tonight's game, Sean will win a new 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.
Two-two to Cairo, swing and a foul ball back. And of course it's courtesy of your Tri-State Jeep Dealers.
So Cairo, with a long turn at-bat here, hangin' in, tryin' to move the runner up. And if he can, then Beltran will get another chance to get a runner home from third, and that has really been bedeviling Carlos lately, trying to get that runner in from third with less than two out. He's been so impatient in those spots.
The outfield a step to right, here's the two-two to Cairo, SWING AND A MISS, he got him with a changeup away. Vargas, with a strikeout, fans Cairo for the first out of the inning.
Let's pause for station identification on the WFAN Mets Radio Network.
VO: Second inning, Yankees and Orioles are scoreless. Same scoreless game, Red Sox and Devil Rays are also in the second. Indians and White Sox coming up at eight. We'll have more later on WFAN New York.
GARY: Gary Cohen, Howie Rose with you from Shea Stadium in New York. Bottom of the first inning, Marlins one, Mets nothing, Reyes at second and one out, Carlos Beltran the batter, Reyes runs, pitch inside, THROW TO THIRD is offline and Reyes steals third base!
Lo Duca had a chance because Reyes did not have a great jump, but his throw was way to the inside of the bag and he was fortunate that Lowell was able to lunge and grab it to keep it from going down the line, otherwise Reyes would have scored.
So Reyes, who stole second, steals third as well, now has the Major League lead in steals with fifty-seven. And the Marlins are gonna bring the infield in here in the first inning with a one-nothing lead.
The pitch to Beltran, swing and a ground ball off the pitchers' glove, TRICKLING into centerfield, a base-hit! In to score is Reyes, Beltran takes a turn at first, holds on with an RBI single, and the Mets have tied the game at one and one.
So, Carlos Beltran, who has had SUCH problems getting runners in from third with less than two out, that time BANGED one right back toward the middle, and Vargas got his glove on it, slowed it down so that Andino the shortstop was able to make a dive, but he came up empty as it trickled into the outfield. And the Mets have tied it.
And now Jack McKeon is heading to the mound to talk to Jason Vargas. And it is not often that McKeon goes to the mound in these situations, but he is delivering a tongue-lashing right now to his rookie lefthander.
HOWIE: And this is really hot stuff, literally, coming from Lo Duca, hot in terms of the anger and, I tell ya what, Jack looks like a bobblehead doll right now. His head's goin' up and down, up and down, he's doin' all the talking. Vargas just standin' there with his glove to the side of his mouth absorbing it…
And I tell ya, if you can remember back to the Dodgers-Mets championship series of 1988, when Tommy Lasorda came out and READ Jesse Orosco the RIOT act, that's about how this looked. I mean McKeon did all the talking just now. And that's, y'know, one batter after he struck out Miguel Cairo with Reyes in scoring position, so exactly what message he was delivering, I'm not sure, but he delivered it with a lot of GUSTO.
GARY: He was angry, no question. Now Beltran at first and one out, Cliff Floyd the batter, the game tied at one. Pitch by Vargas, fastball call-strike, nothing and one.
Cliff has driven in nine runs in his last five games, now has ninety-four runs batted in for the year. With a dozen games to play, including tonight, Cliff has every shot to get to a hundred. He's hitting at .276, thirty-two home runs. That's a career high.
The oh-one pitch, swing and a miss, good slider by Vargas to get ahead on Floyd.
Now Vargas has been very tough against left-hand batters. The lefties are hitting just .200 against him, and that pitch, the slider that breaks away from the left-hand batter, has been his big pitch against lefties.
The Mets have a couple of lefties in the lineup tonight.
The oh-two to Floyd, swing and a MISS, he got him with that slider, and Vargas strikes out Floyd on three pitches, and he was very tough.
So the second strikeout for Vargas, now there are two away, Beltran still at first and David Wright coming up.
You know, it's interesting, watching Vargas go after Floyd there with that slider because Mike Jacobs tonight is in the lineup for the first TIME against a left-hand pitcher, and it's hard to think of a lefty who has made Cliff Floyd look worse than Vargas just did. We'll see how Jacobs is able to handle him later on.
HOWIE: Go get 'em, kid.
Well, here's David Wright. Wright doubled and scored the winning run in the twelfth inning last night, driven in by Jacobs. David now hitting .310 on the year, sixth in the league.
And a throw to first and Beltran is back.
Wright with twenty-one home runs, eighty-nine runs batted in, now has FORTY-one doubles, that's tied for fourth in the league and he's been the Mets' best hitter all year against lefties, hitting .347 against southpaws.
Now Vargas delivers to Wright, swing and a miss at an offspeed pitch, nothing and one.
Mike Piazza, hitting sixth in the order, is on-deck.
So, Jose Reyes with a bloop single, stole second, stole third, scored on Beltran's base hit, and the Mets have tied it up. Here's the oh-one to Wright. Fastball strike on the inside corner, and Vargas gets ahead on Wright nothing and two.
Vargas throwin' that fastball at eighty-nine miles an hour.
Jason Vargas in just his SECOND year of pro ball. He came out of Long Beach State University. He's just twenty-two years old.
The oh-two pitch, popped up foul off to the right out of play.
Vargas had a college baseball odyssey. He played for national power LSU as a freshman, then TRANSFERRED to a junior college for his SOPHOMORE year before moving onto Long Beach State, another national power for his junior season. Then the Marlins took him in the second round in the draft last year.
The oh-two pitch, fastball misses inside, one and two.
The biggest question about Vargas was that they questioned his ability to stay strong late in the season because he wore down last year in the minors. He's got something of a hefty body.
Fastball WAY inside, and Wright has to jump out of the way, and you wonder if that was a message pitch there. Remember that Jae Seo threw high and tight to Miguel Cabrera in the top of the inning. But Wright jumping back from that knee-high, inside fastball, two balls, two strikes.
Beltran at first has not attempted to run.
Here's the two-two pitch to Wright, swing and a ground ball to second base, a grasscutter right to Dillon, he makes the toss to first in time to get Wright, and that retires the side. But the Mets fashion a run to tie it. Two hits and one man left.
One inning complete at Shea. Mets one, Marlins one on the WFAN Mets Radio Network.
The year in New York baseball? Look at it through Gotham eyes.