Thank goodness for Steve Trachsel. By removing suspense early, he kept most of the bullpen fresh.
If there is any Met good to derive from Game Three of the 2006 National League Championship Series — and nothing tangible leaps to mind — it is that those of us who have bothered to attempt to fashion a modicum of respect for a pitcher who has been more frustrating than rewarding for six years…who have if not defended him then rationalized him…who have squeezed every drop of benefit from the ton of doubt he represents…well, we can stop now.
Steve Trachsel sucks. End of story. May he live a long and happy life somewhere else and not take up flying. Bon voy-ah-jee, uh-reev-a-doy-chee, get out of St. Louie screwy.
If it were all Trachsel’s fault, the prescription would be an easy one to swallow: Hey Willie, don’t start Trachsel ever again and we’re golden! Ah, but that is to ignore that if Trachsel had hypothetically thrown a Trachselian gem — five innings, four runs, one self-satisfied smirk — we still failed to stick even a teaspoon in Jeff Suppan. Except for token, apparitional appearances, we saw no Met offense, the entity that was supposed to bash us toward a pennant. Remember how we were going to ride one starter, five relievers and eight bats to the World Series and disprove a century of wisdom that pitching is 75 percent of baseball as some old Joe Morgan wives’ tale?
Sounds great. Let me know if it works against a good team.
After the 5-0 loss, the lamest October effort this franchise has put forth since Gregg Jefferies was a growth stock, the Metsian analysis on SNY pushed hard the angle that Darren Oliver saved our bacon, glossing over the inconvenient fact that the pig was out of the barn by the second inning (and that our lineup couldn’t be bothered to chase it more than a couple of steps). Oliver indeed threw six innings, allowing no earned runs of his own and only two of the three Trachsel bequeathed him. The real value of his outing was it got the Cardinals into the potentially bad habit of swinging bored. They understood intrinsically that if the Mets weren’t going to bother trying to score, why should they?
OK, so Bradford, Feliciano, Mota, Heilman and Wagner got to take the night off (as did David Wright…again). That will be of immense help if the Mets are in a tight one come the sixth inning tonight, worth no more than a footnote if Oliver Perez doesn’t give them five. There is every reason to project Oliver Perez won’t give them five. Oliver Perez hasn’t pitched in two weeks. Oliver Perez wasn’t supposed to be a part of this right now. Oliver Perez went 3-13 in 2006 with an ERA tilting to 7.
If Oliver Perez is a clever nom de plume for Tom Glavine, then I like our chances. If not, hoo-boy.
To muster faith rather than fear about it, the kid did have a pretty solid 2004 — but so did John Kerry. Perez’s prospects for Game Four haven’t been mentioned without a qualifier that he’s got great stuff, that we’ve seen some mighty promising moments out of him, that he stymied the Braves in September. All of that is baseball code for we expect Pujols, Spiezio and their thuggish cohort to cream him like wheat. Nobody in their right mind would start Oliver Perez in a must-win postseason situation unless they lost Pedro Martinez, Orlando Hernandez and Dave Williams to various combinations of injury and roster miscalculation. It is not unreasonable to believe Oliver Perez can give the Mets the five innings minimum that they need to survive. It is folly to count on it.
Our last best hope lies in Anthony Reyes, the Cardinal version of Oliver Perez. He’s not experienced, he’s not reliable and, bless the beasts and the children, he’s not lefthanded. If the Carloses, the Joses, The David and the rest can’t lay wood to this fine fellow, then it really is off to never never land.