Game 7: Delirium or Denouement

Game 7: Delirium or Denouement

The following is an email I just received from my buddy Chris.  He's a Mets fan.  I'm posting it here, with his permission, because I thought some of you would enjoy it.  (I'm pulling for the Mets)

October 16th, 2003

October 20th, 2004

 

Those two dates represent that last two times that a game 7 of an LCS was played in the city, state, and
county of New York. The
first was a great victory for the New York Yankees who reveled late
into the night thanks to the crack of Aaron Boone's bat and the
stubbornness of one slight Dominican hurler (not to mention the
ineffectualness of one hill-billy manager).
The second was the death knell of an era and the last
gasp of a suffocating curse—invincibility had been shattered and a
region learned who their daddy was, and his name was Big Papi.

 

October 27th, 1986

October 19th, 2006

 

The New York Mets have played only one previous Game 7 at Shea Stadium. It's
destined to be a footnote to the irrepressible memory of Game 6, of
Mookie, of Buckner, of the Kid not wanting to make the final out in the
World Series.

 

In 1986 the Metropolitans came back from Boston trailing 2 games to 3 in the best of 7 series. The Red Sox had their ace, a young Roger Clemens (about to win the AL Cy Young Award), on the mound for Game 6. It seemed all set for them on that night. The champagne was on ice and every bar from Brookline to Quincy was packed and ready to celebrate.

 

Mookie slaps the ball down the first base line, it gets by Buckner and the Mets forced a Game 7.

 

The Mets never made it to Game 7 in 1999. With
one out in the last of the eleventh inning of Game 6, Kenny Rogers
walked Andruw Jones with the bases loaded and the Braves won the game
and sent us home.
Those 1999 Mets looked like a team of destiny, from
Leiter's two-hit shutout against the Reds to secure the Wild Card,
Robin Ventura's walk-off grand slam single, and Todd Pratt's late
inning heroics off the bench.
However, the Gambler let us down.  It
would seem only fitting that in the Baseball Gods (who I can only
imagine to be Peter Gammons, Vin Scully, Hank Greenberg, and the Head
of Ted Williams) allowed Kenny Rogers to rewrite his life story that
they would lavish the same favor upon the team he so recently derailed.
It would only seem fair. Right? 

 

So,
here we are twenty years after the last Game 7 at Shea and Mookie's son
plays for the Cardinals (it hurt to see Mookie seemingly half-asleep in
the stands in St. Louis wearing a garish, red cosby-sweater). In 2006 the Metropolitans came back from St. Louis trailing 2 games to 3 in the best of 7 series.
The Cardinals had their ace, a young Chris Carpenter (who had won the
NL Cy Young Award the previous year), on the mound for Game 6. It seemed all set for them on that night. The champagne was on ice and every bar from one side of that Arch to the other was packed and ready to celebrate.

 

The rookie from Virginia named Maine out-pitches the ace and the Mets forced a Game 7. 

 

October 27th, 1986

October 19th, 2006

 

Twenty years down the road how will tonight be remembered?
Delirium or denouement? Will I drink champagne on the seven train? Or will I be crying on the Grand Central Parkway? Will
I make plans to drive to Detroit this weekend or will I be fielding
taunting phone calls from my friends who support other teams.

 

The answers to these questions will largely be decided by Oliver Perez. Yes,
the fate of the team that steam-rolled through the National League in
2006 rests largely on the left arm of the person who holds the
distinction of having the worst regular season ERA (6.85) of any
pitcher to start a playoff game in the history of baseball.

 

Reporter
: Willy, who will be your starter for Game 7? And why?

 

Willy
: Oliver Perez will start, because I like him.

 

Is there any reason for the faithful to believe Willy? Well, yes. Yes, there is. In
2004 Perez ranked fourth in strikeouts and led all major league
pitchers with a strikeout/per 9.0 innings ratio of 11.0 (239 K's in
196.0ip). He held opposing hitters to a .202 batting
average—the second-best mark in the league behind Arizona's Randy
Johnson (.197)—and just a .187 average in 16 home starts. His 2.21
ERA at home was the best among all National League pitchers.

 

Perez shut out the Braves a few weeks ago and has a more strikeouts than he has innings pitched over his young career.
A shutout is a likely as a Trax-out (see Game 3). Randolph
and Rick Peterson know this and I would imagine that Darren "the other"
Oliver is ready to enter this game before Reyes takes a swing if needs
be.
All hands in the bullpen are on deck. It feels like Glavine really wants into this game too. He doesn't want his unraveling in Game 5 to be the last time he pitches in 2006.
In any case, there are too many good arms out there for this loss to get hung on the pitchers. It comes down to the bats and the gloves, to fast moving cleats and being clutch.

 

Will Shawn Green play a fly-out into a triple? Can David Wright hit a bases clearing double? Will he do it going the opposite way? Will the Carloses dominate like they have shown themselves capable?
 

 

Or
will this game come down to the Ghost of Blown Saves Past versus the
Ghost of Blown Saves Present as Braden and Billy duke it out in the
late innings?
If we miss out on the World Series because Wagner hearts his slider so much then he will be no better than Armando Benitez. In fact, he may be worse.
Benitez, at least, stuck with his fast-ball even when it was arrow-straight and getting pounded into gaps, left and right. Meanwhile,
Wagner is throwing off-speed stuff to an injured Scott Rolen who hasn't
hit a high fastball since Duaner Sanchez was still on that scoreless
innings streak.

 

No matter what happens tonight, these Mets are great. They are young, experienced, exciting and proud.
They are New York's team. And New Jersey's too.

 

I'll be there in the mezzanine, screaming until I can't scream anymore.

 

Let's go Mets!

Phillies Prospect Notebook: Franklyn Kilome, Jose Taveras anchoring Clearwater's strong rotation

Phillies Prospect Notebook: Franklyn Kilome, Jose Taveras anchoring Clearwater's strong rotation

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Prospect Franklyn Kilome is the second-highest rated pitcher in the Phillies' organization, and the right-hander lived up to the billing Sunday, as the Clearwater Threshers, the Phillies' Class A Advanced affiliate, closed a three-game series at St. Lucie.

The right-hander twirled seven sparkling innings, shutting down the Mets’ hot bats, as the Threshers blanked St. Lucie 1-0 behind an unearned run at First Data Field to salvage the final game of the series.

Kilome, 21, allowed five hits, struck out six and didn’t issue a walk in winning for the first time since April 27. Only one St. Lucie player managed to reach second base against the 6-foot-6, 175-pound pitcher.

The Dominican pitcher is ranked No. 7 overall by Baseball America among Phillies' prospects. Only 18-year-old Lakewood hurler Sixto Sanchez (fifth overall) is rated above him in the organization.

“He’s got a chance to be a workhorse. Good body, very good arm, but still learning how to pitch a little bit,” pitching coach Aaron Fultz said of Kilome, who improved to 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA.

“He’s up to 97 (mph) with a good curveball and slider. He’s learning a changeup. He’s learning the game, but he’s got a huge upside.”

Jose Taveras (4-2, 2.26) has been another reliable arm on Clearwater’s staff. He led the South Atlantic League in strikeouts last season and has 54 in 55 2/3 innings this year.

Taveras also handled St. Lucie on Saturday, but he was left with a no-decision after the bullpen gave up three runs in a 4-3 loss in 10 innings. The 23-year-old worked six strong innings and yielded just a run on four hits.  

“Taveras is just a very good competitor," Fultz said. "His fastball is average, pretty decent breaking ball and his changeup is good, but the thing that makes him good is he’s just a competitor. He studies the game and the hitters and is very advanced with that.”

Added Threshers manager Shawn Williams: “There are times when he may not have his usual command, and he’ll change an arm angle, which shows he’s got a good feel for what he’s doing. He’ll crossfire, has deception … he’s got something where they don’t pick up his fastball and are always late.”

A third Dominican right-hander, Seranthony Dominguez (3-0, 2.02), has been a big part of the rotation as well and has won three times in six starts but is currently sidelined with shoulder soreness. An MRI returned a clean report.

“The first three or four weeks we were ridiculously good," Fultz said. "We’ve had a few bumps in the road since then, but we’re getting the job done.”

Zach, not Francis Ford
Zach Coppola has a famous Hollywood last name, but the Clearwater corner outfielder has spent 2017 making a name for himself with his defense, at the plate and on the bases.

Coppola, 23, was 5 for 12 with two runs scored in the St. Lucie series, including Sunday’s lone run. He made a pair of outstanding run-saving catches in the outfield over the weekend and raised his average to .346, second to Chris Paul (.351) of Fort Myers.

“Zach has been doing a great job as a leadoff hitter,” Williams said of the Iowa native. “He gets big hits, bunts, but the thing for me is he does something every night to help you win, whether it’s a bunt hit or a great diving play in left-center. He’ll throw a guy out or get a great dirtball read and score the winning run.

“He’s a very good baseball player who does all the little things.”

Good contributors
The Threshers (28-23) have sat atop the FSL’s North Division for most of the first half, but a series loss at St. Lucie over the weekend left them trailing Dunedin by one game after both clubs won Sunday.

Williams said his first season skippering the club has been highlighted by a full-team effort.

“It’s been a little bit of everything,” Williams said. “Early on our pitching was very, very good. Cole (Irvin) was really dealing (see more on Irvin). Dominguez, everybody was. We were getting the big hits, and our defense has been very consistent. Overall, we’ve just played good baseball.”

One standout playing good ball has been 5-foot-5 middle infielder Grenny Cumana, who went 7 for 10 in the series and made a spectacular catch-and-throw on the grass behind the bag while playing second base to rob St. Lucie’s Vinny Siena of an infield hit Sunday.

Tenacious P
Fultz said one immeasurable he likes in his pitchers is a bulldog-like tenacity that has them wanting the ball in key moments, regardless of previous outcomes.

“I don’t have to have the guy who’s always going to succeed in the big situation, but I always want the guy that wants to be out there in that situation. To me, that’s the selling point,” he said. “It’s not always being successful; it’s always wanting to be in that situation, which is a big plus.”

Fultz said his favorite battler was Jamie Brewington, a teammate of his in the San Francisco farm system, who appeared in 40 games over two MLB seasons.

“He went right after hitters, and it was fun to watch,” Fultz said.

Andrew Knapp's long homer a bright spot for skidding Phillies as rookie pushes Cameron Rupp

Andrew Knapp's long homer a bright spot for skidding Phillies as rookie pushes Cameron Rupp

Hidden in the Phillies' sub-par Sunday was one bright spot: Andrew Knapp.

The young backup catcher blasted a long home run into the Phillies' bullpen that gave them an early lead they would soon relinquish in an 8-4 loss to the Reds. The long ball comes on the heels of Knapp's first back-to-back starts earlier in the week.

"The more playing time you get, the better you feel," he said. "That's just the way it goes. I'm just trying to take my opportunities and take advantage of them. Unfortunately, we didn't win today, but the more at-bats I get, the better I feel."

The 25-year-old rookie was handed a prime opportunity in the second inning with two men on and one out. Starter Scott Feldman put him behind 0-2 with consecutive fastballs and tried to put him away upstairs. Knapp stayed poised and laid off both pitches, waiting for a mistake.

And the mistake came with a belt-high curveball that Knapp barreled 434 feet for a three-run homer.

"I wasn't really looking for it," he said. "I knew he liked to throw it with two strikes. It was kind of in the back of my head. But I was just looking for something out over the dish. He was pounding me in, but I was going to make him beat me away. I thankfully got that one out in front a bit."

Knapp is now 53 at-bats into his MLB career and has an impressive .264/.371/.509 batting line with three home runs and seven RBIs. He's played well enough to push starting catcher Cameron Rupp for more playing time and earn himself some extra starts beyond day games after night games.

"I feel good," Knapp said. "I'm learning a lot. Each at-bat in itself is its own thing and you can't really have much rollover. At the same time, the more I get in there, the better I feel and the more experience I get. So I feel good so far."

Rupp has been solid at the plate, although he dealt with some issues defensively last week. As Knapp got consecutive starts, Rupp sat out both Tuesday and Wednesday against the Rockies. He rebounded with a three-walk game Thursday afternoon.

With Knapp swinging the bat well, manager Pete Mackanin hopes it will only push Rupp to level his game up.

"Competition is great for pitchers and for position players and I think it's good," Mackanin said. "Knapp hit that home run today. He's been swinging the bat pretty well, catching pretty well and that's only, in my opinion, going to make Rupp better."

On Friday, Mackanin said he would give Knapp more playing time, looking to possibly split starts between Rupp and Knapp at four and three starts, respectively, per week. That's how it worked out during this past homestand.

The manager was unsure what the upward limit on Knapp's starts could be, but he was pleased about his catching situation despite the team's overall issues.

"Cam hasn't been swinging the bat that well lately, but they're both going to get playing time," Mackanin said. "Cam will get the brunt of the playing time. For me, it's a great situation. Now we have two guys that we think a lot of."