AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
It should have been the type of day that you look back on months from now and call "the turning point" for the Mets. All the signs seemed to indicate that everything had fallen into place for Jerry Manuel's team. They were playing at Yankee Stadium, in the first game of a split-stadium doubleheader against the squad that does double-duty as the Mets' unofficial barometer of success, and it looked as though a spark had finally been lit in the Mets' dugout.
Carlos Delgado emerged from an 0-for-14 funk with the most productive game in Mets history, hitting a two-run double in the fifth, a grand slam in the sixth and a three-run shot in the eighth for a total of nine RBIs. He broke Dave Kingman's team record eight RBIs, which had stood for 32 years, and in the process moved past Kingman into 34th place on the career home run list. But it wasn't just Delgado's performance that had Mets' fans thinking the team had turned a corner. Consider this:
• David Wright was rested by Jerry Manuel on Tuesday, the first game he missed all season. After the 15-6 blowout of the Yankees in the first game Friday, Wright was 6-for-8 with six RBIs in his first two games after the unexpected day off.
• Last week, Luis Castillo had told the manager he was tired. So the new skipper started Damion Easley at second base not just once, but for several games, as a way to let Castillo know he needed to quit whining and step up the effort. Castillo responded by scoring a career-high five runs against the Yankees.
• Carlos Beltran, perhaps motivated by his manager getting thrown out of a game in his defense when umpire Brian Runge confronted the pair, hit his 12th homer of the season and drove in three runs.
The team had once again reached the .500 mark, and in such a fashion that it seemed poised to turn a corner. But a funny thing happened on the way to Shea Stadium between games. Somehow, in their haste to get home for the second game of the doubleheader, the Mets forgot to bring that fire back to Flushing. Newly acquired Yankee pitcher Sidney Ponson loaded the bases in both the second and third innings against the Mets, yet there was no key hit, no momentum to build upon no runs scored at all. Instead, Bobby Abreu did his best Carlos Delgado impression, going 4-for-4 with a walk, three RBIs and two stolen bases, and the Yankees extinguished the Mets, 9-0.
I guess that's what you can expect from the Mets from here on out. The occasional performance that makes you want to believe in the end is only a glitch in the matrix. This is an average team having an average season. Don't go expecting any miracles, and that magic you're expecting from their star players in the second half probably won't happen.
Chan Ho Park, Dodgers
Yup, that was Chan Ho Park who fired six shutout innings to beat the Angels on Friday. The same Chan Ho Park that has burned us so many times ... but he's now 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA and might just be turning into (gasp!) a fantasy option again.
Joel Pineiro, Cardinals
Start at Kansas City. Favorable, right? Wrong. Pineiro pitched 7 2/3 innings, but he allowed 10 hits and seven runs in the process. Pineiro looked promising for a spell, but his ERA is up to 4.33, and he has 36 K's in 70-plus innings.
"Where is the velocity? The Phillies need Brett Myers to be himself, which isn't a 3-9 guy with a 5-plus ERA and 23 homers allowed in 99 2/3 innings. They may not be able to trade for anyone as good as the old Brett Myers. "
-- Peter Gammons Full Story
• The Yankees made some moves in between games of their Friday doubleheader. Ross Ohlendorf, who gave up six runs in 1 1/3 innings in the opener, was sent packing to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Kei Igawa was recalled in time to pitch the ninth inning of the nightcap. In order to make room on the roster for second-game starter Sidney Ponson, the team placed outfielder Hideki Matsui on the 15-day disabled list because of a sore left knee.
• The Cardinals activated pitcher Mark Mulder from the 15-day disabled list and optioned Mike Parisi to Triple-A Memphis. Mulder, coming off two shoulder operations, will be used out of the bullpen for now.
• Toronto purchased the contract of left-hander John Parrish and sent right-hander Brian Wolfe to Triple-A Syracuse. With Shaun Marcum's right elbow likely keeping him out until the All-Star Break, if not longer, Parrish is expected to start in his stead Saturday.
• Rocco Baldelli's rehab assignment in Class A Vero Beach isn't producing results. He went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts Friday and looks nowhere near ready to return to Tampa Bay next weekend when his 20-day maximum stint in the minors is set to end.
• Ryan Church could be back this weekend for the Mets after showing no ill effects of his concussion, playing right field and going 0-for-3 for Class A Brooklyn.
• Danny Richar is making a case for a trip to the Windy City. He went 4-for-5 with a home run and a double for the White Sox Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte on Friday. With Juan Uribe batting only .215, the second baseman could be a welcome addition to the Chicago bench.