(Long Island, NY) So now that it’s all over and Mets were sent home by the Redbirds, what do we take away from it? 97 regular season wins, a division title and one win away from the World Series is nothing to sneeze at. But when you break down the National League Championship Series, there is no excuse why the Mets are not sitting in Detroit right now.
Going into the NLCS, the biggest question mark surrounding the Mets was their starting rotation. With Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez both out with injuries, a heavy burden was placed on Tom Glavine to be lights out. He did pitch well, and replacement arms such as John Maine and Oliver Perez were a pleasant surprise. With the exception of Steve Traschel, the starters were strong. The non-publicized ‘personal issues’ that caused Traschel to be away from the team the last weekend of the regular season apparently came to the mound with him in Game 3. It was likely his last performance as a Met, with Perez taking his turn for Game 7 on only three days rest.
The supposed deep parts of the Mets did not fair as well as the starting rotation. The bullpen had an up and down series, looking great at some points but losing two games for them, including the final one when Aaron Heilman gave up a ninth-inning two-run home run to light hitting Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina in a 1-1 game.
The big Mets bats were silenced in six of the seven games. In Game 7, they were held hitless from the second to the ninth innings. Scoring opportunities went for naught, with the bottom of the sixth inning being the most glaring. Following Mets’ leftfielder Endy Chavez’ amazing grab off a sure home run by Cardinals’ third baseman Scott Rolen, which resulted in an inning-ending double play, the Mets were poised to take the lead. They loaded the bases without the benefit of a hit with only one out. A strike out by Jose Valentin and a fly out by Chavez kept the contest even.
The ninth-inning almost-rally by the Mets was gut-wrenching for them and their fans. The first two batters got on with hits, and the bases were eventually loaded. Two runs down and a classic ending was possible. But after Carlo Beltran was caught looking at an Adam Wayneright off-speed pitch, the crowd was sent home unhappy and the rain that had been falling seemed to come down harder as the Cardinals celebrated on the Shea Stadium grass.