Friday, August 19, 2005

Seo Great At Shea
By Ben Valentine

I did get to the Mets/Nationals game tonight started by personal favorites Jae Seo and John Patterson and the result did not disappoint. It was a lot better game than the last time I saw these guys pitch; back in July of last year in David Wright’s first pro game. This one ended in a 1-0 Mets win; the only run an RBI single by Victor Diaz who scored Ramon Castro after the backup catcher doubled with one out the seventh. Both pitchers looked good: Patterson went seven, giving up seven hits, 2 walks, the one run and striking out four. Seo was just a little better; going eight innings, allowing four hits, two walks, striking out five without surrendering a run. It was an interesting affair, so I figure I’d post some quick thoughts on the game.

-Seo’s performance tonight probably has put him in the rotation for the rest of the season. The line was good, but the most impressive part of his outing came in the eighth, when Diaz botched a catchable fly in right which went for a lead off double. After a bunt advanced the runner to third, Seo walked Carlos Baerga on a 3-2 pitch. Randolph didn’t pull him, much to my surprise. Roberto Hernandez was ready in the pen. Instead He let Seo pitch to Brad Wilkerson, whom he struck out. Then he got Jose Vidro to fly out, and left the mound with a confident fist pump. It was the third straight start where Randolph let Seo pitch despite being over 100 pitches to start the eighth. The last two times, he’s finished the innings. I’ve got to believe outside of Pedro or Benson, the guy Willie trusts most on that staff right now, is Seo. That means he’s not going anywhere. Take that Rick Peterson.

-Patterson has a sick curveball. His fastball topped out at 91 mph tonight, but it looked like it had pretty good movement. He got beat with a good fastball to Diaz, who did a nice job of inside outing his swing and taking it to right. Incredibly, the Nats starter dropped his top 5 league ERA to a paltry 2.38 this year. He took his fourth loss of the year. By the way Rotoworld reports, the Nationals have scored a total of one run, that’s right one, in those losses.

-Jose Reyes went 4-4 tonight and looked to be the only Met comfortable against Patterson tonight. Three of his hits were ground singles, a good sign since Reyes struggles when he hits the ball in the air. He stole 3 bases and was picked off once. Every time I see Reyes in person, I think the same thing: “Man… he’s fast.”

-Check that, I also think “Oh man, did he hurt himself on that play?”

-Diaz cannot play the field. He botched the Vinny Castilla ball in the eighth, plus he misplayed a Preston Wilson ball earlier on for a base hit that shouldn’t have been. I’ve always hated the scoring rule that basically refuses to give outfielders errors unless they get their gloves on a ball. If a run had scored in the eighth, it would have been Diaz’s fault, not Seo’s. Why should the pitcher’s ERA take a hit when he did his job well and it was the fielder who didn’t?

-Beltran is playing better. He’s walking now and showing more patience. Maybe I was wrong about him not getting it together this season. He still has a ways to go, but the Beltran of old might just be re-emerging.

-The Nationals’ offense is one of mankind’s greatest crimes.

-The Mets’ offense isn’t much better. (I know that’s not true but it seems that way at times.)

-The fact that I was able to guess a good third of Patterson’s pitches shows how closely I’ve paid attention to him this year.

-It also shows I need to get a girlfriend.

- Finally, a very special and heartfelt thanks goes to my mother, who went with me tonight. She was able to sit through an entire three hours listening to me go on and on about Patterson’s curve, Diaz’s defense, Seo’s wildness early and my obsession with pitch counts. My mom couldn’t tell you who Albert Pujols is, but I guarantee you she can give you a pretty detailed report about Braden Looper. That’s because my mom isn’t a baseball fan, she’s a fan of her son. And for that mom, I’d like to say thanks.

Same time, same place tomorrow, when Zach and I head Shea to catch Pedro against Livan Hernandez. It should be fun.


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