Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Lo Duca drives in seven, Niese wins one

In Cincinnati, New York Mets pitcher Oliver Perez forget to bring his control with him to Great American Ball Park. In five innings he gave up only four hits, but he walked five batters. He threw 90 pitches; only 52, or 58%, made it into the strike zone. If it weren't for the Mets hitters, the five runs that Perez gave up would have resulted in his 10th loss rather than his 13th win. One Met alone outscored the entire Reds team.

Paul Lo Duca must have thought the game was an extension of batting practice. In five at-bats he knocked in seven runs, six coming on two three-run homers. Before yesterday Lo Duca had only hit five home runs all season.

This afternoon, the Mets send John Maine to the mound in their try to sweep their second series in a row. Though Maine's won 14, he went 2-3 in August with a 6.32 ERA. He also walked more than twice as many batters as he did in any other month this season. If Maine can't reverse his recent run of poorer performances, the Mets could be in trouble when the play-offs roll around.

Another member of the Mets organization seems ready for the play-offs, which start for them tonight. The Mets' Triple-A affiliate, the New Orleans Zephyrs, won its regular season finale Monday night 6-2. It newest reliever, Carlos Muniz, a Double-A call-up, pitched two innings of one-hit, no-run ball for the Z's. Better still, in three outings with the Zephyrs, Muniz has pitched 5.2 innings without surrendering a run, earned or unearned. At 26, Muniz is a bit old to be considered a prospect, but he seems to have the "right stuff." In 44 games with the Binghamton Mets he had a 2.45 ERA.

And in the Florida State League play-offs, the St. Lucie Mets won their first game behind the one-hit pitching of Jon Niese. In his six innings, he struck out nine. During the regular season, Niese led St. Lucie with 11 wins, the third highest number in the FSL.

But there was bad news for Brooklyn. The Cyclones lost to their archrival, the Staten Island Yankees, 5-4. The Yankees scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth off loser Eddie Kunz, who's been finding pitching in Single-A much tougher than for the Oregon State Beavers. After walking two batters, the second intentionally, Kunz gave up a single to Jose Gil, which ended the game. Kunz's ERA is now 8.10. Did the Mets make a mistake making him their top draft choice?

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