Game Recap: Mets 6, Cubs 2; Mea Culpa
Tomorrow morning, we'll post my first podcast in months. In that hour-long monstrocity, you'll hear me say "I think one of the playoff spots should go to Chad Gaudin." I may have even called it a "no-brainer, if his back is up to it." I probably even said "aside from one bad outing when he was Lou's whipping boy, he's been lights out." Oh man, I was wrong.
In just 16 pitches, Chad Gaudin probably hard-tossed his way right out of Lou's post season plans. He took what had been a tied game and turned it into a route. They could have put a cage in front of the mound and given Gaudin a bucket full of baseballs, and it would've been identical to what you might see before the start of most games. It was brutal.
But, hey, on the bright side, the Cubs scored 2 runs on Johan Santana in 8 innings of work. Actually, perhaps the best thing they did was rattle off 7 hits, which doesn't seem like a lot until you remember that Santana is a force of nature on the mound. Johan got his 15th win of the season, the Cubs got good days from Kosuke Fukudome (surprisingly) and Reed Johnson (predictably, as he seems to be the only guy in baseball who regularly hits effectively against Santana). Derrek Lee had his 40th double of the year, Sean Marshall went 5 innings and struck out 7 on 71 pitches, and Mets stay alive to fight another day.
A few minutes ago, Goat Friend and Iowa broadcaster Jon Miller voiced an opinion that I have shared on numerous occasions. The Mets in the playoffs is a good thing, because wherever they go, they are followed by a fleet of ambulances. A team as injury prone as the Mets cannot be seen as a serious threat in the playoffs, and for that reason alone they would make good first round opponents against the Cubs.
- Nobody, especially Ron Santo, wants to see the Cubs get eliminated by the Mets. It could theoretically be very stressful.
- Johan Santana is dominating and in a 5 game series, he'd see 2 starts. Hell, the Mets might even pitch him in Game 4 if it comes to that.
- I sure was excited to see the Cubs face the Marlins in '03. They were my preferred NLCS opponent. I was so painfully wrong.
Moments of panic aside, the Mets really would be "good" playoff opponents. While Santana is a true threat, there are other good teams out there with even better pitching. If they manage to sneak in, pity any team that has to face Brandon Webb, Randy Johnson, and Dan Haren, and Johan won't win a series on his own.
Besides, Lou Piniella is a student of the rope-a-dope, and I'd expect the Cubs to step up and score more than 2 against Santana the next time they face him. Maybe I'm being a little ridiculous, but I just have a feeling that next time, the Cubs will use better players than Ronny Cedeno, Casey McGehee, Henry Blanco, and Koss-kay, while the Mets will be trying to recover from the burn-out factor of not cliching until the last few days of the season.