Sunday, June 27, 2004

It's Not Quite Jose-Mania Yet...

Sunday afternoon's make-up game had a storybook feel about it, with Jose Contreras tossing blanks at the Mets for six innings, whiffing 10, in front of his family in the Bronx, on his way to an 8-1 win.

It's beautiful, particularly the way that his teammates backed him up: Jeter doing two shots on the day after his birthday (homers, not tequila), Hideki Matsui taking Mike Stanton deep for a Grand Slam.

Back to the man of the hour: it was a great start. That forkball of his was doing some nasty stuff, and according to ESPN, Contreras supposedly hit 101 MPH on the Stadium gun. In the fifth inning, Jose allowed a hit and three walks -- teo-thirds of his total baserunners on the day -- but with the help of a caught stealing, he escaped the inning without a run scoring.

It's all very promising, but let's not give Miriam the key to the city, just yet. First of all, the Mets were the perfect team for Contreras to face on this emotional afternoon. The Mets field a really righthanded, hack-tastic lineup (the Mets have the fifth most strikeouts in the NL, and the second-lowest batting average). Even at his worst, Contreras is a strikeout pitcher.

The second proviso is that Contreras left the game with a "forearm cramp" which reminds one that Jose was rather fragile last year.

So what do you guys think? Is this the start of something, or a lot of hype about a flaky guy beating a bad lineup? And if Will's in the crowd, should we be worried that Jose's forearm might presage elbow problems?


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