Monday, April 13, 2009

Mets drop Citi Field opener

First of all, though I would have liked a ninth-inning comeback even more, I have to confess that I was a little happy that Heath Bell got to fulfill his revenge fantasy of recording the first save in Citi Field history.

I just learned tonight from Gary Cohen that Bell harbored a grudge against the Mets for how they handled him, but it makes sense, since I was furious about it (not so much for his sake as the team's) and it stands to reason he would be even more so. Here's just one of several posts I wrote at the time to the effect that the Mets needed to give him the damn ball and stop demoting him after his first bad inning:

Since his much decried demotion, Heath Bell has saved three games for Norfolk in dominating fashion, striking out 11 and not allowing a single baserunner in 6.2 innings. As has been pointed out before, the Mets need to promote him and have him pitch the crucial innings that are now being entrusted to Manny Aybar and Mike Dejean. I would even submit, for your consideration, that the Tides may currently boast a better closer than the Mets.

That was April 2005, and the incumbent closer in question was Braden Looper, who indeed had about as bad a 28 Save season as one could have (8 blown saves, 3.94 ERA). Bell was no prize that year either, to be sure, but the peripherals were still excellent. After '06, he was sent to San Diego in a trade for... Ben Johnson, a fifth outfielder whose Mets career consisted of a grand total of 27 (wasted) at-bats.

Well now that, sure enough, he was a keeper and everyone knows of Heath Bell as San Diego's dominant setup man-turned-Closer, I can hardly begrudge him his desire to rub the Mets organization's face in it.

It's just one game anyway. The biggest negative from tonight was Mike Pelfrey, but I've already done enough "I told you so" for one post.

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