If the painful truth about another lost season started to set in around August 1 for the Mets and their fans, it took the team until August 7 to do something about it. Things were not working with the team as it was, and since no trade was made by the July 31 deadline, something had to give. It did yesterday.
The Mets released infielder Alex Cora, an all-around nice guy, good presence in the clubhouse, but batted only .207. They optioned outfielder Jesus Feliciano to Buffalo, and recalled infielder Ruben Tejada and outfielder Fernando Martinez. It seems that Martinez will get to play left field in the absence of Jason Bay (on DL with a concussion), and this could give the talented but yet to be proven player a chance to get a permanent spot on the team.
Even more good news awaited Mets fans: Luis Castillo and his two bad feet were benched, and that meant Tejada got to start at second base. Though Tejada batted only .212 when previously playing for the Mets this season, he has a great attitude and is a major improvement on defense over Castillo. With Tejada at second and Martinez in left field, the “new” look of the team is younger and certainly brighter than it was yesterday.
Meanwhile, pitcher Johan Santana (9-6) pitched a brilliant game on Saturday, taking a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth. After Raul Ibanez struck out but reached first base on a wild pitch, Placido Polanco stroked a single up the middle to end the continuing Mets dream of getting their first no-hitter in team history.
Santana pitched very well into the eighth inning, leaving with two on base and one out. Francisco Rodriguez was then called upon for a five-out save (gulp). Luckily for the Mets and their fans, K-Rod escaped the jam in the eighth and pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 24th save.
Overall, it was a good day for the Mets in more ways than one. They won a tough game against their division rivals the Phillies, got some new blood on the field, and let it be known that they have heard the fans and are trying to do something to better the team. For this day at least, Mets fans had something to smile about for a change.