Game 78: Loss

Red Sox 4 Mets 2

How many times were people going to mention “the Mets are the only team in the Major Leagues to avoid a three-game losing streak” before this game? Didn’t they realize they were jinxing them? Were any of these people REALLY Mets fans? Plainly, no.

So this is what the opposing teams felt like when the Mets were on their hot streak.

Aaron Heilman lost the lead, but you can’t fault him as much as give credit to the Red Sox for doing everything right. Known more for their slugging prowess, the Red Sox proved they could play NL-style “small ball”, taking extra bases on long fly balls, using the bunt to perfection, and making productive outs. They are a red-hot team and the class of the AL East (sorry Yanker fans).

And then there’s the breakfast cereal kid, Coco Crisp. His 7th-inning leadoff bunt single, steal, advance to third on bunt, and score on sac fly put the Bosox ahead. The Mets came back in the top of the 8th, and would have tied the score had Crisp forgotten his cape. As it was, Superman did return, in CF at Fenway Park, and stole an extra-base hit from David Wright that would have scored Carlos Beltran easily.

Just in case the Mets thought that would be the play to keep them from winning, Big Papi David Ortiz woke up from his slumber and blasted a home run to dead centerfield in the bottom of the eighth, about six minutes after Superman’s catch.

Not much else to say. Tom Glavine pitched as well as a soft-throwing lefty could throw in Fenway, the Mets could manage next to nothing against Curt Schilling, and every time the Red Sox rolled the dice, a seven came up. On to the Bronx …


It’s a shame Lastings Milledge has to go back down to Norfolk. Although he clearly needs to work on polishing his game, I’m not so sure that AAA is the place he’ll be able to smooth the edges. He was not overmatched at the big league level, and in fact he has been slowly adjusting to the competition. For example, in his first two at-bats vs. Curt Schilling, he swung early in the count and wildly, and got nowhere. In his third at-bat, with Endy Chavez on second base, he took the first two pitches and worked a 2-0 count. Unfortunately, he squandered a 2-1 advantage by over-reaching for a ball low and away, but you could see that he made an adjustment and had a better at-bat. He needs to continue to see the best pitchers in MLB to further his development; I don’t believe that AAA pitchers will challenge him and force him to adjust the way a Schilling will.

At the same time, the Mets are suddenly missing Uncle Cliffy’s bat. David Wright and Jose Reyes have cooled off in the last few days, Carlos Delgado has a rib cage issue, and the various stragglers (Chavez, Valentin, et al) have not been providing the magic lately. With the short porch in Yankee Stadium’s right field just a short fly ball away, it’s a great time for Cliff Floyd to come in and start mashing.

El Duque vs. Mike Mussina … how many staff aces in a row are the Mets going to face? Halladay, Beckett, Schilling, now Mussina …. well nobody said it was going to be easy. I’m beginning to look at the All-Star break with excitement (though I likely won’t watch the game), as it will give some of the Mets a breather. By the way, fans, STOP voting! Let’s give Reyes, DWright, LoDuca, and Beltran a few days’ rest!

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.