Game 81: Loss

Yankees 16 Mets 7

I was not impressed with the Yankees offense tonight. After scoring 16 runs in the first five innings, I was sure they’d end the game with 20 (or 18 at the least). Instead, the mighty Yanks were completely shut down over the last three innings by the ROOGY-LOOGY tandem of Chad Bradford and Pedro Feliciano. In fact, had the game started in the sixth inning, the Beltrans would have won the game two-zip.

Unfortunately, the game started at the regular interval, the first inning, after an hour and a half rain delay. The Mets jumped ahead four-zip quickly, and looked like they might trounce the Yankees and make this game a laugher, as they chased starter Jaret Wright from the game in the third. Well, the Mets did make this game a laugher all right.

Alay Soler was awful, again. In eight big league starts, he’s been brilliant, so-so, and godawful. Though he has shown that he can pitch well against good teams at this level, he has an extreme problem competing. In other words, he is an excellent pitcher when things are going well, but when things are not so great, he’s unable to compete; to adjust, and rise to the challenge. As has occurred in other games this year, Soler had a different interpretation of the strike zone than the home plate umpire. This is a serious problem for a starting pitcher (ask Tom Glavine). While it’s true a pitcher needs to pitch his game, he also must understand that there is a man standing behind the catcher, and not because he’s purchased a really expensive ticket. That man decides what is and isn’t a strike, and if he is deciding that your pitches are not strikes, then you must make an adjustment. Instead, Soler gyrates, makes faces, and generally acts like a 12-year-old. Further, he allows these calls and other outside influences to affect his focus and overall game. I like Soler, and I want him to do well. However, he needs to mature, very quickly, if he is to stay in the Major Leagues.

Lost in this debacle was a 4-5, two-homer performance by Carlos Beltran, who after chilling for a few games is once again red-hot as the season hits its midpoint.

Notes

Julio Franco went 2-4 and both scored and drove in a run. One must wonder why teams don’t apply some kind of reverse shift on him, as nearly every one of his hits goes to right field.

Xavier Nady, who is now playing with a broken bone in his hand, dropped a fly ball that led to four Yankee runs in the fourth. He also went 0-3, dropping his average to below .260. Not sure if his hand is affecting his play, but I won’t be surprised to see Eli Marrero getting some starts in RF.

Paul LoDuca had some choice words for Alex Rodriguez after A-Rod’s grand slam in the third. I’ll presume that LoDuca’s issue was with A-Rod’s obnoxious posture at home plate as he watched the ball clear the RF fence. Kudos to Paulie for setting him straight. Interestingly, juiceboy Jason Giambi made a move toward LoDuca after the exchange, and our Paulie did not back down. As it was, nothing happened, but I would have loved to see Brooklyn boy LoDuca duke it out with steroid-surfer dude Giambi. Juiceambi’s girth notwithstanding, I’ll take LoDuca in three rounds.

Speaking of the Giambino, he’s looking awfully puffy lately. I wonder what undetectable designer ‘roid he’s using now? HGH ?

Baseball has definitely changed over the last 15-20 years. I don’t think, in 1986, you’d see a team score 16 runs without SOMEONE getting knocked down. I thought for sure Heath Bell would dust A-Rod, but instead served him a gopher ball on a silver platter. As Goose Gossage has said, this is no longer a game so much as nine innings of BP.

Soler better get his emotions in check. I’m guessing his leash is about three starts long. If he continues allowing his hot temper to affect his game, the Mets must turn to John Maine and/or Evan MacLane as they wait for Brian Bannister to return. As much as I’d like to see Mike Pelfrey come up, I think the Mets will wait till August, and see if he can pitch well enough to help them in the playoffs. The California Angels did something similar with a young phenom in 2002; today they call that phenom “K-Rod”. I’m not sure Pelfrey’s ready to be a #3 starter come playoff time, but there’s a really good chance he’ll be effective as a one- or two-inning guy to even further shorten a game.

I HATE having to watch the Mets on ESPN. Joe Morgan is a blithering idiot. For three innings he hemmed and hawed about Mr. Willie leaving Soler in the game to give up eight runs, while Joe Torre pulled Jaret Wright immediately to stop the bleeding during the Mets’ four-run second. Morgan couldn’t understand why Darren Oliver wasn’t coming into the game, and admonished Willie for not “playing for today”. Well gee Joe Moron, there’s a reason you’re in the broadcast booth and Willie’s in the dugout. If Morgan ever watched three consecutive Mets games, instead of once a month, he’d know that Mr. Willie plays every game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series, to the point where he’s nearly burned out his bullpen at the All-Star break. And secondly, Oliver is needed to start tomorrow in place of tub-slipping, bad hipping Pedro. If Oliver comes in to save the day, who’s the starter tomorrow? Chad Bradford? Somebody, PLEASE, fire Joe Morgan!

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.