Mets Game 5: Loss to Braves

Braves 3 Mets 1

It’s going to be a long year, Mets fans.

Johan Santana pitched seven spectacular innings, and had the only extra-base hit of the game for the Mets. Unfortunately, this isn’t little league, and the Mets lost a heartbreaker.

Santana gave up just one run on seven hits and no walks and never was in real trouble. Scary thing is, he didn’t have his best stuff.

However, the Mets can’t hit — plain and simple. They looked terrible against John Smoltz, who was lifted after the fifth because of his sore shoulder, and did nothing against four Braves relievers. The only time they threatened — and scored — was in the ninth inning against “closer” Rafael Soriano. Too little, too late.

It was a 1-1 game until the eighth, when Aaron Heilman came on in relief of Santana and gave up a two-run homer to Mark Teixeira. Don’t blame the game on Aaron, however — this is 2008, not 1968, and you have to score runs to win ballgames.


Nice how Carlos Delgado strokes hits with no one on base. He’s hitting the lightest .300 I’ve seen in a long time.

Amazing … Aaron Heilman fools Mairk Teixeira with a changeup, Teixeira one-hands it into the seats. Never mind Ron Darling’s nonsense that the pitch was up — Teixeira was FOOLED, was way out in front, and still jerked it over the fence. The height of the pitch made little difference, because Teixeira’s swing plane was similar to a golf drive.

I like batters being patient when behind late in the game, but what the heck is Carlos Beltran looking at in the ninth inning? Soriano struck him out twice in that at-bat.

If the defense did not include a first baseman, Brian Schneider would be batting .800. I think he grounds out to the right side every time up.

Kevin Burkhardt in that yellow blazer reminds me of the days of Don Drysdale, Joe Garagiola, Keith Jackson, and Howard Cosell on ABC in the 1970s.

Next Game

Day off tomorrow, so we can stew for another 24 hours. The Mets’ home opener against the Phillies takes place on Tuesday at 1:10 PM. Oliver Perez starts against Jamie Moyer. Coverage is on SNY and XM 183.

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.
  1. isuzudude April 6, 2008 at 4:21 pm
    Agreed, Joe. I get the feeling 3/4 of this year’s games are going to be low-scoring and close, in which the Mets are unfortunately going to be coming up on the short end of a few times too many.

    With Delgado all but assured to be bought out at season’s end, how much coinage would you encourage Omar to spend on landing future free agent Mark Teixeira? He’s only going to be turning 28 this upcoming week (Friday, actually), he’s a switch hitter, a career .285 hitter, a legitamite power threat, and a 2-time gold glover. Obviously every big-market team is going to be throwing their wallets at this guy, but man, what an acquisition he would be for 2009 and beyond. Reyes-Castillo-Wright-Beltran-Teixeira-Church-FMart-Schneider. What a lineup!

  2. Coop April 6, 2008 at 9:37 pm
    I can’t help but be pissed off about this game today. I know we are only 5 games into the season and I wonder how much of the rain-out cut into their psych in getting ready for the game. I call John Maine’s start a draw – he looked OK, not good not great, but you have to believe he’ll come around. You get those sometimes. But today was unacceptable. John Smoltz, yes he owns the Mets over the years but he is 900 years old now and with our ace on the mound who gives up one run, and our offense decides to go to sleep TODAY? I think the line up needs to be reworked. Beltran should NOT be the cleanup hitter – with all those called third strikes, he needs better plate discipline. And please, can someone tell Jose Reyes to be happy again? I doubt he’s gonna be the same again, he just looks so lethargic. I would rather have church and pagan hitting up higher in the line up and move Castillo DOWN. he’s awful. Again, I know it’s only 5 days into the season but this can easily snowball. NO EXCUSE why Johan should not have gotten the W for this game.
  3. joe April 6, 2008 at 9:54 pm
    Offense is going to be a major issue, that much is certain.

    The Mets can throw all the money they want at Teixeira this winter — and they will — but they need to do something now.

    Other than getting Delgado some untraceable PEDs, I’m not sure what to do.

  4. sincekindergarten April 7, 2008 at 4:12 am
    Coop, I agree with moving Castillo down the lineup . . . a switch-hitter, even a light-hitting one like Castillo, would provide some protection against LHRPs against the bottom of the order. But, something long-term nneds to be done.
  5. sincekindergarten April 7, 2008 at 4:43 am
    One more thing . . . Let’s say that Schneider hits the ball a hair later, and it goes through the Tex-Prado gap into RF. Game becomes 3-2, runners on 1st and 2nd. Soriano gets yanked? Just as we have a problem scoring runs, the Braves and Phillthies have a problem with their bullpens preventing runs from scoring. It’ll balance out. Remember that Alou will be back for a few games, soon. There’s the RH bat that will protect Delgado (90 games max). Delgado might have gotten a few hits in “meaningless” situations, but he changes the pitching dynamics for the next batter.
  6. isuzudude April 7, 2008 at 6:00 am
    Can we all come down off the bridge now? The season is barely a week old, and we’re already slamming on the panic button like the team is in last place at the all-star break. Take a deep breathe, please. Remember, this is the same offense that just put up 13 runs in Florida and pounded out 10 hits against Tim Hudson and company. They ran into a buzzsaw on Sunday, plain and simple. They had some good defensive plays played against them (Teixeria on Schneider’s game-ending grounder, Kotsay on Church’s screamer to center that doubled off Delgado at 1st). I know we want to win every single game, and I hate being swept by the Braves just as much as anybody (even if it was only a 2-game series), but this is not the end of the world, people.

    SK is right when he says “it’ll balance out.” Alou will come back for 300 or so at-bats and hit .300 like always and provide a great lift to the bottom half of the lineup. And the Braves will move on and come off their emotional high of playing at home against the rival Mets and lose 7 of 10. Furthermore, moving Beltran out of the 4 spot makes no sense. Where else do you put him, and who else do you bat cleanup? Castillo is the prototypical #2 hitter, moving him anywhere else in the lineup decreases his value immensely. The Mets currently have the best batting order they can put together considering what they have to work with. Tinkering with it now after a measly 5 games will do nothing but show a lack of confidence in the players and will send a message to the fans that the team is already in panic mode.

    So calm down please. If the team is 10 games under .500 by May, then let’s panic. If we get all in a frenzy after every bad loss, it’s going to be a VERY long season for some of us.

  7. isuzudude April 7, 2008 at 8:02 am
  8. Micalpalyn April 7, 2008 at 11:41 am
    Isuzu: I respect your opinion. Invariably you are right. But I dont think SK should be discounted. I do not like Willie’s coaching skills, period. And SK alludes to one of his drawbacks. He has little variation in his use of his personnel. And only when he hits the panic button does he try to vary a line up. Personnally i think Beltran should hit 3rd and Wright cleanup. Also ala BV variability in line ups should not be a panic meter, BV varied his line ups adnauseum. As such for example I could see BV having Pagan hit 2nd utilizing his speed behind Reyes and then letting Castillo hit 7th. Also let Casanova play (once in a while).
  9. sincekindergarten April 7, 2008 at 1:34 pm
    Mic, I’d even go to hitting Castillo eighth, so the pitcher can bunt him into scoring position for the top of the order . . .
  10. isuzudude April 7, 2008 at 5:19 pm
    My thing with Castillo is that he was re-upped this offseason for $25-mil to be Reyes’ handcuff in the 2-hole, as well as table-setter 1-B for Wright, Beltran, and Delgado. After all, he hit .296, with more walks than strikeouts, and was 3rd on the team in OBP at .371 (behind Wright and Alou) after he was acquired last year from the Twins hitting second in the order. So can we wait until the Mets are out of the first week of the season before we start moving Castillo all over the lineup just because he went 0 for 9 in two games against the Braves?

    By the way, I also remember when Beltran hit 3rd and Wright hit cleanup last year, and everyone was screaming at Willie then to switch the two up. Now we want it back the way it was? I just don’t get it. Hell, Delgado is hitting .350, why don’t we let him lead off?

  11. sincekindergarten April 8, 2008 at 5:27 am
    To reinforce the point I made that ID mentioned, (“It’ll balance out.”) lookie at what happened to Tom Glavine last night. Six innings of a 1-0 lead, and the bullpen gives up a 2-run HR in the bottom of the eighth. The Braves could beat us 18 out of 18 this year, but if because of their bullpen, they only win another 50 games, where does that put them? (5th place in the NL East.) The Phillthies finally got Lidge back, but he’s one high fastball away from reliving the ’05 playoffs all over again. (BTW, the Braves have the worst record in MLB over the last two years in one-run games.)

    If the Mets can win a game or two more because of batting Castillo somewhere else in the lineup, then I’m for it.