Mets Game 18: Loss to Cubs

Cubs 8 Mets 1

Ho hum … the New York Mets lost another one, swept by the Cubs in Chicago behind the pitching of Ted “Koufax” Lilly, who held the orange and blue to one run on four hits and four walks in six innings.

Nelson Figueroa took the loss, though he didn’t pitch poorly. He wasn’t great — 5 walks, 7 hits, and 3 runs in 5 innings of work is hardly awe-inspiring — but he provided about what you’d expect of a fill-in fifth starter. Oh, did you expect him to continue pitching like ED Figueroa (circa 1978)?

It was a fairly close game until the eight inning (huh, that sounds familiar), when Jorge Sosa loaded the bases with Cubs with no outs, looked like he might get out of it by getting two infield outs (huh, again, familiar) before giving up a grand slam to … um … Ronny “Hercules” Cedeno (it’s like deja vu all over again) to put the game way out of reach.


Notes

Is it me, or did it seem like the Mets went in the tank around the fourth inning? For one inning — the sixth — they looked slightly interested by building a weak, nearly fruitless “rally”, but otherwise the Mets looked sleepy. Maybe they’ll use the scheduling as an excuse (the late night in Philly, no day off on Monday, day game today, blah blah blah). Someone please put some undetectable greenies into the clubhouse coffee … please. It suddenly feels like 1979, with people like Dwight Bernard and Wayne Twitchell pouring gas on fires and then hoping that “sluggers” such as Doug Flynn and Richie Hebner could find a way to come back.

For all the fans foaming at the mouth and ready to crucify Aaron Heilman yesterday, may I introduce you to Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano, and Jorge Sosa who also are not perfect. Smith allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base and gave up a run before Willie Randolph took the ball from him and gave it to Pedro Lite. Feliciano proceeded to throw a wild pitch and nearly a second on his first two offerings, then had to intentionally walk the only batter he faced. Based on their performances and the nearsighted numnuts who get paid to “analyze” the Mets on TV and radio, I’m going to guess that Heilman, Smith, Feliciano, and Sosa should all be sent to a fiery acid pool and replaced with — hmm … Brian Stokes? Anyone can look at a boxscore and point out the “bad guys” based a poor stat line — the Mets problems, unfortunately, are much more complex than that.

Sosa nearly did get out of that eighth inning without damage, and in fact had struck out Kosuke “Foul Tip” Fukudome on a beautiful pitch on the outside corner. However, the home plate umpire’s arm was paralyzed from the shock that Fukudome had not slapped the pitch into foul territory, and by the time he recovered, everyone assumed it was ball three. But I’m sure all the critics will glaze over that detail — just as they glazed over several details in Heilman’s outing — and come up with something “intelligent” like, “Sosa can’t make the big pitch”.

Hackensack, NJ native and former Cub Doug Glanville led the crowd to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch. His singing was … well … let’s just say it’s a good thing he quit the choir to concentrate on baseball as a kid.

Next Game

The Mets travel down to Washington, DC to face the Nationals for another two-game series. I imagine they’ll be well-rested and out of excuses by game time tomorrow night at 7:10 PM. Mets ace Johan Santana faces Nats non-ace Tim Redding. Santana was signed to a $137.5M to be a “stopper”, to stop losing streaks. Let’s see if he can deliver against one of the worst teams in MLB.

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. julie April 22, 2008 at 5:50 pm
    You’re right. We look and feel off. I know Castillo didn’t play today but he and Delgado constantly feel llike rally killers and it seems again, as if Willie doesn’t have a clue how to make a line up or who to use in a game. I always feel as if Willie will ‘sacrifice’ a game for the ego of one of his ‘guys’. And then I remember we lost last year by ONE game!

    I’m disgusted when I see all the ex-Met players managing and coaching all over baseball and yet here we sit with someone more suited to the Yankees…maybe.

    And just to rant a little more…why was I hearing Ron Darling on a Braves broadcast on TBS?

  2. isuzudude April 22, 2008 at 7:09 pm
    Yes you did, Julie, but it’s all well and good because the Mets were on ESPN on Sunday night so it’s not like he skipped an SNY broadcast to do TBS’. Also, TBS is no longer the “official” home of the Braves anymore. They’re doing games of all teams this year – it just so happened this weekend they had the Braves.

    Also, Julie, where were you when the Mets were winning 5 in a row? Was it just coincidence and luck the Mets were winning, or was it because Willie made some good decisions and guys like Delgado and Castillo were getting timely hits? If there’s something I can’t stand, it’s the fans that only come out of the woodwork to criticize but don’t give an ounce of credit when the same people they love to bash do something good. It’s only fair if the ship sails in both directions.

    I know it’s no excuse, but the Mets obviously are tired. And give credit to the Cubs. That’s a pretty damn good team they’ve assembled over there. No shame in losing to them, although I would have prefered closer scores than 7-1 and 8-1.

    Joe – I didn’t watch the game as I was at work. Who are you alluding to when you mention the “nearsighted numnuts?” I’d love to know.

  3. Micalpalyn April 23, 2008 at 10:36 am
    Interesting thoughts. Isuzu: Some of us post daily. Some us us just need that outlet to vent once a week. Her net point as I see it is that one game.

    Also interesting is your summation of the Cubs (sans Soriano). I remember V. Zambrano spanked c. Zambrano not so long ago and before the extension alot of us were knocking C. Zambrano as a headcase. also I’d like to point these NL Central champs were DOG awfull untill the Zambrano-Mike Barrett explosion and subsequent (typical) Pinella explosions last yr.

    This yrs first tirade went to- jim leyland. I am not advocating anything….but just keeping memories fresh.

    It is early…but not TOO early. The thing that is boiling in me is the Moises Alou factor. Last yr he was awesome. Yes he stands to offset Del (perceived) dysfunction, but I hate that he is perceived as a saviour ESPECIALLY given his age and fragility. we have a 4-man outfield with 3 other part time OFers. Willie talks about small ball, yet there are no shifts, few called bunts, no hit and runs, few double steals, very little in game strategy.

    We as a group all have noted Willie is an AL manager. In fact moises fits in his vision as a DH (playing LF). In the 5 game winning streak, two players factored heavily; Pagan and Church. I think a large key to the season is that #2 spot. While I see your point on DW & CB, I would still have CB at #3, and Dw at #4. I respect your opinion, but my perception is tht willie is reacting to CB taking the bat out of his own hands by impromptu bunts, and nfirst pitch swings…..But while we are saying that is Willie’s way and he is managing in his style…what is CB’s style? CB is a player who hits .280, with 30-40HR 110rbi…but he steals, bunts, and sacrifices too. my observation is that some of us expect him to be a young Gary Sheffield type slugger.

    In my business your leaders are with you for 3-4 yrs, then they move on. I am hesitant to endorse Willie long term, and I do see a change necessary to push the Mets to that next tier. I am not faulting Willie. But just making my own observation. But then Teams have won with mediocre managers.

  4. RockStar78 April 23, 2008 at 10:53 am
    I guess that Mike Jacobs trade wasn’t so good after all. We benefited from it in 2006, but not now. Jacobs has 6 home runs so far…
  5. help-a-rascal April 23, 2008 at 11:58 am
    i’m not fond of willie, but i don’t hate him either. it just gets increasingly difficult to think of any outward benefits he brings to the team, while his deficiencies are glaring. that being said, i would be happy with wally backman. not saying he is the great tactician that willie is not, but he’s our little redneck and he’s won everywhere he’s been. maybe he wouldn’t succeed as a manager in NY. maybe he isn’t the type of image-guy the wilpons want. but i, for one, would love some of that ’86 attitude.
  6. Coop April 23, 2008 at 2:24 pm
    It will be tough to get a team with the tude of 86. This is because those guys played for the love of the game. These guys play (with the exception of *maybe* David Wright) b/c it’s a jay-oh-bee. Nothing more, nothing less. I too would love to have a throw-back manager, right now I feel like this team needs some revamping in the worst sense. I’d rather have Bobby V at this point – he’d have these guys doing push-ups. Willie coddles his vets and throws his youngsters under the bus. We may want young guys like Gotay on the team but the truth is, they would never get a fair shake b/c of BIC Willie (Baseball intellectually challenged).
  7. joe April 23, 2008 at 11:36 pm
    So true, Coop … was just discussing that exact topic today with another Mets fan — 20 years ago, the players played because they wanted to prove they could do it at the highest level. Now it’s all about the Benjamins and the bling. How hard can you expect someone to work when they’re making a guaranteed 7- or 8-figure salary?

    Backman would be GREAT as a manager … but I don’t see it happening, unfortunately. Teams today are too worried about public perception … a guy like Wally might be too “edgy”.

    Me, I’d love to see a team with players like Wally, Ray Knight, Keith, Gary Carter, Mookie, Nails, etc. — those guys played with heart, and left everything on the field.