Mets Game 30: Loss To Dodgers

Dodgers 5 Mets 1

The Mets couldn’t figure out Chad Billingsley, so it didn’t matter how Oliver Perez pitched. As it turned out, Perez looked better than his most recent starts, though the stat line didn’t bear it out.

Perez allowed five runs on six hits and two walks in six innings, but if you take away two pitches right down Broadway in the fifth, he pitched fairly well. Ollie cut down his normally wild, violent momentum toward the plate, pitching with more balanced mechanics and a controlled follow-through. The result was more strikes than we’ve seen from him in a while — though I didn’t see too many of those nasty, down-in-the-dirt sliders. In addition, OPea looked more focused, though I wouldn’t say confident. If anything, he looked angry, pitching like he had a chip on his shoulder and didn’t care whether his pitches were hit — which to me is a good way for him to be. For much of the game, Ollie looked like he was firing the ball in and saying to the hitters, “here it is, I dare you to hit it”. He needs to do more of that cocky, thoughtless execution, because his problems begin the minute he starts thinking — which leads to self-doubt, lack of confidence, and rallies for the opposing team.

Meanwhile, the Mets did nothing with the bats, managing just five hits — all against Billingsley. Bottom line? This game was not worth staying up until 1am to watch.

Notes

Carlos Beltran probably could have had an inside-the-park homer in the sixth, but with a five-run deficit, it wasn’t worth the risk. He stayed on third and was singled home by Moises Alou a few minutes later.

Carlos Delgado had the only other extra-base hit for the Mets, a booming double in the second that chased Beltran to third. Both runners were left on base as Brian Schneider struck out and Luis Castillo grounded out.

Billingsley didn’t exactly dominate the Mets — he allowed nine baserunners in his six frames — but he was able to get key outs when he needed them.

Next Game

Another late start — 10:10 PM — as Nelson Figueroa goes to the hill against Japanese import Hiroki Kuroda. Historically, the Mets struggle against pitchers they see for the first time, so I’m not liking this matchup.

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. Walnutz15 May 6, 2008 at 7:09 am
    I got’cher next blog-piece right here, Janish:

    WILLIE: SHEA FANS A DRAG

    May 6, 2008 — LOS ANGELES – Willie Randolph doesn’t think it was an accident that the Mets looked so relaxed while taking two of three from the Diamondbacks in Arizona over the weekend.

    Randolph admitted yesterday that the constant negativity from the fans at Shea Stadium so far this year – an obvious carryover from last September’s epic collapse – has turned the road into a welcome refuge.

    “In our mind, we moved on,” Randolph said of last season’s historic meltdown. “Obviously, the fans are having a tough time moving past that.”

    Met players and officials were struck by how supportive and mild-mannered the fans were in Arizona, even when the hometown Diamondbacks struggled. It was a far cry from Shea in April, when even 2-1 counts on opposing hitters drew boos.

    Randolph is convinced the atmosphere back in New York will improve, perhaps as soon as this weekend against the Reds, if the Mets can win their current series here in L.A.

    “When we start to play well, you’ll see a change in that ,” Randolph said of the fan reaction at Shea. “We don’t talk about it or concern ourselves with it. We just hope that they eventually get behind this team, because I think we’re going to make them real proud before the year is over.”

    ^ The 2 bolded portions are the crux of this all.

    Play better, more consistent ball — and you’ll convince the negative fans you’ve created yourself.

    This is not a majority of the fans at Shea (believe me, they’d know if it was) — and anyone on the roster who feels it’s a “problem” for them, should be relieved of their aggravation immediately.

    “Supportive” and “Mild-Mannered” fans, like the ones in Arizona, typically come with teams that are playing to the tune of 21-11……..by the same token — ask Andruw Jones what happens to guys who constantly whiff or ground into Double Plays with RISP.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re in Los Angeles, or New York….wake up and realize, this is the least of your problems, fellas….and is certainly not a new concept, exclusive to the 2008 New York Mets.

    It’s time to start playing some real ball. No one wants to support you more than your home fans…..realize it, embrace it, and moreover — do something about it.

  2. RockStar78 May 6, 2008 at 7:43 am
    The biggest problem with this team is consistency. They can look great for a few games (Arizona), and then they can look lifeless like last night and the Pirates game for example. They need to somehow find a way to get into a groove offensively. I think part of the problem is that there are too many streaky hitters in the lineup.
  3. joe May 6, 2008 at 8:10 am
    Oh boy, ‘nutz … where did you find that ? Lemme know so I can refer to it in the next post.
  4. Walnutz15 May 6, 2008 at 8:49 am
    Today’s NY Post:

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/05062008/sports/mets/willie__shea_fans_a_drag_109654.htm

    I’m just posting it, not because I feel Willie’s seriously calling out the fans — because if he is, then he’s just not a smart guy.

    My problem with it, is: come out and outwardly challenge your team. It’s clear they don’t respond to much else.

    The whole in-house policy hasn’t worked to date…..let’s see what’s up. Even though the early on 2008 record doesn’t reflect it, your team stinks at Shea — and doesn’t prefer playing there.

    They’re hitting .233 at home, and certain “megastars” splits have been traditionally worse at Shea — even before being booed. The precedent is there, and pretty much justifies their treatment.

    A non-story that shouldn’t have even been addressed….has now been taken and run with.

    Simple solution for anyone this may bother: Play better and more consistent baseball at home. Some offense typically helps in getting the fans abuzz, in a positive manner. That doesn’t happen much at Shea anymore, as we all know the Mets wait for that one big inning.

  5. isuzudude May 6, 2008 at 9:14 am
    The problem I’m picking up on is that there is a rampant mentality of “us” vs. “them.” It’s the fans against the team. And that’s not helping anybody. As fans, we’re looking for reasons to boo and criticize. We search for quotes from players and management that can be twisted so that it looks like they’re blaming us for their struggles. And while I agree the players should either ignore the boos or use them to motivate them to perform better, it collectively can’t be good for their psyche or confidence if the people that are supposed to support and cheer for you are only looking for the things you do wrong. Ultimately, the whole situation makes for a bad relationship and creates a poor environment to play in, which could lead to lack of focus, giving in to pressure, and just plain complacency.

    There should be no “us” or “them.” There should only be a “we.” Fans who unconditionally support their team – thru the good and bad – refer to their team as “we.” Hunt down a Braves or Cubs fan and listen to how they talk. And perhaps here in New York that kind of rhetoric is considered ignorant or stupid, but nonetheless it creates a sense of camaraderie. And teams can pick up on this and feel more comfortable and, rather than feeling pressured to preform so they don’t get jeered, they relax and consider it honorable to succeed in front of fans who support and respect them. Think about it…if you were a ballplayer, would you rather be booed unmercifully when you strike out with the bases loaded or would you rather them hold their tongues and show their support for you during your next plate appearance? I know that’s an unrealistic goal, but the point is people are motivated more when they know they have support rather than hatred.

    Ultimately, I think Willie is right. Many fans haven’t moved on from 2007 yet. Yeah, it was a tough pill for all of us to swallow, but how does it help in May of 2008 to boo a team that failed in September of 2007? Walnutz, you claim the team will evade booing and criticism when they “play better, more consistent ball.” Well, I see a team that finished April two games over .500, a half game out of 1st place, and just took 2 out of 3 games from the best team in baseball on the road. Yet all this isn’t good enough. It’s almost as though the Mets have to win every series for the next 2 months, or go on a 12 game winning streak, for fans to start coming around again (just to get booed when they lose their next game). Is that fair? And although I think the team can play better, I also think that they’re playing well right now. They haven’t lost any of their past 4 series, and have won 4, lost 1, and tied 2 of their last 7 series. I guess some people’s expectations are for the Mets to win every series and sweep all the series at home, but that’s just not realistic. And so I would say 4-1-2 is pretty damn consistent and successful.

  6. Coop May 6, 2008 at 9:38 am
    IsuzuDude, I usually love to see what you have to say b/c you are one of the few logical Mets fans out there (that’s a compliment – actually everyone on here is, including my fellow Mets weekly roundtabler Joe)…But I see what you are saying abotu consistency. But let’s think about how these games are won. OK, Sunday against the Dbacks was a giveaway. Although they had one bonafide blowout, Webb vs Pelfrey we KNEW we had no chance, but Sunday was a day we had with Johan on the mound. The team did not execute. Yes we can argue that they took advantage of the other teams mistakes, blah blah blah, but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that they sucked pretty much the whole game. When your “ace” on paper is on the mound, you need to step up your game. There’s a reason why Jo-jo has had two straight no-decisions. Beacuse this team is INCONSISTENT.

    That and the fact that pitching is not the problem. Yes Oh Pea is erratic and crazy on the mound – hello, may I introduce you to Oliver Perez. That’s who he is. Fine. John Maine is coming around, finally and Johan is Johan. We have two scrubs at the back of the rotation – one is a 24-y/o rookie who needs a personal catcher and the other is a guy who’s good once through the line up, then he starts to crumble. The only thing “consistent” is that Jorge Sosa has the most wins on the Mets pitching staff! YIKES!

    As for the offense – are you guys watching the same games I am? David Wright is slumping, Carlos Beltran is finally hitting over .200 and Delgado is, well, Delgado. The only guy is hitting over .300 is Ryan Church – we all know THAT aint gonna last.

    I know on paper, the team is over .500. We’re winning series-es. That’s good. But the way they win, the means in which they do – that aint gonna last. Just sayin’.

  7. sincekindergarten May 6, 2008 at 9:54 am
    I’m wondering . . . does anybody remember the angst that we revelled in last year, that the Phillies’ fans were experiencing? We had a pretty good April, and theirs sucked. We know how that one turned out, don’t we?

    And now, with the best pitcher in baseball (arguably) on our staff, and thirty games into the season, it’s as if a lot of us are lining up, jockeying for position to jump off the cliff. Whoever makes Protonix, a monster acid-reducer that I’m currently on because of a hole I put into my stomach about 2 1/2 years ago, needs to start getting the emailing lists of most of the blogs devoted to the New York Mets at this rate. Said company will make a mint. (Yes, there is a generic.)

    What’s to say that Figgy doesn’t turn around and shut the Dodgers down for seven, then hand it off to the pen, who nails it down? Then what we will start bitching about?

    Some people aren’t happy unless they’re not happy.

  8. Walnutz15 May 6, 2008 at 9:57 am
    Great discussion piece, and while I agree with your points ID — I tend to side more with Coop here.

    I’m not claiming to be a professional baseball player, nor a millionaire trying to justify his paycheck — however, I do come from a solid baseball background (not unlike Mr. Janish) and like anybody else who follows this team like a fanatic — knows and appreciates the game with true passion for it.

    I’m not looking for the Mets to play the game to Playstation-type numbers, or win every series or game — I’m looking for consistency. And in heading out to Shea 30-25 times a season, I’ll be the first to admit — that Shea has taken a major hit over the past year or so. And while everyone will try to spin it on the fans….

    They ain’t the ones on the field playing. They’re only responding to what they see…..even if it’s a minority, it’s gonna be heard. The polite ones are biting their tongues — but you’d still be hard pressed to say there aren’t concerns with this team right now.

    They do seem soft to me….and it’s time someone stepped up and took the torch.

  9. Walnutz15 May 6, 2008 at 10:09 am
    30-35* times a season…..my bad.

    And to tack on….

    Why does this team seemingly need to point out the “fact” the fans have not gotten over the collapse?

    The Mets could’ve scraped their way into the playoffs by a game last year — and I’d still be pointing out the Mets .233 home batting average — or their struggles in the middle of the order with RISP.

    Consistency is the crux of it all, not complaining — for me, anyway. I can’t speak for everyone who rocks the orange and blue.

    These guys keep pointing out to the media that they’ve moved on from the collapse of 2007 — well, here’s an idea. Someone in the media asks you a question like this, when you know nothing good can come from it? *give a chuckle — and don’t answer*

    Hearing them speak of how they’re over last year, and stuff like that — means as much to me as when a guy says he moved to Colorado because of their school systems. Or that he signed in New York because he loves the fans..that it wasn’t about the money or extra year tacked onto their contract.

    Much like they don’t want to by now, I just don’t wanna hear about it anymore either. Don’t give them any fuel — and at the same time, give them new stories to write about by stepping up your game.

  10. isuzudude May 6, 2008 at 10:28 am
    Coop: Firstly, thanks for the compliment. It’s appreciated. I see where you’re coming from, and I agree the Mets have been losing and winning sloppily. But wins are wins. You take them in all shapes and forms. And the fact is the Mets have more wins than losses. At the end of the year, if the Mets win 95 and make the playoffs (and that’s a big IF), will anyone care how many of those games the Mets won sloppily? They key is to win, whether it means hitting 5 home runs per game or scoring only once because of an opposing team’s error. Realistically, I agree that the Mets can’t keep winning this many times solely benefiting on the other team’s mistakes while generating very little offense…but in the same respect, do you really expect Beltran, Delgado, Wright, Castillo, Reyes, Chavez, et al to continue batting well under their career averages all season long? The offense will eventually kick into gear. And when they do, I pity the team that has to face them AND deal with Johan, Maine, an improved Perez, and a healthy Pedro to boot.

    SK: Agree with everything. We may be the only ones keeping level heads these days, so it’s good to have your company.

    Walnutz: I definitely see your point of view. And I agree. There are concerns. But it’s not as though the team doesn’t care. And it’s not as though they’re 20 games under .500. And it’s not as though they don’t have the talent to turn things around. So the way I see it, instead of getting all in a panic and firing Willie and trading Heilman and demoting Perez and booing after every out – like some fans are proclaiming – I prefer to be patient and wait for the team to come back around, all the while lending my support instead of my disdain. Who cares if anyone steps up and takes the torch? If the team isn’t willing to follow by example, it doesn’t do them any good. All they need to do is relax and feel confident in their collective abilities. And it doesn’t help when they get treated like scum at home – by a small, albeit loud, minority – when they fail to meet lofty expectations.

  11. Walnutz15 May 6, 2008 at 10:46 am
    And that’s the problem I see with this team — consistent confidence, and the ability to relax.

    Without the ability to do both, most players won’t succeed in their ultimate goal in playing here. I still see poster-children for inconsistency in the embodiment of Jose Reyes and Oliver Perez. They’ve both got to step up and accept the challenges presented to them.

    The Mets won’t win without Reyes’ foot on the gas pedal.

    They won’t be able to sustain a winning streak, either — provided Perez is dominant for a few innings, then goes nuclear the next.

    I’m a patient guy, too….yet I’ve been on many teams where guys attitudes definitely changed once they didn’t have “their” coach around anymore. It was almost comical to see how people responded to things like that — it was as if you never knew the true person you were dealing with.

    I knew guys who just coasted on by, because their manager allowed them to….and then absolutely responded to a new, perhaps more disciplined (read: take no sheet) guy at the helm.

    It’s all about getting your players to run through a brick wall for you — and I still don’t see that with the Mets and Willie Randolph. Personally, I’m not calling for anything: just making the observation that this team certainly does play to the temperature put on them. And their manager very rarely ever turns up the thermostat — outwardly.

    I doubt he’s flippin over tables in the clubhouse, either. Sometimes guys just aren’t a fit for the current crop they’re handed.

    It’s only natural to feel that way. Especially when so much has been made of the construction of this club…..and how it should be a “World Series contender”…..I still have faith, but really — good teams step up.

    It’s time to….

  12. Micalpalyn May 6, 2008 at 11:15 am
    All,

    We are all concerned in some manner. In the last 9 comments there are glass 1/2 empty-glass half full perceptions. Sorry, ID and SK but I dont think you are ‘objective’. I see a ‘glass half full ‘logic.

    1. ID you point to ‘winning series’ . What ever happened to sweeping series?

    2. Willie is his own worst enemy again with his sound bites as Walnutz points out….

    3. MY perception is that the Mets think they will compete…even with Willie….but I sense the team does not believe in Willie as the Capt of the ship.

    4. I have two interjections for your consideration:
    -a. On ESPN this morning Ozzie Guillen was under Buck Showalter’s microscope as the ‘effect of Manager Tirades’ was discussed in the arguement was the overall effect a Manager can have on his team…
    -b. consider that Avery Johnson was just fired, and Mike D’antoni is looking for another job and we see not just the Isiah Thomas model, but that Managers and coaches on good playoff teams are fired. Wasnt Joe Torre ‘releived last yr after a playoff run that looked pretty remote in April/May?
    -c. Again no I am not advocating that Willie be fired, but I do think that MY expectations of this team are much higher than the current output and 16-14 is NOT what this team’s record should be.
    -d. Case in point: Johan Santana…against all expectations argueably baseball’s best current pitcher is a Met…BUT HE SPORTS a 3-2 record, leads the Nl in strikeouts, has a 2.91 ERA, BAA .203 and 1.01 wHIP.
    On this team, THAT output should be a 5-1 record and that disparity is reflective of poor (run) support (on the field).
    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6441
    -e. You and I and Joe- have swapped enuff side notes to know that we have in our own lives experiened ‘leadership’. I am sorry but MY perception of the Mets is that they are ‘leader-less’ much like the 1992 Mets. But the fact they are competing is based more on athletic talents alone. Yes they relax a little and put a good string together, then the albatross comes out and the swoon re-appears.

    Fans have not moved on from 2007? I think that is a Mantra that opposing teams are using to get inside the minds of the Mets (and Fans) knowing expectations are high.

    I agree with you ID: I pity the team that has to play the Mets WHEN they role…but that so far is not often enuff and when it happens it could be all too late. But then again it might not.

  13. Walnutz15 May 6, 2008 at 1:33 pm
    As captain of an NCAA Division-I conference champion myself — I whole-heartedly agree that there doesn’t seem to be a real “leader” on this team.

    Plenty of candidates….whether someone actually steps up (or the guys listen to and follow — is another story).

    To me, Pedro was always the leader on this team….and since he’s gone down every year since 2006…..so have the Mets, in their own way, shape, and form.

    2006 — bow out early.
    2007 — disappointing collapse
    2008 — who knows — could be a huge turnaround with Pedro back, even in a “supporting capacity”.

    I think he livens the place up, and keeps the boys loose. Huge factors, in addition to instilling some swag and confidence.

    Just my own honest, humble opinion.

  14. sincekindergarten May 6, 2008 at 4:21 pm
    Walnutz, I agree with the point about Pedro. Didn’t he say something about wanting to be more vocal in the clubhouse this season? He does liven the clubhouse up.

    And, someone else who isn’t in the clubhouse, who “livens it up,” so to speak . . . The “Clown Prince” of the Mets, Darth Vader . . . whoops! Ramon Castro! Where’s he been? (I know where he’s been.) I can see him putting Red Hot in Figgy’s jock when he doesn’t pitch, or giving David Wright a hotfoot . . .

  15. Micalpalyn May 6, 2008 at 6:06 pm
    good points guys. Ramon and Pedro may well be that missing link we need…pun intended. not to mention Ramon’s bat. With Ramon back, Del might hit 8th.