Mets Game 31: Loss To Dodgers
Dodgers 5 Mets 4
Before this contest, Hiroki Kuroda had established himself as a pitcher who dominated opposing batters during the first time through the lineup, but struggled the second time around. However, the Mets jumped all over Kuroda in their first look, and continued the onslaught until chasing him from the game in the fourth frame.
Unfortunately, the Mets’ offense was handcuffed by Sandy Koufax in relief … oh wait, that wasn’t Koufax, but Kuo, as in, Hong-Chih. You know, the same Hong-Chih Kuo(fax) who has a 7+ ERA against the rest of the NL but somehow is to the Mets as kryptonite is to Superman. Kuofax struck out eight batters in three and two-thirds innings. Yes — of the eleven outs, eight were by the big K.
The Mets had a great chance to blow the game completely open in the third, as they scored one run and then loaded the bases with none out. However, they managed to plate only one runner before Ryan Church grounded into a double play. Kuroda then struck out David Wright to extinguish the threat and end the inning.
Meantime, Nelson Figueroa did a fine job of making me look like an absolute fool. Just hours after I anointed him the Mets’ #3 starter, Figgy had the gall to fall back to Earth and give away a three-run lead. His final line was 5 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 5 ER. Thanks, Figs. On a more pessimistic note, the Mets’ starting rotation is now officially a disaster.
Aaron Heilman pitched two innings of scoreless relief, and Pedro Feliciano and Joe Smith shut out the Dodgers in the eighth.
Ryan Church had a double and a homerun in the game, but his rally-killing DP in the third negated both, as it was the turning point of the game.
Brian Schneider had two hits and a walk and is now hitting .308 with an OBP right around .400. I’m ecstatic he’s hitting that well, but it’s the lightest .308 I’ve seen in a long time.
Strangely, this Mets team not only defied their recent history by beating up on a pitcher they never saw before, but also took pitches and ran deep counts. Kudos to Howard Johnson for finally getting through to these cement-heads. Now if they can only figure out Kuofax …
By the fifth inning, the Mets had ten at-bats with men in scoring position — but managed a hit only twice.
LOVED seeing 41-year-old (and soon to be 42) Moises Alou taking an extra base on Andruw Jones in the third inning on a single by Carlos Delgado. Jones didn’t charge the ball, and Moises picked up on the nonchalance while rounding second and took off for third. A few minutes later, Alou STOLE HOME on the front end of a double steal — Angel Pagan stole second and Moises charged home when Dodger catcher Russell Martin fired the ball down to second. Remember Moises is not only over forty, but also coming off a double hernia and what we thought was a broken ankle. Talk about a “gamer” or an example of an “old school” ballplayer who plays hard — Alou is the man.
Oh by the way, it was Alou’s first steal of home since 2006.
Also by the way, Alou continues to sting the ball all over the place — though this was the first evening his hard-hit balls were finally finding holes. Watching a healthy Alou, it’s easy to understand why the Mets invested another $7.5M in him, despite his fragility — there are few players with a similar combination of skill and effort. Now if he can only stay healthy for, say, 100 games …
Feeble-hitting Nelson Figueroa walked twice. Joe Torre no doubt was drinking his chamomile tea in response.
David Wright made two more spectacular plays at 3B, including a diving stab of a Jeff Kent liner (D-Wright robbed him in game one as well) that reminded me of Yankee third sacker Graig Nettles thieving the Dodgers in the 1978 World Series. I’ll be the first one to say Wright was a questionable choice for the Gold Glove in 2007, but so far this year he has brandished the leather at an elite level. Unfortunately, his throwing remains an issue, as he committed yet another throwing error in the sixth.
Before anyone gets on Willie Randolph for his complacency or lack of fire, take a long hard look at the manager in the LA dugout. Joe Torre might as well be napping during games, yet his team has won ten of its last eleven.
The Dodgers look to complete the sweep behind the arm of Brad Penny. The Mets counter with John Maine in a 3:10 PM start. I can’t freaking believe I stayed up until the wee hours to watch the Mets give away two ballgames. Next West Coast trip I’m watching the games on DVR the following morning.