Mets Game 39: Loss to Nationals

This one hurt … bad.

Mike Pelfrey was masterful through six, allowing no hits until Aaron Boone smacked a line drive single to right to lead off the seventh. Pelfrey also hit a batter in that inning, but allowed no runs, giving his team a better effort than anyone could have expected. Big Pelf went 7 and two-thirds before finally yielding the game to Matt Wise — unfortunately, he walked off the mound losing 1-zip.

Also unfortunately, the masterpiece by Pelfrey was wasted, as the Mets bats could manage only three stinking hits against Jason “Christy Mathewson” Bergmann — the same Bergmann who came into the game with an ERA of ELEVEN and had just returned from a AAA stint.


The Mets can’t waste efforts like this from Pelfrey, because they’re only going to happen once in a while. Although the Mets’ brass is convinced that this is the “real” Pelfrey, I beg to differ — holding a team hitless for six innings is an anomaly, and not what we should expect from Big Pelf. Let’s not forget he was facing a poor-hitting Nationals team. My intention is not to rain on Pelf’s parade — he was outstanding — but rather to point out that he may do this three or four times this season, and struggle to get through five innings in the other twenty or so starts he makes. These are glimpses of what we hope to see from Pelf in the future, not what we should come to expect from him this early in his career.

In the third inning, with two outs and Luis Castillo on first base, David Wright hit a routine popup to right field. Castillo jogged around second, lollygagged to third, while Wright jogged up the first base line watching the fly ball. Rightfielder Austin Kearns dropped the ball, but neither Castillo nor Wright were able to advance. As it turned out, both were stranded as the third out was made. Right then and there, if I’m Willie Randolph, I pull both of my veterans and sit their lazy rears on the bench. The fact that such a move would deplete the bench has no bearing — it’s time Willie takes charge of actions on the field. Had Castillo run hard, he would have scored, and had Wright been running, he would have made it to second. Keith Hernandez and Willie Randolph disagree — both felt Castillo would not have scored, but a) he was rounding third from a jog, so how can you come to that consclusion, and b) that’s not the point. Little things like that win ballgames (or lose them, as in this case), and if Wright and Castillo aren’t going to do the little things, why should anyone else? It’s no wonder this is a .500 team going back to last June.

Kudos to Willie for supporting Jose Reyes’ decision to try to take third base on a sac bunt by Castillo. Reyes was moved to second safely, but when the throw went to first he saw that third was unoccupied and made a run for it. Yes, it was a bad move because he was out, and it was probably an example of a kid making a bad decision and trying to do too much, but I’d rather see somebody fail when hustling and being aggressive, rather than the lazy mistakes made by Castillo and Wright.

I’m not going to the ledge yet, but it’s concerning when you score only 13 runs in four games and lose three of them to one of the worst teams in MLB.

Next Game

The Mets travel to the Bronx for another Subway Series, beginning on Friday night. Johan Santana faces Darrel Rasner in a 7:05 pm start. Let’s get two of three this weekend, boys.

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 May 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm
    Pretty damn pathetic, I don’t know what else to say. Performances like today’s do nothing but give ammunition to the Met and Willie haters of the world, which is the last thing this team needs to be doing.

    Why do I get the feeling this is going to be a bad weekend?

  2. harveybee May 15, 2008 at 8:41 pm
    they are reaching new levels of mediocrity as we speak. im dreading the next two series, and i cant help it.

    is it randolph, or is it just a bad mix of guys? did we miss our window in that fateful ’06 NLCS?

    of course im going to continue to watch them, because i think that they can succeed, that they can beat whomever they are playing. but how long can i continue to believe this when it seems like they go through the motions and roll over? when they make foolish mistakes? when they play like they are underwater or asleep?

    poor pelf. he pitches a good one, only to realize he is the only one out there on the field….

  3. joe May 15, 2008 at 9:39 pm
    I’m still not ready to blame Willie. Is anyone blaming Jim Leyland for the Tigers’ troubles? The players either aren’t as good as we think, or aren’t playing to their potential.

    It is very tough to win a championship in this day and age without strong hitting from top to bottom — and there are a few soft spots in the Mets’ lineup. Yes good pitching beats good hitting most of the time but the Mets don’t have the kind of lights-out pitching from beginning to end that can shut teams down night after night — few teams do.

  4. JIMMYJ723 May 16, 2008 at 2:45 am

    Did someone mention the Willie haters of the world??? I guess that would be me. Even though I REALLY don’t hate Willie. I would drink a beer and watch a game with Willie any day of the week. Just like I would with my little brother, but that doesn’t mean I want either one of them to manage a big league ball club, much less MY Mets.


    Don’t blame Willie. It’s not his fault our $100+ million dollar ball club couldn’t score 2 runs against the Nationals, or even manage a split. It’s never Willie’s fault. It’s everyone else’s falut. It’s Pelfery’s fault for giving up the no-hitter. It’s Reyes’ fault for playing aggressive. It’s Delgado’s fault for hitting a line drive to the 1st baseman. It’s Beltran’s fault for running on contact. These terrible players are making poor Willie look bad. Their out of control.

    If only we had quality players like, Benny Agbayani, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile, Robin Ventura, Bubba Trammell, Timo Perez, Jay Payton, Kurt Abbott and Al Leiter. I’m sure Isiah Thomas… errrr….. Willie Randoph would lead them to the World Series.

    OK…. Sarcasm aside. The Mets are gonna do exactly what the Knicks did when everyone was calling for Isiah’s head (the first time as a coach). They are gonna pull of a big victory this weekend. I’m predicting a sweep of the Yankees. Then everyone will say, “All you Willie Haters are wrong. Sit down and shut up.” Then we’ll get spanked by the Braves and the Rockies.


    The sooner he goes. The sooner we have a chance to fullfill our potential. Until then enjoy a .500 winning percentage.

    I don’t claim to be Nostradamus but the last 2 predictions I made on this site were….

    1. Dontrelle Willis and Barry Zito are the 2 most overrated pitchers in baseball. (I made that prediction over a year ago)

    2. Mets fans will, “Fall in love with Ryan Church in 1/2 a season.”

  5. julie May 16, 2008 at 4:04 am
    They said it best on SNY, these guys are non-starters who can’t motivate themselves to do anything.
  6. isuzudude May 16, 2008 at 6:18 am
    Jimmy: sorry to burst your bubble, but my comments were not directed at you. You made it perfectly clear in one of your prior posts that you don’t hate Willie, you just don’t think he’s the right manager for the Mets. There happen to be plenty of fans out there who would be calling for Willie’s head even if the Mets were a first place team, and you can read all their comments over at metsblog if you don’t believe me. Those, and the Mike and the Mad Dog listeners, were the people I was referring to.

    Joe brought up a point that I’ve been trying to make to a couple of buddies of mine who also believe the team’s mediocrity is solely Willie’s fault. “The players either aren’t as good as we think, or aren’t playing to their potential.” There’s no doubt in my mind that both of these issues are taking place on the Mets. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but maybe the real Jose Reyes is more the free-swinging, .260 hitter we’ve seen over the past 6 months than the one who was patient at the plate and got on base all the time in 2006. Obviously, Delgado is nowhere close to the .300 hitting, 35 HR slugger Omar thought the team was acquiring from Florida. Aaron Heilman is not the all-star set-up man we were counting on. Luis Castillo is no longer the ultra-scrappy, fundamentally sound #2 hitter he had been for the first 10 years of his career. Beltran is not the perenial MVP-candidate, but more a slick-fielding CF who goes on long cold streaks. I think many of us are desperate to hang on to the magical 2006 season and set that as the norm for this team, when in reality this team is more like the disappointing conglomeration of players from 2005, and the heartbreaking underachievers from 2007. Because to blame every stinking thing that’s wrong with the Mets on Willie is foolish. To think that any Joe Schmoe with managing experience can come into NY and take over the Mets and guide them back into their 2006 form is completely unrealistic. Jimmy, if you want a prediction, I’ll predict that if Willie does get fired mid-season this year, that his replacement does nothing to make the Mets a better team.

    By the way, you weren’t breaking any ground by “predicting” that Dontrelle and Zito are over-rated.

    Has anyone seen/heard the comments Billy Wagner made after the game yesterday? I think that should ruffle some feathers.

  7. sincekindergarten May 16, 2008 at 7:11 am
    ID, I think it will, too, and if it spurs them on to actually play better, then so much the better.

    You know something, though? Didn’t Wags have his issues with teammates on his last team? Said teammate (Pat Burrell) is still there . . .

  8. JIMMYJ723 May 16, 2008 at 10:24 am
    Once again, I disagree. I think the team is LOADED with talent. This is a championship caliber team. If Willie gets fired by mid-season, and we hire the right manager, I have no doubt we’ll see a completely different ball club.

    By right manager, I mean an experienced National League manager. One that will get his players to sacrifice for the team, instead of letting them swing for the fences at every opportunity.

    As for my prediction not “breaking any ground,” I guess someone should have told Brian Sabean, because he obviously didn’t get the memo. Seemed to me like most Met fans were willing to trade any of our prospects to get Zito or Willis.

  9. JIMMYJ723 May 16, 2008 at 11:08 am
    And one more thing…

    Were my eyes decieving me or did Willie Randolph have Aaron Heilman warming up when Matt Wise got hit with that comebacker ??? Was he seriously considering bringing Heilman into a 1-0 game ???