Mets Game 44: Loss to Braves

Braves 11 Mets 4

In a game the Mets were desperate to win, they instead took a drubbing. On the other hand, it was a nice present for birthday boy Bobby Cox. Swell.

The Braves scored, scored, and scored some more, while the Mets offense continued to sputter. Jair Jurrgens earned his sixth win, completely dominating the Mets batters. I’m beginning to wonder if all these pitchers are that good or if the Mets’ offense is that bad. I’m leaning toward the latter.

The offense’s ineptness mattered little, as the pitching was about as effective at stopping the Braves bats as swiss cheese is to a bullet from a .38 special. You can’t expect to win games scoring only two runs through the first seven innings, and you can’t expect to win allowing 11 total. But it must be Willie Randolph’s fault that the players stink, right?

Mike Pelfrey was looking pretty good through the first two and two-thirds innings — whatever that’s worth — but then allowed three runs after Luis Castillo couldn’t make a play on a ground ball by Mark Teixeira. That infield hit sent Chipper Jones to third base and extended the inning, allowing Brian McCann and Mark Kotsay to hit back-to-back doubles off the wall to make the score 3-1. Pelfrey’s face and body language changed as a result, and was not nearly as effective through the rest of his abbreviated outing — which ended before a man was retired in the fifth. By the time his book was closed, the stat line looked like this:
4 IP | 8 H | 6 ER | 6 R | 3 BB | 2 SO | 104 Pitches / 57 Strikes

I’m trying to figure out how Pelfrey’s ERA for the season is only 5.00 … but then, I was an English major, and worthless at math.

Notes

Perhaps the most entertaining part of the game was Keith Hernandez calling the Padres and the Giants “stinkowski” back in the early 1980s. (It was in reference to his deciding whether he would stay with the Mets after 1984 or exercise his right to free agency.)

Keith also relayed a bit of advice he gave to David Wright. Hernandez took note of Wright’s intense regimen in fighting off his slump, and suggested that, for one day, he ignore the video, the batting drills, and even BP, and go into the game completely “cold”. The theory being that he’d have to concentrate extra hard on that first at-bat of the game, and focus only on hitting the ball up the middle. Not a bad idea, but Keith guessed that D-Wright did not take the advice.

Bright spot … hmm … the closest thing I suppose was Scott Schoeneweis plugging Chipper Jones in his bad knee in the eighth.

Another encouraging point: Jose Reyes taking pitches. He let the first ball of the game go by, for strike one, then hit the next one — an identical pitch — to left field for a base hit. He took the first pitch again in his second AB and stroked a single to right a pitch later. In his third at-bat, he took the first three pitches and eventually walked. Coincidence? Not likely. More likely, getting on base is the result of a good approach. Let’s hope he builds off this.

Oh, another negative … as if it weren’t bad enough that Ryan Church nearly suffered a second concussion, the Mets also lost Moises Alou in this game. The wind in Atlanta was blowing almost 7 MPH and caused Alou’s left calf to cramp up. He’ll be in NY to get an MRI so scratch him out of the lineup as well tomorrow. Do the Mets HAVE to play the game, or can they just forfeit and

Billy Wagner was brought in to get his work in and almost gave up his first earned run of the season. Kind of a waste, if you ask me. If he’s not going to be all pumped up and throwing at high energy, he may as well get his work done in the bullpen, where there’s little chance of a ball coming back at him and causing injury. I also don’t like the idea of the Braves getting a “free look” at Wagner in this meaningless outing. If he’s needed on Thursday, the Braves batters may be more comfortable against him after seeing him the night before. Although, we would hope that Wags would turn it up a notch and therefore have a “different look” in that case.


Next Game

The Braves will go for the FOUR GAME SWEEP tomorrow at 7:10 PM. It will be a matchup of the aces — Johan Santana vs. Tim Hudson. The main purpose of trading for and signing Santana was to avoid long losing streaks, so hopefully he can come up big again and keep the broom in the closet. Unfortunately, even if he does, there will be four games before he goes to the hill again.

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 22, 2008 at 10:25 am
    To show my impartiality, I have a complaint to lodge against Sir Randolph. In yesterday’s game, for a reason unbeknownst to me, Willie had Endy Chavez hitting 2nd and Castillo hitting 8th. I don’t get this decision. Firstly, Endy has barely been used at all this season, and when he has played he’s batted a meager .170 in 47 ABs, so what would suggest to Willie that he deserved to bat that high in the lineup? Secondly, for the season, Castillo is hitting .291 batting 2nd and .189 batting 8th. Clearly, Castillo is much more comfortable hitting higher up in the order. And thirdly, it’s not as if Castillo was dropped in the order because he’s been slumping. In fact, Castillo has gotten a hit in 8 of his last 9 games (raising his batting average from .232 to .262 in the process) and has reached base successfully in each of his last 11 games. So why oh why was Castillo hitting 8th last night and Chavez 2nd? In the end, Willie’s decision probably didn’t cost the Mets the game, but these little things that really make terrible sense add up. Maybe he was looking for a “spark” from Endy, or maybe he didn’t like Castillo’s previous at-bats against Jurrjens earlier this season, or maybe he was looking for more of the lightning in a bottle he caught earlier this year when the Mets went 7-2 with Castillo hitting 8th (but also Church, not Chavez, hitting 2nd)…however, common sense would suggest the decision last night was ill-advised from the get-go.

    If consistency is what the Mets are looking to achieve, then let’s start with the batting order. Please, Willie, leave Castillo hitting 2nd for the rest of the season.

  2. Micalpalyn May 22, 2008 at 11:29 am
    According to John from Rhinecliff, during last night’s broadcast, the local Braves radio announcers on WGST described the Mets as looking like a ‘dead team.’………

    I also looked to see if Fernando Tatis is even on the bench! Yes he showed up for his 3rd PH appearance.

    One of the flagrant rebukes of Willie is his misuse of the bullpen and bench. This yr the bullpen use has been fair(ish). But the bench use is still proto-Willie!!Tatis as a veteran ballplayer would have been expected to see more time. Moises has a HISTORY of breakdowns SO WHY THE HELL is willie only using his tools after the horse has bolted and his injury struck. In the past he has used the willie hazing rules on heath Bell, royce Ring, Dw, Gotay, Keppinger, Seo, Mike jacobs…and others. But veterans should not be sitting at the end of the bench (aaron Sele) waiting for the water cooler to dry out.

    Suggestions:
    1. Del is not going anywhere, true. But Tatis could be inserted to play 1st and LF on occasion. Is Tatis likely to do better than Del…
    2. I barely watched last night, but Castillo clearly is not himself. Is it so wrong for Easley not to start every 3rd/4th game at 2nd? Castillo has publicly called for rest saying his knees are bothering him.
    3. Endy showed big time rust….why? languishing on the bench a factor.

    If Willie wants to make a statement that HE is in control by ‘benching’ Del and unofficially platooning Tatis. It is not that Tatis is going to hit 300-SLG 400 & hit 1HR per game, but Del himself needs to find HIS head. His ‘failed flashy pick up on Castillo almost great defensive play (-error?) cost 2 runs yesterday.

    But that leads to a whole other post…(pay attention Joe) is Willie realy in control?

    Observations: Reference the ‘dead team comment’. What has me concerned most is the new ‘misconstrued’ comments, the SNY ‘attacks’ and now Willie’s seeming image that he is being profiled. This after he was a media darling 2 yrs ago having been 1 hit away from an improbable WS appearance.

  3. sincekindergarten May 22, 2008 at 11:49 am
    My, how we have fallen, eh? I didn’t see it–I had choir practice at my church, but I flipped on the radio on the way home and Howie Rose told me all I wanted to know.

    I’m thinking a funeral dirge would be good about now.

    Then again, as I said in another thread, The pendulum always swings back. Now, I don’t know what’s holding the pendulum from swinging back our way, or whether Johan is going to give it a push back tonight. (I suspect the latter.) I saw on MetsBlog where Jon Niese rebounded from his pounding over the weekend and threw 5 2/3rds of 1 run ball. Eddie Kunz came on for a four-out save. Maybe those two guys should get a shot–now.

    But, the pendulum is going to swing back. I hope it cuts the Braves and Phillthies in half when it does.

  4. Micalpalyn May 22, 2008 at 1:00 pm
    Sk. Sometimes it takes years for the pendulum to swing back.
  5. Micalpalyn May 22, 2008 at 4:46 pm
    You guys are too quiet so I’ll fan some flames:

    1. If you could shake up the clubhouse and could make some trades what would you do?

    a. Trade Delgado for Richie Sexson (2 expiring contracts)
    b. Revisit the Thames for Heilman proposal (or Dallas McPherson for Heilman). Note Figs (and Muniz) is at AAA ….but Jorge is gone. Detroit needs someone in the pen badly.

  6. joe May 22, 2008 at 5:09 pm
    I would do Delgado for Sexson in a second. Mainly because it’s time to get a new personality in the clubhouse, and shake things up. Sexson might be just as bad, but at least he’d be different.

    Not interested in Thames nor McPherson. However if there’s a way to package Heilman for Chad Tracy, now there’s an available bat I’d go for. Unfortunately I doubt AZ is interested in Heilman nor anything else the Mets have to offer.

    I’m really hesitant to trade Heilman, first because of my man-crush and second because I still think he’d be a fine #4 or #5 starter — and we wouldn’t get fair return on that kind of commodity. If, however, they had to package Heilman with Delgado to get good value in return, I might be OK with it.

  7. Micalpalyn May 22, 2008 at 5:39 pm
    Thanks for taking the bait.

    1. I think a slew of teams will ask for Heilman. If for nothing else the BP arm. I also think heilman needs a change esopecially if that gives him a chance to start. Heilman at least will fetch a decent prospect. Also I think Heilman is amply replaceable with Figs or Muniz at this point. Given Heilman’s struggles i think he is clogging the pen. Hellman will never start for the Mets again.

    2. Carp, Danny Murphy, & Nick Evans all are raking at AA. All are 21-23. Who gets to AAA first?