Mets Game 62: Loss to Padres

Padres 8 Mets 6

This is the way it should have happened: Tony Clark looks at strike three to end the eighth inning, stranding two runners. Billy Wagner finishes off a four-out save by setting down the Padres in order in the ninth.

However, home plate umpire Laz Diaz called the pitch ball three instead of strike three, giving Clark a second life. Wagner came in with a pretty damn good pitch — a 96-MPH fastball at the knees — and Clark put the bat head on it. Next thing you know, the ball is flying over the centerfield fence, and the Padres had a two-run lead.

After losing three straight games 2-1 to the last-place Padres, it looked as though the Mets would finally pull out a win in San Diego. They led 3-0, then 4-3, then 5-4, then 6-4 — in other words, they controlled the game from the beginning to that fateful eighth.

Pedro Martinez was less than stellar, allowing 10 hits and 4 runs in 5 innings, but the Mets bullpen did a decent job of holding the fort for the next three innings. On offense, Carlos Delgado led the way, nearly hitting for the cycle. He had his second consecutive three-hit game, with a single, double, and triple, and drove in two runs. Damion Easley and Endy Chavez each had two hits and an RBI, and Luis Castillo drove in two runs with a single and a sac fly.

Notes

A little surprising to see Wagner attempt a four-out save, but the Mets were desperate after losing three straight to the lowly Friars.

Despite the fact that Delgado had six hits in two days, I still think he’s a dog and a poison. Case in point: in the seventh, while on third base and two out, Endy Chavez dragged a bunt to first, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had no chance at getting Chavez, but saw Delgado taking a slow jog from third and had a shot to throw him out at home. Gonzalez, however, bobbled the ball, and Delgado started running a little harder when he realized what Gonzalez was thinking. Oh, and how fitting that Delgado made the last out of the game in typical fashion: swinging at the first offering from Trevor Hoffman and popping up weakly to third base.

The last time the Padres swept the Mets in a four-game series was before Jose Reyes and David Wright were born: 1980. The Mets really stunk back then — but they had two excuses: 1) they were unskilled; and 2) half the team was on drugs. What is the excuse of the 2008 squad?

Shortsighted fans can piss and moan about Wagner blowing the game, but the real problem lies in the first three games. Wagner struck out Clark on the previous pitch, and Clark blasted the next one, which happened to be a good pitch in a good location. Things like that happen on occasion. However, flukes like that are easier to swallow when you’re winning games you’re supposed to win. On the other hand, when you’re rendered impotent by a last place club for three straight days, fluke losses are more glaring.

Next Game

The Mets have a day off on Monday (thank goodness), then travel home to host the Arizona Diamondbacks. The FIRST-PLACE D’Backs, by the way. If the Mets can’t beat the last-place Padres, how can they beat the Diamondbacks? My theory is that the Mets play to the level of their competition, which means they’ll have a decent shot of winning against Arizona. We’ll see. John Maine goes against Micah Owings in a 7:10 pm start at Shea.

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 June 9, 2008 at 6:03 am
    My apologies for being a pessimist, but watching the entirety of yesterday’s game, I just knew the Mets were going to find a way to lose. And once the fateful 8th inning rolled around, and Sanchez made way for Wagner with 2 on and 2 out, I said out loud, “here comes the home run.” The third strike that the home plate ump failed to call against Clark wasn’t in the script. It’s as if the Mets are destined to lose and the Met fans are destined to suffer this year. Somewhere along the lines we angered the baseball gods and this is our punishment. Think back to last year, when this tailspin began. What took place to upset our karma? Was someone uncerimoniously cut? Did someone evil come on board? Did we commit a wrong against one of baseball’s sacred figures? I’m stabbing in the dark, here, but what other explanations are there? It’s as if Murphy’s Law is the Mets 11th commandment. IF IT CAN GO WRONG, IT WILL GO WRONG.

    Seriously, though, that home plate ump deserves to be fired. If you can’t accurately call balls and strikes, what are you doing as an umpire? That’s a pretty big requisition for the job, don’t you think? And it wasn’t just the blown strike 3 on Clark. A few innings earlier Castillo was rung up on a pitch in the left hand hitters’ batters box! Yes, I’m crying over spilt milk. Yes, the Mets should have put themselves in a better position to win than up by only 2 in the 8th. Yes, my bias is only allowing me to see the bad calls that went against the Mets in yesterday’s game. But still…as bad as the Mets have been playing, how much more complicated does it become to try and win a game when the umpires are out to get you too?

    To be honest, I really don’t feel like bothering with this team anymore. Call me a fly-by-night fan if you want to, I don’t care. I watch the Mets so that I can be entertained and so I can feel good about cheering on a hard-working, successful team. I want to see myself in them. And I’m not getting that at all. I’m a glutton for punishment so I’ll probably continue to tune in from time to time, but I got better things to do than torture myself over baseball games. I wonder how many other people out there feel the same way?

  2. Coop June 9, 2008 at 9:47 am
    i dont think that’s the case isuzudude, i think you are muy justified in your anger. me, on the other hand, meh, I could care less. If they don’t care, well I don’t either. I disagree though in saying they should have been more than two runs up – technically, if you have six runs, you should WIN THE BALLGAME. Of course this team did nothing but score one run in the previous three games. Ay carumba. you gotta be kidding me. my only saving grace left is that i get a Dunkin Donuts gift card for going to the game tomorrow. Woo hoo!
  3. murph June 9, 2008 at 12:13 pm
    Pathetic road trip!

    Willie should have to meet with the Wilpons after every bad road trip. ha ha.

  4. Micalpalyn June 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm
    Guys:

    I wanted to wait 24hrs before lighting in on the subject. Isuzu is a great measuring stick for the blog. Thanks for taking that lead. the cantor in the last thread was too appropriate and deserves its own thread.

    In a previous post i alluded that the 2006 mets had something else, that ingredient that Isuzu is searching for above. and frankly we ARE all searching for. I pointed to Cliffy and now Metsblog have run off with it. In some teams there is a magic that overides a manager, in this team there are no such.

    Kharma: I like Willie. He is a gentleman. A gracefull man…not unlike jeff Torborg. butt represents 1993 to me. Bottom line. Alou, you can refer to that magical Cub collapse in the NLCS several yrs ago. But on the flipside we have Castillo and Pedro.

    Joe: ‘This is the way it should have happened: Tony Clark looks at strike three to end the eighth inning, stranding two runners. Billy Wagner finishes off a four-out save by setting down the Padres in order in the ninth.’…Again Willie needs to rip the balls off that umpire..otherwise he is USELESS to the team. Given the umpires role in THAT scenario, the complement ‘should have been’ is ala Wally Backman, Bobby ‘no knees’ Cox, Ozzie ‘the tirade’ Guillen, Sweet Lou……….willie goes out and becomes DMX on that HP umpire gets ejected, fined, suspended for a week, and Wags comes back and throws heat at Clarks Ear, then sends a curve in for strike 3.

    Omar: having watched several Mets GM’s in 30 yrs, i think Omar’s the best. You cant be fire happy. BUT you have to make changes. Omar has assembled the best 25man roster i have ever seen. Wags, DW, Reyes, Castillo, CB, Church, Santana, Maine, Ollie, schneider are all ALL star caliber. But Isuzu, joe and others point to that phenomena i saw in 1998. it does not matter if you are Piazza, if you cant get a fair strike zone you cant compete. Its Willie’s job to fight for his players…he is NOT doing that.

    In 1993 and 2002 We bombed the Roster and rebuilt….kinda. IT NEVER works. In the end the Mets get a ton of FA and peddle the kids anyway. Besides if the Mets are all ate up why is no one peddling DW ? I hear Beddard is being dangled, why not Santana….bomb the roster and it will be 8 yrs again. On the other hand i think ala the Phils a new Manager is the key. CB is a .280-40HR guy, DW is a .325-40HR guy in fact that pair can beat those numbers…the Reyes that was loudly panned 3 yrs ago now has shown he can play everyday…hit 300-steal 80bases-hit 25HR from the leadoff spot..IF THAT is not happening there is not leadership and motivation.

    In the last week there was a 7-9 win streak. In SD there were then 4 close losses any of which is a win with a good substitution (luck/calculation). But the loss yesterday was 100% poor team morale.