Mets Game 66: Win Over Rangers

Mets 7 Rangers 1

Against the best offensive team in MLB, Oliver Perez was terrific. The over-aggressive Rangers batters swung early and swung often, and Ollie gave them a steady diet of sliders out of the strike zone to induce dozens of swings that missed. Against a more patient team, I doubt Perez pitches seven innings of one-run ball. But I’ll take it. He struggled only once in the game, when he loaded the bases in the sixth with two outs, but he struck out David Murphy with a slew of sliders to get out of the inning — and it looked as though Ollie surprised himself by getting out of that jam.

Ollie’s final line: 7 IP | 3 H | 1 ER | 3 BB | 8 K

On the offensive side, Ollie was given plenty of cushion, with a lead he helped extend with a two-run single. After the Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a solo homer by Josh “The Natural” Hamilton, the Mets answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, and kept tacking on throughout the game. There were no big blasts, and no individual heroes. Rather, it was a collective effort — a TEAM effort. This is all new to us, so it needs to be pointed out. Several players gave up at-bats to move runners along, hustling runners took extra bases, and the lineup as a whole exuded an approach. Batters were taking pitches, being patient, hacking at good pitches, and cutting down the swing to get the bat on the ball with runners on. In short, having “an idea” and EXECUTING.


In the second inning, Ian Kinsler was awarded first base after a slider bounced off his foot. However, he took a check swing at the pitch — enough of an attempt that I would have asked for an appeal — and never made an effort to get out of the way of the ball. As it was, the point was moot when Michael Young grounded into a double play, but little things like this bother me. Why was Kinsler given first base on a pitch he practically swung at? Why wasn’t there a squeak from the Mets regarding the call? Why didn’t the announcers mention it? Am I a nutcase? (Probably)

How about Carlos Delgado? He’s hustling out of the box and running around the bases like a man on a mission. I waited a long while to call him out for dogging it, but I’ll be quick to point out his newfound energy. Kudos to Carlos for finally setting an example on the field. Hopefully it’s not too little, too late to save Willie Randolph’s job.

Speaking of, Kevin Burkhardt mentioned during the broadcast that he spoke to several Mets and got the impression that everyone on the team believed they played hard for Willie. If the players really said that, and really believed it, then there’s been a wide chasm between perception and reality for many of them. Or maybe, they simply don’t know what “playing hard” means. Tonight, it looked like the boys were competing at a high level. Again, let’s hope it’s not too little, too late.

So … Moises Alou goes back to the DL and is replaced with Robinson Cancel. Huh? This means the corner outfield positions will continue to be a weak-hitting conglomeration of Marlon Anderson, Damion Easley, Endy Chavez, and Chris Aguila (sorry, not feeling it on Aguila). On the one hand, I love the gamesmanship, smarts, and hustle brought forth by Marlon, Damion, and Endy. On the other hand, I don’t think a lineup that has Brian Schneider hitting eighth can afford to also have two of those three guys starting as well. Despite the AAA homeruns, Aguila doesn’t appear to be much of an upgrade — I think he’s broken his bat every time he’s made contact thus far. I’d like to see Val Pascucci or Mike Carp brought up here and given a chance to start a few games in left field. But Robinson Cancel? All he does is give Willie the comfort to use Ramon Castro as a pinch-hitter — which to me is a waste of a precious roster spot. In this day and age you can’t carry three guys who can only catch; at least one of them has to have some versatility.

SOOOOOOOOO cool to see and hear Willie Randolph turn into Eddie Murphy during the postgame conference with the media. If you missed it, try to catch some of it on MetsBlog. It was a natural, well-needed release of emotion and enough humor to get me laughing out loud. Those five minutes make me support and root for Willie all the more.

Next Game

The Mets host the Rangers at Shea in a 7:10 pm start. Pedro Martinez goes against Kason Gabbard. Coverage will be on SNY, WFAN, and XM 189.

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. sincekindergarten June 14, 2008 at 4:41 am
    Ollie’s “inner Sandy Koufax” was on display last night. That game alone will cost prospective teams a half mil a year over the life of the new contract.
  2. isuzudude June 14, 2008 at 9:04 am
    You called it, SK. Good clairvoyence.

    I think the reason for the Cancel call-up is because the Mets are going to be going to an AL park starting Monday and want to give themselves the flexibility to use Schneider behind the plate and Castro at DH without shorthanding themselves on the bench. So this time I can understand going with 3 catchers. However, once that series in Anaheim is over, Cancel should be dropped and someone more useful (Pascucci, Carp, Valentin) should definitely be brought up.

    Then again, the promotion of Cancel could have been a prelude to the addition of Trot Nixon, in which the Mets were thinking they were just going to call up someone already on the 40-man roster who isn’t a significant loss when he’s DFA once Nixon is added. Who better fits that bill than Cancel. So what it all could mean is that Cancel was brought up for just this one game, and Saturday he’ll be cut loose to make room for Nixon and the Mets will go back to having a bench of Castro, Easley, Tatis, Aguila, Anderson.

  3. Micalpalyn June 14, 2008 at 11:00 am
    Kudos again Joe: The bench needs to argue for every inch of the plate, especially when your anticipating being fired. The opposing team always rattles our pitchers.

    Trot Nixon. good call. no doubt he had one of those contract clauses. He is also going to fire up the bench.

    has anyone stopped to say how much Omar has fought for Willie to include moves like this! He keeps trying to find valentins, Gallaraga, Marlon, easley. Isee trot as a guy who is going directly after wagner.

    On another note: I saw that someone had cast schneider and Sho as trade bait. Schneider should lose PT over Ramon gradually, and Cancel/casanova effectively replace him.

  4. sincekindergarten June 14, 2008 at 11:52 am
    ID, it just felt like it was going to happen. It was arguably a “must-win” game for Willie, so not only was he going to yank out all the stops, but Perez may have had it finally hammered through his thick skull that he needed a big game to increase his asking price for his next contract.
  5. joe June 14, 2008 at 12:55 pm
    ID – brilliant re: the Cancel call-up. The only thing I don’t get, is if the Mets want a RH DH, why not bring up Val Pascucci, who is tearing it up in the PCL? From what I understand they haven’t promoted him yet because he’s a butcher in the field — so while in the AL park, he could be a DH.
  6. sincekindergarten June 15, 2008 at 7:44 am
    Now, with the rainout, the Cancel callup seems like a good thing. Play each one over the next two days, two in the DH, and the third in the first game of the Angels series. The Angels have the majors’ best road record. They’re going to be in CBP to take on the Phillthies in interleague soon. On another board which has nothing to do with the Mets, a Phillthies fan has made a statement about “adding the Angels to the ‘kill board’ soon.” I’d love to see the Angels sweep the Phillthies in that series . . .