Mets Game 68: Win Over Rangers

Mets 4 Rangers 2

After nearly coming from behind to beat the Rangers in the first game of the day, the Mets rode their momentum to take the “rubber match” and win the series.

Pedro Martinez pitched very well, going six innings and allowing two runs — one earned — on six hits and one walk. He was removed for pinch-hitter Robinson Cancel in the bottom of the sixth with the score tied, two outs and the bases loaded. Cancel became the unlikely hero, hitting a 75-bouncer through the middle to score two runners and put the Mets ahead 4-2.

In stark contrast to their awful performance in the first game of the day, the Mets bullpen shut down the Rangers the rest of the way. Perfect innngs were thrown by Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez, and Billy Wagner to preserve the victory.


David Wright was 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI, and has boosted his average to .276.

Luis Castillo, Damion Easley, and Carlos Beltran each had two hits apiece.

I think (hope) it’s safe to say that Willie Randolph has a job for at least another week.

Next Game

The Mets fly back to the Left Coast to face the Angels for a 10:05 pm EST ballgame. Mike Pelfrey goes to the mound against Jered Weaver.

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 16, 2008 at 6:11 am
    I did not watch these games, but saw the highlights on and really liked what I saw. It’s as if the players turned it up a notch in response to Willie’s head being in the guillotine. And I agree, Joe, despite losing the first game, I was encouraged by the effort and the attitude. If this does not suggest of a team that is playing hard for their manager’s job, I don’t know what would be.

    I saw a lot of comments on metsblog from dopes who criticized the Trot Nixon pick-up as just “another bonehead move by Omar to get older and acquire a used up retread instead of getting younger.” Well those same idiots are going to have to eat crow today because Nixon not only proved that he’s still got gas in the tank by going 2 for 3 w/2 BBs, but proved he can be instant karma and energy in the clubhouse. I am really, really, really hoping he can be the peice of the puzzle this team has been lacking (a la Shawn Green?) to get them to turn this corner. And I really liked what I saw yesterday.

    On the subject of Delgado: at the risk of jinxing him, I’d like to mention he’s hitting .314 so far in June with an OBP of .397. He only has 1 HR, but he does have 5 2Bs and a triple. I’m still not the biggest Delgado fan, but you can tell that he’s feeling the heat and stepping up his game accordingly. The .250 watch is on: he’s currently at .246, his highest mark since April 15.

    The bullpen is becoming a concern. We’ve seen this happen before, when some good arms suffer through a rough period when they can’t get any big outs. Smith and Schoeneweis in particular, who both sport ERAs over 7.00 so far in June. Might it be time to give Smith a break to AAA and bring up Muniz/Figueroa/Stokes? And is it also time to strip Show from his elevated relief role and put him back into a strictly LOOGY position for the interim? He’s holding lefties to a .122 BA, while righties are .277. Again, it’s going to be Willie’s (and Omar’s) ability to shift on the fly that will proove to us that they’re more interested in putting the best product on the field instead of sticking with stubborn habits and the same old routines.

  2. joe June 16, 2008 at 10:56 am
    I’m really excited about Nixon’s presence on the team. The “dopes” who put down the move either never saw Nixon play, and/or don’t realize that “getting younger” would cost the Mets prospects they don’t have.

    The bullpen is tough to manage. They had to bail out the starters over the last month, and now they’re finally breaking down. But let’s consider that no one is perfect, and relief pitchers are going to give up runs at some point — and the problem is, Mets relievers are often brought in with no room for error. Really, how many times in the last few weeks have relievers been brought in with the score within two runs either way? They need a few more games of coming in with a four-run lead. Yes I realize they already blew one of those, but it was a rarity.

    Still, I agree — time to bring in some fresh blood for a while. The Braves have been famous for doing this, and the Phillies picked up on it last year. As you suggest, bring up a Muniz or Tim McNab and send down Smith for a couple weeks. Juan Padilla is finally on the way back, maybe he could be an option in July. I’m a huge proponent of bringing up arms no one has seen before, and taking advantage of their mystery for a while.

  3. Micalpalyn June 16, 2008 at 10:59 am
    good comment Isuzu:

    a. Del- You correctly said he was not a wash up. I cant remember your preseason prediction But so far he is directly on course.

    b. You point to the BP. This is Omars forte. He throws a bunch of +++ at the BP and usually looks for something to stick. Feliciano, Sanchez, Aaron, and Joe …oh and Wags have been hit and miss. I think the team has been great since ATl (and in that series the ghosts of 98 and shoebox strikezone were evident). The BP has been the achilles. Yes I AM greedy (willie needs to be 2), but The Mets should have sweopt this series, swept the Arz series and possibly the SD series. all games were well within their grasp untill the ‘firemwen’ entered the games.

    c. Willie: brought in Cancel to PH for Pedro, with the score tied at 2. How many times has he done this? Too rarely. How often has it been that he lets the pitcher bat with a tying run, leading run, blow out run in scoring position. good move as it turns out.

  4. Micalpalyn June 16, 2008 at 11:07 am
    …and now they’re finally breaking down.’ joe the BP has not been good. Wags failures (4 blown Svs was the icing). hopefully he has that out of his system. Last yr it was late before he cracked but it was really bad timing…

    They need a few more games of coming in with a four-run lead….” I disagree Joe. I think in those cases I’d like to have Vargas close out the game going 3 innings. But a BP needs to hold a lead. Yesterday maine had given up 3, but with men on Willie went to Feliciano who promptly put the game lall but to the Rangers….that has been an often seen scenario.

    I defer to the group: Of 68 games how often has the relief corp allowwed inherited runners to score? By pitcher?

  5. isuzudude June 16, 2008 at 11:18 am

    In regards to your point C: that is quite an interesting stance. Particularly because the decision by Willie to pinch hit for Pedro in that spot was booed mightily by the fans in attendance and is still catching flack today, despite proving to be the game-winning decision. Apparently to some people they’d rather a pitcher with 92 pitches under his belt hit for himself with runners on base late in the game. I bet those would be the same folks who would boo and curse out Willie on the blogs if Pedro had failed to plate the go-ahead runs and consequently allowed the Rangers to take the lead in the 7th when his pitch count bloated over 100. If there’s one thing I’m learning this year, it’s that there are a whole lot of STUPID Met fans among us. They are stubborn to change their opinions even when they’ve been presented with concrete information that contradicts their views, and tend to focus solely on the negative aspects of the team, thus leading to the impression that the Mets are hapless, clueless, and hopeless. For a day I wish some of them would follow some other team in the league so they can realize that 1) other teams get defeated, go thru slumps, and appear ‘unmotivated’, and 2) the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

  6. joe June 16, 2008 at 11:59 am
    Few bullpens hold leads over the course of a season. They have hot stretches and cold stretches — it is the nature of putting your worst three pitchers into the most crucial times of a game (close score, innings 5-7). Smith, Scho and Wagner were fabulous in May. The same three guys are awful in June, but Feliciano (until yesterday) and Heilman have been excellent. The one guy who has yet to get it together is Duaner Sanchez. Few teams — other than maybe the Diamondbacks — have lights-out guys to put out there in the middle innings. Unless Sanchez improved markedly and finds his old velocity, Wags and Heilman are the only arms in the ‘pen with the potential to be “lights out”, so get used to the rollercoaster ride. Everyone else is a “pitch to contact” guy, and therefore will occasionally give up big hits in key situations.
  7. joe June 16, 2008 at 12:20 pm
    As for inherited runners, Joe Smith has the best percentage among pitchers with at least 10 runners inherited — he’s stranded 84%. I’ll post full numbers later in the day.

    Nice topic, Mic!

  8. Micalpalyn June 16, 2008 at 12:39 pm
    Joe: pitchers have hot and cold stretches. But the whole pen!

    1. BP: In 2006 the surge to the playoffs was fueled by some great ‘stretches’ from El Duque, and the emergence of John Maine. But also the pen. aaron was a revelation, Sanchez was lights out, and Wags was …the best in the NL. In pointing at the .500 Mets as Isuzu points out, we are 10 games over if the pen can put the lids on. They have been very is hard to manage a pen though, but Willie should be able to do it. Isuzu could….

    2. Tongue in Cheek: A willie flaw has been trying to get players to do things they cannot (do well). In the BP i think too often we ask ‘why did the pitcher hit, then pitch to one batter the next inning? In the case of Maine yesterday he was at 100 pitches. He had struck out the side after giving the 2nd and 3rd runs, why not have Feliciano START the inning? ….as he did in the 2nd game!…oh hold it, so an additional star goes to Willie for NOT ONLY PH Pedro but then Feliciano starts the next inning WITHOUT runners on base…..hmmm
    Bottomline we need to seperate the LOOGYs and ROOGYs from innings eaters. Yes some can do both. Sometimes L/ROOGYs have to pitch innings but Sho is a better LOOGY, Feliciano can do both. I think Muniz can be a ROOGY, also Joe (usually) is a great ROOGY.