Mets Game 69: Win Over Angels

Mets 9 Angels 6

It would appear that Willie Randolph has his job for another day. Perhaps his coaching staff will remain intact for at least another 24 hours as well.

However, the game was not won without dramatics.

For most of the game, it appeared it would be an easy win, for once. The Mets exploded for eight runs against the mighty Angels, with the appropriately titled “designated hitter” Carlos Beltran leading the way with two solo homeruns.

And by golly, Mike Pelfrey might have — dare I suggest it? — finally turned a corner. Ever since I criticized him here and on MetsBlog, “Big Pelf” has pitched back-to-back-to-back outstanding games. He still doesn’t have an offspeed pitch, but he’s spotted his four-seamer and sinker well enough to mow down hitters. If he ever does develop a change-up or overhand curve, the Mets will have a legitimate ace.

Pelfrey pitched into the seventh inning before running out of gas, allowing six earned runs on 7 hits and two walks. He struck out none in a 113-pitch effort. Though he allowed five runs, it was only because Willie Randolph chose to push him through that seventh frame. Unfortunately, Pelfrey lost his command and left the game with runners on first and second and none out, yielding to Pedro Feliciano. It was Feliciano’s third game in two days, and he couldn’t stop the bleeding — by the time he exited, the score was 8-6 and there were runners on the corners, one out, and Vladimir Guerrero at the plate.

And then, it appeared that Willie Randolph was ready to give up his job, because out came Aaron Heilman from the bullpen.

The Angels fans probably weren’t aware, but every Mets fan still awake at 12:40 am EST knew the lead would be blown before midnight.

But a funny thing happened — Aaron Heilman struck out Guerrero on three pitches. Then, Aaron struck out Torii Hunter to end the threat. Wow.

Duaner Sanchez came on in the eighth and set the Angels down 1-2-3 on six pitches. Billy Wagner was called on to finish the game, and he decided to make things interesting, putting runners on first and second to bring the tying run to the plate with one out. Garrett Anderson drilled a Wagner slider to Jose Reyes’ glove, and Jose stepped on second base to double off Chone Figgins and end the game. Whew!


I love watching Trot Nixon bust it down the line on a routine grounder to second base. Love it.

Also loving Willie Randolph scoffing at the 100-pitch count.

David Wright drove in a run with a booming double that nearly left the park, his 19th of the year. Luis Castillo collected another two hits, and his average is slowly creeping back up to his .290-.295 standard. Marlon Anderson also had two hits, both doubles; he started in left field and Endy Chavez patrolled center with Beltran designated to hit.

Pelfrey faced 27 batters, and 13 of them hit ground balls.

In the top of the ninth, Jose Reyes hit a bloop single into right-center, took a wide turn that induced a throw behind him to first base, and he took off for second — making it easily. I’m not sure I ever saw that before. Interestingly enough, it was scored a double, his second of the night. He was bunted to third by Castillo and came home on a David Wright sac fly — something which has become fairly routine this year.

The emergency broadcast system decided to run a test at 1:02 am EST, makng a caustic, staticky, nasty noise erupt from my TV and waking everyone else in the house. Nice timing. By the way, has the ebs ever been used? Does it actually have a purpose? The only time it might have been used in my lifetime was 9/11, and I’m 99.9% sure it wasn’t employed then. If not then, when? I digress …

The home plate ump was really tight on Billy Wagner. There were at least four pitches that could have gone either way, which were called balls. Wagner, by the way, did not have his good velocity, hitting only 92-93 on the gun. That bothers me.

Luis Castillo gave a postgame interview for the first time since … ever. And he DOES speak English!

Also in the postgame, Willie Randolph relayed that he remarked to Jose Reyes, “you pulled the okey-doke on Mathews”, referring to the above-mentioned single-turned-double. He said Reyes nodded and smiled, to which Willie replied, “you know what that means?” “No.” “So why’d you say you did? … but that’s just Jose ….” Great stuff, Willie … stay loose, baby!

Next Game

Another 10:05 pm EST start (yawn!). Johan Santana goes against a Lackey named John.

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. julie June 17, 2008 at 4:08 am
    Well, they fired Willie after this win.
  2. wohjr June 17, 2008 at 5:01 am
    NYT is reporting that willie, “salsa dancing” rick peterson and that nieto chap are gone. Poor timing I say– I thought Willie deserved more of a chance to turn it around. Seems like they’re taking the heat for Minaya’s team. Typically ham-handed move by the Wilpons, but can we expect anything different?
  3. isuzudude June 17, 2008 at 6:00 am
    Sometimes I get the feeling that the Mets like to make it difficult to be a fan of their teams’. Willie finally starts showing a little personality, the team finally starts showing some spunk, and now is the time they decide they’ve seen enough? Honestly, I can’t say I’m surprised, although I am disappointed. I thought Willie at least deserved the rest of the season. But life goes on, as they say. All the Willie haters now get their way, even if they don’t get Backman as the replacement. Regardless, if the Mets still fail to turn this season around, I hope most of you have the backbone to admit that firing Willie turned out NOT to be the end-all solution to the Mets’ woes.

    Do we officially start the countdown on Omar Watch now as well?

  4. Walnutz15 June 17, 2008 at 6:36 am
    I got a text from my friend at WFAN around 3am, saying this was likely to go down.

    And I’ll maintain — that the only thing missing, surrounding the NY Mets lately is the Ringling Brothers theme music. There’s a way to handle business and the media in New York City, and the decision makers involved with the team seem to be miss the boat far too frequently……it’s like they need to embarrass themselves.

    They could’ve done this 3 weeks ago and looked fine in the process — instead it kept dragging out, with no rhyme or reason at all. Now after flying the entire staff out to the West Coast, they pull the trigger?

    Laughable — but an inevitable conclusion nonetheless. Good luck to Willie and the coaching staff in their future endeavors.

    FYI — This dates back to the mishandling of Piazza’s move to 1st base, continued along with Art Howe’s alleged “firing” within the season — only to stay and manage out the entire 162-games, and continues to this day, with each bungling of an injured player’s situation.

    Glad to see our current manager, and most of the coaching staff — was put through the same ringer.

    There were many arguments about whether or not Willie was clueless at times…..I think that the Met front office is proving themselves to be QUITE with the way they sit on their hands.

    Time to turn the page and learn from mistakes….hasn’t happened yet. Hopefully, they get themselves in order and put this team in the best position to win going forward.

  5. joe June 17, 2008 at 7:07 am
    well done guys … i slept through the firing … as Willie might say, GOLLLLeee ….