Mets Game 82: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 7 Mets 1

Win one, lose one. Win one, lose one. This, my friends, is the pattern of a .500 team.

After splitting a four-game series with the Yankees, the Mets dropped the opener of another four-game set to the Cardinals in St. Louis.

John Maine was just awful, allowing five runs — three earned — on 7 hits and 3 walks in only 4 innings. Yes, two of those runs were unearned, but he pitched only four frames! One day after seeing Oliver Perez make a transformation for the better, the generally reliable John Maine seemed to make one for the worse.

The bullpen wasn’t much better. Carlos Muniz had another ineffective outing, giving up a two-run homer to Chris Duncan in his two innings of work. Scott Schoeneweis allowed three baserunners in his one frame, yet somehow managed to escape unscathed. Aaron Heilman was the final reliever for the Mets, and he also struggled through a scoreless inning. So much for the young starters pitching deeper into games and the relievers having specific roles, eh? Maybe Willie Randolph was smart to keep his mouth shut about such brilliant ideas.

Meantime, the offense was paralyzed by Kyle “Koufax” Lohse, who allowed just one unearned run in 7 innings. Ron Villone — a guy who I once took deep in high school (and therefore tells you more about his age than his ability) — pitched a scoreless eighth and Mark Mulder tossed a scoreless ninth in the first relief appearance of his career. It was also the first time Mulder appeared in a MLB game since Bill Clinton was President. OK, maybe not that long.

The only run scored by the Mets came in the fifth, when Andy Phillips rapped a single pinch-hitting for Maine, raced to third on a single by Luis Castillo, and scored when Rick Ankiel thought he was on the mound again and air-mailed an unnecessary throw over the third baseman’s head.

Notes

This was the fourth time this season that John Maine went only four innings. And we thought Oliver Perez was the guy we needed to worry about. Here’s an interesting fact: while Perez has pitched less than two innings twice this year, he otherwise has always pitched more than four.

Andy Phillips was DFA’d after the game to make room for Tony Armas, Jr., who will start tomorrow’s game vs. Todd Wellemeyer. Glad the Mets came to their senses about Phillips, who was redundant with Fernando Tatis around. Also about time they came to their senses about Armas, who had a 2.50 ERA in the PCL — a notorious hitter’s league.

Endy Chavez had another two hits, the only Met with more than one. Ryan Church, Carlos Beltran, and Castillo all went 1-for-3. That was the extent of the excitement.

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 July 1, 2008 at 7:49 am
    The towel is thrown. Time to start bringing up the kids to give them some experience.
  2. JIMMYJ723 July 1, 2008 at 12:11 pm
    I’m trying my best not to let my emotions get the best of me, as I watch this team do everything in their power to stay under .500. I still believe this team has the talent to win it all. Wright and Reyes are hitting. Oliver Perez had his best start of the season. Heilman is starting to turn his season around. Church is back in the lineup. Even Delgado has shown some signs of life. As frustrating as this season has been, we’re only halfway through and luckily only 3.5 games out of first place. It’s not over… till it’s over.
  3. Micalpalyn July 1, 2008 at 3:05 pm
    Uhh

    1. 3 games out of 1st with Philly this weekend.
    2. Lohse is now 10-2….yeah the same Lohse ANYone could have had virtually untill opening day.

    1. We need relief help. Can Kunz help? I dont know. Craig Hansen, Joe Devine, Huston street and Papelbon are young closers who were virtually airmailed thru their systems to the majors. Given our need for someone in the ‘fireman’ role with little Joe, i think Kunz needs a look prior to the deadline.

    2. Another OF bat would be nice, one that hits the ball hard.

  4. isuzudude July 2, 2008 at 6:15 am
    Mic, I’m sorry but I just can’t leave this one alone.

    I want to nip your infatuation with Kunz in the bud before it grows out of control. Firstly, I don’t understand why we need relief help. Heilman’s June ERA was something like 0.86 and looks to be all the way back from his early season struggles. Feliciano, Smith, Sanchez, and Wagner have all solidified their roles in the pen, and Schoeneweis is at least capable against left hand batters. That leaves one spot remaining for a mop-up/long relief guy, which Kunz is not. Kunz would be much better served remaining in AA/AAA and getting his feet wet in high pressure, late inning situations instead of coming to the majors and getting work in once every 7 days. I know you like what you hear about Kunz’s future, but you can’t rush him to the majors.

    As far as the names you bring up…Hansen and Devine aren’t closers as you mention, they’re actually on the same teams as the two other names you brought up. Additionally, Hansen had ERA’s over 6.00 when the Sox called him up in just his first and second years of pro ball in 2005 and 06, and has since spent most of his time at AAA. Is that what you want to see from Kunz, who was drafted just last year and has a 4.53 ERA splitting time with Brooklyn and Binghamton? Joey Devine didn’t put it together until this year after being drafted in 2005 also, spending the bulk of 3 years in the minors. Papelbon even spent 2 years in the minors before getting called up to the bigs – as a starter who was converted into a closer. Huston Street is really your only credible evidence as to why you want to bring up Kunz so fast. And Kunz is no Huston Street.

    Maybe Kunz can best be described as another Joe Smith, who seems to have found a home in the bigs after less than a year in the minors. But there are two problems. #1 – Smith was dominating in the minors and in spring training of ’07, which is why the Mets thought he was ready for the jump. Kunz has been good at AA, but not dominating, which suggests he’s not ready. #2 – If the Mets have Smith and Kunz, it’s like having 2 of the same guy. Both are sidearm-styled righties who are more suited for specialist roles than closing duty. If the Mets want to make any moves to improve, they need to find a guy who gets batters from both sides of the plate out, a la Matt Wise who was supposed to be that guy before getting hurt this season.

    I do agree with your wish for an outfielder, but I think we’ll have to wait for that gift until ’09, because our lamebrains in the front office still think Moises Alou is the answer.

  5. Micalpalyn July 2, 2008 at 11:44 am
    Believe it or not Isuzu i agree. I’d like Kunz to be seasoned first. but i see no fault in him getting a look at the ML level say in aug/sept. i expect that he will get a long look in the Spr next yr. I also agree on the Pen. Since Willie was fired the relief core has been solid. Wags has been tenuous but the 4-blown saves have not manifested into full blown cancer. Muniz is still here and its his slot that i felt Kunz could get a look at….possibly as a ROOGY.

    Moises: Yes I belief (because you gotta). But consider:
    The Mets ARE a .500 team. Church has brought alot back to the offense, Del is not a complete liability and Wright and Reyes are getting there groove back. IF moises can come in for 1 month and be a catalyst for a solid streak, thats the (possible) 10 game seperation from that .500 mark.