Mets Game 84: Loss to Cardinals
Cardinals 8 Mets 7
Win. Lose. Win. Lose. Win. Lose. The pattern continues …
This game was dramatic, full of emotional highs and lows. Pedro Martinez was pelted early, but hung in there for five innings, and just when it seemed like the Mets were “calling it in”, they came back to tie the game. Then they were tied. Then they went ahead. Then they were tied.
And then, in true Vince Lombardi fashion, the Mets didn’t really lose the game — they simply ran out of time.
That’s not entirely true, actually. In truth, the Mets lost this game several times, and even after going ahead 7-5, it “felt” like they were about to relinquish the lead again. And they did. Quickly.
Pedro was once again awful. We don’t know if he was tipping pitches (as he claimed in his last start) or was simply ineffective. But the bottom line was, he gave up four runs in the first inning to put the Mets into a deep hole right away.
But the Mets found a way back, buoyed perhaps by a 45-minute rain delay that seemed to wipe the slate clean. They scored three runs in the third on a two-run double by Carlos Beltran and a single by Damion Easley, then tied the game the next inning when a Jose Reyes triple was followed by an Endy Chavez sac fly. The Cardinals, however, battled back themselves, untying things in the fifth on a solo homer by Rick Ankiel. Pedro was removed after that frame, and Joe Smith kept St. Louis scoreless in the sixth.
In the seventh, the Mets jumped all over Mark Mulder in his second career relief appearance, exploding for three runs via every way imaginable — walks, singles, hit by pitches, sacrifice flies, you name it. But still, the two-run lead felt kind of … fragile.
So when the Cardinals came back with two runs of their own in the eighth, it wasn’t much of a surprise. Remarkably, Aaron Heilman held them in the seventh, but was brought out to start the 8th and began the frame by plunking Ryan Ludwick. Pedro Feliciano came on in relief and promptly gave up a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Chris Duncan to once again tie the game. At that point, it was clear that this game would not be a storybook ending for the Mets — it was only a matter of time before they found a way to lose it.
And lose it they did indeed in the ninth — nearly twice, in fact. With Carlos Muniz on the mound, Ankiel very nearly hit his second homerun of the game, blasting a fly to centerfield that dropped just inches from the fence. However, Troy Glaus — who had hit a three-run bomb in the first frame — DID hit his second homer of the game, having the sense to send his fly to the shorter porch in left field to win the game for the Redbirds.
The Mets wasted 3-for-4 days by both David Wright and Damion Easley. Easley drove in three runs and Wright scored two. Jose Reyes also had three hits, though in five ABs, and Ryan Church went 2-for-5.
Wright, by the way, is 24-for-58 (.414) in his last 16 games, and is creeping toward .300 for the season.
Carlos Muniz was unceremoniously optioned back to New Orleans immediately after the game. While I admit I clamored for his promotion, he did absolutely nothing to prove he could be effective in an impactful role at this point in time. Too bad, as the Mets could really use a 7th / 8th inning guy right now. My guess is Muniz’s issue is more to do with confidence than anything else, because his stuff isn’t all that bad.
No word yet on who will replace Muniz on the roster. Nelson Figueroa?
The final game of this four-game set takes place at 8:15 pm EST, with Mike Pelfrey going to the mound against rookie Mitchell Boggs, who is 3-0. If the Mets follow their current pattern, they should win the game. Win one, lose one, etc., etc.