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.

Sigh.

Notes

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?

Next Game

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.

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 July 3, 2008 at 4:00 am
    I knew they lost when they couldn’t plate David Wright’s triple. You just knew that would come back to haunt them.
  2. isuzudude July 3, 2008 at 6:15 am
    I don’t know if the Mets need to fill Muniz’s spot with another pitcher, as they were operating with an 8-man bullpen already and just a 4-man bench since DFA Andy Phillips and calling up Armas. If I were a betting man, and seeing the way the Mets have gone about their business this year, I’d say either Raul Casanova or Robinson Cancel gets the call-up so we can fulfill that ultra-necessary 3rd catcher spot on the roster. And then, once Moises Alou declares himself fit for another 6-inning stint this weekend in Philadelphia, one of the aformentioned backstops will be demoted to make room.

    Obviously Nelson Figueroa – or Mike Carp, Tim McNab, Val Pascucci, Brendan Knight, Eddie Camacho – would make for a more deserved choice, but somehow I think we’ll have to wait until September to see anybody from this batch with the big club.

  3. sincekindergarten July 3, 2008 at 12:18 pm
    The most messed-up thing about this is that the Mets are still only 4 1/2 games back of the Phillthies. Win tonight, and we’re right back into the thick of it with them this weekend.
  4. isuzudude July 3, 2008 at 12:53 pm
    I don’t know if the Mets need to fill Muniz’s spot with another pitcher, as they were operating with an 8-man bullpen already and just a 4-man bench since DFA Andy Phillips and calling up Armas. If I were a betting man, and seeing the way the Mets have gone about their business this year, I’d say either Raul Casanova or Robinson Cancel gets the call-up so we can fulfill that ultra-necessary 3rd catcher spot on the roster. And then, once Moises Alou declares himself fit for another 6-inning stint this weekend in Philadelphia, one of the aformentioned backstops will be demoted to make room.

    Obviously Nelson Figueroa – or Mike Carp, Tim McNab, Val Pascucci, Brendan Knight, Eddie Camacho – would make for a more deserved choice, but somehow I think we’ll have to wait until September to see anybody from this batch with the big club.

  5. Walnutz15 July 3, 2008 at 5:43 pm
    And then, once Moises Alou declares himself fit for another 6-inning stint this weekend in Philadelphia, one of the aformentioned backstops will be demoted to make room.

    Idunno about that…..from the Billy Wagner “(Flippin’) Shocking” Files:

    Alou scratched from weekend rehab

    Here is some news from Jerry Manuel’s pregame discussion with reporters:

    • Scratch Moises Alou from the weekend rehab with Binghamton. Alou saw a doctor Wednesday, who advised him to wait until at least after the weekend. Jerry Manuel still hopes Alou will return before the All-Star break.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/mets/2008/07/manuel-alou-scratched-from-wee.html

    As if anyone needed confirmation, or needs to be let in on the “revelation”: Believe none of what you read about Moises Alou. The above pretty much confirms that everything regarding his status is nothing but a steaming pile of baloney.

    Just busy-reading, for boring mornings. Two words for Moises….Just Retire…..make that 3 words: Just Retire, Already!