Mets Game 89: Win Over Phillies

Mets 10 Phillies 9

Yikes!

The Mets had a nice and easy, 10-1 lead as late after the top of the sixth, and we all figured it was a slam-dunk win. However, the fightin’ Phils never gave up (take note, Mets players), and scored eight runs in the last three innings to give every Mets fan a near-coronary.

Pedro Martinez was finally good — both on the mound and at the plate. He mixed up all his pitches, changed speeds, and had excellent command en route to an outing of 5 1/3 innings where he allowed two runs on five hits and three walks, striking out six. In the batter’s box, he reached base once on an error, scored once, and drove in a run with a base hit.

The rest of the Mets lineup gave Pedro plenty of support, led by non-All-Star David Wright and Endy Chavez. Wright had two hits, four RBI, and scored once, and Endy went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI.

The game was looking like a laugher, to the point that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel removed Chase Utley from the game. That move proved vital, as Utley’s turn in the batting order came up in the ninth with the score 10-7 and Billy Wagner doing his shaky shuffle.

Tony Armas and Aaron Heilman combined to allow five runs in 2 2/3 innings of “relief”, with each hurler allowing a two-run homer. Interestingly, all four outs recorded by Heilman were by strikeout. Wagner came on in the ninth to keep things entertaining, allowing two runs (one unearned) before recording the third out on a fly ball to right field.

Notes

Damion Easley and Fernando Tatis stroked three hits apiece, while Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes each collected two.

The game probably shouldn’t have been as close as it was, as a double due to fan interference hit by Ryan Howard was later overruled as a homerun. Who knows, maybe the runs would have scored anyway, but the umpires made a poor call. Jerry Manuel argued the case and was tossed from the game. No doubt the Willie haters will point to the ejection as proof that Manuel is a much better manager, because he stands up for his players. Except, he wasn’t really standing up for anyone in that case.

The Mets walked only twice in the game.

David Wright now has 70 RBI, which should put him tied with Adrian Gonzalez for second behind Ryan Howard’s NL-leading 78.

Speaking of Wright, Carlos Beltran threw him under the bus during the SNY postgame interviews. When asked about his HORRENDOUS and RIDICULOUSLY STUPID throw to 3B during the Phils’ ninth-inning rally, Beltran responded, “well, I felt I made a good throw. David was trying to tag the guy, and the ball went by him.” A reporter (Marty Noble, it sounded like) then said that some people thought it was a bad decision to throw the ball to third (it was). The thin-skinned Beltran then got even more defensive, answering, “well, you’re not a baseball player, that’s why. Well, I mean I felt if he would had caught the ball, the guy wouldn’t got to second.”

You know what? I’m starting to really hate Carlos Beltran again. First of all, take responsibility for your stupidity. Even if Wright did make a mistake (and he probably should have moved away from the bag and toward the throw), it was still an IDIOTIC throw in that situation. Up by two runs, with two outs, trying to throw out a guy you have no chance of throwing out at third base was a terrible, terrible, terrible decision. Terrible. Owe up to your poor decision, Mr. $119M.

Funny, isn’t it, that the Mets two highest-paid players would rather make David Wright a patsy than take responsibility for their actions? Jealous much? This team has bigger problems than we’ll ever know.

Change of subject. During the fourth inning, the SNY crew spoke about their SAT scores and college. Keith Hernandez quipped, “I always did good in English”. Lovely. Hey Keith, how about clicking this link: English Grammar for Dummiesand getting yourself a copy.

The crew also mentioned that Jerry Manuel was reading Reinhold Niebhur. Ho-hum. I remember being forced to read Niebhur while taking theology in college … great material if you’re an insomniac. I think if Willie Randolph wore glasses, left copies of Nietzsche on his desk, and took a long time before answering questions, he might have been viewed as a spiritual intellectual too. Unfortunately, he’d still have a closer blowing leads and a team struggling to get far above .500.

I’m over the Willie firing …. really, I am. However I’m still waiting for everyone else to get over the Manuel hiring.

Next Game

The Mets return to Shea to open a three-game series against the San Francisco Bondless Giants. Phenom Mike Pelfrey goes against phenom Tim Lincecum.

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 8, 2008 at 12:02 am
    I’m not a Carlos Beltran fan and I’m not surprised he threw D. Wright under the bus. And when exactly is Beltran being taken out of the four hole and put into the second hole in the line up or is Manuel afraid to do it?
  2. JIMMYJ723 July 8, 2008 at 1:05 am
    Watching this game was SCARY to say the least. If the Phillies came back and won, I don’t think I would have been able to watch another game till after the all-star break. Billy Wagner should never come in to close out a game against the Phillies, it’s obvious THEY STILL OWN HIM.

    As for Beltran. He chokes in the clutch and everytime he opens his mouth, something stupid comes out. He’s Alex Rodriguez, minus the Hall of Fame numbers and drama. All the money in the world couldn’t turn him into a leader. He just needs to keep his mouth shut and play the game. David Wright is the last guy on this team that should ever be criticized. He plays the game how it should be played.

    With all that being said. I am starting to notice this team playing better baseball. We’re hustling on every play and being agressive on the bases. I’m not going to give all the credit to Jerry Manuel although I do think he’s been doing a good job. I think it has more to do with Willie being gone. You can think what you want about Willie, but it’s obvious the players quit playing for him a very long time ago. It’s a different atmosphere in the dugout now that he’s gone.

    I think all those times we started a little winning streak and couldn’t keep it going are past us now. You can call me crazy, but I have no doubt we’ll have one of the best post all-star records in the NL this season.

  3. sincekindergarten July 8, 2008 at 4:31 am
    Jimmy, a Mets’ fan at work told me, Thursday, “I think the Mets are about to turn a corner–something just feels right with Manuel at the helm.” I wasn’t so sure. Now I am.

    If they knock of Lincecum tonight, you know that they’re on a roll. The way Pelfrey has been pitching lately, I put the odds at right about even money.

  4. isuzudude July 8, 2008 at 7:31 am
    Julie – I still don’t understand the rationale of moving Beltran from cleanup to 2nd in the order. If he slumps so badly and hits so poorly in the clutch, why is he to be “punished” by getting MORE atbats in a game? Additionally, with Church and Alou out, who hits 3rd, 4th, and 5th?

    Jimmy – “You can think what you want about Willie, but it’s obvious the players quit playing for him a very long time ago. It’s a different atmosphere in the dugout now that he’s gone.” I think you’re right, for the most part. The Mets did have come-from-behind wins under Willie’s guidance, so I hope you aren’t implying the Mets always quit before Manuel took over. But I’m sure the atmosphere in the clubhouse is much different, and it looks as though players are responding well to it for the time being. However, where we don’t see eye to eye is how much of a role Willie had in causing a bad atmosphere, and how influential it is on wins and losses on the field. Since Manuel took over, the Mets are 11-9, barely the level of play good enough of postseason contention. So how much has the “new” atmosphere had on helping the Mets win? I think the jury is still out. Again, I think most of the struggles of the season will boil down to the talent on the field, or lack thereof. Blame losses, lack of focus, failed execution, etc etc on management all you want, but when the same problems are plaguing the team even after a managerial change, you can’t continue to shy away from placing blame on the players themselves. And although the Mets escaped Philly with 3 wins out of 4 games, you still saw a bullpen cough up leads, an offense that went to sleep late in games, defensive miscues that cost us runs, and players continuing to create tension in the clubhouse. I’m sorry, but these are not signs of a playoff caliber team.

    As for maintaining a winning streak, I hope and pray you are right. This will be a big test for the Mets these next 6 games against 2 weak teams flying in from the west coast. This is usually the scenario in which we come down hard from a big series and tend to let a lesser opponent slip past us without putting up much of a fight. See: playing down to the competition. Anything less than 4-2 should be deemed a failure…especially if the Mets are serious on making a run at the postseason.