Mets Game 119: Nationals

Mets 4 Nationals 3

The Mets won … but barely.

Once again, Johan Santana was very good, allowing three runs in seven strong innings. Finally, he was handed a “W”, as this time the Mets bullpen held down the fort.

In stark contrast to their performances of the last few days, Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano delivered six outs without allowing a run, saving Santana’s gem.

Offensively, the Mets were underwhelming, but good enough. Carlos Delgado opened the scoring with a two-run single in the first, Carlos Beltran drove home David Wright with a double in the third, and Damion Easley pushed home the Mets’ fourth run with a clutch hit by pitch with the bases loaded in the eighth.


Beltran finally did something of substance, going 3-for-4. Now would be a GREAT time for him to break out and go on one of his six-week hot streaks.

David Wright had two hits and scored two runs, but will continue to get lambasted by the pundits for not producing enough. His .387 OBP, .911 OPS, and 93 RBI (2nd best in the NL) are viewed as “underachieving”. Huh.

Jose Reyes had two hits and stole his 40th base. He leads the NL in hits (153) and is second in stolen bases to Willy Taveras’ 51. Reyes, of course, is “overrated”.

Strange Moves

The “jenius” of Jerry Manuel, or, “how to think yourself out of a rally”: let’s pinch-hit for Ramon Castro, who’s hitting .339 with runners on base, because he’s a righty and the pitcher is a righty … never mind that righties hit Saul Rivera 30 points higher than lefties.

Which in turn sets up a situation where your best option to pinch-hit for Johan Santana is Brian Schneider. First, are you SURE you want to remove Johan, at 94 pitches, in the top of the 8th of a game he’s pitching well, knowing you have no closer and no reliable setup man? Second, even if you have decided Johan will not throw another pitch, do you really believe Schneider is a better hitter than Santana? This is the same Schneider who in 200 more at-bats has only 2 more doubles than Santana.

As it turned out, the nonsensical moves of the 8th inning had no bearing on the outcome of the game. Further, we can thank Manuel for the bullpen’s spotless performance in this game. After all, Keith Hernandez suggested that Jerry “must have told the relievers that they need to throw strikes”. (Pardon me while I throw up in my mouth.)

Annoying SNY cheerleading aside, this was a nice win. Glad to see it IS possible to win games without a closer. That said — Billy, get back soon, please!

Next Game

Jerry Manuel’s Mets face the Nationals again on Wednesday at 7:10 pm. Jerry will send John Maine to the mound against Jason Bergmann.

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 August 13, 2008 at 4:10 am
    The bullpen roles have been reversed! Ours held the win by Santana, and Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero couldn’t hold Hole Camels’ win for Phillthy, in LA. We pick up a game.
  2. RockStar78 August 13, 2008 at 7:37 am
    Dead on Joe. I thought it was the right decision to pinch hit for Santana, but then after I saw Brian Ordonez come to the plate, I knew taking him out was a mistake because it was a foregone conclusion that Schneider was either going to strike out or ground out. There was no reason to pinch hit for Castro. If Castro bats for himself and makes an out, then Murphy pinch hits for Santana. A much better option.
  3. isuzudude August 13, 2008 at 9:41 am
    Smith and Feliciano had me sweatin’ bullets, but thankfully they got the job done. I think in Billy’s absence Jerry should just tell the entire bullpen, “be ready to close tonight. I have no clue who’s name will get called, but just be ready in case it is you.” Obviously, no one in the pen can handle the title of Interim Closer, but perhaps if they form a closer-by-committee, the abruptness of being summoned into a save situation won’t effect their psyche or confidence.

    Joe, I second you’re confusion over the criticism of Wright and Reyes. Yeah, compared to Ruth and Cobb they’re probably over-rated, but no one is making that comparison. Both are peak performers at their position this season, and have been for the past 3 seasons. If you’re projecting Wright to hit 50 HR, or Reyes to hit .400, it doesn’t mean they’re over-rated, it means you’re a loon for rating them so high. At the beginning of every season you can write Wright down for .300/30/100+ and Reyes for .290/100+ runs/50SB. What in the world is wrong with those numbers?

    Ad for Beltran, it may be time to climb off his back and on to his shoulders. Dude’s hitting a cool .372 in August thus far, and though his power is still MIA, as long as he keeps collecting RBI via frozen-rope doubles I’ll be happy.

  4. Micalpalyn August 13, 2008 at 10:14 am
    Good post. But then this was kinda what i expected.
    1. Hitting. The Mets put up 2 immediately. Our core guys had good games. Isuzu: Good deal on CB. But note He is at 275 now/16HR/77Runs. It seems when he hits for power the avg slumps and the whiffs start. Then he shortens up and the power dips but singles and doubles come.
    2. Pitching: Santana was Santana.
    3. Defense was fine though i could have been happier with Murph or a-Rey at 2nd.
    4. BP: Note the BP does not blow EVERY game. We will have to watch them by oppurtunity. Also the Nats are a good team to get on track by playing…then again Pitt is not exactly suposed to put up 6 runs on your FIVE firemen.