Mets Game 123: Win Over Pirates

Mets 7 Pirates 4

So far, the Mets are making the most of the “soft” part of their schedule.

Pedro Martinez threw seven strong innings in leading the Mets to their fifth straight victory, and his fourth win of the year. Petey allowed only one run in a 95-pitch effort, scattering eight hits, walking one, and striking out four.

While Martinez was mowing down the Bucs, the bats were battering starter and loser Zach Duke. Jose Reyes led off the game with a homerun, then tripled and scored in the second as the Mets jumped out to a four-nothing lead. They tacked on another two in the sixth on a two-run blast by Ramon Castro, and closed their effort when Daniel Murphy forced home a run with a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.

However, the game wasn’t exactly in the bag.

Leading 7-1 going into the ninth, Mets manager Jerry Manuel finally had what he believed was the exact, perfect situation to use the well-rested Eddie Kunz. Kunz responded by allowing two singles and a double, hitting a batter, and uncorking a wild pitch with a man on third. By the time he was removed, the Pirates had pulled to within three, setting up a save situation for Joe Smith.

But Smith gave up a single, so Manuel had to replace him with Pedro Feliciano, who induced a flyout and a grounder to end the game and earn the save.


Brian Stokes pitched a scoreless eighth in his first setup situation. It’s only a matter of hours before every shortsighted fan and pundit start hailing him as the Mets’ bullpen savior, and wondering aloud why he isn’t given save chances while Billy Wagner remains on the DL.

Carlos Beltran roped an RBI double and Fernando Tatis singled him in for the other two runs scored in the first.

I wonder if Kunz was so awful because he hadn’t pitched in six days? Hmm … reminds me a LOT of how another manager used to handle Aaron Sele (among others). Since Kunz relies on a heavy sinker and control, it was no surprise he crapped the bed. You can’t just bury a guy for a week and expect him to be sharp — just like you can’t expect a guy to pitch 5 days out of seven and not get worn out. It’s called “bullpen management”, and it’s a delicate balance.

Speaking of the bullpen, I will continue to harp on my brilliant strategy of scoring lots of runs while Wags is out, to provide enough cushion at the end of the game so that it doesn’t matter who is pitching the final two innings.

Next Game

The Mets go for six in a row when they face the Buccos at 1:35 pm on Sunday afternoon. Johan Santana faces the surprising Jeff Karstens.

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 17, 2008 at 7:55 am
    Kyle Kendrick was kind enough to leave the Phillthies game in SD in the fourth inning, having been tagged for six runs. We’re up by two.
  2. isuzudude August 17, 2008 at 8:40 am
    As far as Kunz goes, I’m positive a large amount of his struggles last night can be blamed on his lack of usage. But, then again, Carlos Muniz was never this bad when summoned from the pen, and he had just as long of spans of inactivity under Jerry’s terrible bullpen management system. What’s more is that Kunz is just a kid who should have a big role in this organization in the future, which means the team should be finding a better job for him to do than being a mop-up man pitching once a week in the big leagues (and doing a poor job at that). DEMOTE KUNZ, CALL UP MUNIZ.

    And I’ll continue to harp on this point as well: since the allstar break, Joe Smith has a 9.64 ERA. That is over a span of 17 games and 9.1 innings. I put some addition research into my evaluation, and found that since the allstar break vs. right hand hitting, Smith has given up 10 hits in 34 ABs (.294) with 8 BBs. And folks, this is our best ROOGY. He absolutely must be sent to AAA to work out whatever kinks are plaguing him, so that when crunch time rolls around in September he won’t be an even bigger mess than he is now. DEMOTE SMITH, CALL UP LUGO OR FIGUEROA.

    Joe, I agree that scoring runs is the answer the our bullpen woes, but I fear that once we move on from the shoddy Washington and Pittsburgh pitching staffs, our ability to score by the boatloads is going to sail off to sea. And then, if we don’t get some fresh arms in here pronto, we’re going to be left with this same bullpen that has continuously allowed crooked numbers to go on the board since Wagner got hurt. If Jerry can’t wrap his head around proper bullpen management, it’s Omar’s job to work around it and supply him with some different names to call upon.

    If we really want a brain teaser on this fine looking Sunday, how about this one: when Church, Castillo, and Nixon are ready to be activated, who will be the likely candidates to be dropped to make way? As a followup, should the Mets be in any rush to disrupt their current roster and consequently foul up the formula that has seen the offense come to life in recent weeks?