Los Mets Game 129: Win Over Astros

Los Mets 3 Astros 0

Music superstars Tito “El Gallo Salsero” Rojas and Wason Brazoban excited the Shea Stadium crowd with a hot night of salsa and merengue in headlining a very special “Fiesta Latina” celebration hosted by Carolina Bermudez.

The opening act, led by Venezuelan-born Johan Santana, was nearly as thrilling. Los Mets scored three unanswered runs en route to their 11th win in the last dozen games.

Santana was magnificent, setting down the ‘stros through seven strong innings, scattering eight hits, striking out five and walking one. His season-high 121-pitch effort was surprisingly inefficient, and though he pitched through a few jams, never really struggled at any point in the game.

David Wright drove in Jose Reyes in the first frame to give Santana the only run he needed, and Brian “Power Surge” Schneider slugged a two-run homer to provide a cushion. Aaron Heilman pitched a perfect eighth inning, and Luis Ayala struck out two in the ninth to earn his first save as a Met.

Notes

As a team, the Mets managed only four hits and one walk in eight innings against Roy Oswalt, who finished what he started.

Ryan Church returned to the lineup and managed an infield hit in three tries, scoring a run on Schneider’s blast. Luis Castillo is scheduled to return from the DL and to the starting lineup on Saturday, which likely means the demotion of Argenis Reyes.

Schneider’s homer was his fifth of the year and third in the last ten days. Ron Darling commented that Schneider “has found his homerun stroke”. Who knew he had one to lose? Keep it going, Brian!

Ayala has now pitched three times without allowing a run. Based on that I’m guessing that he’s Jerry Manuel’s closer until further notice.

Hunter Pence remains an idiot. Standing on third base with one out, the score 1-0, the pitcher on deck, and the infield playing back, Pence froze on a grounder to deep short and remained on third. Oswalt struck out to end the inning.

Next Game

It will be a Saturday night special, with the Mets and Astros playing again at 7:10 pm. John Maine goes to the mound against Brandon Backe. Astros manager might be tempted to bat Backe in the top half of lineup, as his .308 average is fourth on the team.

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. RockStar78 August 22, 2008 at 11:20 pm
    Joe, how did Ayala look to you tonight? From an untrained eye, seemed like he was using a 93MPH 4 seamer up in the zone and an 88mph sinker that dove down pretty good. Sound about right?
  2. joe August 22, 2008 at 11:46 pm
    RockStar, for an “untrained eye” you could be right on target.

    What I’m seeing is the sinker being thrown at 93 and a slider at 88-89. The sinker looks like a four-seamer because his fingers are under the ball at release (not a good thing) and as a result the ball is getting pushed up in the zone rather than sinking down.

    It’s really hard to tell though, from the centerfield camera — my guess is based on what looks to be movement in to the RH / away from the LH on the 93MPH pitches. I could be dead wrong and you might be right about the 4-seamer assumption. I won’t know for sure unless I get a seat behind home plate to watch. It ticks me off to no end that we almost never see the game from behind home plate, BTW.

  3. sincekindergarten August 23, 2008 at 4:49 am
    Johan’s a second-half kind of pitcher. 🙂

    And there’s 33 games to go. The Phillthies roughed up Greg Maddux, so they’re still 2 1/2 back.

  4. isuzudude August 23, 2008 at 9:41 am
    SNY used to give us the behind-the-plate angle from time to time during home games, but somewhere along the way ditched the idea. It mainly stands out in my head because everytime we had the view Keith would remark, “Man, I love this camera angle, Webby!” Don’t know why they don’t do it anymore, though. It was a nice change of pace.

    Speaking of nice changes of pace, good job by Aaron and Ayala working 2 uneventful innings of relief to notch another W for Johan. I’d prefer it if Jerry kept looking for the best match-up in a save situation than rely entirely on Ayala. It just seems like anytime someone in the pen gets the clue that they’re the favorite for save opportunities, that’s when they start shitting themselves. I think it’s better to keep everybody on their toes out there and not place any mental burdens on them by giving them labeled roles.

    Anybody else wishing Castillo hurts himself again so the Mets can keep Argenis around and not disrupt the clubhouse chemistry? I’ve heard Jose Reyes has taken Argenis under his wing, almost like a older brother/younger brother relationship, which has helped Jose transition into a leader. Now, with the elder stateman Castillo coming back, Reyes’ leadership qualities may go into remission, potentially along with his MVP-caliber play. Time will tell.

  5. joe August 23, 2008 at 9:55 am
    I’m actually excited to see Luis Castillo back … I’m going to write a post why, which will probably bite me in the backside two weeks from now.

    The leadership role that Jose has taken, though, can’t be disputed. It’s definitely helped him grow as a player.

    Also agree on the no-roles idea of closing, but knowing the “genius” of Jerry Manuel I have a funny feeling we’re going to see Aaron in the 8th and Ayala in the 9th until it doesn’t work.

    Speaking of Heilman, I’ve come to realize after researching the bullpen that although he seems not to come through in tight situations, I think it’s more of a case that he is put into so many games, he’s bound to fail at some point. By the end of the season he will have appeared in 85+ games — certainly he can’t be expected to succeed 85 times, or even 80. With that kind of frequency, naturally he’s going to crap the bed at least 10-15 times a year.