Mets Game 130: Loss to Astros
Astros 8 Mets 3
It was not a good day for John Maine. Anytime you give up a homerun to David Newhan, things are not going well.
Maine was rocked for 8 runs on 10 hits and 2 walks in 5 2/3 innings, including 2 homeruns, in a 105-pitch effort. The Mets’ difficulty in coming back from that deficit was compounded by the spectacular pitching of Brandon Backe, who did not give up a hit until the fifth inning and allowed only five in seven innings. Backe ran out of gas in the eighth, when for the second day in a row Brian Schneider drove in Ryan Church with a homerun to cut the lead to 8-3. Unfortunately it was too little, too late for the Mets, who suffered only their second loss in the last two weeks.
Why did it take until the eighth inning to see Brian Stokes enter the game? Stokes began warming up in the bullpen in the third, when Maine was struggling and allowed four Houston runs. I’m really not sure what these “professionals” — meaning Jerry Manuel and his coaching staff — are seeing, or thinking about, while Maine showed an obvious lack of confidence, consistently missed location, and threw with either wacked out or forced mechanics. Rather than looking at the process that affected the outcomes, Manuel and staff focused on the outcomes. From my point of view, Maine was lucky to allow “only” eight runs — he was missing location on nearly every pitch, and got away with several pitches over the middle of the plate and/or high in the zone. It was as though Manuel was hoping Maine would continue to skirt the inevitable — or was “willing” him to succeed in spite of the fact he had absolutely nothing. This is different from Pedro Martinez pitching with “guts” when he doesn’t have his best stuff; Maine had no command, poor velocity, no breaking pitch, and is still (in my opinion) hurting. Furthermore, why do you have Brian Stokes warming up so early in the game if you intend on leaving Maine in for a few more frames? After giving up five runs in the first three, and looking as awful as he did, do you expect him to suddenly find control and velocity? Manuel should have thanked his lucky stars the ‘stros scored only five, and moved on to Stokes to keep the game close. It’s easier from a mental standpoint to come back from a 5-1 game than from an 8-1 deficit.
Before I get off the soapbox, I have one more thing to say: it’s time to shut down John Maine. As I stated several times already, his mechanics are a disaster, and now he’s pitching in pain. Put him back on the DL, send him down to work on his mechanics with Randy Niemann (or Joe Janish), and MAYBE we’ll have him back in time for the postseason.
Both Jose Reyes and Ryan Church went 2-for-4 for a double. Church is picking up right where he left off before going on the DL.
Duaner Sanchez was once again ineffective in his one-third of an inning. He gave up two singles, allowing both inherited runners to score, before inducing a popout from Geoff Blum to end the sixth. Duaner hit a wall about a month ago, and he’s another guy who might have to be shut down for a few weeks. A guy can’t miss a year and a half and be expected to pitch effectively through 55 of a season’s first 130 games.
The Mets and Astros play the “rubber game” on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 pm. Oliver Perez goes against Randy Wolf in a battle of the lefthanders. Catch the game on CW11, WFAN, or XM 183.