Game 148: Loss
Pirates 3 Mets 0
For the third day in a row, the New York Mets showed no interest whatsoever in clincing the NL East.
John Maine did not pitch well, but somehow managed to allow just two runs through six-plus innings. He probably could have held the Pirates to just one run had the defense shown a bit of interest in fielding their positions. As it was, Maine could have pitched a perfect game and likely still would have a loss or no-decision. For the numnuts who keep saying that Steve Trachsel “guts out” wins, I refer you to Mr. Maine and his last two starts. This is “gutsy” pitching, not the crapola that Trachsel dishes out game after game. True, Trax gets wins, but not by guts. Maine, on the other hand, has been losing, but you can hardly blame him, as he’s done a yeoman’s job, yet the Mets batters have forgotten to put bat on ball during his recent starts. This game was a prime example of why Maine should be given a postseason start over Trachsel: because even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he somehow finds a way to get batters out, limit the opposition’s run total, and keep an adequately equipped offensive team in a game.
Unfortunately, the Mets lineup was unable to get anything going until at least two outs were recorded in an inning, which makes it really hard to score runs. But, hey, I don’t want to get too down on the Mets. After all, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a REALLY good team. Look at their record, and you’ll see that they have a better record than the Chicago Cubs!
Seriously now, what’s the deal? Will the Mets lose their remaining 14 games, while the Phillies go undefeated? If that happens, will the Mets still make the wild card? Are the Mets throwing games so that they can clinch in New York? Grrrrrrr……
Endy Chavez went 3-3 in two-out, nobody on situations, then failed in an opportunity to drive in Lastings Milledge from second with two out in the seventh. Chavez, D-Wright and Milledge were the only Mets to reach base more than once; everyone else was taking half-assed swings and going through the motions. Carlos Delgado, in particular, was disappointing, as he was able to work himself into positive counts — 2-0, 3-1 — but could only muster lousy, weak-ass ground balls to the second baseman. His awful swings while ahead on the count pretty much defeated the whole purpose of being ahead. As much as I love Carlos, in a way I wished that Mr. Willie had rested him in favor of Father Time Franco, who may have had some better at-bats. Another example of why MLB should never have outlawed greenies.
Jose Reyes struck out looking in the seventh with men on first and second, and not only argued with the umpire but also slammed his bat and helmet in the dugout. Very unlike Jose, and that small act, combined with his recent sloppiness in the field, begs one to wonder if maybe it’s time to give the guy a rest. True, Keith Hernandez will tell you that no one under 30 ever needs a rest, but this guy plays at a pretty high level, day in and day out; there’s no coasting in this guy’s game. Hopefully, after (if?) the Mets clinch this thing (already!), we’ll see Anderson Hernandez and/or Chris Woodward playing lots of shortstop in the final two weeks.
Surveying the blogs and in particular the blog commenters lately, it appeared that Kelly Stinnett was the preferred backup catcher come playoff time. I wonder how people are feeling now, after Stinnett’s awful performance against the Pirates? I know, it hardly matters who the second-string receiver is, but there aren’t too many roster considerations to argue about.
Speaking of postseason roster spots, it looks like Lastings will get a position by default. There aren’t any other righthanded hitters to speak of, and you have to figure the Mets will keep an extra outfielder before an infielder — considering that Delgado, Jose Valentin, Jose Reyes, and D-Wright will never be taken out of a game for any reason other than a broken bone. The question is, does Milledge deserve it? Hardly, in my opinion. He still shows too much uncontrolled aggressiveness at the plate, waving at poor pitches especially in key situations. For example, what the heck was he doing swinging at the first pitch leading off in the ninth inning? HEL-LO-HO! And I still don’t trust him in the field, despite the pundits who say he’s a better option than Shawn Green (I disagree). I guess he’ll be worthwhile as a pinch-runner … but I’d rather keep Anderson Hernandez around for that. Playing the Monday-morning quarterback, I find it strange that the Mets were unable to promote a right-handed hitter from the minors, or locate a half-decent one. Instead, they wasted a bullet on Ricky Ledee. Oh well, I suppose after finding gems like Valentin, Chavez, and Guillermo Mota, Omar had to mess up on someone.
So, after being swept by the mighty Bucs, the Mets will try to clinch the NL East — again — this time against the Marlins. Steve Trachsel goes against Brian Moehler. I’m torn about this one. Naturally, I want the Mets to wrap this up ASAP, but another part of me wants someone — anyone — other than the vulcan to be the pitcher who wins the clinching game. But I’m sure that old Stevie will do his part in pitching five lousy innings, allowing 4-5 runs, but the Mets will suddenly remember to bring their wooden (not paper mache) bats to the plate, and score nine or ten runs to clinch the East and make Trachsel a 15-game winner. Of course, Trachsel the wine snob will most likely object to the brand and/or vintage of Champagne that is flowing in the clubhouse …