Mets Game 135: Win Over Marlins
Mets 5 Marlins 4
Wow … talk about dramatic.
As usual, the Mets scored first, but the Fish fought back to go ahead 2-1 in the third, and that’s the way the game remained until the final frame.
Then, Florida closer Kevin Gregg did anything but close. Gregg got two quick outs before allowing a single up the middle to Luis Castillo. David Wright followed with a single to left, and then Gregg hit Carlos Delgado to load the bases for Carlos Beltran. At this point I have to admit I was expecting Beltran to pop up or wave at three breaking balls. Instead, Beltran came through with his biggest late-inning clutch hit of the year, blasting a hanging slider into the right field seats for a super-clutch grand slam to put the Mets ahead 5-2.
At that point, you would think the Marlins would have rolled over like, um, dead fish. Instead, the dramatics continued.
Mets interim closer Luis Ayala began the ninth retiring two of the first three batters he faced, allowing a single to Jeremy Hermida. Hanley Ramirez then pushed Hermida to second on an infield single, and pinch-hitter Mike Jacobs singled in Hermida. Jorge Cantu followed with a 9-pitch, 5-minute at-bat that included a near three-run homer (it went foul) but concluded with a double that scored Ramirez. Surprisingly, pinch-runner Alfredo Amezaga was held up at third as Dan Murphy rushed the ball back in to the infield — and stranded there as the potential tying run when Wes Helms grounded out to Jose Reyes to end the ballgame.
Third inning, 1-1 game, David Wright on first with one out and Carlos Delgado hitting. Marlins have the shift on. Why in the world is Wright NOT stealing against Volstad/LoDuca on one of the first two pitches in that situation? As it was, he didn’t steal, Delgado bounced a grounder to Dan Uggla to force out Wright, and Carlos Beltran followed by ripping a single that would have scored Wright easily. LoDuca can’t throw out the garbage at this stage of his career, and should have been exposed at every opportunity.
Later in the game, Beltran was on first with Arthur Rhodes pitching and Matt Treanor catching — a better catcher but not a difficult lefty to get a jump off. Beltran stayed put, and Daniel Murphy stroked a single that sent him to third, where he was left stranded. Again, why not attempt a steal in that situation? After Murphy was Brian Schneider and then the pitcher, so it’s not as if you’re sitting back waiting for a homer. Little things like this win and lose ballgames — and if I hear Keith Hernandez say one more time that he likes the “aggressiveness” of Jerry Manuel’s team I’m going to puke.
Beltran is now five for his last nine, and 9-for-21 in the past five games. Is he finally going to put this team on his shoulders and carry them through a stretch run? He just might. Keep it going, Carlos!
Strange the way Luis Ayala is anointed the “closer” and then is allowed to work out of his own mess in the ninth. The other “interim closers” were pulled from the game at the first evidence of trouble. Glad to see a change in strategy — I’m tired of seeing five pitchers used in an inning to get three outs.
By the way, Ayala threw 32 pitches in that ninth inning. That said, who’s the Saturday night closer?
Oliver Perez allowed only one earned run and three hits over six innings, but he didn’t look good. His mechanics were atrocious, his release point all over the place, and the only thing consistent about his pitching was leaving the ball up and away against the righties (cause: opening up too early, dragging arm behind). Ollie walked five and was helped by an overly aggressive Marlins lineup. Hopefully it was just a bad day, and he’ll get himself back on track. If not, it might not be a big deal — his next start will be against the similarly free-swinging Brewers.
Another 7:10 pm start on Saturday. A pair of 13-game winners — Mike Pelfrey and Ricky Nolasco — are pitted against each other.