Mets Game 151: Win Over Nationals

Mets 9 Nationals 7

If you want to see the Mets in the playoffs this year, you better get used to games like this.

The Mets offense woke up, charging to a 7-1 lead by the fourth inning. Jose Reyes set the tone with a leadoff homer on the fifth pitch of the ballgame, and Carlos Delgado added a dinger of his own a few minutes later.

Reyes again was the catalyst in a four-run third, as he led off with a walk and scored on a triple by Daniel Murphy. Delgado drove in Murphy, and Carlos Beltran hit the first of his two homers in the game to plate Delgado. Reyes drove in the seventh Mets run with a single in the next frame, and Beltran’s blast in the eighth put the Mets ahead 9-5.

You’d think a four-run lead and a nine-run outburst would be enough to get a Mets fan off the edge of his chair, but lo and behold, the bullpen nearly gave the game away in the ninth. The Nats rallied for two runs off Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano to make the game 9-7, but Luis Ayala came on to put out the fire, striking out pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina to end the game.


The Mets scored nine runs, but required eight pitchers to complete the contest.

Reyes, Murphy, Beltran, Delgado, and Brian Schneider all collected two hits apiece.

Aaron Heilman made his first appearance in a week and gave up a double and a single before yielding to Scott Schoeneweis — who remarkably did not allow either of his inherited runners to score.

Next Game

The Mets have a chance to salvage a split by winning Thursday’s game, which begins at 7:10 pm. Johan Santana goes to the hill against Tim Redding.

Hold on to your caps, folks … the next ten days are going to be a rough ride.

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. murph September 18, 2008 at 12:46 am
    Good thing the Mets bullpen saved the game from…. uh, … The Mets bullpen! What, is Ayala the hero now again?

    Joe, your theory proves correct once again: The Mets OFFENSE has to be the closer if they are going to win ball games. Just score enough runs so the pen can survive.

    When Felicano was warming up in the 9th, (with runners on 2nd & 3rd), the TV panned to all the Mets fielders. I was in a bar, so I didn’t hear the commentary, but the look on their faces said: “Here we go again”. Especially when they did a close-up on Wright & Reyes.

  2. isuzudude September 18, 2008 at 5:50 am
    Prediction: this is the last we see of Aaron Heilman, regular or postseason. Not only can he not be trusted to get even the weakest hitter out, but there’s got to be something physically wrong with him. Joe, I’m sure you pay attention to these things: in the 2 at-bats he was on the mound for in his brief appearance his pitches were missing their location by a couple of feet, especially the off-speed ones. Maybe this type of wacky control is to be expected when you have a week in between appearances, but I’m tired of making excuses for Aaron. We have Muniz, we have Parnell, we have Reyes. Some combination of those three can’t be any less reliable than what Aaron has been.

    Surprise, surprise…the Braves lay an egg against Philadelphia and appear perfectly content to spoil the Mets’ season while allowing the Phils to walk away with the division. It’s going to be that much more difficult to reclaim the division lead if the rest of the NL East only gets up to play the Mets while giving Philly a free pass.

  3. joe September 18, 2008 at 7:57 am
    Murph – I’m not liking that look … their body language is negative, and exactly the same as this time last year. When you watch the Phillies, they carry themselves with a positive air when they fall behind — almost like they’re relishing the challenge. It’s not something you can see in a boxscore, or measure with VORP, but it’s apparent to the eye.

    ‘dude – I had guessed Aaron’s issue was physical a while back — but I’d thought it was his elbow again, rather than his knee. Who knows, maybe it’s both. I can say from experience that a pitcher with pain will adjust things to avoid the pain, and that almost always leads to either another injury, loss of command, or both. This year we’ve seen inconsistent command from Aaron, so the theory fits. You can call it an excuse, I suppose.

    The kid is a lot tougher than most fans give him credit for, and I agree that he must be shut down. The team has to make that decision — as they had to with John Maine — because he’ll keep taking the ball, to the detriment of the team.

  4. Micalpalyn September 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm
    Knight got his win. It does not make up for the 1-o loss that Pel had to take tho.

    The BP issue: is similar to the line up issue. JM had a quandry, Tatis and church over Murph and Evans. well tatis is out and Murph is making it a NON issue. I have been wrong but Heilman needs to be on the DL, and feliciano is not much better. Parnall could be THE reason we make post season, and i dont think Muniz is worse than Heilman or Pedro-II.

  5. joe September 18, 2008 at 2:12 pm
    Mic, I know you love the young pitchers — I do too — but Jerry is no different than Willie and we won’t see Parnell again until it’s an absolutely desperate situation or a blowout. He’ll give Stokes and Reyes chances to fail before giving the ball to Parnell in a tight situation.
  6. Micalpalyn September 18, 2008 at 4:59 pm
    Similarly JM has said murph as a lefty will platoon against lefties………..well i say sit delgado…sometimes and let Evans play 1st and let murph continue to hit 2nd.
  7. isuzudude September 19, 2008 at 5:57 am
    Mic: I agree with your bullpen strategy, but not with sitting Delgado. He’s arguably been your most clutch player over the past 2 months and has shown to be no weakness against left-handed pitching. We’re at the stage of the season where you MUST be playing all of your big bats everyday, and I’d much rather get Delgado in the lineup against JoJo Reyes or Scott Olsen (some of the lefties we’ll likely be facing over the final week and a half of the season) than Nick Evans. That being said, with the way Murphy has handled himself, I wouldn’t mind seeing him get a few more ABs vs. the lefties. I like Evans, too, but there’s something about a .360 stick that makes you want to get him in the lineup.