Mets Game 152: Win Over Nationals

Mets 7 Nationals 2

Now that’s more like it … a playoff-bound team is supposed to be beating up on the last place teams at this time of year.

Johan Santana made the Nats hitters look like minor leaguers, allowing only one run in seven innings of balls missing bats. Johan allowed 8 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 8.

On the other side of things, the offense continued its onslaught, again sparked by Jose Reyes. Reyes doubled to lead off the game and scored on a single by Daniel Murphy to give the Mets a lead they never relinquished.

The Mets added two runs to their lead in the second inning, thanks to the first of two homers by Brian Schneider and an RBI single by Reyes. And they plated another pair in the third, courtesy of a Carlos Beltran triple and a Ryan Church single. In the fourth, Schneider blasted another bomb to put the Mets ahead 6-zip, and Church drove in another run in the fifth frame to give the Mets a 7-0 advantage.

The Nationals held the Mets scoreless through the remainder of the game, but the damage was done.


Schneider, Church, and Murphy all went 2-for-4, and Reyes had two safeties in five tries.

David Wright continued his “slump” with another oh-fer. It’s obvious he’s pressing, but the question is why? Wright was unconscious against the Braves last weekend, then goes hitless one game and everyone is wondering what’s wrong with him. He must have been reading / listening to the pundits, because he’s looked tight ever since that 0-for-4 Monday game.

Speaking of tension, it should be relieved for the Mets, and we should see them go ballistic on the Braves. That is, if they’re being realistic and can see what everyone else is seeing: the Milwaukee Brewers are finished, which means the Mets can skate into the postseason via the wild card. Earlier in the day, the Cubs essentially ripped the heart out of the Brewers, overcoming a 4-run deficit in the ninth and taking the game in the 12th inning. The Brew Crew was already on its last shred of courage, and this latest disaster no doubt will put them into a mental state that will be next to impossible to overcome.

And while we’re segueing into mental games, what’s up with Jerry Manuel’s quick hook in the ninth inning? I realize the bullpen has been shaky, but why is he managing a 5-run lead like it’s the seventh game of the World Series? It’s bad enough he’s been doing it in three-run games since June, but I don’t see the advantage of burning through both of your top LOOGYs in a 7-2 contest. Besides wearing out arms that might be needed tomorrow, he’s also sending a negative message to every man in the ‘pen: be perfect, or be gone. Who can perform their best with that kind of expectation? The pundits can keep yapping about the relievers being “terrible”, but I’m sticking to my evaluation that Manuel is an absolute moron when it comes to bullpen management — yes, he’s WORSE than Willie.

Which brings me to one more point: where the heck was Bobby Parnell? Before the game, a reporter asked Manuel if it would take another blowout situation for him to see Parnell, and the answer was “no”. Yet, this would have appeared to be a perfect time to see what the kid could do — finish up a game with a five-run cushion. I understand that there is still the concern that he’ll crap the bed and ruin Santana’s gem, but wouldn’t you rather find out now, rather than, say, game 160? Further, isn’t Parnell one of the “untouchables” who the Mets couldn’t trade away for people like Jon Rauch, Huston Street, Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, or Manny Ramirez? If he’s that good and is on the roster of a team vying for the postseason, shouldn’t we be seeing him make a contribution? For all the hype we were fed, I was expecting Parnell to be our version of the 2006 Adam Wainwright. Instead, we get a combination of Philip Humber / Aaron Sele.

Last bullpen point: Al Reyes was released. I’m guessing that he never fully recovered from the shoulder ailment that kept him out for the past few months.

Oh, in case you missed it, Brian Schneider is looking fresh. We know this because Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, and Kevin Burkhardt all brought up the fact that Schneider’s lack of playing time early in the season means he’s fresh now, at the end of the season. Lee Mazzilli mentioned it in the postgame, as well, and Burkhardt brought it up with both Jerry Manuel and Schneider himself in postgame interviews. Matt Yalloff and Gary Apple mentioned it too, so it must be true. So why are we worried about the tendinitis in Schneider’s knee?

A good, much-needed win. I really feel like it’s going to be smooth sailing from here on — the Brewers are dead and the Fish have too much ground to cover in too short a time.

Next Game

The Mets begin a three-game series in Atlanta on Friday night with Oliver Perez going to the hill against Jo-Jo Reyes. First pitch is at 7:30 pm.

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 11:47 pm
    Regarding the much talked about pen:

    1. I have never seen a LOOGY get replaced by another LOOGY
    let alone in the bottom of the ninth in a 7-2 game to face another lefty.

    2. So that explains why Al Reyes never played. Does he go down as a former Met, even though he never pitched for them?

    3. I am surprised they didn’t let Santana start the eighth, given how little faith EVERYBODY has in the bullpen.

  2. julie September 19, 2008 at 4:10 am
    Not only don’t I like Manuel’s bullpen management, I don’t care for him between the lines. He’s gone conservative, I think he iced Kunz, he won’t give Parnell a shot, he doesn’t know how to play small ball an he ‘feels’ like Randolph. I hope he doesn’t come back.
  3. isuzudude September 19, 2008 at 6:12 am
    I was perplexed, as well, when Jerry decided to protect a 6-run 8th inning lead with Joe Smith, who was pitching for a 3rd game in a row and for the 4th time in the last 5 games. Why is this necessary? Where the hell is Muniz or Parnell? There is no doubt in my mind that this type of horrible bullpen management is going to come back and bite us, either during the last 2 series of the season against the Cubs and Marlins, or in the postseason. Awful, awful, awful. When will this madness ever end?

    I hate to mention anything before the fat lady sings, but it really does look like the Brewers are toast. In addition to the heartbreaking loss yesterday is the fact that Sheets most likely is done for the year. When you have a guy like that, headed to free agency, talking about feeling a “cutting” sensation in his elbow, it’s time to shut it down. And without Sheets, the Brewers are dead ducks.

    And lah-dee-dah, the Braves get swept by the Phillies and continue to make life miserable for the Mets. I’d be willing to bet my life savings that Atlanta will come out guns blazin’ tonight and over the weekend, as they always seem to find that extra motivation to play the Mets. The Phillies may be our most logical rival, but the Braves still have it out for us. And this side of the Yankees, there is no team I will ever hate more than Atlanta.

  4. David W. September 19, 2008 at 10:32 am
    David Wright hit three balls pretty well–Zimmerman made two nice pays, one on a screaming liner, and Milledge tracked down a hard-hit shot to center as well. He’ll be fine.

    I second–or third–the puzzling decision to replace Show with Pedro Dos. And then when Fel. went to 3-1 on Langerhans, I was all-too prepared for another meltdown.

  5. Micalpalyn September 19, 2008 at 11:04 am
    We won. we have 10 games left. both us AND the Brews must play the Cubs.

    1. Given april and May i am GLAD to say we are in the race for the playoffs fighting with 2 other teams for 2 slots. PLUS we have santana who essentially gets two more starts.

    2. I think the feliciano appearance is akin to putting heilman out there. but i also think parnal is NOT really in JM’s immediate plans so he is just riding pine. JM does not want to rush him or pressure him but given that Niese is now essential to the plan i think parnal is just as likely to yield results. I admire JM for his patience because I would be testing Parnall. I also admire his patience with Sho and Pedro lite… might not make us happy but he sure is showing some belief in that pen and by giving them one batter at a time it forces them to just focus on the guy AT the plate.

    3. Philth: OK they might win the NL east..but statistically looking at their battting stats i cant rule out that they flounder against some teams…. I think the Marlins could debunk them.

  6. joe September 19, 2008 at 11:20 am
    Mic, why was Parnell put on the roster if he wasn’t going to be used? Why wasn’t he traded for Jon Rauch or Huston Street? All we heard from Minaya was that Parnell was an untouchable, and that the Mets would fill their needs from within …. so now that there is a need, why isn’t it being filled?

    Where was the admiration for Willie Randolph’s “patience” with Phil Humber last year? This is the exact same situation … the Mets are desperate for an arm, they have a young one that might be able to help, but are holding off on using him until it’s too late — i.e., when it’s game 161, we’re a game out of the playoffs, and the kid gets thrown into a situation where he won’t know whether to crap or go blind.

    I admire JM’s ability to give the writers a bundle of quotes every day (a favor they’ll return by voting him Mgr. of the Year), and his ability to snow 98% of the Mets fan base into thinking he’s some kind of demigod. The rest of his “game” is self-destructive and will grow tired quickly when the winning doesn’t come as easily.

  7. Micalpalyn September 19, 2008 at 11:48 am

    i was not going to respond but then i looked at Metsblog and i saw something i thought that adds to blog.

    Bottom line we fans just want in. I remember 1998 when all the Mets had to do was beat bruce chen…in his first start and could not. then the opposite in 1999 when the Griffey led reds had the WC sewn up only to allow Orel hershiser and The Mets to sneak a tie on Sunday with an improbable win…Then we upset the vaulted D-backs.

    2. Refering to Metsblog: the link i posted. I think that the JM is doing fine. Probably not Keith Hernandez ‘fine’ or MOY fine. but the result yesterday in Chi helped loosen the Mets (and Phils). We just need that momentum and focus.

  8. Micalpalyn September 19, 2008 at 11:55 am
    Let me distract you:

    1. channel the image of mookie at the plate against calvin schiraldi…………

    2. Then look forward to 2009:

    Who is your pitching staff? yesterdays’s 5 inning show from Freddy Garcia has me again looking at motown. with niese, santana and Pel back there are 2 open slots. yes I think Maine will be out for the first minimum. so i think Freddy looks like a decent gamble. also MLB rumors has Dontrelle as untradeable…I am sure Omar will call….He has an untradeable 2B himself to offer.

  9. joe September 19, 2008 at 12:09 pm
    Mic, re: JM doing fine – in complete honesty, if Willie Randolph were the manager of the Mets today, would you be satisfied with the Mets’ position in second place, one game up in the wild card? To take it one step further, do you think anyone would be lauding Willie as an absolute genius and/or “magician” for turning the season around and winning “in spite of a bullpen that stinks” ? Would Randolph be getting credit for the resurrections of Delgado and Tatis?

    As for 2009, the pitching staff is looking scary. I had to laugh when Gary Cohen suggested that the Mets should pick up Joaquin Soria … he sounded like one of those Yankees fans who call into talk radio shows and say things like “da Yanks should trade melky to da Rays for dat kid Longoria — he looks pretty good”.

    I was all for signing Freddy Garcia to a two-year deal, sight unseen, BEFORE his July workout, so I’m with you on that one. As for D-Train, he could be next year’s Ollie Perez reclamation project. Should be an interesting winter watching the Mets rebuild the pitching staff.

  10. Micalpalyn September 19, 2008 at 12:24 pm
    You make a great arguement:

    1. my answer is Yes. I’d have been happy with Willie. But joe you and I despised Willie…last year. (planet willie)…Yes he was doing a good job this year ….in some aspects…TO ME it appears that Willie has credibility in that some of the failures have NOT gone away….but i offer to that JM has a way of making sure that bad losses dont become bad streaks.

    2. remember BV..He was laughable as a character but his knowledge of the game was above par…yet he could not stump the Bravos. JM (at present) has the media, has the players and a line share of fans…I for one like the consistency and calming effect he has had on the fans AND players AND media. what happens over the next 6 weeks……?

    3. I rarely watch games anymore…i feel like a jinx. BUT i did watch the earlier Willie managed fixture in which Pel got ABUSED like an ugly step child in Atlanta….not just by the team but the media who DOGGED him.
    Given the last set of results against ATL in which the Mets swept atlanta….thru 8 innings, the abuse they have taken against Atlanta (in Atlanta) this year , hopefully Pel is motivated to reverse that description, and previous results.

    PS…I’d like to see Parnall.

  11. isuzudude September 19, 2008 at 3:38 pm
    Hey, just for the record, his name is Parnell.
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