Mets Game 156: Loss to Cubs

Cubs 9 Mets 5

Jon Niese was spectacular through his first inning and two-thirds, showing exactly why he was an “untouchable” at the trade deadline. However, he started to falter soon after, and the bullpen couldn’t get into the game quickly enough to keep it close.

Niese allowed 6 earned runs and was removed after allowing a grand slam homer to opposing pitcher Jason Marquis in the fourth (I think Marquis pulled similar two-way feats playing in the Staten Island little league). Nelson Figueroa didn’t fare much better — I’m guessing he didn’t have enough time to properly warm up — and by the time the inning ended the Cubs were up 7-2 and the Mets lost their enthusiasm.

But, our boys from Flushing did garner a bit of energy in the bottom of the ninth, rallying against lights-out reliever Carlos Marmol. It was nice to see, but too little, too late.


Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and Ryan Church each had two hits apiece. Church and Delgado also walked twice each. However, for their combined eight times on base, only one run was scored, by Delgado on a wild pitch.

The Mets left a total of 11 runners on base.

Not sure why Ramon Castro didn’t start against Marquis, considering his .455 career average against him (Schneider was 1-for-17 against Marquis going into the game). I guess the Mets’ firewall blocks Jerry Manuel’s PC from sites like ESPN, which make stats like this readily available 24 hours a day. Who knows, maybe Castro would have driven in four or five runs.

Luis Castillo may keep Aaron Heilman alive … the Shea fans certainly would like to murder Castillo before they hang Heilman. Luis grounded into a DP, almost grounded into a second one, and made the last out during the Mets’ ninth-inning rally. Not sure why a pinch-hitter wasn’t brought in for Castillo in the ninth. I guess the desperation that causes all the relief pitching changes doesn’t necessarily apply to the offense.

Kind of funny to see Joe Smith warming up in the bullpen with two outs in the ninth, down by five. Surprised Scott Schoeneweis wasn’t tossing next to him.

If there was a silver lining in this game, it was the fact that the Mets got to Marmol, and forced an appearance by Kerry Wood. Chances are we won’t see either of those relievers on Tuesday.

Tottenville alum Jason Marquis wasn’t the only local boy who done good in this game — former Bergen Catholic standout Mark DeRosa went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored. DeRosa would have had a fourth hit if not for a Gold Glove caliber catch by Carlos Beltran.

Next Game

The Mets and Cubs do it again at 7:10 pm on Tuesday. Ace Johan Santana takes the mound for the Mets against Sean Marshall. Originally, Rich Harden was supposed to make this start but Cubs manager Lou Piniella moved things around. On the bright side, it appears to be a “gimme” for the Mets. On the other hand, Harden will now start against Pedro Martinez in the series finale. Ouch.

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 22, 2008 at 11:43 pm
    Aren’t games like this the reason a pen is supposed to have a long man? And not use 7 pitchers for the second night in a row? Whatever, Mets, whatever.
  2. joe September 23, 2008 at 12:07 am
    No, Murph. The Mets must play every game like it’s the seventh of the World Series, like there is no tomorrow. They cannot afford to admit defeat early in a game, they must show the world and themselves how desperate and insecure they feel. This is all part of the strategy to “face” last year’s collapse.

    Seriously, I’m with you. I don’t understand the point of blowing through all these arms in a game that was clearly lost by the fifth inning. Save ’em up and make sure you have someone fresh for tomorrow. I guess we have Stokes to save Johan’s game tomorrow. Yee ha.

    Remarkably, the Phillies were able to win a game and rest their closer.

  3. murph September 23, 2008 at 1:21 am
    They probably wasted Sanchez’ & Heilman’s one good performance of the week in this game.
  4. Walnutz15 September 23, 2008 at 7:37 am
    Fitting that the Purple-Pride of Tottenville would be at the heart of this year’s Met-debacle.

    The Mets needed to add some local flavor to spice things up….and nobody relishes it more than Marquis — who always got up for the big games at Shea or Yankee Stadium during H.S.

    He was probably snickering as he rounded the bases, as he absolutely hates the Mets.

    Damn Yankee fans…..

    Our guys stink, by the way. Never seen a team repeatedly shrink before a home crowd…..yeah, yeah — Delgado and Co. were awesome during the last homestand, blasting homers left and right.

    But it’s pretty clear that a majority of them are gonna need some SHEA-agra.

  5. isuzudude September 23, 2008 at 10:00 am
    Castillo is the biggest bum in all of baseball. ‘Nuff said.