Mets Game 3: Loss to Reds

Reds 8 Mets 6

You can’t win ’em all …

Not a good day for Oliver Perez, who was charged with 8 runs in less than five innings of work — though he wasn’t helped by Darren O’Day, who allowed two inherited runners to score.

Ollie cruised through the first two innings, then allowed four runs in the third and fell apart in the fifth. Other than O’Day, the bullpen did its job in holding the Reds scoreless, and the offense tried to chip away, but fell short.

If nothing else, it was interesting to see that the Mets would in fact play all nine innings when behind. There was some speculation that they would concede the contest after the seventh, since JJ Putz and K-Rod were acquired with the intention of shortening the game by two innings.

Sure, you don’t like to see the Mets lose, but look at it this way — they took two out of three, and won their first series.

Mets Game Notes

Prior to Opening Day, the Reds were my sleeper pick for the Cinderella team of 2009. If these first three games are any indication, I’m WAY off. Their pitching is thinner than it appears on paper, and their young hitters may still be a year away. Mostly, though, they look sloppy in the field, reminiscent of the Marlins of the past few seasons. If they don’t find another quality starting pitcher and tighten up the defense, they’re headed for another dismal season.

Before the game, Jerry Manuel told reporters that “if you can get six good innings out of Ollie, that’ll be great”. No kidding. That’s pretty much the hope for every starting pitcher, isn’t it? For example, wouldn’t it have been “great” if Johan Santana could have given the Mets six good innings on Opening Day? I can’t believe they cut away from the game action to show us that pearl of wisdom.

Ryan Church is starting out similarly to last April, mashing line drives to all fields.

I seem to remember the Mets having a hard time winning the final game of a series when it was a weekday, day game. I can’t find the numbers anywhere to support that assumption, but it sure felt that way.

Keith Hernandez likes the new SNY graphics. I don’t, since they remove about one-fifth of my TV screen real estate. Andrew Vazzano of TheRopolitans agrees.

Keith and I do agree on one thing though — Joey Votto is the real deal. I’m sticking by my outrageous MVP prediction.

A number of missed hit-and-runs from both sides in this series, yet nearly all of them resulted in a stolen base.

Gary Sheffield made his Mets debut in this game, appearing as a pinch-hitter to lead off the ninth (he struck out looking). Strange move, since high-OBP man Luis Castillo was available on the bench. Maybe Jerry Manuel promised Castillo a full day off — I’m sure he was absolutely exhausted after playing two full games over the previous three days.

Ramon Castro remains a sloppy catcher, who drives me crazy with his annoying habit of jerking (I’m sure he calls it “framing”) every pitch. I spotted at least five occasions where Castro lost a legit strike because he jerked his glove toward the middle of the plate instead of catching the ball when it was a strike (a.k.a., “beating the ball to the spot”). One of those pitches came in the fifth and would’ve been strike three to Votto, and on the next pitch Votto hit an RBI single. Think about that. Votto’s single would’ve been an out, which means there would not have been a man on third so Brandon Phillips’ fly ball would not have been a sac fly driving in a run, and Ryan Hanigan’s fly ball would’ve been out number three, and Paul Janish would not have come to bat and singled in two. Do the math, and you tell me whether I’m nitpicking.

No, Paul Janish is not related to me. People in my family can hit, and have much larger feet. And my name is not pronounced “Yahn-ish” — it’s “Jan-ish”.

Next Mets Game

The Mets travel to Miami to play the first-place Marlins in a three-game set, beginning with a Friday night game at 7:10 PM. John Maine is scheduled to face Anibal Sanchez.

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. Walnutz15 April 9, 2009 at 1:52 pm
    I took the first few innings in at the local Public House, Janish….and even though I already more or less “knew” there was no immediate relation; I almost figured you’d address it today. lol

    4 1/3 innings 5 hits 5 walks 8 runs from Ollie-Boy today……not exactly what you want to see from your $12MM man. He already pissed me off on Saturday, giving the Sawx a 6-spot in the 1st, before we could even blink.

    Now it’s becoming more and more evident that we wouldn’t have been “wrong” in turning the page on him over the winter for someone more consistent. I always wondered how he’d respond to being awarded a big pay-day, and so far in the early goings…..condition-wise, stuff-wise, and result-wise: he’s looking like garbage.

    The days he dominates are effectively canceled out by days like today — and I’m definitely not ready for another 3 years of it. Time to get your act together, Oliver. It’ll be a long season at Citi for you, if not.

    Consistent confidence, and the ability to relax — 2 things Ollie’s always been without…..

    Without both, most players won’t succeed in their ultimate goal. I still see him as the poster-child for Met inconsistency through the years — and this part of the cast could’ve been altered over the winter.

    Sustained winning streaks are good things……Perez being dominant for a few innings, then going nuclear at a moment’s notice?

    Not so good.

    Time to step up and live up to that contract, kid.

  2. wohjr April 9, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Agreed on Ollie. Not good at all, there is definitely a whiff of post-contract cruise control surrounding him. He had better be careful, lest the fans turn on him. Two positives, in my mind, to take away from today.

    1) The chip away. Obviously it didn’t lead to a win, but going from 8-4 to 8-6 is exactly the kind of thing the Mets didn’t do last year.

    2) I thought Stokes looked pretty good

  3. isuzudude April 10, 2009 at 8:15 am
    I thought Ollie started out brilliantly on Thursday, as he was hitting his spots and following through with his left leg on his delivery. Then it all fell apart. I want to say I’m confused by the lack of consistency, but this has been vintage Ollie since he came to the Mets in 2006. He’ll be cruising along without a hitch, and then without warning he starts walking the ballpark and can’t get out of a jam. I won’t claim to know what’s wrong with him, because I’m no expert and honestly I have no idea. But what I will say, in conjunction with Walnutz’ comments, is that the Mets are on the hook big-time for essentially choosing to re-up with Ollie than legitimately pursue Derek Lowe this winter. I know they’re only 1 start deep into the season, but if what we’ve seen so far is any indication of what the next 3 years are going to be like, the Mets are in deep do-do. Maybe they’ll tell us they couldn’t afford the extra $24-mil it took to lure Lowe to Atlanta, but I think that’s garbage. They had/have the dough, but they were too cheap to use it and too worried about getting bums like Alex Cora and Tim Redding signed to pay any attention to their #2 starting pitching slot. I am not letting this blunder go unpunished.

    I’m also not going to jump on O’Day for allowing 2 inherited runners to score. Even with hitting Encarnacion with a pitch, he still could have gotten out of the inning unscathed. I prefer to tip my hat to Janish for putting wood on a good pitch down and away and sneaking it through the infield for a 2-run single. O’Day made his best pitch, but the hitter was up to the task. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. Instead, how about getting on the offense for loading the bases in the 1st and not scoring? They put a run or two on the board there and it’s a totally different ballgame.

    I do agree though that taking 2 out of 3 is sufficient. Especially considering opening day when the offense managed just 2 runs but the Mets came away with a win anyway. So if yesterday’s game, with a 6-run output, was a disappointment, then Tuesday’s 2-1 win was a pleasant surprise. It’s justification for me, anyway.

  4. Walnutz15 April 10, 2009 at 8:24 am
    What a brown-nose….tipping your cap to Janish. You don’t need to do that anymore, ‘Dude….c’mon.

    I’m with you, though…..except from the “2 out of 3 ain’t bad” standpoint. Games like yesterday, where they come out swingin’ and getting the job done early — are unacceptable to me.

    Perez needs to figure out how to become a pitcher who pitches with a lead. Unfortunately, he’s the baseball equivalent of bi-polar — and realistically, may even suffer from ADHD. I’m convinced.

  5. Steve April 10, 2009 at 8:43 am
    It’s hard to get on O’day, remember that he came up through the angel’s organization with adenhart. His last two season’s he’s spent good amounts of the season as a teammate. Frankly I’m surprised he pitched as well as he did. Before the game I assumed there was little chance we’d see O’day or K-rod, and was shocked that O’day was the first reliever in.
  6. Mic April 10, 2009 at 10:58 am
    No one is acknowlwdging or discediting Joe’s Ramon theory…..considering the breaking pitches seem to have been difficuly in Cincy….(cold?), Ollie still trying to get momentum (the Mexico effect still lingering), and the fact Ollie may have been tightening up….I am not that unhappy. In the last two yrs we have seen Ollie leave games after 1 and two outs….This game he got in 100 pitches. I think he could be Ok next turn out.
  7. joe April 10, 2009 at 11:26 am
    I completely forgot about O’Day being a former teammate of Adenhart (shame on me). I bet he asked Jerry Manuel to get into the game, just to get his mind off things. Certainly Manuel must’ve discussed it with him.

    Mic, thanks for bringing up the Ramon Castro strike three issue. It is such a small detail that ALWAYS gets overlooked, because most people are ignorant about good catching mechanics — and that includes MLB players and coaches. But losing a strike is really not unlike making an error in the field. And it’s the little things that separate 85-win teams from 95-win teams. (See the Braves, 1991-2005)

    Still, it is Ollie’s fault that he didn’t recover from that third strike mis-call, just like it would’ve been his fault if someone had dropped a ball instead. But some people would consider letting Ollie off the hook if an error had been charged during the big inning.

    BTW, I noticed that the Reds catcher “got” at least a few strike calls by catching and “sticking” pitches (meaning, simply holding the glove stationery rather than trying the “frame” the pitch). One in fact was a strikeout on a low pitch to Jose Reyes.

  8. Steve April 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm
    You’re dead on with the reds catcher Joe, I was very impressed with his arm and his recieving yesterday.