Mets Game 5: Win Over Marlins

Mets 8 Marlins 4

Ricky Nolasco’s struggles against the Mets continued, as he allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 5 innings en route to his sixth career loss (against two victories) to the orange and blue.

The Mets’ offense finally figured out how to push all those runners around the bases, exploding for 8 runs on 15 hits, including a homerun by Jose Reyes and doubles by Reyes, the two Carloses, and Ryan Church (2).

Livan Hernandez lulled the Marlins hitters to sleep (who knew that Fish slept?), using a variety of lollipop curves, slow changeups, and fading fastballs. By the time the Fish woke up, Livan had muddled through 6 2/3 uneventful innings, the first Mets starter to see the seventh inning. A variety of Mets relievers turned the final seven outs into a circus, but Francisco Rodriguez arrived with his cape in the ninth to end the madness.

Game Notes

As expected, Marlon Anderson was DFA’d before the game to make room for Livan Hernandez. Anderson is a lock to pass through waivers, as no one is going to claim a pinch-hitter with a 7-figure contract. However, there’s an outside shot someone might be interested in him as a free-agent, if he chooses that route. I personally will miss Marlon, as I love the way he plays and approaches the game, but unfortunately there simply isn’t room on an NL roster for him. If he was a little better with the glove, particularly in the infield, he’d be more valuable, but at this point in his career, he’d need to be an outstanding pinch-hitter (like he was in 2007), and even then, I’m not sure there’s room. Good luck Marlon!

So Jerry Manuel had a chat with Luis Castillo before the game and told him he needed to be more aggressive at the plate. Castillo responded with four hits, so Manuel is a genius motivator. My only question is, what did Manuel say differently in this most recent chat, that he didn’t say in the previous 15 chats on the same subject going back to July of last year? Better explanation: Luis reads MetsToday, and was determined to prove that an old dog COULD learn new tricks!

By the way, where did Manuel get the idea that Castillo needed to be more aggressive? Was it all the pitches down the middle he’s been taking with runners in scoring position? Huh, I hardly noticed (*sarcasm*). Manuel = Master of the Obvious.

Speaking of hitting with runners in scoring position, the Mets still weren’t exactly awesome in that area, despite the eight runs scored. They left 10 runners on base, seven of which were in scoring position. Further, of their 8 runs, half scored via homeruns and doubles with a runner on first, and two more scored on infield groundouts. All told, they also failed to hit safely 9 times with runners in scoring position during the course of the game — for those with calculators, that comes to 2 hits in 11 chances, or a .181 average. Nitpicking, maybe. We certainly must be happy to see the hitters finally drive in a few of those ducks on the pond.

Livan Hernandez is not just a pitcher, he’s a ballplayer, meaning he plays, and takes pride in, every aspect of the game — not unlike that of Johan Santana and Tom Glavine. He showed it in this game with solid defense and outstanding bunting fundamentals. Every little bit helps, and when you can execute the little things, you can win in double digits despite an ERA over six.

The latest Danny Murphy comparison is Pete Rose, per Keith Hernandez. Rose, Mattingly, Boggs … those are some big names to live up to (I’m sticking by my Mike Hargrove comparison). Can we just let the kid be himself, please? He’s being set up for major disappointment … does no one remember Gregg Jefferies?

Next Mets Game

The series finale between the Mets and Marlins takes place at 1:10 PM on Easter Sunday, with Johan Santana going to the hill against Josh Johnson.

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. upson April 12, 2009 at 1:39 am
    well, I’m not quite sure about the old dog learning new tricks. Castillo had five succesful plate appearances: Three came with nobody on (including leading off 3rd and 5th inning) and one was a solid sacrifice bunt – with Castillo reaching on error. Still looks like #1-#2 batter to me.

    I’m starting to be worried about the bullpen though. 4 pitchers used to get last 7 outs is ridiculous – was it really necessary? In addition, Feliciano was used 4th straight day. If this madness continues, the Mets will need a second lefty soon.

  2. isuzudude April 12, 2009 at 7:01 am
    I’m beginning to think that a high LOB total and a theatrical bullpen is something we’re just going to have to get used to and win in spite of this year…much like seasons past. Obviously, if the team is comprised of a bunch of high OBP guys, you’re naturally going to leave a lot of runners on base. It may just be a necessary evil. It’s just painful to see this team continuously get RISP with less than 2 outs, or load the bases in consecutive innings, and then fail to score. That stuff seems to always come back a haunt you.

    Maybe I’m starting to see why a 12+ win prediction for Livan isn’t so outlandish. He throws strikes, plays good defense, handles the bat well, and EATS INNINGS – all things that winning pitchers do. And think about this: our #5 starter just went head-to-head with a interdivisional team’s #1 and our guy came out shining. Makes you wonder, “Tim Redding who?”

    To follow up on upson’s comments: I wasn’t very pleased with Jerry’s bullpen management last night, for the first time this season. Firstly, I thought he could have left Livan in to face Bonifacio with 2 outs in the 7th, but if Jerry heard word of Livan tiring, then I can accept the move. But he left Stokes in to face 1 batter, who singled on a 1-2 count, and then got lifted for Feliciano, who had to face the pinch-hitting righty Paulino instead of the lefty Baker. My beef is that we hear Jerry say all the time he wants to find a “crossover pitcher,” a guy who can retire both lefties and righties. But how are we supposed to find this guy if Jerry’s constantly relieving pitchers because of matchups? With a decent lead, why not leave Stokes in there and find out if he can be that guy? Because by bringing in Feliciano to face Baker (and ultimately face Paulino), it meant another change was on the way if Paulino got on base because righties Ramirez, Cantu, and Uggla were up next. And with an already overused bullpen, Jerry should have been thinking about conserving his bullpen bullets as much as possible in that spot.

    I’m wondering if the Mets have already soured on O’Day, and thus extended him into a 2nd inning yesterday (after also appearing in a 3rd straight game) with the knowledge of dropping him from the roster and going with someone new (Robertson, Muniz, Switzer, Figgy?) The down side of that is O’Day will have to be offered back to the pitching-starved Angels and will likely be lost, but it’s possible the Mets think they already have enough ROOGYs on the roster and are going to keep searching elsewhere for their crossover candidate.

  3. joe April 12, 2009 at 11:47 am
    Upson, no worries, as Jerry Manuel has publicly stated that he is concerned about overtaxing the bullpen. And once he says something, that’s it, there’s no need to worry anymore. Kind of like how he said last year that his main position players — Wright, Reyes, Delgado, and Beltran — would all receive “regular rest” …. and voila! just like that, they received rest (don’t pay attention to the fact that those four averaged 160 games played last year).

    ‘dude, Livan Hernandez was on 99 pitches, and you know that 100 is the magic number that no Mets pitcher can ever go beyond (taken from Willie and The Jacket’s playbook, remember?).

    And bullpen arms are not as important as starting pitching arms. So what if the middle relievers are worn out by June? We have those fantastic arms that you mention waiting in AAA.

    Once again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    BTW I heard something about O’Day pitching constantly as a means of dealing with the death of Nick Adenhart.

  4. upson April 12, 2009 at 12:38 pm
    Does “the more things change, the more they stay the same” extends to former Mets as well? Both Heilman and Ayala appeared in 4 games already.

    On a positive node, Figgy threw 7 scoreless inning yesterday for the Bisons. Mets’ longman is ready. (Of course, Redding will be given first crack at the job once he returns from the DL.)