Mets Game 7: Loss to Padres

Padres 6 Mets 5

This one should have been a slam-dunk.

The Mets were facing a Padres team of no-names, including a journeyman 32-year-old rookie pitcher last seen in the lowly Mexican League. It seemed to be a setup, a gift-wrapped easy win to top off their first ever regular season game in Citi Field. But it was not to be.

That journeyman Mexican, Walter Silva, stifled the Mets hitters for four and two-thirds, and the San Diego bullpen held the Flushing Nine scoreless over the remainder of the game to spoil the celebration.

Mike Pelfrey struggled with his footing, his control, and his ability to keep the ball inside the vast confines of Citi Field, and as a result gave the Padres an early four-run lead that they never relinquished.

Pelfrey’s third pitch of the game was drilled over the short right field porch by Jody Gerut, and San Diego scored another three in the second inning immediately after Pelfrey tumbled to the ground in the midst of his delivery (was that foreshadowing?). Adrian Gonzalez blasted the second homerun in Citi Field history to make the score 5-1, but the Mets fought back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, capped off by a David Wright 3-run homer.

However, the Padres scratched out a run in the sixth, when Pedro Feliciano balked home Luis Rodriguez with two outs. Rodriguez had reached third on a fly ball to right field that was misjudged by Ryan Church and called an error. (Personally, I thought that the official scorer was being tough on Church with that error, but whatever.) Not that it matters, but the hitter at the time of the balk, David Eckstein, eventually ripped a clean single to left field, so the run might have scored anyway.

In an evil twist of irony, former Met Duaner Sanchez pitched a perfect eighth to set up the save for another former Met, Heath Bell.

Game Notes

Bell received a loud, negative response to his pregame introduction. Sanchez received a mixed, but mostly negative response. Uncle Cliffy Floyd was honored with cheers.

When Brian Stokes came in to relieve for Mike Pelfrey in the sixth, I thought, ah, he must be the long man — he should be able to handle two innings here. Two batters, nine pitches, and one run later, he was out of the game.

Frankie Rodriguez (aka “K-Rod”) pitched the top of the ninth. I guess because the Mets have tomorrow off, and his last appearance came on Saturday.

The Mets used six pitchers in the game.

It looked like David Wright might have missed first base on his three-run homer. Can you imagine if he did, and if the first base ump caught it and called him out? That would have been a mighty ugly “first” in Citi Field — and the ump likely would not have made it out of the stadium alive.

Jody Gerut was the MVP of the game, with a homerun, a double, a walk, two runs scored, and a brilliant catch in center field to rob Carlos Beltran of an extra-base hit.

While Pelfrey’s bizarre fall during his delivery was strange enough, but even stranger was the appearance of a cat that came out of nowhere and sprinted down the third base line in the middle of the game. How the heck can a feline afford a field-level seat at Citi Field?

Next Mets Game

The Mets take a day off tomorrow to think about this loss and collect their thoughts, then return to Flushing on Wednesday against the Padres again. Oliver Perez faces his original team at 7:10 PM, while former Giant Kevin Correia takes the hill for San Diego.

Get your taxes in, folks.

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 14, 2009 at 7:17 am
    You’ve more or less got it all covered, Joe.

    Here was my list of low-lights from last night’s Stinker:

    – A homerun from the 1st batter, on Pelfrey’s 3rd pitch of the ballgame……..shades of the Saturday exhibition game vs. the Sox; where Perez deemed it fit to put them in a 6-run hole before most fans even got to their seats.

    – A 32-year old, sub-.500 Mexican League cast-off on the mound for the Padres…..which they waited almost 5 full innings to do real “damage” on.

    – Pelfrey falling down….Reyes over-sliding 2nd base. Both plays cost them dearly.

    – Another dropped fly-ball in the outfield – this time by Church. Not that anyone can really see any play in the corner or gaps if you’re in certain parts of the park. That wasn’t even seen at the ballpark, and was reviewed on TV after I got home.

    – A balked-in go-ahead run by Feliciano…..with 2 strikes and 2 outs on the hitter, to boot (if I’m not mistaken).

    – Murphy’s Law: in that both Duaner Sanchez AND Heath Bell come in to throw scoreless 1-2-3 innings.

    – Ollie Perez definitely received a LOUDLY negative “ovation” during pre-game ceremonies……he’d better come out strong on Wednesday or it will get even uglier for him.

    All in all, just what you’d want from a Citi Field opener, eh?

    This is why you have to LOVE this franchise. If you didn’t know it by now, the Mets could find a way to mess-up a wet-dream.

    There was absolutely no life or atmosphere to the new digs last night — and you can chalk that up to the Keystone Cops out on the playing field. It had the feel of every big game at Shea; where the Mets let you down — time and time again.

    The only good thing about last night’s game was Wright’s HR — and even that was a tease….showing you how good things could be, provided we didn’t have a bunch of “captain limpwrists” on the field.

    This team had better get their heads out of their arses.

    P.S. — What’s with Piazza rushing his way out of there, immediately after the pre-game ceremony? Someone trying to dodge steroid questions?…….hmm……….he seemed to stay at Shea last year (whether for pictures, or in the broadcast booth) like it was his job. Didn’t see ANY of that last night.

    Hiding something Mikey?

  2. isuzudude April 14, 2009 at 7:30 am
    Is there a more malicious group of people other then the majority of Met fans? I mean, really, booing Duaner Sanchez? For what purpose? Looking at the numbers, he was actually one of the few bright spots from last year’s bullpen, and going back to before his injury he might have been the best setup man in the NL. He worked his fanny off to come back as strong as possible following two major surgeries, then gets cut in a salary dump, and gets booed. If fans are hot at Duaner because he’s guilty by association to the 2008 collapse, then they should be booing Wright, Reyes, Johan, and Jerry every time their names are announced too. Sometimes I’m really ashamed to have to share this baseball team with these ignorant numbskulls.

    Anyone else think the Seaver/Piazza march from the bullpen was a tad gaudy? And what’s with Chicago playing in the background? Gary Cohen was getting choked up, so maybe you have to be there to truly appreciate it. But I felt uncomfortable watching that the entire time.

    Say what you will about a new attitude and team unity…but this team is still finding ways to lose. A day after a dropped flyball in LF spells defeat, it’s a dropped flyball in RF and a balk that spells defeat yesterday. Also, what’s with all the foul popups? It seemed like the Mets were recording 2 every inning. Terrible, especially when we’ve heard all this about Citi not having a lot of foul territory. Yep, so far they’re playing like a non-playoff, play-down-to-your opponent, come-one-hit-short, not-meet-expectations, let-down-the-fans type of team. Right on schedule.

  3. Walnutz15 April 14, 2009 at 7:40 am
    I agree almost-completely, ‘Dude…..however, I’ll never share the same sentiment, regarding Duaner Sanchez. While I’m not the type to go buck-wild, booing a player soundly — I do see him as the symbol of Met futility over the past few seasons.

    Come so close; then have the season completely derailed because of stupidity, which the team allowed. Then his slower-than-slow rehab process — where he basically forced himself to come back last year….I refuse to believe he put forth a 100% effort. But that’s just my own personal opinion, keeping his history of less than full-commitment to his past-teams like the Pirates and Dodgers tucked away in my back pocket.

    I think you’ll find that the Mets will be amongst the very select few teams that had trouble hitting Mr. Sanchez this year. And if not? More power to him in proving me wrong. He was flat last night, and the Mets didn’t think an extra second about capitalizing on it. I’m still gritting my teeth on the 3-1 pitch he offered up to Beltran — I’m sure he had dreams about it last night, and how lucky he was that Beltran completely missed it.

    As far as the ceremony was concerned, I will never understand the Met-commitment to cheesiness. The music at Shea was atrocious, and Citi’s off to the same start. From “Hands Up!” to “Sweet Caroline” — They just don’t get it.

    I did love your last-sentence description, though. It sums them up perfectly so far.

  4. gary s April 14, 2009 at 9:39 am
    it’s nice we have a new stadium.unfortunately, so far it looks like we need a new team i missing something or is there no one on this team with some fire in the belly??so far it’s the same exact annoying, hard to watch, we need 6 pitchers to finish the game mediocre team we had last year.hopefully things will improve..
  5. joe April 14, 2009 at 10:37 am
    gary – maybe the players got all hyped up during the opening ceremonies and then came crashing down after the game started. Certainly there’s no reason to believe that the same personnel from last year would act and execute the same way …. people change, don’t they?
  6. Walnutz15 April 14, 2009 at 11:05 am
    By the way — completely unrelated to this year’s Mets:

    I’ve been watching Lastings Milledge play so far in the early goings on the MLB Package….and he’s been worse than awful, in every aspect (hitting, baserunning, “fielding”). Nice to know that there was plenty of truth to what was being said about him.

    Plenty of young players have come through our locker room and have been accepted just fine…..


    The Nats are tired of Lastings Milledge, their 24-year-old center fielder, acting like a 10-year veteran who has earned a central position in their locker room when, in fact, he has accomplished little. When he doesn’t show up until 30 minutes before team stretching exercises or is late to a team meeting the day before Opening Day, it sends a bad message that honors are given before they are earned in the Nats’ world. So don’t be surprised if, fairly soon, the Nats’ clogged outfield problem is solved, at least temporarily, in an unexpected way: by sending Milledge back to the minor leagues. He’s a gifted athlete but, both in center field and as a leadoff hitter, he is still an unpolished and undisciplined player. The Nats’ front office still refers to the zig-zag routes he runs to fly balls, like two more adventures yesterday, as “pass patterns” because he breaks in so many different directions. As a leadoff man, he seems to have no sense of his get-on-base role. If the Nats take this course, they can put Elijah Dukes, whom one executive refers to as “a warrior,” in center field.

    — Washington Post

  7. sincekindergarten April 14, 2009 at 6:00 pm
    Walnutz, Milledge is on a plane to ‘Cuse. Dukes is the new CF. If they beat the Phillthies because of this, so much the better.

    Also, it’s a looooong season. Did anyone realize that the revamped Padres bullpen is the best in the NL right now? I had no idea until one of the SNY guys (Gary Cohen, maybe?) said something.

    Seven games and people are ready for ST of 2010, it seems.

  8. Walnutz15 April 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm
    Nobody’s writing off the 2009 season…’d just be nice to see them “flip the switch on” — especially in front of a packed home building for the 1st time.

    Obviously, there are tremendous expectations at that venture….but at the same time, FAR too many mental mistakes, along with the standard “wilt with RISP” we’ve seen for a handful of seasons now — and it becomes more than frustrating to watch with an open-mind.

    I did see that Milledge got demoted. Congrats to him…..maybe he’ll have some new material on the hip-hop scene, this “struggle” should become one of his new “joints”.

    Instead of ‘Bend Ya Knees” — maybe we’ll see “Know Ya Place” on iTunes shortly.

  9. isuzudude April 14, 2009 at 8:39 pm
    I’ll take the bait. I have already written off the 2009 season. I said it prior to the start of ST and I’m still saying it now: the Mets are no better than a 3rd place team in the NL East and won’t win more than 85 games. Nothing they have done over the first 7 games has convinced me otherwise.
  10. mic April 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm
    Cant write the season off. ……..In that respect is good to be a gnat. But the line up can and must change. Already the dogs are out …pun intended …….one aricle (newsday) harkened to the non-signing of O-dog. Another (blog) is already on a starting pitcher watch.

    Peter Gammons just got though talking about Pel and the pitching on baseball tonight.