Mets Game 8: Win Over Padres

Mets 7 Padres 2

Mets pitcher Oliver Perez pitching against the Padres

Dr. Perez showed up for this game instead of Mr. Hyde, and delivered six strong innings to deliver a much-needed victory for the New York Mets.

Though it’s early, it was nonetheless a must-win for the Mets and a must-win for Oliver Perez. A loss would have caused a devastating deluge of criticism, questions, and negativity from both fans and the media.

Fortunately, Ollie came up big, allowing only one run on three hits and two walks in six strong innings, temporarily winning back the hearts of the Flushing faithful and the confidence of the Mets coaching staff.

Offensively, the team continued to struggle to score runs, but scored enough to win on this night, and that’s all that matters.

Gary Sheffield, who was hitless with RISP in the game, grounded into a double play in the fourth to push home the go-ahead run. The tying run had scored moments before on an RBI single by Carlos Beltran.

That was the extent of the offense until the bottom of the seventh, when the Padres imploded and allowed four runs on three walks, two wild pitches, and an error. The only base hit of the inning was a bunt by Luis Castillo, which actually should have been a sacrifice bunt was botched by the pitcher.

Mets Game Notes

For a fleeting moment, I thought Mo Vaughn had come out of retirement, seeing all those #42s on the field. I’m a huge fan of honoring Jackie Robinson, though I hope MLB comes up with something more creative and fitting in the future. Speaking of, does MLB contribute anything to the Jackie Robinson Foundation for all the #42 jerseys it sells for each team? I hope so.

I haven’t checked the stats, but my eyes tell me that Carlos Beltran has been the hottest Mets hitter with runners in scoring position. Keep it up, ‘los.

Danny Murphy’s struggles in left field continue. He allowed Scott Hairston to tag up and take second base on a routine fly ball in the first inning, and then gave Hairston third base on a throwing error after catching a fly off the bat of Brian Giles. However, Ollie picked him up by striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning. Later in the game, Murphy made a terrible throw to Jose Reyes instead of cutoff man David Wright, allowing the Padres to score their first run. It’s debatable as to whether Wright would have cut down the runner, but nonetheless it was a mistake that can’t happen on a championship club. Danny did make up for his mistakes with a base hit, an RBI sac fly, and a run scored. Luckily, the Citi Field fans held their tongues and remain supportive of the young ballplayer. It’s hard to get down on a kid who works as hard as he does and is obviously out of position.

Gary Sheffield’s debut in right field was inconsequential. No news is good news.

Shame on Adrian Gonzalez, who was hanging around picking his nose while Jose Reyes was flying around third base on a wild pitch and throwing error by catcher Nick Hundley in that ugly seventh. Hundley had chased down the errant ball and threw wide to the pitcher covering home plate as Castillo ran in — right there, Gonzalez, who had nothing else to do, should have charged in to back up the play. By the time he picked up Hundley’s wide throw, Reyes was sliding in.

Not sure why, but Jeremy Reed sort of vaguely reminds me of Chase Utley. I wish he hit like him.

David Wright is now 6-for-8 with 2 HRs in his career against Padres starter Kevin Correia. Wright is 2-for-12 against Jake Peavy.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match will occur at 7:10 PM on Thursday night, with John Maine facing Jake Peavy. John Fitzgerald will be filling in this weekend as I’m fleeing the country and will have limited internet access until next Tuesday (no, nothing to do with taxes, the mob, nor a revolution). Please note, John can get surly and belligerent if necessary (and thus, is the ideal replacement!).

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. nwaldrop April 15, 2009 at 9:59 pm
    Is anyone concerned about 2nd base? Now that we won one game, everything’s good? I need to see Tatis at 2nd and Castillo as a pinch hitter. If Church and Gary as interchangable pinch hitters I can’t see that as a bad thing. Is Castillo a better hitter than Tatis? Correct me if I am wrong.
  2. joe April 15, 2009 at 10:31 pm
    I think Castillo is a much better fielder, especially now that his knees appear healthy and he’s kind of back to to his old self.

    I do see your point in trying to get another bat into the lineup … the only thing is, is Tatis the same guy as July of last year, or the high-strikeout .265 hitter he’s been his entire career? If he’s the latter, then that’s not enough to justify the drop in defense. Tough call.

    Orlando Hudson at 1 year / $4M would have been an easier call to make.

  3. Walnutz15 April 16, 2009 at 6:27 am
    Good to see that Ollie was able to work out of a couple key situations last night — another loss in front of a home crowd would’ve been very bad news for him.

    I’m seeing the same thing as you, Joe…without the numbers to back me. Beltran has come up with a few run-scoring hits in the early going, and anytime you can refer to coming through multiple times with RISP: it’s a pretty significant development within this lineup.

    For the most part, they’re still not hitting with men on base…..and the game was more or less gift-wrapped in the late-innings by a Bush League Padre squad.

    One thing that was very nice to see….Delgado whipping an absolute pea-rod to RF. He smoked that ball.

    Murphy was a disaster out in LF last night, but as stated — this is what the Mets are going to have to live with, provided they really want to have him in the lineup on a nightly basis. You can almost feel it becoming a mind-game for him out there; and hopefully, he’s staying focused….especially since the crowd can become distracting at times.

    That throw he made “to third” was air-mailed in the direction of home plate — and had Wright scrambling to try and keep it in front of him…….skipping off the to pitcher’s mound.

    I wonder if he thought there was a runner headed home………

    And the relay throw to Reyes was absolutely rushed. No need to have used a cut-off there, a strong throw would’ve nailed the runner at the plate on it’s own.

    We’ll see what happens out there.

    Let’s take the series tonight vs. Peavy. Time to start hitting with some consistency.

  4. Walnutz15 April 16, 2009 at 7:30 am
    “It’s hard to get down on a kid who works as hard as he does and is obviously out of position.”

    ^ Exactamundo.

  5. isuzudude April 16, 2009 at 9:14 am
    Well, if the bugaboo of this team is hitting with RISP, then they need to take advantage of all the wild pitches, passed balls, and throwing errors the opposition with give them. It seems like the Mets have no problem getting halfway up the hill by putting runners on base (twice got the bases loaded with no one out last night), but they can’t go the other half and drive them in with consistency. This really has the makings of a re-occuring theme all season long.

    Murphy’s defense in LF really is brutal. Dropping flyballs, missing cut-off men, weak throws to the infield, booting grounders, lacidasical approaches…makes you ponder where his future is with this team. FMart is the heir apparent to LF, and I doubt the Mets have plans of moving Murph to the higher-demanding jobs in CF or RF. He’s not playing 3B or SS with Wright and Reyes looking like Met-lifers, and he’s not donning the tools of ignorance. So that leaves 2B and 1B, although Reese Havens and Wil Flores may be pushing for 2B sooner than later. I still say Murph is future trade bait, as I doubt his offense will maintain and think his defense will always be lacking no matter where you try and hide him.

    I feel bad for Tatis. He’s the only position player not to play the field yet this year, yet I’d say he’s our best bench player hands down. Something don’t seem right with that.

    Not sure why Putz was brought in to pitch the 8th last night. Did we really need to use our setup man in a 6-1 game? Seems to me like he’s going to be used much in the same way Aaron Heilman was burnt out, and that’s marching him to the mound no matter what the score just because Putz is the best “middle reliever” the Mets have. That also means folks like Darren O’Day and Brian Stokes will be lucky to appear in a game once per week, and be rendered ineffective due to lack of activity. Yet, Jerry Manuel is a genious with managing the bullpen, unlike his predecessor. Yeah, right.

    Looked like Ollie was featuring a new changeup last night that was fooling Padre hitters pretty well. More of Johan rubbing off? We can only hope.

    nwaldrop: I don’t understand the venom directed at Castillo. He’s hitting .364 so far on the year and getting on base at a .440 clip. Is that not good enough for you? You make it sound like it was completely Castillo’s fault why the Mets had lost 4 of their 5 previous games. I agree Tatis should see more playing time, but how about having him spell the defensively-inept Dan Murphy, or give him a start for a resting David Wright or Carlos Delgado?

  6. mic April 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm
    The Murph debate is premature…but probably correct. I think he’ll be OK. But not on this team. the Line up IS overdue to change tho. I’d like to see Tatis get play in the field, AND Reed’s defense could be a much needed boost.

    Castillo has accepted the challenge and is hitting could he not see time flip flopping into the #2 slot?

  7. isuzudude April 17, 2009 at 8:09 am
    Personally, Mic, I’d be all for batting Castillo #2, as I have voiced here repeatedly dating back to last year. For all the infatuation with Dan Murphy, his .333 OBP over the first 9 games of the season is paltry compared to Castillo’s .448, and what statistic is more important than OBP for a #2 hitter. Say all you will about small sample size, but Murph’s minor leage OBP numbers were never much better, so I’m thinking his “slow” start in 2009 is much more the real Dan Murphy than the “fast” start he got off to as a rookie last year. He’ll work the count and he’ll hit for a nice average, but his OBP clearly makes him more suited as a #6 or #7 hitter, especially when Luis Castillo is on the same team. We’ll see how much longer Jerry decides to keep force feeding Murphy into the #2 hole.