Mets Game 14: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 5 Mets 2

It wasn’t even that close.

John Maine finally made it into the sixth inning, but not because he pitched well. He also did not finish the sixth.

Maine allowed five runs on seven hits and five walks in five and two-third innings, expending 111 pitches in the process. He left the game with the bases loaded and reliever Casey Fossum was kind enough to get a quick final out and leave the ducks on the pond.

Offensively, the Mets did nothing against Joel “All World” Pineiro, whose best pitch was “strike one” throughout the contest. The Mets hitters managed six hits and two walks in eight innings against Pineiro, who pitched into the ninth but needed help from the St. Louis bullpen to finish. Pineiro struck out no one and expended 91 pitches. So much for the sabermetricians and their negative opinion of hurlers who “pitch to contact”.

Game Notes

Fascinating to see Jerry Manuel play the “matchup” game in the seventh inning, down four runs. Does it REALLY matter whether Casey Fossum faces a righthanded hitter at that point? Here’s a crazy idea: how about allowing Fossum to face a righty as training to be a “crossover” pitcher?

Quick quiz on baseball fundamentals: it’s the sixth inning, your team is down by four. What do you do with the first pitch thrown to you, no matter where it is? If you said “take the pitch”, congratulations, you know simple baseball! If you said, “swing away and pop up weakly to the third baseman”, congratulations, you play centerfield for the New York Mets and make over a hundred million dollars!

We can’t get too hard on Beltran, though, since he did collect three hits and drive in one of the Mets’ runs.

Danny Murphy drove in a run and allowed none, improving his plus/minus tally.

In the ninth inning, down by two with a runner on second and two outs, Jerry Manuel sent up Gary Sheffield instead of Jeremy Reed to hit for Ramon Castro against RHP Ryan Franklin. Why? No one is sure.

Regarding Maine in this contest, Manuel said he “… had control but not command …” Uh, OK.

Next Mets Game

The series finale is an afternoon affair beginning at 1:40 PM EST in St. Louis. Livan Hernandez faces Kyle Lohse in an attempt to avoid a sweep.

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 22, 2009 at 10:37 pm
    Time to panic… I have seen nothing from the starting rotation (except Santana). With four number 5 starters I don’t see much hope. I hope Pelfrey gets back to how he was last year. Other than that, just get whoever and the Mets are one of the only teams that have the resources to blow up their starting rotation in April. That’s the only way I see to be more than a third place team in this division.
  2. joe April 22, 2009 at 10:59 pm
    The starting pitching IS concerning. The Mets are counting heavily on Oliver Perez to be the Ollie of 2004 and 2007 — rather than the enigma of his other 6 MLB seasons — and on John Maine to have a “breakout” year after shoulder surgery (hmm … Duaner Sanchez ring a bell?). AND they’re expecting Pelfrey to be at least as good as last year, if not better.

    If you are suggesting the Mets have the wherewithal to make a deal for a Jake Peavy, I’m all ears as to how that might be accomplished. At minimum they’d have to empty what’s left of a thin farm system, plus Maine, plus at least one position player (Ryan Church?). Even then, I’m not sure it’s enough.

  3. isuzudude April 23, 2009 at 9:40 am
    Welcome to the “Mets are no better than mediocre” fan club, nwaldrop. Ever since the Mets failed to secure a solid #2 pitcher in the offseason (Lowe, Vazquez, Peavy come to mind) I’ve known the Mets are no better than a 3rd place, 85-win team. They are simply asking too much of too little…and I know I sound contradictive saying that as the Mets have the 2nd highest payroll in baseball. But let’s be honest, most of that money is locked into 2 players, Beltran and Johan, and a closer who probably will miss the entire season. And there’s only so far you can go with 2 $100-million players and a bunch of unclutch hitters and ineffective starters. But as we’ve detailed here before, the Mets surely could have afforded more this offseason if they hadn’t dicked around with Ollie Perez, Alex Cora, Tim Redding, and Cory Sullivan. And while Omar deserves praise for making this team “competitive” again, he justly deserves criticism for countless missed opportunities and wasted contracts on useless peices.

    However, I think the Peavy ship as sailed. If the Mets are holding tight to their penny-pinching ways, there’s no way they’ll find room in the budget for Peavy, as he stands to make at least $52-mil over the next 3 years. If anything, what with the contracts of Delgado, Wagner, Castro, Schneider, and potentially Putz all coming off the books next year, I think the Mets would be best served letting the team crash and burn and be sellers at the deadline in July. Jon Niese is the only starter in the minor league system close to contributing at the major league level, and he’s projected to be a #3 at best. Besides FMart, Flores, and Havens, there aren’t many offensive prospects to get excited about either. If the Mets are still toiling under .500 by the allstar break, I’d very much be in favor of trading our expiring contracts and veteran role players for some younger talent who will help reinvigorate our minor league system. I’d imagine guys like Delgado, Putz, Church, and maybe even Castillo could fetch hansome dividends if the Mets are ready to wave the white flag.

    And I echo your criticism of the offense, Joe. Another good example of not knowing your game situation is the top of the 9th, down by 4, Wright leads of with a double and Dennys Reyes comes in to face Delgado. Reyes opens the count 2-0, but instead of being patient and trying to get on base by any means necessary, Delgado swings away and weakly ground out – on an inside pitch that could have been a ball, no less. It’s tough to get on Delgado, like Beltran, because he’s started the season hot, but these are simple things that are inexcusable not to do. And it’s the difference between being a playoff team and being an oh-so-close team.