Mets Game 21: Loss to Marlins
Marlins 4 Mets 3
One of the reasons the Mets obtained J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez was to make sure the starts of Johan Santana would not be wasted. After all, their ace lefty might have won 20 games in 2008 — and the Cy Young — had the bullpen not blown several of Santana’s leads.
So much for that idea.
Santana was strong through seven, leaving the game after 104 pitches. Immediately prior to Johan’s final frame, Fernando Tatis blasted a solo homer to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. With seven innings in the books, a one-run lead, and the final six outs in the hands of the Putz-KRod tandem, it appeared to be game over for the Fish.
But Putz struggled mightily, walking the first two Fish he faced, who moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Cody Ross then jumped on the first pitch he saw and singled up the middle, and “poof”, the Mets lead was gone. By the time the inning ended, Putz had faced five batters, threw 24 pitches, 13 for strikes, and allowed two runs.
The Mets mounted a rally against Matt Lindstrom in the bottom of the ninth, but it petered out when pinch-hitter Omir Santos popped out to short with the bases loaded.
To me, Putz looked like he was laboring through his warmup pitches. His velocity was there (for the most part), but he had no command. It reminded me of Aaron Heilman around this time last year.
Fernando Tatis was fabulous, going 3-for-4 with 2 runs and an RBI. He was poised to be the hero — for the second time in the day — with men on second and third in the ninth, but was hit by a pitch.
Why was Omir Santos sent up to hit for Ramon Castro, who had two hits on the day? At first, I thought there was an injury to Castro — maybe back spasms or something — since no one appeared in the batter’s box for several minutes. Then, I thought perhaps someone had inadvertently hit out of order. After a few more minutes, Santos came out of the dugout — presumably, straight from the men’s room (or wherever he was). I’m guessing this was Jerry Manuel’s stab at over-managing, or positioning Santos to be a hero and making him look like a genius for his “hunch”. Or maybe he just wanted to disrupt Lindstrom, or make him cool down. I don’t know, because the move made no sense from any angle. Both of Castro’s hits came off starter Josh Johnson, who was throwing 97-98 MPH. Lindstrom was throwing 98-99. Santos was cold coming off the bench, and despite his grand slam the other day, remains a AAAA player.
In addition to the Santos-for-Castro move being a tactical oddity, it sent a message to Castro: “I don’t believe in you”. Not the best way to keep your player motivated — particularly one who seemed to finally find some self-motivation this offseason.
In hindsight, it would have been nice to have had Danny Murphy and his .529 average as a pinch-hitter available on the bench in the late innings. He could have hit for Cora in the 8th with Jeremy Reed on third, or for Castro in the ninth. Though, had Murphy not started, who knows if either of those situations would have evolved as they did.
A welllllllll deserved day off for the Mets tomorrow, then they begin a three-game set in Philadelphia. Mike Pelfrey starts against Chan Ho Park at 7:05 PM on Friday night. See, there is a glimmer of hope after all.
Hoping for some magic in the Pelf-Ollie-Maine combo going in Philly. And, some RISP magic from the lineup. Here’s a thought–maybe that’s why the got Willy Mo Pena–to help with the RISP mess.
Also, how is it possible that we have 5 players who are hitting over .300 and we still have a losing record?
I can’t get on Jerry for putting Reed in LF late in the game, it was the right move. You don’t expect Putz to implode.
As for Delgado, none of us knows what’s going on with him. For all we know he wasn’t even in uniform (did anyone see him in the dugout?).
Such is life for the Mets. If the starting pitcher gets bombed, inevitably the bullpen will pitch brilliantly and the offense will score just enough to make the final score close. If the starting pitching is great, the bullpen will falter and the offense won’t be able to mount a late rally. If both the starting and relief pitching is solid, the offense will go to sleep for 9 innings and get shutout. What do you expeect, though, when you have a guy in LF named Murphy? “If something can go wrong, it will.” If that’s not the perfect motto for these Mets, I don’t know what is.
Here’s a thought: bench Wright and play Tatis at 3B. How much worse can things get?
I’m as equally befuddled and frustrated with the Santos-for-Castro pinch hitting stunt. And up to that point I thought Jerry was actually managing a strong game (leaving Johan in for the 7th despite a 100+ pitch count, not falling for the pinch hitter on deck routine in the top of the 6th, using plenty of small-ball tactics against a tough opposing pitcher). Also, to be fair, it’s not a given Castro would have come through in the 9th. But, as you said Joe, that is a classic example of over-managing. Castro’s swinging a good bat on the day, he’s a good fastball hitter, and Santos has to sprint in from the bullpen in order to pinch hit. Jerry is a complete baffoon and now all the dopes who kissed is ass for doing absolutely nothing different than Willie are coming out of the woodwork now and realizing how bad Jerry really is.
SK: you’re dead on with the RISP comment. 1 for 11 again yesterday with 14 runners left on base. The Wilpons should have been enticed to model CitiField after the Metropolitan Museum of Art instead of Ebbetts Field, as their team continues to portray the perfect embodiment of a choke artist. Then they even could have appropriately called the stadium MetField and avoided all the negative PR for not having any Met-related items around the venue. What were they thinking?
wohjr: .318. And .395 strictly with runners on base.
monique: see SK’s comments.
nwaldrop: you are making accusations that can’t be backed up. For all we know Delgado (and Castillo, for that matter) could have been completely incapacitated for the game, so they shouldn’t be criticized for a lack of “fire” if they are legitamitely hurt. Furthermore, yes Murphy’s LF defense is really that bad to replace him with Reed late in a game – especially a game the Mets are winning 3-2 in the 8th inning. Because if Murphy had been left in the game, and then made a fielding blunder that cost the Mets the game (which has already happened), you’d likely be on here screaming that the Mets should have had Reed playing the field for Murphy. You can’t have it both ways.
Like Danny Murphy, “all he does is hit”, PLUS he plays brilliant defense.