Mets Game 23: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 6 Mets 5

It was another poor outing by Oliver Perez, and it appeared the Mets would eradicate it with their bats.

Perez allowed four runs on five hits and six walks before being removed from the game with one out in the third inning. Newest Met Ken Takahashi did his best Darren Oliver impression in relief, holding the fort until the sixth inning.

And for once, the Mets did not give up. The bats kept coming back, matching the score, and even took a brief lead in the top of the sixth.

However, their one-run lead lasted only minutes. Pedro Feliciano came on in relief of Takahashi in the bottom of the sixth and gave up a homer to a LH batter for the second time in as many days.

The two teams remained deadlocked through four more frames, with the Mets holding an apparent advantage — they still had closer Frankie Rodriguez at the ready, while the Phils burned through Brad Lidge in the top of the ninth.

Unfortunately, the Mets couldn’t leverage that advantage.

They mounted a rally in the tenth that was quickly extinguished by a stellar double-play turn, and then put the game in the hands of Sean Green. However, those hands proved to be below the challenge. Green got a quick groundout from Jimmy Rollins, but Pedro Feliz followed with his second cheap swinging-bunt hit in the game. Green then hit pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, induced a flyout from Greg Dobbs, and walked Chris Coste to load the bases for Shane Victorino. Victorino worked the count full before watching ball four drop below his knees, forcing in Feliz to end the game.

Game Notes

J.J. Putz was remarkably efficient, expending only 17 pitches in his scoreless, two-inning stint. Though he’s pitched in both games of this series, and three times in four days, he probably will be available if needed on Sunday.

Someone check Alex Cora’s Wheaties, because he’s hitting like Rod Carew lately.

Ryan Church ripped what could’ve been a key pinch-hit single to chase Alex Cora to third base in that tenth inning rally off Jack Taschner — who happens to be a lefthanded pitcher — but a double play grounder by Carlos Beltran killed the rally.

I was dead wrong on Raul Ibanez. The guy hits lefties and righties, is clutch, can run the bases well enough, and can play the field a lot better than advertised.

Brad Lidge is not nearly the lights-out closer we saw in 2008. His fastball was topping out at 92 MPH and his slider is missing its bite. It looks like he’s worried about that right knee and staying too stiff, not getting good push off the rubber nor good downward leverage / bend in the back.

Danny Murphy must love Citizen’s Bank Park. If it were his home field, he might have 15 homers by now.

Jerry Manuel’s rebuilt and vaunted bullpen has now lost six times in seven chances, and has blown two saves in the last three games.

Next Game

The series finale takes place at 1:35 PM in Philadelphia, with John Maine taking the mound against Joe Blanton.

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. sincekindergarten May 2, 2009 at 6:51 pm
    Okay, Ollie let me down. (Let a whole lot of us down.) My question is . . . Who gets his next start–Dillon Gee at Buffalo?

    Is it me, or did Green’s pitches seem to have a lot of movement? It’s almost as if they were moving right out of the zone, and the Phillies’ batters knew that.

  2. sincekindergarten May 2, 2009 at 6:52 pm
    One more thing–13 runners left on base.
  3. joe May 2, 2009 at 6:59 pm
    Phillies might have studied video / scouting reports on Green. His pitches do have a lot of movement.

    My guess is that the Phils’ plan was to swing if they saw the ball above waist level, and to lay off if they saw it anywhere below.

  4. isuzudude May 2, 2009 at 7:09 pm
    I’m sure the “DFA Sean Green” pleas will increase in volume after today’s stinker, but I still think he can be an effective reliever on this team. However, if he keeps walking the ballpark I may have to change my opinion.

    However, I fear most fans will go after the bullpen, and specifically Green, for this loss, while again glancing over the fact that the offense was very inefficient. The 3-run 6th was nice, especially considering it was all done with 2 outs. But the Mets’ bats pretty much went to sleep after that, particularly with runners on base. In the 8th, runner on 2nd with 1 out and no runs score (though thanks mainly to a strong throw from Werth to gun down Santos at the plate). In the 9th, runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 out and no runs score. In the 10th, 1st and 3rd with 1 out and no runs score. Add everything up and the Mets collected 11 hits and 9 walks (20 base runners) and scored just 5 runs. Blame Green all you want for the bases loaded walk, but in CBP the Phillies are gonna find a way to score eventually. Why can’t the Mets?

    I swear, if I see Reyes or Beltran swing at one more first pitch with runners on base I’m gonna be hoarse for a week.

    I also hope the Mets don’t pull the rug out from under Takahashi like they did Figueroa and Fossum before him, and give him the DFA after he ate a bunch of innings today. The dude has earned his way on to the team and could be a major asset as a 2nd lefty out of the pen (I like the Darren Oliver reference).

    And then there’s Ollie. Well, SK, hate to say I told you so…but…yeah, you know the rest. I’m sure the Mets will make an announcement soon and there will be an article more specific to the topic, but before the cat gets out of the bag I think Ollie needs to go to AAA. Making him a long reliever does nothing to solve his problem(s), nor the Mets’. And if the Mets want a chance to win and not completely blow out their bullpen every 5th day, Perez can’t be with the big club anymore. Whether it be for 2 weeks or 2 months, he needs to go to Buffalo and work it out, a la Brett Myers a year ago. Whatever the issue is needs to be permanently corrected, as the Mets own Ollie through 2011. So give him as long as it takes. In the meantime give his starts to Figgy or Redding – or Jose Lima, I don’t care, no one can be worse than what Ollie’s been.

    Omar and Fred: Is Derek Lowe worth $60-mil now???

  5. mic May 2, 2009 at 10:36 pm
    1. The Good.
    Castro has had his share of critics but i thought he had a very good game. He answered those critics.
    – Ditto Murphy. UNLIKE HIS SENIOR teamates, he works his ABs,
    – Castillo also had a very healthy game
    -Church had a great PH AB too.

    The Bad:
    – Beltran. Masked under his 400 avg is he has barfed in several key spots. His double play ground out was to me worthy of a benching. His bad approach is characterized by his first pitch swinging ….swing at pitches which are never in the strike zone. I am a staunch CB fan, but he needs a better plan at the plate…especially with the game on the line. ….if not he might find (ala Castro) he gets PH for in the 9th. As it is I’d sit him tomorrow for J-reed. His mis- judged fly ball did not go unnoticed either.
    – Also due for the razor is Jose.
    – Ollie….DL list, for dead arm. On cue J. Niese had a good outing on Friday.

    BTW: Was CB hit by the pitch? Its still looks like a WP to me.

    PR for Ramon, is the best we have Omir Santos?

    _ Good point on the Phils. They won because of a great throw from Werth, Great all-round play from Ibanez (who WAS worth the $$). They just seem to battle today.

  6. CatchDog May 3, 2009 at 7:02 am
    I know I’ll probably get killed for it but I’d float the idea of stretching out Parnell and giving the kid a shot at starting.

    Redding can slide into his spot and assume the longman role, with Stokes moving into the 7th inning spot followed by Putz and Frankie.

    Keep Takahashi and Feliciano. The next question is Gasoline Green. Any ideas ?

  7. E May 3, 2009 at 8:21 am
    Manuel’s ‘pen loses so much bc they pitch more than the starters. Mets starters are 27th in baseball for IP. Eventually, the ‘pen is going to give up some runs. They are still the best in the NL in ERA.
  8. Ken F. May 3, 2009 at 8:32 am
    Parnell is successful in the pen because he lets it go and throws 96MPH. As a starter, he would hold back and throw 92 and have to use his breaking stuff more (which isn’t that good). His stuff is utilized best in the bullpen, not as a starter.
  9. mic May 3, 2009 at 8:37 am
    i agree on bobby p, but i think he IS likely to make the jump.

    -we need more than pel and JS.

  10. sincekindergarten May 3, 2009 at 9:15 am
    One thing we have going for us today is this: (from the Mets’ site) John Maine has never lost to the Phillthies. In 9 starts, he’s 5-0 with a 2.54 ERA. At CBP, he’s 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA. Ryan Howard has 2 HRs against him, but is 3-for-21 in other ABs. Jimmy Rollins is batting .160 against him.
  11. wally May 3, 2009 at 9:44 am
    Hey E, the Mets ‘pen loses so much because the manager is an idiot. The theory that the relievers lose because they pitch more doesn’t hold water.

    The Dodgers, Padres, Phillies, Marlins, Cardinals, and Brewers have all thrown as many or more relief innings than the Mets and all have better records (both the bullpen record and the team record).

    And BTW the Phillies starters are 29th in MLB in IP — imagine that!

  12. isuzudude May 3, 2009 at 10:34 am
    Mic: I agree that Murphy is one of the few who is showing smarts at the plate. You know the Mets are in trouble, though, when Murphy, Cora, and Castillo are the only 3 players you feel confident in getting a plate appearance with the game on the line. And also agree that IF Ollie can be DL’ed, then that’s the best plan of action. His lack of velocity would seem to suggest he’s suffering from a dead arm, at the very least.

    Also – yes, Beltran was hit by the pitch on the toe. I thought the replay made that pretty clear. And I believe Santos was pinch-running for Castro in that spot because Jerry didn’t want to waste Reed or Church on a pinch running appearance. With Castro coming out of the game Santos would have had to come in anyway to take over as the catcher, and I don’t really think the Mets put themselves at a disadvantage with him running the bases. He’s certainly no Jason Phillips.

    CatchDog: moving Parnell to the rotation is an option, and he has pitched quite well thus far, so you don’t deserve to get killed for bringing it up. But I concur with Ken. I just think Parnell’s ‘stuff’ suits him much more for a bullpen role. I read on Metsblog Dillon Gee is in line to start on Thursday, the next time Ollie’s spot in the rotation comes up. I’d say he’s the favorite to get the call, with Takahashi remaining in the pen as the 2nd lefty/long reliever.

    Also, Green should be used as a ROOGY and needs to throw strikes. If those two things occur, he’ll be a-ok.

    SK: I will eternally envy your optimism. The favorable stats for Maine are nice to see, but equally favorable stats didn’t help Ollie yesterday. Before his latest implosion, Ollie had been 2-1 with an ERA under 2.50 @ CBP and in 4 starts against the Phillies last year had a 0.35 ERA. Also, whatever may be going in the Mets favor today could equally be going in the Phils’ favor, as their starter, Blanton, is 1-0 lifetime against the Mets with a 2.15 ERA. However, I expect anything but a pitchers duel. It’s probably time for a KRod blown save today, which would fall right in line with how this season has panned out for both teams up to this point.

    Wally: take it easy. It’s likely an even contribution of both shoddy starting pitching and poor management that has caused the bullpen to become overworked this season.

  13. isuzudude May 3, 2009 at 10:41 am
    The Maine vs Blanton matchup is moot as the game has been rained out. On the bright side, at least the Mets won’t lose today!
  14. wally May 3, 2009 at 10:57 am
    Isuzude: I’m taking it easy. The numbers bear out that the Mets total bullpen usage is in line with the MLB average, so either the personnel stinks (which was last year’s excuse) or the guy making the changes doesn’t know what the heck he’s doing!
  15. upson May 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm
    As much as I hate rain-outs, today’s one might be a good one. Maine is getting better but I do not mind missing him the Phillies series as he still needs a couple of starts to regain confidence. Also, the Mets will have Santana and Pelfrey starting against the Phillies next week – which is much better than Pelfrey and the Ollie’s spot. On the flip side, the Mets will likely face Hamels in Santana game. [Nevertheless, Santana vs Hamels still looks better for the Mets than “Ollie” vs Moyer.]
  16. mic May 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm
    Ok. Kinda to reverberate my comment yesterday, The Mets are not sucking like they did at this time last yr, but they are giving away games. As SK last yr this will pass and the Mets will elevate.

    THe Starting pitching needs work. Getting Ollie fixed is high priority. The silver lining is we know he can be fixed. If he IS fixed he’ll be very very good.

    Niese needs to live up to his billing of ‘ntouchable’. Dillon Gee; why cant he go into the pen.

  17. isuzudude May 4, 2009 at 8:14 am
    Why do you want Gee in the pen? Isn’t it the rotation that needs the patchwork, not the bullpen?
  18. joe May 4, 2009 at 8:26 am
    Maybe we start the game with K-Rod and Putz, then Green and Feliciano for the 3rd, and let Gee finish the last 6.
  19. isuzudude May 4, 2009 at 8:33 am
    Be careful, Joe. That’s the same type of innovative and jovial commentary that got you in trouble (and banned?) from Metsblog.
  20. joe May 4, 2009 at 8:46 am
    crap, you’re right, ‘dude! I hope John Fitzgerald didn’t see that, or I may have to start ANOTHER blog …. 😉
  21. mic May 4, 2009 at 11:55 pm
    Ok jokes aside…………

    BP looks great, in the pen…can Dillon Gee make that jump?

    So to answer you Dude: My thoughts are;
    a. to see if BP could start & Gee relieve ( I think THIS may happen next spring)
    b. Fernando Nieve on the radar?
    c. Where is Humberto sanchez? (i care nought for Fossum).