Mets Game 26: Win Over Phillies

Mets 1 Phillies 0

Usually, the Mets have trouble scoring runs for their ace because he’s facing the opposing team’s ace. In an unusual state of affairs that should have given the Mets a distinct advantage, Johan Santana took the hill against perhaps the worst starting pitcher in the big leagues (especially considering that Oliver Perez is now officially a reliever) — Chan Ho Park.

Remarkably enough, Park no-hit the Mets through four and a third, and held them to just one hit and no runs in six full innings of work. However, Johan Santana was even better, shutting out the Phillies through seven. Even more remarkably, the game’s only score came when Carlos Delgado scored from first on an infield hit. It may be time to play lotto.

It’s true. Delgado walked to lead off the seventh, and Scott Eyre retired the next two hitters. Fernando Tatis came in to pinch-hit for Jeremy Reed and hit a broken-bat dribbler to Pedro Feliz. Feliz, normally an excellent to outstanding fielder, barehanded the ball and threw it wide of first base. As the ball rolled up the right field line, Delgado chugged toward third and ran through Razor Shines’ stop sign. Phillies rightfielder Jayson Werth picked up the ball and was in such shock to see Delgado rounding third that for a moment he forgot to throw the ball. When he came to his senses and realized it wasn’t a dream, Werth fired to home, a split-second too late to get Delgado, who slid in safely with the only run of the game.

Pedro Feliciano pitched a scoreless eighth and Frankie Rodriguez set down the Phils in order to record his 8th save in as many chances.

Notes

The Mets are now 13-13. Is that lucky, or unlucky? Guess it depends on which part of the world you’re from.

Johan Santana had absolutely hellacious stuff, and great command, yet he walked opposing pitcher Chan Ho Park — not once but TWICE. Crazy.

Do the Mets hate Johan? I mean really … one hit and no runs against Chan Ho Park? CHAN HO PARK?

Do not be swayed by the pregame catching practice sessions held by Sandy Alomar, Jr., nor by Ron Darling’s gushing over Omir Santos’ receiving skills. Santos is not very good at catching the ball, and does not trick any MLB umpire with his feeble attempts at “framing”. In fact, he continues to lose close pitches that might be strikes because he’s jerking (aka “framing”) the ball into the strike zone, rather than catching it when it’s a strike and “sticking it”. That’s not to say Santos is a poor catcher — merely setting the record straight.

Further to the point, a “framed” pitch might look really good from the centerfield camera. However, it’s an entirely different viewpoint BEHIND the plate, which is where the umpire stands. Next time you go to a little league or high school game, stand behind the backstop and you’ll see what I mean.

For about the 800th time this year, the SNY announcers mentioned the “curveball drill” instituted by Jerry Manuel during spring training BP. As if on cue, Carlos Beltran struck out looking at a yellow hammer almost immediately after the words fell out of Ron Darling’s mouth.

Prior to the game, Jerry Manuel said Santana would get pushed to 115 pitches. As it was he threw 101. Manuel also said that both J.J. Putz and K-Rod would be unavailable. Putz was held out, but Rodriguez obviously closed out the game. WFAN’s Wayne Hagin suggested that Jerry made these statements to play head games with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. C’mon, now, seriously? Someone needs to remind Mr. Hagin that the Wilpons do not sign his paycheck.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Phillies do it again at 7:10 PM on Thursday night. Undefeated Mike Pelfrey goes against Jamie Moyer. No, Moyer is NOT twice Pelfrey’s age (25) … but he’s close (46). If Jonathan Niese (22) came up to make the start vs. Moyer, we’d have a story.

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. n.waldrop May 6, 2009 at 11:46 pm
    Turning point for the Mets or just another Santana start? When you take away hitting and the starting pitching (other than Santana) out of the equation this is what you get with this Mets team. I loved that Delgado went from first to home (and slid).
    But it was upsetting to see the Mets can’t hit Park and that Santana is scared of Park’s hitting. Santana can’t walk the pitcher twice by mistake, he’s Santana. I’d like to take some positives away from this win against the Phillies but can find very few. If anyone has a more positive slant on this game please post.
  2. upson May 7, 2009 at 3:20 am
    Actually, I do have one positive observation: The Mets were able to win the game while resting both Parnell and Putz.

    On a negative side, I did not like the excessive use of pinch-hitters in the 7th inning. How come Castro does not get a shot – especially since he has to replace Santos anyway?

    I have one completely unrelated question though. I am driving a friend to JFK airport next Wednesday (from upstate NY) and if things go well, I should be on my way back at around 3pm. Coincidentally, the Mets are playing against the Braves a 1:10pm game that day. Hence, I was wondering that I would not mind seeing the last 2 innings of the game. Does anybody know what is the late arrival policy? Is it possible simply to sneak into the ballpark or is a ticket required till the end of the game? If yes, is it possible to buy a ticket directly at the gate? If you have any experience with this, I would appreciate your advice. Thanks!

  3. isuzudude May 7, 2009 at 7:24 am
    If I’m to take any positives from this game, they’d be that:
    A) the Mets won despite virtually no offense, and
    B) the Mets won the type of game last night they’d usually lose to the Phillies over the past 2 years. I remember the Jayson Werth stolen bases against Billy Wagner/Paul Lo Duca, and the dribbler up the thirdbase line off Heilman that won a game for Philly. But this time it’s the Mets’ bullpen that shines and it’s the Mets getting a 30 foot grounder that scores a runner from 1st. This game was the prototypical example of winning ugly, but as mentioned earlier this season, if the Mets can win ugly 90+ times, we’ll all take it. And now at 13-13, with 4 wins in 5 games against the Phils and Braves, suddenly there’s a small patch of hope growing behind home plate at CitiField.

    Upson: I was actually thinking Jerry should have used MORE pinch hitters in the 7th. Lifting Reed in favor of Tatis made sense to me because Eyre (LHP) was in the game and I don’t want to waste Sheffield in this spot in case the Phils opt to bring in Durbin (RHP), which they did. At that point, I was expecting Jerry to go to Church for Tatis, to get the lefty vs righty matchup, and that would coincidentally put Church in RF for Reed. But Jerry stuck with Tatis and got the RBI error. I suppose I wouldn’t have had a problem leaving Santos in to hit after that, but again thought Church, Sheffield, or Castillo provided the best shot for a hit, even over Castro – who I knew had to come in the game anyway for defense. Jerry opted to go with Shef, he walked, and Church was appropriately used in lieu of the pitcher next, but he struck out. There were a lot of different ways that 7th inning could have been handled, but the Mets got their run and won the game so I’m obliged to say Jerry managed correctly.

    I don’t want to sound too much like a Jerry-aholic but I think taking Johan out after 7 was the right move, and using Krod to close the game out was correct, despite his high pitch count the nigth before. I don’t want to jeopardize a 1-0 lead in the 9th with Feliciano or Parnell. I’ll take the sure thing and cross off Krod for tonight’s game. On the bright side, Putz can close tonight, and Parnell is rested, as Upson pointed out, so a late game lead should still feel pretty safe.

  4. CatchDog May 7, 2009 at 8:34 am
    My conspiracy theory is that Johan, recognizing that Chan Ho was going to match him last night, perhaps decided to add to Park’s workload on the evening by putting him on base a few times. Simply tire Ho out by making Ho run the bases. Not to mention, how frustrating was it that Santana literally blew away the rest of the lineup while Ho stood on first base. You never know. With the lack of support the Mets give Johan, he has to do whatever it takes to gain an edge.

    Did anyone see the look on Jason Werth’s face when he whiffed the second and third time? Priceless. BTW – Jason is a stunt double for Vince from ShamWow and SlapChop. And Werth shared that same look that Vince was sporting in his mug shot a month ago when he had his tongue bitten by that other Ho in South Beach.

  5. CatchDog May 7, 2009 at 8:51 am
    ** Third sentence should read; how frustrating was it for the rest of the Phillies that Santana literally blew away the rest of the lineup while Ho stood on first base.
  6. joe May 7, 2009 at 10:39 am
    CatchDog, re: Werth/Shamwow, did you see last Friday’s “funny” here on MetsToday?

    As for “winning ugly” 90+ times, that would mean MLB has really, really dropped in quality (maybe it has). I have the alternate opinion — the Mets can ONLY win games when the opposition beats themselves senseless. In other words, I don’t see the Mets winning many “clean” games.

    Upson – as far as I know the Wilpons want your money even if it’s two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Why there is no “general admission” like there is in every other modern park is beyond me. But for a Wednesday afternoon game, you should have no problem buying a ticket at the gate. I’ll actually be there, so email me if you make it!

  7. mic May 7, 2009 at 10:46 am
    They won last night. MY take home point was this shows DRAMATIC improvement. Over the 13 losses they EASILY could have turned 10 into wins. Pooor execution with RISP being the main culprit.
  8. joe May 7, 2009 at 10:56 am
    Dramatic improvement? Are you talking about the Mets’ acting skills?

    They got one hit off of CHAN HO PARK. If Pedro Feliz doesn’t throw that ball away the Mets would’ve found a way to lose in extra innings, guaranteed. The game should never have been that close, not with Johan throwing like Sandy Koufax.

    And the Mets were damn lucky to take two from the Braves. They may be winning but the process is the same as when they were losing. They’ve won because the other team let them.

  9. mic May 7, 2009 at 11:00 am
    PS: F-Mart had the only Xtra base hits yesterday for Buffalo, a 2B & a 3B.