Mets Game 32: Win Over Braves

Mets 4 Braves 3

Though it wasn’t quite as impressive as the first seven innings of the opener, game two also delivered an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel.

Mike Pelfrey and Jair Jurrjens set down batters like bowling pins for the bulk of the game, and by the time both exited their numbers were similar. Jurrjens allowed two earned runs on seven hits and one walk through 7 2/3 innings, and Pelfrey nearly matched that performance — two earned runs on six hits and a walk in 7 innings. He had three two-inning outings in 2006.

However, after the starters exited, the contest became a battle of the bullpens. And in the end, it was awful pitching that decided the game.

After showing some METtle and fighting back to tie the game, the Mets won the game in the tenth inning on a walk-off walk with the bases loaded.

Braves reliever Jeff Bennett got two very quick outs before Jose Reyes hustled out an infield single. Then, concerned with the speedy Reyes at first, Bennett made the mistake of using the slide-step for his first two pitches to Alex Cora, and fell behind 2-0. On the third pitch, he used his regular motion and got a strike, but that was the one Reyes chose to steal on and took second base easily. (Note to the kids: scrap the slide step — it almost never works). Already down in the count 2-1 and Reyes standing on second, Bobby Cox made the next nonsensical but universally accepted move of intentionally walking Cora to create a force. As if on cue, Bennett then walked Ramon Castro, creating zero room for error, and proceeded to walk Carlos Beltran on six pitches to force in Reyes and give the game to the Mets.

Bad decisions, bad baseball, but the in the end the Mets take the game. Five years ago it would’ve been the Mets walking three straight batters with two outs and giving the game to the Braves.

Francisco Rodriguez collected the win with a two-inning effort.


Can anyone explain why Mike Pelfrey was removed from the game prior to the 8th inning after 95 pitches and his spot in the order nowhere close to coming up? Despite the two runs scratched out by the Braves, Big Pelf was hurling a brilliant game, and seemed to be more dominant as the game went on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

K-Rod hadn’t pitched more than one inning in any regular-season MLB game since 2007. He pitched four outs or more eight times that year, and two full innings four times.

K-Rod and J.J. Putz combined for 49 pitches in the game. I imagine that neither will be available for Wednesday afternoon’s game.

Alex Cora was moved to first base in the tenth inning — a position he’s played only one other time in his MLB career — and used a fielder’s glove rather than a first baseman’s mitt.

Jerry Manuel stunned Bobby Cox by pinch-hitting Gary Sheffield for Danny Murphy after Cox brought in LOOGY Eric O’Flaherty in the eighth. Cox obviously read the scouting reports detailing Manuel and the Mets’ over the top opinion of the young lefthanded hitter. Sheffield was equally shocked — so shocked that he forgot to run to first on the grounder he hit to Casey Kotchman.

The Mets did not put a leadoff batter on base until the eighth inning, when Jeremy Reed ripped a single up the middle.

Speaking of Reed, how can you keep him out of the lineup? His defense is stellar (other than a poorly played line drive off the bat of Yunel Escobar) and he’s hitting the ball all over the place — just as he did in spring training. He does everything — fields, throws, hits, and runs — yet the Mets insist on making sure the one-dimensional Danny Murphy plays as often as possible. Go figure.

And speaking of Escobar, had he run hard out of the box on that line drive, he would’ve had a standup triple. If I’m Bobby Cox, I’m ripping into him in the clubhouse after the game and sitting him down for a game.

And speaking of Wednesday’s game, I’ll be there with my dad, a combination birthday/father’s day present. If you are also attending, send me an email and maybe we can meet at the Big Apple Beers stand for a beverage.

Next Mets Game

The Mets close out the series and their homestand with an afternoon game that begins at 1:10 PM. Jonathan Niese pitches against Jo-Jo Reyes.


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. Jim Bmore May 13, 2009 at 2:36 am
    i wish i was headed to the game tomorrow.. im jealous. enjoy a big apple brew

    not a huge fan of reed but like you said he has been getting the job done. id still rather see jerry let church play and see if he is going to be this team’s everyday RF..i expect murphy at 1B soon if delgado hits the DL

  2. isuzudude May 13, 2009 at 9:51 am
    Forget about 5 years ago, Joe, the Mets would have lost a game like this just 5 weeks ago. Check that – make that 10 days ago:

    But agreed, it seemed like during the Piazza era the Mets were inventing ways to lose games against the Braves, but since 2006 the tide has started to change. Now if they can only figure out how to beat the Marlins in September they’ll be golden!

    It seems like Jerry has a barrier for his starting pitchers after the 7th inning. Pelfrey easily could have worked into the 8th last night but was yanked prematurely. Working on a strong game, not due up in the lineup, and with a low pitch count, there’s no explanation for Jerry’s hook except that he believes starters must be removed from the game after 7 innings. Maybe someone on the team can get him a MLB rulebook for Father’s Day.

    As was hyped when the big Seattle trade went down this winter, Jeremy Reed is just like Endy Chavez. He’s not an all-star and he’s not even an everyday player, but he has a certain “it” factor that makes good things happen around him. I remember a certain somebody saying Reed was a scrub prior to this season’s start (, so I’m glad to see Reed is starting to earn some brownie points in his critics’ eyes.

    That said, Ryan Church needs some more ABs. If he’s ever going to snap out of his funk, he’s got to do it in the lineup, not on the bench.

    And excuse me while I wipe the tears away from Chipper’s cheek. Did the 3rd base ump blow the call on Beltran’s 9th inning stolen base? Perhaps. But it was a bang-bang play, and GOD KNOWS the Braves got more than their fair share of favorable calls from the umps when they were winning 15 straight NL East titles, of which Chipper was a major part of. Either someone is a bit of a sore loser, or someone doesn’t believe in a thing called karma.

  3. joe May 13, 2009 at 11:13 am
    ‘dude – I admit I didn’t like the Putz deal. Still don’t. Trading 18 players for one overpriced setup man seems a little odd. (OK maybe it wasn’t 18 players, but it felt like it). Trading Endy for a player exactly like Endy seemed even odder.

    But I quickly grew to be a huge fan of Jeremy Reed. He impressed me immensely in ST with his approach to the game. I’m sold.

    Jerry Manuel will continue to use the 100-pitch count — as Willie did before him — as a means to keep his job. Management obviously has some kind of “thing” with that number, and by sticking to it, Manuel can’t be criticized later on if any of the starters (investments) come down with an injury. He also has the excuse file set up if anyone in management points to the close games lost by the bullpen, by saying “well the org policy is to keep to the pitch count, and that’s what I did”. etc etc.

    That’s what the Mets like — push-button managers. Otherwise Bobby Valentine truly would have had a “job for life”.