Mets Game 34: Win Over Giants

Mets 7 Giants 4

Once again the Mets got on the board first. Once again their starting pitcher gave them a 6+ inning, “quality start”. Once again the bullpen blew a save in the late innings. And once again –this being a recent revision to the daily plot — the Mets fought back to reclaim the lead.

John Maine stumbled at the beginning, giving up two quick runs and his 1-0 lead in the first frame, but didn’t allow another one through the next five and two-third innings. He battled through two outs in the seventh, then finally handed the game over to the Mets’ bullpen, which was without J.J. Putz. Brian Stokes did his job, getting the final out of the seventh, but Bobby Parnell allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in the 8th, making the game four-all.

In the top of the ninth, however, the middle of the Mets lineup took over the game. Carlos Beltran started the rally with a two-out double to deep left-center, stole third, and trotted home on a David Wright single to give the Mets the lead. Moments later, 40-year-old Gary Sheffield led the way on a double steal, setting up a two-out, two-run single for Ramon Castro. Who said this team can’t hit with two outs and RISP?

As usual, Frankie Rodriguez made things interesting, but nonetheless knocked down the Giants for his tenth save.

Notes

David Wright reached base in all five of his plate appearances, drove in two, scored one, and stole a career-high four bases. He’s now hitting .331.

Wright’s four thefts helped the Mets set a team record for steals in a game (7). That’s one more than Carl Crawford stole all by himself against the Red Sox in a game two weeks ago … but, it’s still a lot. Who would believe that the Mets would pull off this historic grand larceny on a night that Jose Reyes sat on the bench with a calf injury.

Before the game SNY ran yet another misty-eyed Keith Hernandez returning to his old neighborhood spot — basically the same one we saw last year. I sort of enjoyed it, except for the part where Keith went on and on about his Little League MVP trophy, and think it would’ve come off as a lot less lame if they did away with the melancholic guitar solo playing in the background.

For the second time in three days, Carlos Beltran was thrown out at third stealing but was called safe by the umpire. The ball beat him to the bag and Pablo Sandoval blocked the entire bag with his tree trunk of a thigh, applying the tag a split second before Beltran’s toe caught the base. A few minutes later Beltran scored the go-ahead run. Deja vu all over again, as Yogi would say.

John Maine threw two wild pitches in the first inning, walked two, and threw five non-swinging / non-hit strikes. In all, he threw 30 pitches in that first frame, only 13 for strikes. For a moment there, it appeared as if he might not make it out of the first frame, but he settled down and took advantage of the aggressive Giants hitters swinging at his high fastballs.

As you know, I’m all for pushing a starter to more realistic (and manly) pitch counts, but can someone explain to me why it’s OK to push a pitcher with awful, potentially harmful mechanics such as Maine to 118 pitches, but pitchers with efficient mechanics (Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey) are held to 95-105 pitches?

For everyone who’s been saying Gary Sheffield is “finished”, you may want to reconsider. His bat speed is still among the elite, and he’s 4-for-10 in his last two games in the starting lineup with a homerun and a double. And although he’s not a blazer on the basepaths, his speed is above average and he’s as good or better a baserunner as anyone on the team, inasfar as reading the ball off the bat, getting good secondary leads, taking the extra base, etc. I think it makes sense to give him at least a full week or two in the everyday lineup, to see if indeed he can still be an impact player. With Carlos Delgado’s hip barking, that may well happen.

Edgar Renteria left the game in the 8th inning with a leg injury. Scary to think that the Giants lineup could be even more feeble, but it will be if they are without Renteria.

Speaking of, how is it possible that the Giants can be so terrible at the plate, when there were so many big bats available at rock-bottom prices this winter? Heck, there are still a few decent sluggers looking for a job. And we thought the Mets were being unreasonable / cheap / idiotic for not signing a bopper.

Next Game

The Mets and Giants do it again at 10:15 EST PM on Friday night. Livan Hernandez goes to the hill against Tim Lincecum.

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. CatchDog May 15, 2009 at 7:51 am
    The game tonight (Lincecum vs Livan) is similar to the Santana-Parks game from last week. On paper it looks like a laughter but it could very well be a trap game for the Giants. Look for Figgy to potentially throw more innings than Livan tonight. On the other hand, if David joins Beltran and Tatis on the hit parade and Sheff gets it going, this could be a rewarding game for the Amazins.

    BTW; Joe –I really dig the candor of your posts since that kook called you out a week back. This site has become a must read. Keep up the fantastic work !!

  2. nwaldrop May 15, 2009 at 9:09 am
    Did anyone else notice how horrible Cora was at shortstop last night? In the eigth when he missed that simple throw to first and the game was tied, I went to bed. There were at least two, maybe three throws that were so simple that he couldn’t pull off. Luckily the Mets won this one but if they had lost, I think you would see alot of heat on Cora.
    As a veteran, he’s responsible to make sure he’s practiced enough to play that position at a moment’s notice. But obviously the manager and coaches failed to either give him the opportunity to practice or he failed to practice. I have no doubt that after a couple games he’ll be fine at shortstop (which is where he’s played the majority of his career) but the way he played last night was inexcusable.
    Other than that, a nice game.
  3. joe May 15, 2009 at 10:35 am
    CatchDog – good call on the Livan vs Lincecum comparison to the Santana / Park debacle. Also thanks for the kind words, it’s appreciated.

    NWaldrop – YES I absolutely noticed Cora muddling through the game defensively. But when you win all that “little stuff” gets glazed over. I wanted to bring it up but didn’t want to be labeled as negative, so thanks for opening the conversation.

    I’m not clear on how he was charged with only one error in the game … I witnessed at least two, possibly a third. The official scorers are quite liberal these days. No more Red Foleys.