Mets Game 35: Win Over Giants

Mets 8 Giants 6

Good to see that Johan Santana is not the only elite pitcher in baseball who has trouble collecting victories.

Following the script, the Mets jumped ahead in the first frame, but by the time they batted again, a win seemed a distinct impossibility.

After all, Livan Hernandez immediately gave up the one run lead, and four runs total, and San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum was hurling hellacious stuff.

The Giants extended the lead to 5-1 by the time the second inning ended, and Lincecum was looking downright nasty, so the picture grew bleaker.

However, Hernandez managed to keep the San Francisco bats at bay for three innings, and the Mets chipped away with a two spot in the top of the sixth. Reliever Sean Green gave one of them back in the bottom of the inning, but the Mets came charging back in the top of the seventh, rallying against a suddenly tired Lincecum. They put two runners on and Merkin Valdez (who?) was trotted in from the bullpen to put out the fire. A poor choice by SF manager Bruce Bochy, since the red-hot David Wright blasted a double to clear the bases and the game. Bochy came to his senses and immediately replaced Valdez with lefty Jeremy Affeldt, who struck out three of the next four batters to stop the bleeding.

The game remained tied until the top of the ninth, when “closer” Brian Wilson entered the game for the Giants and proceeded to melt down. He allowed back-to-back singles to Gary Sheffield and David Wright to start the inning, bringing up Ryan Church. Despite the fact that Church already had two hits, was swinging the bat well, and two RH hitters from the bottom of the order were up next, Church was asked to bunt. The ball was bunted hard right back to Wilson, and Sheffield would’ve been out at third by ten feet — but Wilson threw the ball into left field, allowing Sheff to score the go-ahead run and Wright to move to third. Omir Santos followed with his trademark sacrifice fly to make it 8-6 Mets. Wilson gave up a double to Fernando Tatis before he was finally, and mercifully, removed from the game.

Francisco Rodriguez came on in the ninth and notched his 11th save, completing a 1-2-3 inning for the first time since little league.

Notes

Pretty cool to see Lincecum not only drive in a run with an opposite-field base hit, but to also see him try to stretch it into a double (he was thrown out by Gary Sheffield). How often do you see a pitcher — much less a franchise ace — try to do that?

Keith Hernandez was a little silly during this broadcast. At one point, he referred to Ryan Church as “fleet of foot”.

Though several regular sticks in the Mets’ lineup were absent, the upside of the situation was that Jerry Manuel had several bullets to choose from in the late innings. Danny Murphy came through with a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth, but Jose Reyes failed in his pinch-hitting appearance in the seventh.

Bruce Bochy was tossed from the game after Pablo Sandoval was called out on strikes in the bottom of the seventh. Sandoval made a check swing on a full-count pitch from Pedro Feliciano, and the pitch hit him. Originally, the home plate umpire Doug Eddings clearly made the signal for Sandoval to take first base, then asked first base umpire Hunter Wendelstadt for help on the swing call. Wendelstadt called swing and Eddings reversed his original call. Very poor execution by the umpires — not only was it a bad move to ask for help AFTER sending the batter to first, but Wendelstadt also got the call wrong; Sandoval definitely didn’t swing.

Not to be outdone, Mets manager Jerry Manuel got himself tossed by Eddings less than ten minutes later, arguing a strike three call on Carlos Beltran.

David Wright had three hits. Ryan Church, Gary Sheffield, and Jeremy Reed all collected two hits apiece. Reed started at first base for the first time in his MLB career, and the first time since college.

Bengie Molina threw out Church attempting to steal second in the ninth. It was the Mets’ first failure a dozen attempts in the series.

Seeing the lack of offense and dearth of skill in their bullpen, it’s amazing the Giants won 18 times this year. I’m beginning to think the entire National League is awful. It’s either time to contract the league by a few teams or end PEDs testing, because the talent pool we’ve been seeing lately is below “Major League”.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Giants lock horns again at 4:10 PM EST on Saturday afternoon. Johan Santana faces Randy Johnson, though we’re learning that the starting pitchers really don’t matter so much.

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. isuzudude May 16, 2009 at 10:54 am
    Think Bob Klapisch is going to give any credit to the Mets now, as they guarenteed themselves at least a split of a 4-game series against a team that had been tough to beat at home following a no-rest red-eye flight from NY to SF?

    Well, I’ll surely give them credit. No Delgado, no Reyes, no Putz, no rest for the weary, and they still manage back-to-back come-from-behind victories. The Mets may be getting very beneficial calls from the umpiring crews, and may be benefiting from some dopey plays by the opposition, but for a change it’s nice to see them taking advantage of the opportunities given to them rather than squadering them and making their own excuses to lose. Looking back at last night’s game, I gotta ask how in the world did they pull out a win? With Lincecum dealing and Livan in 2008-mode, how did a 5-1 deficit become an 8-6 win? My key to staying sane this season is temperance, but with games like this it’s hard not to get just a little bit excited.

    Though I still think it’s too early to set opinions in stone, I gotta say I was wrong on the Sheffield signing. He’s no .300/30/100 hitter anymore, but he’s still good enough to bat cleanup and provide some needed offensive support to a team that has lost one of it’s biggest bats for who knows how long. Even today, I’d still prefer Andruw over Shef, but in this race the consolation prize ain’t half bad. Let’s hope Gary can keep it up.

  2. mic May 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm
    Forget Bob Klap….what about Joe Janish?

    a. 2 weeks ago i was watching Ollie’s last game …while wife was getting ready o go into labor…and i was noting that the team really was not bad. The hles last year at this point were far more glaring.

    b. Castro: Since the castro ‘benching’ his focus especially hitting sure has gotten better.

    c. Santos: In 2005, omar signed a little known Catcher who had hit .100 in a small sample with the Fish and had legal issues (ramon Castro)
    -Last yr he simply signed 30 unemployed catchers…Gustavo molina, Raul casanova and Robinson cancel got the most press.
    – this year Omir Santos is the latest .1oo hitting catcher project…but this time I think you are looking at the back up catcher for 2010 and beyond.

    d. Manuel: ONE thing that is different is how aggressive this team is. reflections of Gary sheff’s ego? Yes they have lost ballgames by poor base running but they are starting to look like the fish with how aggressive they are.

    2 losses to the Bobby Cox Braves…close ones are all that seperate the Mets from being on a 11-0 streak…

  3. joe May 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm
    Mic:

    1. Congrats on the baby (?)

    2. Castro was far from “unknown”. He was an eternal enigma, a former #1 pick with a stunning skill set for a catcher, including power potential. However his work ethic and attitude never matched his talent, which was enough for the Astros to give up on him. The Marlins saw the same, and dumped him after the rape charges. The Mets were one of the few teams willing to give the guy a third chance — but everyone was aware of his talent.

    3. In contrast, Omir Santos has never been considered by anyone to have a particularly special MLB skillset. He may well be the backup catcher in 2010, but that’s not enough to excite me — the Mets will still need a #1.

    4. True, they have FINALLY been aggressive, for the first time since Willie left. It’s going on for what, 8 days now? A good plan considering the spacious Citi Field. Let’s hope they stick to it.

    5. If not for one bad umpiring call, the Mets would’ve been swept by the Braves. EVERY game has been close, so they could just as easily be 0-11.

    6. This Mets team doesn’t impress me. The teams they have been playing, though, impress me less. It may take only 85 wins to take the NL East. So once again, despite gross mismanagement, the Wilpons have succeeded in producing a club that should play “meaningful games” in September. Yee ha.