Mets Game 39: Loss to Dodgers

Dodgers 5 Mets 3

As Gary Cohen so eloquently described: “All of a sudden winning 11 out of 13 seems like a long time ago.”

For the better part of the first five innings, John Maine matched Chad Billingsley pitch for pitch in what seemed to be evolving into an old fashioned pitcher’s duel. Adding to the story was the performance of the moundsmen with their bats — Maine put the Mets ahead with a two-out, two-run single up the middle, and, later, Billingsley brought his team closer with a one-run double.

However, the duel ended abruptly in the sixth, when Maine ran out of gas and allowed four straight hits. Unfortunately for Johnny, the third hit was a three-run homer by Casey Blake that put the Dodgers ahead for good.

The Mets never put much of a rally together at any point of the game against Billingsley nor various faces from the LA bullpen. But then, it’s hard to be explosive when Ramon Martinez is your six hitter.

Notes

In the top of the first, Dan Murphy singled but was picked off at first only moments later. In the bottom of the inning, a missed fly ball by Murphy in left field led to the Dodgers’ first run. Not a good start for Murphy, nor the Mets, after the ending of the previous night’s contest.

I keep hearing how John Maine pitched with “not his best stuff”. At what point do we decide that this IS the best that John Maine can do most of the time, and the brilliant outings are the anomalies?

By the way, Billingsley supposedly did not have his “best stuff” either. But he pitched into the seventh, struck out seven, and allowed only three runs on four hits.

Home plate umpire Dale Scott was like Archie Bell and Drells – tight. Both Maine and Billingsley got squeezed big time on great pitches at the knees and on the corners. And still both pitchers managed to pitch effectively. Any other umpire and this game might’ve been 0-0 through the first 7 innings.

Billingsley has some nasty breaking stuff, but he’d stay in games longer if he used his fastball more, particularly against people like Ramon Martinez and Omir Santos. In that way he reminds me of Ian Snell or Scott Kazimir — guys who seem intent on striking out every single hitter, rather than trying to get a few one- or two-pitch outs. In this day and age of pitch count limits a pitcher needs to be as efficient as possible.

Someone please explain why Ramon Martinez was in the six hole of the starting lineup? Please?

Further, why was Martinez in the lineup at all? Is Luis Castillo injured now as well? Was Castillo disciplined for attempting a sacrifice bunt in the opening game of the series? Is Jerry Manuel throwing games? With Delgado out, you would think Manuel would find a way to get Gary Sheffield into the lineup, or at least Ramon Castro. But to keep them both out AND play Martinez? Weird, weird stuff.

Cory Wade’s velocity was WAY down. He throws 92-94 but was struggling to hit 86-87 in this game. He’s had chronic shoulder issues, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit the DL again in the next few weeks. Regardless, the punchless Mets couldn’t take advantage.

James Loney is a modern-day Sid Bream.

Next Game

The series finale will begin at, you guessed it, 10:10 PM EST. They may as well start at midnight. I can’t wait until the Mets move on to Boston, the late hours are killing me. Oh, Livan Hernandez faces Eric Stults.

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 20, 2009 at 7:32 am
    Word before the game was that Sheffield was feeling ill, hence his absence from the lineup. And with Castro catching all 11 innings the night before, paired with Jerry’s love affair with Santos, that’s likely the reason why Castro rode the pine. Also, Jerry contorts the lineup just see he can have a lefty-righty mix thru spots 1-7, hence why Reed started over Tatis at 1B and why Martinez had to bat in front of Reed in the 6-spot. Is it any wonder why, all of a sudden, the Mets are once again stranding RISP at every opportunity and combining to score just 5 runs in the last 3 games? Yet, as per Gary Cohen, “all Jerry can do is shake his head.” Um, hello, he can start by fielding a somewhat competent lineup, and follow through by actually managing a strong game instead of playing hunches and trying to look like a modern-day Merlin the Magician. Clowns, the whole lot of them.