Mets Game 44: Win Over Nationals

Mets 5 Nationals 2

The Mets bullpen tried their mightiest to blow the game, but discovered what a tall order it is to hand a game to the lowly Nationals.

John Maine pitched six innings of four-hit ball, and the Mets pitchers escaped with a win despite issuing nine walks to the Nats. Though, Washington pitching wasn’t much better, giving the Mets seven free passes in a contest that could have been termed a walk-a-thon.

In the end, the Mets emerged the victor, thanks in part to a three-run homer off the bat of Gary Sheffield in the sixth inning. After Sheff’s blast, Maine hit the showers and four Mets relievers combined for 6 walks in the final three innings before claiming victory.


For the third straight game, a video review of a homerun call stopped play momentarily. Sheffield’s homer deflected off the hands of a fan reaching over the wall in left field.

Sheffield, Carlos Beltran, and Luis Castillo collected two hits apiece. Beltran and Ramon Martinez drove in the other two Mets runs.

It took J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez a combined 52 pitches to record the final 7 outs of the ballgame.

Several times during the game, because of the MLB-issued red hats for Memorial Day, I had to look twice to figure out who was on the field. I kept thinking it was the Nationals on defense when it was actually the Mets.

For the record, the red hats clashed mightily against the orange and blue uniforms, but as long as they help raise money for veterans, it’s something I’m happy to deal with for one day.

In the first inning, Carlos Beltran attempted to score on a Gary Sheffield two-out single. As he approached home plate, he had to gingerly step around Sheffield’s bat, which was resting in the baseline, in front of home plate. Beltran had no chance to score — the throw beat him by 20 feet — but the fact the bat was out there was absolutely inexcusable. On-deck hitter David Wright should know better, and should have cleared the bat. Little things like that are inexcusable.

Speaking of short rosters, Jose Reyes sat AGAIN. Enough is enough — the moment he wasn’t in the lineup, Reyes should have been placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to his last game appearance. Continuing this “day to day” stuff is stupidity.

If the Nats couldn’t win this one, they ain’t winning any of ’em — they left 13 runners on base, bad even by Mets-in-April standards. Pencil in a sweep.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nats do it again at 7:10 PM on Tuesday night. Livan Hernandez faces Craig Stammen.

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. sincekindergarten May 26, 2009 at 5:08 am
    Parnell gives up a run right at the time I added him to my fantasy team (I need holds). Just my luck.

    Looks like Jeff Maier got into the left field stands last night. Not sure how I would have ruled that one.

    Here’s hoping that they keep the foot on the throttle tonight.

  2. isuzudude May 26, 2009 at 8:39 am
    I don’t care how much it slows down the game, I love instant replay. Getting the call right should always take precedent over finishing the game quicker.

    Isn’t it the responsibility of the home plate umpire to remove the bat if there’s going to be a play at the plate? After all, once the ball is hit, he has nothing left to do until a runner attempts to score but pick his nose. Since he’s standing right next to the bloomin’ thing, why not just reach down, pick it up, and throw it aside? I know it’s commonplace for the on-deck hitter to take care of that duty, but it seems like a lot for Wright to sprint to the plate, get rid of the bat, and then turn around and direct Beltran to slide left, slide right, or stand up. And then what if he can’t get the bat out of the way in time and interferes with the play, or what if Wright somehow gets injured retrieving the bat? I know it’s a whacky scenario, but I hate to take that chance.

  3. wally May 26, 2009 at 9:39 am

    It’s enough these pansy asses don’t play the game the right way, but even worse when people defend them!

    You’re taught in little league to move the bat. It is one of two responsibilities of the leadoff hitter. Ain’t too difficult. Clear the bat, tell the guy which way to slide. Takes all of five seconds.

  4. isuzudude May 26, 2009 at 10:07 am
    Wally, any good reason why the umpire can’t get rid of the bat?
  5. gary s May 26, 2009 at 10:34 am
    manuel should have kept maine in the game for the 7th..he’s gonna kill our bullpen by september..he’s totally clueless
  6. mic May 26, 2009 at 11:01 am
    -I envy all of you who watched the game. Me, all i have is gameday. Nonetheless, the wonderfull ‘questec’ feature leads me to ask…’where was the strikezone’ it seems there were alot of erratic calls of high strikes and no calls on the outer half.

    -F-mart: 1-5 w/ a 2rbi HR. Note Mets power outage.

    -Glad that putz and F-rod replicated BP’s problems which to me reflects the umpires.

    -Also give credit to the Mets pitchers. Guzman, Nick Johnson, Adam Dunn, Flores, and Kearns are NOT exactly a light hitting line up, add to that (as manuel stated) you HAVE TO beat them with pitching (and defense) but are defense (and offense) are on the back up DL.

  7. joe May 26, 2009 at 11:38 am
    SK – drop Parnell, NOW. You’re jinxing him.

    isuzudude – the umpire’s job is to make the right call. the on-deck hitter’s job is to clear the basepath. Wright had plenty of time to move the bat, and if he were to get hurt doing it, it’s the same as if he got hurt chasing after a pop fly — it is what he is supposed to do. And you are OK with Beltran breaking his neck tripping on a bat as opposed to Wright somehow getting hurt moving it?

    wally – you’re right, but lighten up

    gary – I’m torn on that one. Maine’s mechanics scare me when it comes to pushing him beyond his limits. But you’re right about the BP.

    mic – most of Parnell’s pitches were clearly balls. I didn’t think the strike zone was tight enough to excuse 16 walks. the Nats lineup isn’t too scary if you just pitch around Dunn.

  8. Patrick May 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm
    If Jose Reyes let that bat sit where it was the insanity hounds would be burning the lines at WFAN trading him for David Eckstien.

    But on a further aside, does Razor Shines have a freaking clue, he is quickly turning into Dale Svuem out there, just send em, always and often no matter what.

  9. Bryan May 26, 2009 at 1:17 pm
    Seriously Joe? You’re getting on Wright for not moving the bat? The home team’s on deck circle is on the 1B side. Wright would have had to walk around the umpire, to the 3B side and move it. The catcher or umpire should have moved it. I’m pretty sure there is a rule that prohibits the player in the on deck circle from approaching the playing field while the ball is in play.

    This complaint is beyond ridiculous.

  10. joe May 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm
    Seriously Bryan? Would you have felt the same if Beltran tripped over the bat and busted his knee?

    I’m absolutely sure there is no rule prohibiting an on-deck hitter from removing a bat from the basepath.

    And you think the catcher or umpire should have moved it? What is their interest in the matter of keeping Beltran safe from injury and allowed a free and clear path to home plate?

    This is such a simple, basic fundamental of baseball that I’m guessing you’ve never played the game, in which case I excuse your ignorance. But please consider logic before calling my complaint “ridiculous”.

  11. The Coop May 26, 2009 at 1:34 pm
    Joe, you are absolutely right for the whole Jose Reyes DL thing. He should be DL’d immediately if not sooner. I mean – seriously, if it’s bodies they are worried about (read: can’t bring up F-mart yet), just bring up some scrub for the ‘pen and wait the whole freaking three days or whatever that the 15-day will be over retroactively (yes I know it would potentially be longer but this is ri-goshdarn-diculous already).
  12. Brian May 26, 2009 at 1:56 pm
    While it may be fundamentally correct for the on-deck hitter to clear the bat, I have seen the umpire do it countless times. Do we have to get on this team for every stinkin’ thing?

    What was more inexecusable was sending Beltran in the first place on his gimpy knees.

  13. joe May 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm
    Brian, agreed on the mistake of sending Beltran.

    And yes we do have to get on this team for every stinkin’ thing, because they have consistently failed to execute the simple, easy parts of the game for three years running. With all their raw talent, they would run away with the NL East if they paid attention to the “little” things.

    Instead we are frustrated with a team that teeters at .500 because they constantly beat themselves. It’s maddening, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

  14. Ed in Westchester May 26, 2009 at 3:47 pm
    I’m not so sure attention to the little things is what caused them to lose the NL East the past two years. Last yr was very much the issue of John Maine missing nearly 2 months, and Billy Wagner missed two months.
    The year before, well, injuries again, and a craptacular bullpen.
    I do think the fielding errors are maddening, and there have been some boneheaded baserunning mistakes. But the nitpicking is bringing us close to being WFAN ready, either as a caller or host.
  15. wlaadair May 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm
    Yes, Wright should have cleared the bat away, but he didn’t, no real harm done, why is everyone so hung up on this? If Beltran had gotten injured, the guilt would have been on him, but i’m sure Jerry talked to him about it, but if not, then its not our place to criticize what was or was not done.
  16. cab May 26, 2009 at 7:00 pm
    forget wright.

    is razor shines watching the same game everybody else is? how can he send beltran there when he knows he has a bum knee. leaving beltran on third would also have actually allowed david to see a pitch instead of getting unintensionally intensionally walked like he did.

  17. joe May 26, 2009 at 7:27 pm
    Ed – in case you missed it, the Mets missed the postseason by ONE GAME in 2008, and ONE GAME in 2007. ONE GAME. But attention to the little things didn’t make a difference? Really? This isn’t “nitpicking”, it’s baseball. Pay attention to what’s happening during an entire game, not just when the crowd roars or what the numbnut journalists harp on, or soon you’re going to sound just like those WFAN callers.

    If you can’t see how fundamentals affect the outcome of a game, then please review the Atlanta Braves of 1991-2005.

    wlaadair – if we don’t criticize and discuss, then I may as well shut down the blog. It’s conversation.

    cab – agreed, Shines needs to do a better job there. Perhaps he felt his bellowing voice, enthusiasm, and words of encouragement would be enough to give Carlos that extra bit of speed and effort necessary to score?

  18. wlaadair May 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm
    I wasn’t referring to anyone on this blog when i mentioned criticism, i apologize, a lot of people have been talking about it, yes it is all in the name of discussion, nothing more, nothing less.
  19. joe May 26, 2009 at 10:38 pm
    wlaadair, just keep the conversation going. Hope I didn’t come off as too caustic — it’s my personality, nothing personal.
  20. isuzudude May 27, 2009 at 9:25 am
    I’m in total agreement that the Mets have failed to do the “little things” over the past 2+ seasons, which has prevented them from winning more games that they should have. But I agree most with what Brian (with an I, not a Y) had to say. Numerous times in the past the umpire has performed the duty of clearing the bat out of the way when there is an approaching play at the plate. Like I said before, I know it’s become commonplace for the on-deck hitter to get the bat out of there, perhaps so he can be in position to help the runner slide correctly, but there simply is no good reason why that can’t be the umpire’s job. He’s standing right there. All it takes is to bend down, pick it up, and throw it aside. It’s so much easier for him to do it than the on-deck hitter. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not going to argue the fact that the on-deck hitter usually performs that task. I’m arguing that maybe the on-deck hitter isn’t the person most suited to perform the task; rather, the umpire is.