Mets 7 Nationals 4
As expected, the Mets clobbered the Nationals to finish off a three-game sweep and replace the Phillies in the top perch of the NL East.
Johan Santana was terrible (for Santana … for mere mortals, he was only good), but luckily was facing a AAA team that was bound to falter once enough innings passed by. The only chance Washington had of not losing was a rainstorm — and even then, their best bet was a 5-inning tie.
Santana struck out 11 and allowed only 3 hits in 6 innings of work, but walked 6 and allowed the Nats to cross the plate 3 times in an extremely inefficient 120-pitch outing.
It was Danny Murphy Day at Citi Field, and all fans 12 and under (as well as all fans 12 and up) were treated to a remarkable offensive display from the first baseman of the future. Murphy busted out of his recent slump by going 3-for-4 with 5 RBI, including a homerun and a double. In one evening, he jacked his average 16 points, to .262.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for no other reason than to keep the fans inside the stadium. He fulfilled his job of making the game interesting — going so far as to create a situation where Adam Dunn might have come to the plate as the potential tying run — before shrieking “psyche!” and ending the ballgame with a strikeout of Ryan Zimmerman.
Murphy’s homerun was originally called a non-homer, but yet another video review convinced the umpires that the ball bounced off the Subway sign, which is technically in homerville. Gary Sheffield was thrown out at home (but not really) trying to score from first after the ball that really wasn’t in play was retrieved by Adam Dunn and relayed into the infield.
But was it really a homerun? Hard to say. I was there, but the sight line from where I was standing at the time precluded me from seeing the ball clearly (the hot dog vendor standing in front of me didn’t help, either). Watching the replays afterward on TV, I’m not convinced either way. From one angle, it looked like the ball changed direction, presumably from bouncing off the Subway sign. From other angles, it looked like that change in direction could have been an optical illusion.
And for those of you who were watching on TV, you may have heard Kevin Burkhardt relay the message from the Mets fans sitting directly above the Subway sign confirming that the ball didn’t hit the sign. Yikes, and wow, thank you, video review!
Sheffield, by the way, drove in the Mets other two runs.
David Wright struck out four times. He was clearly, undoubtedly, trying to do too much at the plate — likely because Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Omir Santos were all absent from the lineup.
Three shockers involving rookie Fernando Martinez. First, F-Mart popped up in front of home plate and chose to roll his eyes, pout, and watch the ball rather than run to first base. The ball bounced off Wil Nieves’ chest, but since Martinez didn’t run, Ron Villone was able to still get the out by picking up and tossing the ball to first base. (Note: the shocking thing here was that F-Mart didn’t run, as he had shown to be a hungry, hustling ballplayer in spring training.). Shocker number two was seeing F-Mart trot out to right field at the top of the next inning. Unbelievably, manager Jerry Manuel did not discipline him on the spot and replace him with, say, Jeremy Reed. Shocker number three came in F-Mart’s next at-bat, when he popped up again, but this time to centerfield, and he didn’t run hard again! He watched it, jogged halfway up the first base line, and then started run hard when he saw that Justin Maxwell was going to have trouble getting to the ball (Maxwell wound up making a sliding catch). Those of you watching at home missed that, and the SNY announcers didn’t make a peep about it, either (ironically, Gary Cohen quipped during the at-bat, “…you can bet he’s not going to do that again anytime soon” well, he did).
BTW I watched that first play again on DVR when I got home and was treated to a fourth shock — that SNY
cheerleaders announcers Gary Cohen and Ron Darling barely discussed this travesty. The strongest criticism was Cohen describing it as “a mistake”. Are you kidding me? It’s not a mistake, it’s an abomination. You get removed from the game immediately, and, preferably, sent back to Buffalo on the next flight. Anything less and you’re sending the wrong message to the player and the entire ballclub.
Oh, and another thing you didn’t see on your TVs at home was a second player dogging it — Ramon Castro, on his double (it was sandwiched between the Murphy’s non-homer/homer and F-Mart popup). Castro watched the ball from the batter’s box and did a light jog for the first 75 feet. Once the ball bounced on the foul line, he began what I’ll generously term a “trot”. I realize Castro is not a fast man, and likely would not have had a chance at a triple, but that’s no excuse for not hustling. Sit him too, and put Fernando Tatis behind the plate if you have to. It’s time these lollygaggers are made responsible for their actions, and given notice that playing professional baseball is a privilege.
Call me a “nitpicker” or an ornery “old school” guy, but I am livid with the way this non-hustling is tolerated — by the fans, the announcers, the Mets management, and the players themselves. This is MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, and the very least to be expected is effort — particularly from rookies and bench players who have something to prove.
Despite their lack of hustle, this team might win 85-90 games purely on talent, and it might be enough to get them a postseason spot. But I’m not sure I’ll care. The players don’t, so why should I?
At least now I know why the tickets for this game were much less than any others on the schedule — because the quality was much less than Major League. You get what you pay for.
Next Mets Game
dogs dog-tired Mets get a wellllllll-deserved day off on Thursday, then host the Marlins on Friday to begin a three-game series. Mike Pelfrey goes to the mound vs. Sean West.
About the Author
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.