Mets Game 53: Win Over Nationals

Mets 3 Nationals 1

Sparked by fearless leader Carlos Beltran, the New York Mets showed tremendous resolve, grittiness, determination, and gumption in beating the Washington Nationals in ten innings.

Beltran led the offense with a booming double in the first frame, but was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple. Sometimes he just can’t contain his exuberance. But, his aggressiveness clearly motivated the rest of the lineup, as the Mets rallied for a run in the very next inning. David Wright — who obviously was watching Beltran and taking notes from the on-deck circle — led off the second with a double himself, and raced to third on a flyout by Dan Murphy. Wright then scored on a grounder that Fernando Tatis pulverized into the infield dirt.

The Mets didn’t score again until the tenth, but in the meantime took things personally and played better than they did in Pittsburgh.

Tim Redding threw six brilliant innings, allowing just six hits, two walks, and a run, and the bullpen combination of Brian Stokes, Bobby Parnell, Sean Green, and Frankie Rodriguez did not embarrass themselves through the last four frames, shutting out the Nats and allowing only one hit.

Captain Beltran sparked the rally in the top of the tenth, walking on four straight pitches to push the winning run, Luis Castillo, to second base. Again inspired by his teammate, David Wright lashed a double to right-center to score both runners.

K-Rod finished off the Nats 1-2-3 to earn his 15th save. He dedicated it to Beltran in an emotional outburst after striking out the final hitter of the game.

Notes

Knowing in their hearts that they were not as good as the Mets, the Nationals desperately tried to give away outs and provide golden opportunities for their opponent to run away with the game, but the Mets refused their advances, preferring instead to win the game on the level. In addition to handing the Mets’ batters seven free passes, on several occasions, they threw balls away, let them drop safely in the outfield, and skip past the catcher, but all to no avail.

Performing in Beltran’s shadow, David Wright went 4-for-5, though two of the hits weren’t exactly line drives. For example, his “double” in the second was actually a routine popup that should’ve been handled easily by shortstop Christian Guzman, but Guzman never ran after it and the ball fell safely in front of a diving Adam Dunn. He’s hitting .338, though it doesn’t seem like it.

Speaking of that Guzman gaffe, Keith Hernandez finally expressed a rare critical assessment of Manny Acta (aka Connie Mackta). He astutely pointed out that Acta routinely makes excuses for his players when they don’t hustle. Interestingly, now that Acta is on the hot seat, he gave Guzman a stern talking-to between the innings after that muffed popup. It may be too little, too late … but, no doubt the Mets will welcome Acta back with open arms if he finds himself unemployed (watch out, Jerry!).

Captain Beltran would have been on third standing up in his first at-bat, had he simply HUSTLED out of the box. Instead, the “leader” watched his long fly ball, and jogged around first, jogged toward second, then decided to “turn it on” after he rounded second base. I don’t know if his legs are hurting, or he was concerned about the muddy basepaths, but he likely wouldn’t have been caught dogging it had he simply stayed on second base. Never mind this is like the umpteenth time Beltran has made either the first or third out at third base in the last three years … it’s hard to stomach all this talk of Beltran’s leadership after watching him take his time on that blast.

While we’re on the subject of running and not running, in the top of the seventh, Fernando Martinez attempted a sacrifice that rolled foul. Ironically, Ron Villone — the pitcher last week when F-Mart chose not to run on an infield popup — was again the pitcher. Catcher Josh Bard alertly allowed the ball to roll, in case it spun into fair territory (it was only about a foot, maybe less, from the baseline), because Martinez never left the batter’s box. I’m not picking on F-Mart here — I can’t, not when the “leader” is making assumptions on long fly balls, and not when his manager doesn’t make hustling a priority. Rather, I’m pointing out that this team continues to run hard only when they feel like it, rather than all the time. And also pointing out that, despite all the “he’ll never do THAT again!” rants, Martinez DID do it again, only this time the ball remained foul and wasn’t nearly as glaring a gaffe as last week’s popup. And why did he do it again? Because he wasn’t disciplined the first time. Again — it’s not F-Mart’s fault, but rather the fault of Mets management and the lazy, loser approach to the game that they’ve cultivated.

(BTW, did you notice I used “gaffe” twice in this post, without mentioning Brent Gaff?)

I still can’t figure out how Redding made it through six innings allowing only one run. It seemed like every inning the Nats were a hit away from breaking the game wide open. My guess is the Nationals hitters were distracted by the possum hanging for dear life from his chin (I’m surprised he hasn’t heard from PETA about that yet). In any case, it was a much-needed outing, both for the depleted Mets and for the veteran’s survival on the roster.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nationals play again in soggy DC on Saturday night at 7:05 PM. John Maine faces John Lannan.

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. Murph June 6, 2009 at 2:09 am
    re: pitching.
    You called Redding’s 6 innings, 6 hits, 2 walks, 1 run “brilliant”, but the bullpen’s 4 innings, 1 hit and 0 runs is merely “not embarrassing themselves”?
    Good one! I think it’s the other way around.

    Mr. Redding got lucky to draw the hapless Nationals. He knows their hitters’ weaknesses after suffering through 2 seasons with them as teammates.

  2. wohjr June 6, 2009 at 5:23 am
    The biggest call out on beltran on that first inning hit (shoudla been 3b if you’re busting it the whole way) was a meek Gary Cohen “question”, while Keith said he liked “rolling the dice early.” Compare and contrast to the next inning when they both BLASTED guzman for not running out and fielding that Dwright 2b. Came back to it over and over again. Too much kool aid in the booth I have to say, as much as I like Keith and Ronny…
  3. CatchDog June 6, 2009 at 5:34 am
    Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo. I am the Walrus. Does anyone see that in Tim Redding. The Magical Mystery Tour will never be the same…
  4. sincekindergarten June 6, 2009 at 6:12 am
    “I still can’t figure out how Redding made it through six innings allowing only one run.”

    Don’t try, Joe. Just enjoy it, as it may not happen again. I was pleasantly surprised myself. Also a tad disappointed that the Mets’ lineup didn’t get him the win, but they were obviously thinking about Sean Green’s mental state, getting him the win. BTW, isn’t that eight straight appearrances by Green without giving up a run?

    Also, Murph, maybe the distinction between the description of Redding’s outing and the bullpen’s efforts can be summed up in this: We expect the bullpen to not give up runs. (Hell, we’re even expecting Sean Green not to give up runs now. We’ve come a long way.) When they don’t give up runs, they merely live up to our expectations of them. We expect Redding to not give the team a good outing. So, when he actually does give the team a good start, it can be described as “brilliant.”

  5. Andrew Vazzano June 6, 2009 at 8:06 am
    Damn, you beat me to the F-Mart non-running play.

    Yargh. Guess I have to link you now.

  6. isuzudude June 6, 2009 at 11:21 am
    “My guess is the Nationals hitters were distracted by the possum hanging for dear life from his chin.” Excellent line. I actually think I saw a robin building a nest in there.

    All I can say about the FMart running gaffe is that, when the Mets play the Phillies and Yankees next week, arguably the 2 best teams in baseball right now, those 2 teams better bust out of the box on everything and be absolutely flawless on the basepaths. Because, after all, if those models of perfection are imperfect, how can we expect the Mets to do everything right? I’m not making excuses for the Mets to be dumb and lazy. I’m just saying, if the Phils and Yanks can win despite a supposed “lack of effort,” why can’t the Mets? And then perhaps this thing that seems to only plague the Mets under the Willie/Jerry regime may be more rapant and widespread then we believe. JUST A THOUGHT.

  7. […] never happen again, F-Mart got a pass.Well guess what?  It happened again.  I’ll leave it to Joe Janish of Mets Today to lay it […]
  8. joejanish June 6, 2009 at 1:43 pm
    Murph, you missed my sarcasm on brilliance and embarrassment.

    ‘dude, on the robin nesting in Redding’s beard … that made me laugh out loud … I actually pictured a bird flying out of that thing, and now I can’t get it out of my head.

    also ‘dude, duly noted on the hustle thing. I can’t wait to hear the tally from your perfect-o-meter; make sure it’s set up to record all instances on both sides so we get good numbers. You think I’m joking but we may have something here … perhaps the propeller-heads can run the results through their calculators and create a stat like “Grittiness on Balls In Play”.

    Unfortunately Bill Webb won’t let us see 98% of what we want to see, but at least we’ll get magnificent close-ups of the players’ facial hair.

  9. isuzudude June 6, 2009 at 3:05 pm
    There’s actually a Family Guy episode where Peter had a bird nest in his beard which was quite comical. That’s where I drew my inspiration.

    The GBIPI (Grittiniess on Balls In Play Index) will be in effect for the Phillies series coming up next week. Although, if a batter strikes out and the ball is in the dirt and the batter doesn’t run to first base, should that count towards the index since the ball technically wasn’t in play? Perhaps I’ll need to keep a secondary GBOOPI (Grittiness on Balls Out Of Play Index) just to keep things fair.

    By the way, try saying those achronymns out loud and not laughing. I couldn’t do it on 3 seperate attempts.

  10. joejanish June 6, 2009 at 4:04 pm
    ‘dude, I didn’t even have to say them out loud …. I was laughing heartily just reading them!
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