Mets Game 54: Loss to Nationals
Mets 7 Nationals 1
Nothing to do here but chalk it up to a bad day.
From his very first pitch, John Maine was absolutely pasted by the Nats hitters — even the outs were hit hard. He struggled mightily with his command, either leaving the ball over the middle of the plate or missing his target by several feet. By the time he was mercifully removed from the game, he had allowed 7 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks (including one to opposing pitcher John Lannan). Four of the six hits he allowed were for extra bases.
Meantime, Lannan was masterful on the mound, mowing down the Mets through nine full innings and a highly efficient 96 pitches, facing a total of only 30 hitters. It was his first career complete game. He allowed four hits and three walks, struck out only two, and the one run scored against him was unearned. So even if Maine had an average outing, it may not have mattered, since the offense was handcuffed.
If there was a bright spot, recent callup Fernando Nieve pitched two shutout innings at the tail end of the game.
Leave it to the ’09 Mets — one of the most bizarre double plays I’ve ever seen occurred in the fourth inning, when Emil Brown lifted a drive to right-center with Luis Castillo on first base. Elijah Dukes dove for the ball, trapped it, but looked as though he might have caught. Castillo ran to second base, but retreated to first when he ascertained the ball had been caught cleanly. While running back to first, he passed Brown, who had rounded first and was trying to get Castillo’s attention to tell him to run ahead to second base. Once Brown passed Castillo (technically, Castillo passed him), Brown was out. Castillo was then put out when the relay throw beat him to second base. Technically, I think Castillo would have been safe had he continued on back to first and stayed there, because Brown was already out. I’m really not sure. In any case, you can’t blame either of the runners, because the first base ump made the “no catch” / safe call, and he was positioned behind Castillo, who was looking out at the outfield and never saw nor heard the call. Totally bizarre, and something we’re not likely to see again.
One thing I don’t get … why wasn’t Brown credited with a hit? It went down in the boxscore as a double play, but, didn’t he, technically, reach first base safely? My head hurts just thinking about it.
Luis Castillo saw 21 pitches in this contest. Had it not been for him, Lannan might’ve thrown less than 80 pitches.
Let’s hope Maine was simply weak and out of shape from the stomach bug that knocked him out of his last start. Let’s also hope that within the next four days, he gets some of the IV or vitamins or whatever Carlos Beltran ingested to help him recover from that nasty bug.
One other bright spot: the Phillies lost again to the Dodgers, so the Mets didn’t lose any ground. The Phillies are in deep doo-doo, as it was the second straight game that closer Brad Lidge gave away in the ninth. They may have to consider moving Ryan Madson or someone else into the closer role.
Next Mets Game
The rubber match begins at 1:35 PM on Sunday afternoon. Livan Hernandez faces Craig Stammen.