Mets Game 61: Loss to Yankees
Yankees 15 Mets 0
Johan Santana: awful.
A.J. Burnett: spectacular.
Mets: apparently well-fed.
Johan Santana did not have his best stuff; in fact, he had his worst stuff. He allowed nine earned runs in three innings in the worst start of his Mets career. Maybe in his entire career. Meantime, Burnett had his great stuff, and wasn’t giving in, even with a 15-run lead.
The Mets threw up the white flag by the sixth inning. Strange to give up so early in a park where it’s so easy to put a ball over the fence, but that’s our team — ya gotta believe (though, not necessarily right now).
The Mets actually had Burnett on the ropes in the top of the third, loading the bases with none out and no outs in the third, but came up empty. Remember they were in an AL park so it’s not like one of those outs was the pitcher (though, I wonder if Santana wouldn’t have fared better). They are hitting under .111 with two outs and the bases juiced.
Brian “Rusty” Stokes made his first appearance since Obama’s stimulus package was unveiled, and it was inauspicious to say the least (brings back frustrating memories of Aaron Sele). No doubt he’ll be re-shackled and sent back to the dungeon.
Despite the score, the Yankees continued to hustle like madmen, out of the box, on the basepaths and in the field.
In the fourth, Alex Cora almost pulled off a triple play on a low liner off the bat of Alex Rodriguez. Cora allowed to drop, then tagged the runner who was running back to second (thinking the ball would be caught) and then fired to first but was a shade too late to nab the hustling A-Rod, who was busting it down the line with an eight-run lead. Some say it’s easy to hustle when you’re winning. Others say it’s the other way around.
During that fateful fourth frame, Ron Darling mentioned that a pitcher shouldn’t hit a batter because he’s pitching poorly. But that’s not why a pitcher would throw at a batter when a team is killing him. Rather, a pitcher will throw inside and “move a hitter’s feet” if the opposing team as a whole has become too comfortable — meaning, they have no fear standing in the batter’s box because all pitches have been thrown middle-out. If a pitcher is pounding the outside part of the plate, and the hitters are diving over the plate and smashing the ball, then it is completely acceptable for a pitcher to change his strategy and send a pitch (or two) way inside, for the purpose of planting a seed in the hitters’ heads that “hey, I can’t be so quick to dive out over the plate, because I might catch the ball on my chin”.
In the fifth inning, with the Mets down by 13, Alex Cora struck out on a check swing. The ball bounced past the catcher, but instead of running to first, Cora chose instead to stand in the box and argue with the umpire. I know there are those of you out there who will defend Cora for being frustrated about the call, and being 13 down, but this just plays right back in to what we’ve been stating here all along — the Mets hustle and do things right when they deem necessary, rather than all the time.
Bill Webb’s Emmy-award winning production skills consistently leave me frustrated. The cameras do a wonderful job of showing me the fine-grained detail of Carlos Beltran’s mole or the whiskers under Ryan Church’s chin, but they don’t give me a very good view of the action. Case in point: bottom of the second inning, an RBI single to left field where Fernando Martinez threw the ball up the first base line as Hideki Matsui scored. Webb provided us six different angles, but only one of them was slightly helpful in seeing what happened on the play. What we saw was: 1. the shot of Jeter making contact with the ball from the CF camera; 2. a closeup on F-Mart fielding the ball; 3. a full-screen closeup on Matsui running somewhere between third and home; 4. camera closeup following the ball as it was thrown by Martinez; 5. camera panning toward home as the throw comes in; 6. camera closeup following Santana after his pitch as he ran to back up home plate; 7. full-screen shot of Santana picking up the ball behind home plate; 8. overhead shot of the infield as the play ensued. That last view was the most helpful, as we could see the runners going around the bases and Santana’s path from the mound to his backup position. Note to Mr. Webb: instead of 7 useless glam shots of a uniform filling the screen, how about one or two wide-angle views that show as much of the field and the play as possible? Some of us don’t care if the players look small — we just want to see the action. Better yet: just stick ONE camera behind home plate, and give us that view once in a while. This isn’t a fashion show, it’s a baseball game.
Prior to the contest, Francisco Rodriguez confronted Yankee pitcher Bob Bruney about Bruney’s remarks about K-Rod’s postgame celebratory routine. Being an old-school guy who was taught to a) respect your opponent and b) keep your emotions in check, I can’t say I’m on K-Rod’s side. And I’m not sure it shows that K-Rod is a competitor or “tough”. To me it shows that Bruney got under his skin — and why would you want to let someone know that hey have that power over you? If I’m K-Rod, I counter in the media — where the battle was originally waged — with something dismissing like “hey, when Bruney saves 60 games he can judge my antics”, and leave it at that. For those who think K-Rod showed the team has “spunk” or that he was “showing some fire in the belly” or looking to “spark the team”, well, take a look at the final score. Didn’t work. Talk is cheap.
Next Mets Game
The Mets have a day off on Monday, then travel down to Baltimore to face the Orioles for a three-game set. Game one on Tuesday begins at 7:05 PM, with Mike Pelfrey facing Jeremy Guthrie.