Mets Game 65: Win Over Rays

Mets 5 Rays 3

Raise your hand if you thought the Mets had it “in the bag”, even after Ryan Church drove home an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th.

Why don’t I see any hands?

On this evening, the Mets did not find a way to lose, which means they won.

Fernando Fever gripped New York City for the second time in as many starts, as Mr. Nieve hurled six spectacular innings of three-hit, one-run ball in earning win number two as a Met. Though, the victory did not come without dramatics — the Mets bullpen did their darnedest to keep the Citi Field fans in their seats, allowing five baserunners and a pair of runs to keep it a one-run contest until Church’s RBI single.

Frankie Rodriguez shook off Thursday night’s blown save by retiring the Rays in order in a surprisingly uneventful ninth.


The ninth turned out uneventful, but it could’ve been damaging. Dioner Navarro led off the inning with a monster shot to the deepest section of right field, which fell securely in Church’s glove. In many other parks, that drive makes it a one-run game again. Later in the inning Willy Aybar chose not to bust it out for all 90 feet after hitting a grounder to Luis Castillo, and was out by a step when Dan Murphy couldn’t keep his foot on the bag while taking the throw — but had just enough time to double back and step on the bag. Shame on Aybar, and another prime example of why old schoolers such as myself were taught to hustle 100% of the time.

Church delivered his big hit against lefthander JP Howell, which makes no sense at all. Didn’t Jerry Manuel make it clear that Church can’t hit lefties? Just as interesting, Church stole two bases in the game.

The big blow of the game came off the bat of Brian Schneider, of all people. Schneider blasted a three-run homer in the second inning to give the Mets the lead for good. David Wright drove in the fourth run in the fourth inning with a double.

Bobby Parnell was unspectacular in relief, allowing two hits, a walk, and two runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Danny Murphy is most certainly out of his slump. He slapped three more singles and is really looking like the first baseman of the future. That is, if the future resembles Jason Phillips. Hey, check out Phillips’ 2003 season before you knock such a statement. Most people would be pretty darn happy if Murph finished with numbers like that.

Hmm … if Murphy IS out of his slump, what’s the point of Nick Evans’ promotion?

The Rays looked terrible at the plate, considering their talent level. I’m wondering if the cross-country trip from Colorado had anything to do with their lackluster performance.

Right now, Fernando Nieve is Jorge Sosa, circa 2007 (first half). It would be nice to see him rip off another 6-7 wins before the scouting reports and video analysis catch up to him.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Rays do it again at 4:10 PM, with Johan Santana facing James Shields in what is sure to be a pitchers’ duel. Unfortunately, the TV broadcast will be covered by FOX. Luckily, you can still hear Howie Rose call the game on WFAN.

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. gary s June 20, 2009 at 12:46 am
    joe, my kingdom for a starter who can go 7 innings.parnell showing signs of overuse??how long can sean greene last being used every day??lack of staters being able to go deep into games, rearing its ugly head just like last the way, watched 3d video of ebbets field.the place was a bandbox!!other than the rotunda, the ballpark has no resemblance to ebbets field.from above shots it does resemble the grand canyon..especially in right field.another nice job by the wilpons.
  2. sincekindergarten June 20, 2009 at 6:36 am
    Gary, maybe the idea behind CitiField was to play to the speed that the Mets have, not necessarily to allow HRs to be launched at will (like the NASA station in the Bronx).

    I dropped Parnell from my fantasy team for the simple fact that he’s not that good–yet. I had picked him up specifically for holds–and the day after I drop him, he gets another one. Figures. If he develops a decent changeup, he’ll be tough to hit again.

    Nieve can fill that role and get the Mets a few wins. Ollie Perez is looming on the horizon (much closer than John Maine, IMO), so if I were Tim Redding, I’d be a tad concerned. All in all, a decent game.

    Let’s see if Santana was fixed properly. Hafta put the game on, too.

  3. gary s June 20, 2009 at 10:37 am
    understand your point about yankee stadium being a launching pad, but this ballpark is way too big.what was wrong with the dimensions at shea.that was a pitcher’s park, but it played fair.the grand canyon in right center and the long and high wall in left center has destroyed the power numbers of our best hitter.(wright).imho, that was idiotic planning.
  4. sincekindergarten June 20, 2009 at 11:02 am
    If that was indeed the case, Wright would be hitting them on the road, then. He’s not.
  5. upson June 20, 2009 at 11:51 am
    The bullpen situation starts to be critical. The Mets simply cannot go further with Manuel trusting only 4 guys there – one of which is struggling significantly. Especially since every game the Mets are playing is close till the end. To spread the workload, it is important to put the ball in situations like yesterday (7th innning, up by 3) to one of the remaining guys (Stokes, Takahashi, Switzer), or – if Manuel does not believe them at all – it’s time to bring fresh arms from Buffalo.
  6. micalpalyn June 20, 2009 at 12:22 pm
    -I am raising my hand. In fact i had CB singling, stealing second and…..waiting to be driven home. Only i expected DW or Sheff to come thru.

    – I had Nieve sparkling…more on my contention to your doubt later.

    – The Mets beat a really good arm tonite. Note to i-dude, sonnanstine and Ed Jackson were 2 off season trade targets for Omar as TB tried to make space for Niemann and Price. Both are doing quite well.

    – On that dimensions of citi shatter…has that affected CB? Essentially he has abandoned his power game and is going back to his houston days playing a ‘jose reyes’ game….

  7. isuzudude June 20, 2009 at 5:51 pm
    Just want to respond to a few comments:

    Joe – my hand is not raised, for sure. When Green put runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out in the 8th I thought it was deja vu all over again with the bullpen meltdown, but somehow he summoned his inner K-Rod and fanned Gross and Bartlett to escape the tightrope. Thank goodness for Green’s renaissance or who knows what state this bullpen would be in right now.

    Upson – agree wholeheartedly. This has been Jerry’s biggest flaw since taking over for Willie – the fact that he only trusts half his bullpen protecting anything less than a 6 run lead. Granted, all leads were 3 runs or less last night, but your point is well recieved.

    gary – I think you need to blame the manager for the bullpen’s overusage and not the starting pitchers. If you were to tell me that Fernando Nieve would go at least 6 innings in starts against the Yankees and Rays, I’d say the Mets got very good length out of him. Not to mention, Livan Hernandez has gone 7 innings in 3 of his last 6 starts; Pelfrey has gone 7 innings in 4 of his last 8 starts, Tim Redding has pitched into the 6th in each of his last 3 starts, and Johan has gone 6 innings in all but 2 of his starts this year. All things considered, I think the Mets have gotten better-than-expected starting pitching this year, which includes duration. Yet, guys like Feliciano, Parnell, Krod, and Green are getting worn out because Jerry insists on using those same 4 guys no matter what the lead or the game situation. Can’t Brian Stokes and his 3.60 ERA be trusted with holding a 2-run lead in the 7th? Can’t Ken Takahashi and his 3.18 ERA get an appearance in the 6th inning of a game the Mets hold a lead in? Why does it always have to be the same 4 guys? That’s Jerry Manuel’s fault, not the starting pitchers’.

    mic – you certainly have more faith than the rest of us, with the exception of SK. I’m not exactly sure how you have Sonnanstine labeled as a “really good arm,” since he doesn’t throw harder than 88 and boasts an unflattering 6.60 ERA for the season. Does that really qualify as “doing quite well?” You were right on with your desire to acquire Ed Jackson, but remember he cost Detroit Matt Joyce in the offseason, and the Mets don’t really have a Matt Joyce-type prospect they could trade at their disposal. I know you wanted Omar to deal Putz to Detroit, but with Putz’ arm woes and Jackson’s fast start, there really was never any realistic chance of that type of trade panning out. It’s high time to let this ship sail away.

  8. gary s June 20, 2009 at 7:45 pm
    sk, wright and beltran have let the ballpark get into their heads.they don’t homer on the road because they have changed their stroke.the lack of power is killing this team.ironically, howard, ibanez, utley and today pena seem to have no problem hitting it out of citifield.that’s why it appears to be a mental thing with dw & cb.of course, i still maintain my point that if the wilpons just brought over the shea dimensions, maybe we could hit some homers and not be psyched out and changing our batting strokes.dw and cb are not going to hit .330 plus all year.eventually they will revert to their historical avg’s but have about half the normal avg of homers.i place the blame for that squarely on the wilpons.
  9. joejanish June 20, 2009 at 9:43 pm
    Gary, agreed on the changed approach and swing with CB and DW, and agreed that Beltran will eventually trend down to his normal .275-.285. However I think Wright might be able to stay in the .330+ range if he stays disciplined with the short stroke and opposite-field hitting. He is, after all, a career .310 hitter and batted .325 two years ago. Further, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing if Wright contends for the batting title and drives in 100+ runs. By the time the year ends, he’ll have 15-20 HRs at minimum, and I don’t think he needs to be a 30+ HR guy to be valuable — so long as he still scores and drives in 100+.

    Where the Mets sorely need power / production is from 1B and LF. Possibly RF as well, unless Church can hit .290+.

  10. micalpalyn June 20, 2009 at 11:20 pm
    I know you wanted Omar to deal Putz to Detroit

    Dude: I thought Putz was obtained to deal imediately to Detroit…but obviously/i think Omar held Putz thinking he’d get rave reveiws for his bullpen makeover then deal Putz at the deadline to an AL team needing releif…like Detroit. …sorry omar not good.

    – As it is aagreen has done his best Heilman impersonation now going thru the good patch. But Bobby p….

    I-dude …Fernando Nieve!! I wanted a buy low, Fb pitcher…as i said since spring..i thought omar got a good one. I hope he can keep going.