Mets Game 68: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 6 Cardinals 4

Miracles DO happen.

Fresh off the news that yet another All-Star and “core” player — Carlos Beltran — was unavailable due to injury, the bedgraggled and beleaguered New York Mets pulled off the impossible, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in an official Major League Baseball game.

Tim Redding was spectacular — OK, maybe not spectacular, but so surprisingly effective it felt spectacular — in holding the Cards to a mere four runs over seven full innings of work to earn his first victory as a New York Met. Key to Redding’s performance was his handcuffing of Sir Albert Pujols, holding the Great One to a mere double and one measly run scored. If you can stymie Pujols, then the rest of the Redbird lineup is cake in comparison. Indeed, Redding allowed a total of five hits and one walk to the Cardinals, and struck out four.

Meanwhile, the supposedly shorthanded Mets offense exploded for 14 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs, led by teacher’s pet Omir Santos and the previously contemptible Luis Castillo, who were perfect on the day, combining to go 7-for-7 with a walk, 3 runs scored, and 2 RBI. Five Mets drove in a run or more, and Danny Murphy electrified the crowd with one of those “over the fence” hits that fans in other cities refer to as a “home run”.

Supporting Redding’s winning performance was the bullpen, which held the St. Louis batsmen scoreless through the final three innings of play. Jon Switzer struck out one and allowed a hit in his 1/3 inning of work, Brian Stokes (yes he’s still on the roster) retired the only batter he faced, and Francisco Rodriguez cut up the Cards in the ninth for his 19th save of the season.


Alex Cora was 2-for-4 with a walk and 2 RBI from the leadoff spot, and David Wright had one single and two walks. In addition to the four-bagger, Murphy also singled and scored on a Ryan Church sacrifice fly in the first frame.

Jeremy Reed was 0-for-4 starting in centerfield in place of Beltran. Wouldn’t it just figure, the guy was a firestorm in spring training, hot as a griddle through April and May, and now that he finally has been forced into an opportunity to play, his bat is cold as ice. More bad luck for the Mets, and terrible luck for Reed. Expect to see Ryan Church and/or Fernando Martinez getting time in centerfield as a result.

In the fourth inning, Santos scored on a bomb to left-center by Luis Castillo. On the relay home, Brendan Ryan threw a perfect strike to catcher Yadier Molina, but the throw was a few feet short of Molina, who allowed the ball to skip through his legs. Ryan was charged with the error and SNY announcer Keith Hernandez spent considerable time criticizing Ryan for having his back to the plate as he received the relay throw from left fielder Rick Ankiel, going so far as to demonstrate from the broadcast booth the proper way to position oneself for accepting the throw from the outfield. However, Hernandez failed to notice, nor mention, the reason WHY Ryan had his back to the plate when he caught the ball — it was because the throw by Ankiel sailed to Ryan’s right side, and Ryan had to quickly re-position his feet and move his entire body to the right in order to catch the throw cleanly. Originally, Ryan was getting himself into the proper position (left shoulder pointed toward the target) but once the ball tailed the “wrong” way, he had no choice but to turn his back to home plate. What made Keith’s diatribe even more ridiculously pointless was the fact that Ryan made a nearly perfect throw. Despite being completely turned around, with his back to the plate, Ryan spun and let loose a fine throw that was perfectly on line, and only about 5-10 feet short of home plate. Watching the replay several times, it looked to me like Molina was at fault for not handling the short-hop — he allowed the ball to handcuff him by reaching out and stabbing for it instead of allowing it to come to him. And, in defense of both Ankiel and Ryan, the conditions were rainy and wet, and the ball was likely slick, making it very hard to get a good grip and probably the reason Ankiel’s throw was to Ryan’s right side instead of his left. For all you kids out there, yes, Mr. Hernandez did demonstrate the proper fundamental in receiving a relay throw — but understand that circumstances can sometimes force you out of the ideal position, in which case you have to “get creative”.

Next Mets Game

The Mets will attempt to again attain the impossible on Tuesday night when they host the Cardinals at Citi Field at 7:10 PM. Livan Hernandez faces Joel Pineiro.

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 23, 2009 at 1:14 am
    When Mr. Manuel let Mr. Redding bat in the bottom of the 6th, with men in scoring position, I thought it was the wrong move. Redding had just given up 2 runs in the top of the 6th. 6 innings, 3 runs is great, if your expectations are as low as they are for Mr. Redding. Why press your luck?

    Well, it paid off, because although he didn’t successfully sacrifice, the Mets scored an insurance run anyway, and Redding pitched a scoreless 7th.

    But why would you continue to press your luck and throw Redding out there to start the 8th? As it happens, the Mets still needed 3 pitchers to finish that inning. But anybody could have predicted that Redding would not be successful in the 8th inning. Oh, that’s right, Switzer and Stokes are now the 8th inning bridge to K-Rod. And if Switzer is the 2nd LOOGY, why was he still in the game to inevitably allow the righty to reach base?

  2. sincekindergarten June 23, 2009 at 5:16 am
    Murph, you raise a decent question with your post–do we want the Mets to win ugly, or lose pretty? Maybe Redding went to Manuel and said, “I can go a little further.” Maybe Manuel wanted to rest Green and Feliciano. Maybe Manuel was “managing with his gut.”

    The bottom line is this: They won a game that, when one looked at the starting lineups, they had zero business winning. And the win will put some added pressure on the Phillthies in Tampa Bay this week.

  3. CatchDog June 23, 2009 at 7:52 am
    In reference to the Keith subject, I was forced to watch ESPN’s feed. Met hater Steve Phillips was all over the improper positioning of the shortstop’s relay also. In general, a lefty like Ankiel’s throw will usually tail to your right. Either way, in a bang-bang play, the relay was pretty good considering the conditions Joe had mentioned.

    Anyone notice how every Card’s player caught a pop fly utilizing both hands? Alex Cora appears to be the only Met who uses two. Murphy didn’t and neither did Church (twice), Reed, Tatis and Santos. Unbelievable.

    Good win for the Mets but this is the formula in which they have played this season. Win the first game in the series and drop the next two. Let’s see what the formula is when playing four…

  4. Walnutz15 June 23, 2009 at 8:21 am
    Now, we all know that Keith Hernandez has been critical of everyone on the field from the moment he stepped into the booth — way back when.

    Part of the intrigue I had, was that he pulled no punches — and actually called the 2002 team “a bunch of quitters”…..however, he’s ridiculously over the top in every aspect now.

    Doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of him….I actually take pleasure in his condescension from time to time, and make it a side-game, so to speak….but if he’s really as “into” the game as he says he is, then he knows that lefties have a natural tail on their throws.

    Ankiel’s ball dances — and it’s obvious to all that have played the game before, that it tailed to Ryan’s open side. Happens all the time.

    I’ve fallen victim to it from the days of little league — and to this day, I’ll yell to my cut-off man “right-side!”……just happens to lefties, with wind, and non-perfect release point.

    Enough with the chastizing, Mex. You clearly go out of your way to do it now.

    Nice win last night……however, show me somethin’ by sticking around and minimizing the mental errors on the basepaths.

    It’s one game, and it’s time to start playing fundamentally sound ball. The only way they’ll have a shot this year.

  5. Walnutz15 June 23, 2009 at 8:44 am
    Not sure if this was discussed at all on here yesterday, but I hadn’t seen it until really late last night.

    Given the current state of our ‘pen — coupled with potential breakdown as the summer progresses….there’s really no reason for Omar not to look into bringing him back.

    I’m curious to see what happens here. Could always use another capable arm…..let alone, someone they were comfortable enough with last year to have close when Wagner went down.

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have designated reliever Luis Ayala for assignment in the latest move to address their struggling bullpen.

    Ayala was 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA in 28 appearances this season. He gave up an eighth-inning home run to Houston’s Lance Berkman on Saturday as the Twins relievers let a 3-1 lead slip away in a 6-5 defeat.

    The Twins signed Ayala to a one-year, $1.3 million contract in February in hopes that he would develop into a reliable setup man for closer Joe Nathan. But Ayala allowed 38 hits in 32 1-3 innings this season.

    The Twins say they bring up right-hander Bobby Keppel from Triple-A Rochester in time for Tuesday’s game at Milwaukee.

    From Rotoworld:

    Twins designated RHP Luis Ayala for assignment.

    The move opens a spot on the roster for Bobby Keppel, who will be brought up before Tuesday’s game against the Brewers. Ayala, 31, was 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 21/8 K/BB ratio in 28 appearances this season.…Mlb&id=3619

  6. isuzudude June 23, 2009 at 8:56 am
    “Danny Murphy electrified the crowd with one of those “over the fence” hits that fans in other cities refer to as a “home run”.” Priceless humor. Love it.
    Also, Stokes only pitched to one batter in the 8th, but he happened to produce a double play grounder from Albert Pujols to end the inning. And to think Jerry Manuel has been afraid of using Stokes all this time. Any one wanna make a bet that Stokes now appears in 6 games a week from now until the allstar break?

    In defense of Jerry, leaving Redding in to bat in the 6th was correct in my opinion because it was a clear bunting situation (runners on 1st and 2nd, 1 out), Redding’s pitch count was still low, and the bullpen is dead tired. On a previous thread you wrote the bullpen is beat up because the starting pitchers are pathetic, yet here you allude you want the beat-up bullpen to get even more work despite a relatively successful and economical performance by Redding. You need to stay consistent with your approach.
    Also, regarding Redding pitching into the 8th, I still think Jerry made the right call there, too, because a light-hitting righty, Brendan Ryan, was leading off. I’m sure Jerry had the mentality that if anyone got on base (meaning the tying run was coming to the plate) he’d go to the pen, but as it happened Ryan hit a homer and Redding was yanked then. Redding’s pitch tally was only 95 when he was removed, and had just retired the side in order in the 7th, so it’s not like he was showing any signs of fatigue. So why not let him keep working to start the 8th?
    As per leaving Switzer in to face the righty Tyler Greene, the alternative was bringing in Stokes and then watching the Cardinals pull Greene back and pinch hit with the lefty Chris Duncan, a much more powerful threat than Greene. In a 1-run game in which a home run ties things up, I’m opting to go lefty vs righty with the light-hitting Greene than righty vs lefty with the imposing Duncan. Again, Jerry made the right call. Unfortunately, after getting ahead in the count 1-2, Switzer allowed Greene to reach base, but Stokes came in to extinguish the fire so everything worked out. But looking back, I’d rather surrender a single to Greene than a game-tying homer to Duncan.

    Regarding Hernandez, his analysis is a joke and his contributions to the game are more humorous than enlightening, if you ask me. During in-game conversations it’s easy to pick up on the notion that he doesn’t watch many games in which he’s not calling, and for half of the games in which he calls he needs to apologize for “not paying attention” or “not seeing the play.” But he’s Keith Hernandez so he gets away with it. Still, he’s proof that just because you’re an ex-ballplayer doesn’t automatically make you a good broadcaster.

  7. Walnutz15 June 23, 2009 at 9:05 am
    I enjoy it when you hear his text messages going off in the booth — the sign of a true “professional”.

    No matter how bush he is, though — Mex is still great.

  8. joejanish June 23, 2009 at 9:22 am
    I have to admit I also enjoy Keith in the booth … I think it’s similar to Yankees fans who enjoyed Phil Rizzuto despite his stumbling, bumbling, birthday announcements, and diatribes that had nothing to do with the game.