Mets Game 90: Win Over Braves

Mets 5 Braves 1

It took them 90 games, but the Mets finally learned how to play small ball.

Johan Santana and Kenshin Kawakami engaged in a pitchers’ duel for the first five innings, before the Mets scratched out two runs on a bases-loaded walk and a groundout. Then, in the top of the ninth, the offense turned the clock back to 1910 — singling, tripling, walking, stealing, and suicide squeezing their way to three more insurance runs.

Santana shut out the Braves through seven innings of stellar spinning, allowing just five hits and two walks, striking out five. It took four relievers to get through the bottom of the eighth, and Frankie Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth to not earn a save.

Notes

Angel Pagan went 3-for-4 out of the leadoff spot, including a triple, an RBI, and a run scored. Alex Cora went 2-for-4 with a run scored hitting in front of the pitcher. Who needs Jose Reyes?

Jeff Francoeur also had two hits, as well as an RBI.

Luis Castillo and Pagan executed a textbook suicide squeeze in the top of the ninth. Personally, I find the squeeze much more exciting than the homerun, and would like to see them more often.

Next Mets Game

The series concludes in Atlanta on Sunday night at 6pm. Fernando Nieve faces Javier Vazquez. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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. isuzudude July 18, 2009 at 9:20 pm
    Apparently Julio Lugo has been DFA’d by the Red Sox and is on his way to becoming a Met. If true, he should provide a nice boost over the increasingly insufficient Alex Cora at SS, although he will make the Mets extremely right hand heavy. But at this point who cares. And if his addition doesn’t help the Mets stay in contention but he manages to hold his own, he’ll be extra trade bait at the deadline.

    The only thing I forsee happening that I don’t like about adding Lugo is that Jerry will undoubtedly bat him 2nd and bury Castillo and his .386 OBP in the 8 hole once again. But I guess that’s still better than having Cora play everyday.

    Now when will the Mets wise up and release Tim Redding already and call up Jon Niese? Hasn’t it already been about 3 weeks overdue?

  2. upson July 18, 2009 at 11:14 pm
    ‘dude: I’m sure Redding’s release is just a matter of days, but I do not see it connected with Niese’s call-up. As reported, Redding will be most likely replaced by a position player (Lugo). On the other hand — as both Niese and Figueroa have been pitching extremely well lately — I expect both Nieve and Hernandez pitching on a short leash as starters at this point.
  3. nwaldrop July 19, 2009 at 5:11 am
    I was wondering about who might get traded at the deadline if this team decides to wave the red flag? I don’t think we have much to work with. Sheffield maybe? If we decided to just blow up this club during the season, how would it look any different. It’s already pretty well blown up. Does anyone have any thoughts about who we would trade and what we might get in return? And if we’re ten games back by the end of the month do you think this is a good idea?
    I don’t because A). I don’ think we would get anyone decent for our “trade bait” B.) This club is barely above a AAA team now and subtracting the good parts to make it an AAA would be even more unwatchable than it is now.
  4. sincekindergarten July 19, 2009 at 5:43 am
    Upson, I’d suspect that it’s Hernandez’ neck on the chopping block. Something Jerry Manuel said before the break–if a pitcher had three bad starts in a row, he’d likely go to the ‘pen, at least. If Livan blows this next one, that’s three.
  5. mic July 19, 2009 at 9:57 am
    There are some obvious trade parts:

    Castillo, Feliciano, and Sheffield. I think other bullpen guy could go to but i’d like green to stay.

    I think Lugo will actually replace Castillo at 2nd, eventually.

    Santana was good yesterday, but i still dont think he is 100%. I was also miffed by the inability to score runs…muted is the 3-14 w/RISP yesterday.

  6. isuzudude July 19, 2009 at 10:16 am
    Upson: I’ve heard the rumblings, too, that Redding will be the guy to go if/when Lugo is added. But then what would be the purpose behind keeping Angel Berroa on the roster? Depending on what Nieve does today, we could easily see Berroa DFA’d to bring Jon Niese (who is so totally ready to be promoted and given the chance to show what he’s got at the ML level for an extended period), thus shifting Nieve to the bullpen, perhaps in Redding’s vacated longman role. I know that still leaves the Mets with only a 4-man bench (3-man depending on how hobbled Sheffield is), but I’m trying whatever it takes to get Niese on the roster ASAP. His time has come. I realize he’s not going to be Jerry Koosman, but if he pitches half as good as he has been in the minors, he’ll still be more productive than Ollie, Pelfrey, and Livan.

    Mic: If Lugo couldn’t wrestle playing time away from Nick Green and Jed Lowrie in Boston, what makes you think he can supplant Luis Castillo? With Jose Reyes’ latest setback, it’s very likely Lugo will get the rest of ’09 to show the Mets (and the rest of the league) what he can do at SS…because the alternative is shifting Lugo to a position he’s done notoriously worse at defensively in 2B, and then playing Cora everyday at SS. That is not a good plan. So unless Castillo gets hurt or Omar is able to find a taker that will unload his salary, he is going to be the starting 2B. I’m AM interested to see who is on the hook for Lugo’s $9-million for next season. I pray it’s not the Mets, because we don’t need another over-the-hill, over-priced middle infielder who stiffles the roster flexibility.

  7. Stephen Greene July 19, 2009 at 6:49 pm
    Lugo fits what Omar is looking for!