Mets Game 96: Win Over Astros

Mets 10 Astros 3

Who said the Mets couldn’t win MLB games sending out a lineup like that?

For once, everything that could go right, went right. Heck, even David Wright was finally, right — right over the fence, that is.

The Mets offense exploded for 9 runs in the first six innings, and tacked on another one in the final frame to annilihate the Astros in front of a capacity crowd.

In addition to the offensive output, the defense was equally stellar, highlighted by outstanding plays from Angel Pagan and Luis Castillo that kept the Astros grounded.

Also inspiring was the performance of young Jonathan Niese, who allowed one measly run on four hits and two walks over seven solid innings. Other than a shaky first inning — likely due to nerves — Niese was masterful.


When I said everything went right, I meant everything. By blowing out the Astros with an offensive onslaught, the implausible DL’ing of Gary Sheffield was completely forgotten. Had the Mets lost 1-0, you can bet that move would have been the focus of the postgame interviews.

Dan Murphy hit two doubles and drove in a run out of the cleanup spot. Dan Murphy, in the cleanup spot. Yeah.

No less than five Mets had two hits apiece; they rapped a dozen all told.

Angel Pagan is a man on fire, and seems determined to prove that he belongs in the big leagues as an everyday player. Maybe the Mets should trade him while he’s on this hot streak and his value is higher than it will ever be.

In addition to his sixth homerun, David Wright saw 30 pitches in five plate appearances, walking twice. That was three times as many pitches seen by the usually patient Danny Murphy.

Jeff Francoeur is delivering everything the Mets expected and then some. If only they had his homerun bat from the beginning of the season, they might be ten games back instead of eleven.

Omir Santos and Cory Sullivan did an outstanding job of executing a hit-and-run in the top of the fourth, leading to Sullivan scoring on a DP ball a few moments later. Strangely enough, I’ve seen the about as many hit-and-runs this month from the Mets as I’ve seen homeruns.

Also interesting, Santos is providing both small ball and the long ball lately — he hit his second homerun in as many nights, and is now tied for team lead for homers in July. Dollars to donuts says he sits on Sunday, though, since it’s a day game and Brian Schneider’s getting rusty.

Jon Niese in the postgame interview reminded me of Jamie Don Weeks of Long Gone (which was an AWESOME baseball movie, btw).

Very bizarre to see John Franco relieving Bobby Ojeda in the SNY postgame show; it was kind of like time travel or a Strat-O-Matic game. Note to John: your preparation is appreciated. However, we know that “good pitching, good fielding, and good offense wins games”, and we know that a pitcher needs to throw strikes to keep the defense alert, and we can see how many batters Jon Niese retired in a row, and we know how many games out of the wild card the Mets are, etc. What we want from you is the MLB player’s perspective. For example, what does an MLB pitcher think about with a big lead? How does he keep from getting too complacent? What is it like for a young kid to have a game like this after coming back from the minors? How might a young pitcher attack a lineup like the Astros’, which has a number of aggressive hitters? That kind of thing. Leave the details and numbers to Gary Apple.

Next Mets Game

The series finale occurs at 2:05 PM EST on Sunday afternoon. Livan Hernandez faces Brian Moehler. Wow … Hampton, Ortiz, and Moehler in the rotation, and the ‘stros are in third place, four games over .500, and one game out of first.

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. sincekindergarten July 26, 2009 at 6:12 am
    As I was watching the game, and enjoying Jon Niese’s pitching, a thought struck me–who is this team in the black jerseys, and what have they done with the Mets? And this sudden fascination with this thing called a “home run” is somewhat odd.

    Oh well. If Livan pitches the way he normally does on the road (4-2), the Mets actually have the chance to end this road trip on a good note.

  2. isuzudude July 26, 2009 at 10:19 am
    Well, it’s sad to say that one 10-run outburst can lead to people getting their hopes up again, but, if the cycle that has enveloped the Mets this season continues today, it’s safe to say we’re all primed and ready for a letdown. We have Livan, with good road numbers, looking to build off his positive start in Washington. We have an offense than went homer happy on Saturday and has delivered back to back 10+-hit games. And we have the Astros throwing yet another junkballer to the mound at a hitter-freindly ballpark. What’s that spell? According to the script, a 7-1 Met loss, more than likely.

    The handling of Sheffield was atrocious, but by now I’m so numb to the incompetence that I’m hardly shocked or upset. At the least, I’m relieved Shef wasn’t used as a pinch hitter after he got hurt in Atlanta. So depite the Mets’ best efforts to botch this up, they still managed to do something right. But probably completely on accident.

    I’m elated that Jon Niese got the call last night. I feel for Figueroa, who’s been lights out all year for Buffalo, but Niese has the brighter future and the higher trade value, so it really makes so much more sense for the Mets to give him Nieve’s spot. And Niese excelled last night, so all is well. But why is Tim Redding still here? The guy’s been living out of a suitcase for 2 weeks now; it’s high time to send him out the door. With him sticking around once again the Mets are operating with a 4-man bench instead of the traditional 5, which further handicaps them when you figure Cora’s thumb is being held on to his hand by duct tape and that either backup catcher is hardly ever used to PH for obvious reasons. Not to mention Angel Berroa is one of the 4. So do the Mets really believe Redding is a more valuable commodity and a bigger part of the future than, say, Nick Evans or Lucas Duda, both of whom could be given a pretty solid opportunity to claim their stake in the LF job for post-2009 consideration? Or, is it easier to believe the Mets are just too cheap to eat the rest of Redding’s ridiculous contract and are going to let him rot on the roster until season’s end? Hmm, Joe, what was that “conspiracy” term you were throwing around here the other day?

    BTW, just as an FYI, apparently former Rays’ 2nd round draft pick Chris Mason (RHP) has joined the Mets minor league ranks. I don’t know the specifics as far as how the Mets acquired him or if he’s still projected to be of any value, but it’s nice to see the Mets taking a chance on a low-risk, high-upside player.

  3. sincekindergarten July 26, 2009 at 1:02 pm
    I went to and took a look at Mason. He was 3-10 in 2008 for AAA Durham, and the Mets must have seen something in him. He’s at PSL at the moment. Started one game, went two IP, 2 ER. The game was Friday (7/24).
  4. joejanish July 26, 2009 at 7:16 pm
    I would like to be optimistic, but the truth is, Mason is on a quick path out of organized baseball. Despite being a #2 pick, he never had electric stuff — he was more of a polished college pitcher with impeccable control that the Rays thought might be able to climb the ladder quickly. At BEST, he might have evolved into a Brian Bannister-type MLBer, as he throws around 88-89 (sometimes 86-88), topping out at around 91. He’s a sinker-slider guy with an inconsistent change-up. The Rays tried moving him into the bullpen for a while but he didn’t do well there.

    As i-dude says, he’s low-risk. But high-upside? Probably not — especially considering that the Mets’ minor league system isn’t exactly known for developing pitching prospects (or any prospects, for that matter). But hey, you never know.