Mets Game 103: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 9 Diamondbacks 6

Mr. Beltran, take your time — we have a very capable switch-hitting centerfielder doing just fine while you’re on the mend.

Angel Pagan blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth to lift the fans off their feet and the Mets over the Diamondbacks.

For the first time in a long while, the Mets engaged in a game that felt like a wound-up spring, ready to burst at any moment — and came out on the winning end.

The Snakes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 3 1/2 innings, but the Mets pulled off a four-run rally in the bottom of the fourth frame to go up by two. Unfortunately, the Mets had Oliver Perez on the mound, so that didn’t last long. Fortunately, Max Scherzer had nothing, and so the two teams traded scores for the next two innings, and were knotted at five-all until Pagan’s dramatic blast.

Pedro Feliciano earned his fourth victory of the season, as he was the only Met pitcher to retire more than one batter and not allow a run.


Perez took another step backward. Although he allowed “only” three runs and struck out 7 in five frames, he also walked 5 and allowed 6 hits (including one homerun). On several occasions Ollie “improvised” on the mound, playing cowboy and dropping down laredo style for reasons unknown. At least a dozen of his 112 pitches were a good six feet out of the strike zone, and had Brian Schneider scrambling. It was a minor miracle that he threw only one wild pitch and allowed only three runs (and I’m still trying to figure out how he didn’t hit at least two batters). There were several spots where a more disciplined team would have mounted a 3- or 4-run rally. For the second straight evening, we can see why the Diamondbacks are stinking up the NL West.

What a shame to see what’s happened with Max Scherzer this year. Scherzer has struggled with nagging shoulder injuries, and if I’m Arizona I might consider shutting him down at this point. This is a guy who AVERAGED 95 MPH last year, topping out at 98-99. On this particular evening, the Citi Field gun had him at around 92-93, with a couple touching 94. Now, 94 is still pretty damn fast, but a world away from 98-99. In comparison, remember how hittable Billy Wagner became when his velocity dropped from 99-100 to 93-94.

Slowly, these replaceMets are forging their way into the fan’s hearts. I’m beginning to believe that the team will be better off if Beltran, Delgado, Reyes, and the rest of the “cavalry” never return. Some of these guys are taking the bull by the horns and showing the world (and their crepe-hanging manager) that they can play this game. It’s kind of nice to see guys bust it out of the box, rather than make a decision as to whether or not they should run hard.

Speaking of hard-nosed players, my new favorite non-Met is Mark Reynolds. He may set world records for strikeouts and errors, but you have to love a guy on a last-place team diving over the tarp and nearly into the stands to catch a foul ball.

Oh, and how about Clay Zavada channeling his inner Rollie Fingers with that waxed handlebar mustache? When he came into the game I thought I fell into a time warp. And his middle name is “Pflibson”. I smell a fan club sprouting soon. Baseball needs more guys like this in the game. I’d pay to see a battery of him and Sal Fasano.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Diamondbacks play the third game of the series at 1:10 PM on Sunday afternoon. Mike Pelfrey goes to the mound against Jon Garland.

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. August 2, 2009 at 1:32 am
    i think the whole “l’affaire Rubin” by omar was to distract people from how bad the perez signing was.he’s not worth 36 cents for 3 years, let alone 36 mill.I read reyes still can’t run the bases..WHAT A SURPRISE!!!hopefully we can get his immaculate hamstrings on the field before the season ends and showcase him for a deal in the offseason.i’m tired of his act.
  2. sincekindergarten August 2, 2009 at 6:08 am
    Joe, I saw Scherzer hit 97 at least once, 96 a couple of times, and 95 more than a few, in the four IP he had.

    All in all, since I went to bed early (having an early-rising toddler will do that), I missed Pagan’s GS. Nice to see that he’s got pop in the bat to go with the speed.

  3. pfh64 August 2, 2009 at 6:38 am
    You mention towards the end how the team is getting into the hearts of the fans, and I do not intend this as a knock of Jerry Manuel, but without all of the injured players doesn’t just feel like the Bobby Valentine teams? As a guy that was, and still is a big Valentine fan, I just wonder how this version of the team would do with him as the manager.
  4. joejanish August 2, 2009 at 10:07 am
    SK – thanks for the speed results. I was at the game and going by the Citi Field scoreboard and my eyes. My eyes were seeing a lot of offspeed pitches and sliders, and not too many balls close to 95. I think he must still be having shoulder issues.

    pfh64 – I also wonder how the Mets would do if they had an actual manager rather than a figurehead / babysitter / puppet.

  5. isuzudude August 2, 2009 at 10:33 am
    Great game, fellas. Gotta love this Angel Pagan. This was perhaps the first “clutch” win the team has mustered since Santos took Papelbon deep in Boston.

    I also saw Scherzer hit between 96-98 MPH while watching the game on the tube, but for what it’s worth TV has been known to add a few ticks onto a pitcher’s velocity to give off more of that “wow” factor. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if Scherzer truly was more in the 93-95 range, if that what the scoreboard reading was revealing. However, I have Max on my fantasy team, and have kept track of his outings all season by watching his highlights on, and he’s been operating in the mid-to-upper 90s pretty much all season. I also haven’t heard of any news recently regarding him pitching with any type of soreness. Rotoworld’s last mention of Scherzer pitching in pain was back in mid-April, and he hasn’t missed a start or complained of injury since. Are you trying to give me a heart attack?

    There’s also news of Nelson Figueroa getting the spot start on Monday. His opponent will be Dan Haren, so it looks like a loss straight out of the chute regardless of how well Figgy performs. But it’s refreshing to see the Mets going with someone who deserves a start rather than Tim Redding, who deserves to be on the first bus out of town. Let’s just see if Figgy can stick around longer than 24 hours.

  6. Fire Jerry August 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm
    SK above is right Joe, not surprisingly. You can look this stuff up you know. Scherzer topped out at 97.1 mph and averaged 93.6 mph.

    Last season his FB averaged 94.2 mph. This year it’s 93.9 mph. Not much of a difference. He’s also throwing fastballs just as often as he did last year. Basically you are wrong.

    Oh and by the way – if Scherzer was on the Mets, he would be having the best season of any pitcher in the rotation, Santana included. I wouldn’t expect you and your anti-saber, anti-intelligent brain to comprehend this fact though. Keep the laughs coming.

  7. joejanish August 3, 2009 at 6:09 pm
    FJ – Thanks for the info. Apparently the place I’m looking things up and the place you are have different data. Could you please share your resource so I can set myself straight and not make such embarrassing mistakes in the future? It’s not the first time I’m wrong and it won’t be the last time. Many thanks.

    I don’t know why it matters that Scherzer would or wouldn’t be having the best season of any pitcher, if he were on the Mets, since he’s not. Also not sure why you’re trying to convince me about Scherzer — I already believe the kid has a great skillset and hope he can get over his shoulder issues and have a great future. I’d love to see him pitching for the Mets.

    And you’re right, my saber-saw, my light saber, and my anti-intelligence do have trouble processing that fact, so I won’t bother arguing and just assume you’re correct. Thank you.

    Laughter is the world’s best medicine!:-)