Mets Game 109: Loss to Padres

Padres 6 Mets 2

Beware of Mount Everth.

We kept waiting for the bubble to burst, the shoe to fall, the dam to break, the bricks to fall — the Ollie to implode. Indeed, we sat sweating at the edge of our seats, nails chewed to the nub, through 6 full innings, waiting for the inevitable to occur.

Finally, in the seventh, Perez walked the first two batters he faced — a sure sign that doom was looming. He was momentarily saved by an undisciplined cement-head hacker named Kouzmanoff, then teetered back toward danger when Chase Headley blasted a double to deep left-center that scored one and placed runners on second and third.

Then, a few minutes past the stroke of midnight (EST), and a hair before Ollie’s ride home was to turn back into a pumpkin, Brian Stokes arrived and preserved the otherwise fine performance turned in by the Mets’ enigmatic lefty. Stokes put out that fire and then one he stoked of his own in the eighth before yielding to the record holder for saves in a single season, Francisco Rodriguez.

Remarkably, on a rare night where Oliver Perez kept himself together, it was Frankie Fantastic who suffered a meltdown.

K-Rod began the ninth by walking the leadoff batter, Kyle Blanks. He then allowed a double to Will Venable, scoring Blanks. He then walked Henry Blanco, and intentionally walked Oscar Salazar to load the bases. He then engaged battle with the 5’9″, 170-lb., 22-year-old rookie Everth Cabrera — who had not played above A-ball prior to this season, and hit all of 8 homeruns in over 1200 professional plate appearances.

Cabrera worked the count full, and, facing six men in the infield, blasted a K-Rod fastball into the rightfield seats — a walkoff grand slam to win the ballgame.

Offensively, the Mets got two quick runs in their first turn at bat, then went to sleep. They had just one hit after the third inning, and nothing resembling a rally over the final 8 frames.

Fittingly, former Met Heath Bell was credited with the win.

Notes

The play at the plate that scored Blanks could have gone either way. Brian Schneider made a diving, swiping tag just as Blanks’ hand was reaching for home plate. Had he been called out, perhaps the game would’ve ended differently — but somehow I doubt it.

Lucky for Schneider that the 6’6″, 285-lb. Blanks chose to make a head-first slide into home. You would think that a man that size would come barreling into the plate — resembling a Mack truck or a Sherman tank. If he had, and Schneider were in the way … well, it’s an image I would not want to witness on a full stomach.

OK, so Ollie had an outstanding outing — until two runners reached base. I guess the key is for him to throw a perfect game every time out. As long as no one gets on, he should be fine.

Does Ron Darling have a memory problem, or does he think that we do? He harped on Ollie’s “new” delivery tweak — the “beautiful pause” during the leg lift and just prior to the stride. Darling went on to laud Dan Warthen for directing this adjustment, etc., etc. Well, excuse me, but the rest of us who have been watching Perez pitch since 2006, have seen this pause before — on several occasions. It may work for a while, but like all of Ollie’s attempts at consistency, it won’t last long. Further, by stopping his motion in mid-delivery, he is also stopping the forward momentum that helps drive velocity and takes pressure off the arm. This “new” delivery may be effective now, but is not likely to remain so over the long haul. It’s just another tease, and an illogical reason to believe that Ollie “has finally turned a corner”.

And by the way, Oliver’s ability to keep his shoulder closed when he drives to the plate has little to do with the pause, and more to do with the fact he is starting his windup by stepping straight back behind the rubber. By stepping straight back, it gives his body a better chance to stay on a straight line toward the plate, and part of that is keeping his front shoulder in line, or “closed”. In contrast, when he starts by stepping sideways, he starts his entire body sideways, which causes his front shoulder to over-rotate back toward centerfield early in his motion, and the equal and opposite reaction is for that shoulder to fly open early. But before you dismiss my analysis — after all, I didn’t go to Yale and I didn’t pitch in the bigs — understand that it’s not my opinion, but rather a systematic chain of events explained by some guy named Newton.

Also, while the enormous Kyle Blanks was at the plate, Darling mentioned that “the bigger the hitter, the taller they are, the more vulnerable they are to the low strike”. Kids, don’t necessarily file that as a rule. Every hitter is different, and in fact, many tall hitters tend to be “stand up” hitters, meaning they don’t have a lot of bend in their knees / don’t crouch in their stance. And a “stand up” hitter almost always tends to be a LOW-BALL hitter — usually, the reason he stays upright is because he has trouble with HIGH pitches. Though, I will agree that tall hitters generally get the shaft when it comes to pitches called as strikes below their knees, as few umpires will adjust their strike zone up (though according to the rules they are supposed to).

As long as I’m in a critical mood, what was with the Jerry Manuel love-fest during the second inning? Kevin Burkhardt’s rundown of a typical day in the life of manager Manuel was mildly entertaining (though a bit long), and I was fine with that. But even my wife, who was busy doing god-knows-what on her iPhone, disengaged in her activity and asked me why Gary Cohen and Ron Darling were going on and on and on and on about Manuel being a wonderful person, a nice guy, a lover of humanity, yadda yadda yadda. Are the latest talking points issued by SNY designed to carve a favorable image of Jerry Manuel, to justify the Mets’ keeping him on board for 2010?

As my wife asked out loud,

“Tony LaRussa’s a great manager, right? Is he considered a nice guy? What about Lou Piniella? So what does being a nice guy have to do with managing a winning team?”

And I must add, she has NO IDEA who Leo Durocher is. Bless her.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Padres do it again at 10:05 PM on Saturday night. San Diego supposedly has perfect daytime weather, but they insist on playing night games, much to the chagrin of we bleary eyed Right Coasters. Oh well. Bobby Parnell pitches the first three innings for the Mets while 21-year-old rookie Mat Latos starts for the Padres.

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. Kenny August 8, 2009 at 5:29 am
    As long as the organization issues talking points to its TV and radio announcers, the focus will remain on obfuscating the truth.

    I’m not saying the Mets can’t win this way… but when you do your best to avoid real reporting on your players, coaches and their performance, you are more concerned with convincing the fans that the team will win. Maybe it’s time to focus on actually winning and let Gary, Ron, Wayne and Howie call it like they see it.

    Maybe not Howie. Howie is a badass. I’m not sure you can tell Howie what to say. Maybe that’s why Wayne is there at all. Hagin is an f’ing shill.

    One more thing… Why is our “sideline reporter” a dude? I know he’s wearing makeup and that’s great if you’re into it, but aren’t sideline reporters supposed to be chicks? The SF Giants have a great sideline reporter. Sure, she takes the focus off of the game, but she’s a good reporter and easy on the eyes. Burkhardt can keep piling on the makeup and the platitudes, but he’s just a rich man’s Matt Cerrone – no opinion, rosy glasses, everybody’s best friend, etc. When did the Mets become the sports version of a chick flick?

  2. micalpalyn August 8, 2009 at 8:56 am
    Trade Frankie and sign billy to an extension
  3. micalpalyn August 8, 2009 at 9:14 am
    But really unlike several other similar years i can remember the Mets HAVE trade chips but wont step into rea ..lity.

    I am sure Luis would have had suitors but no, lets wait on him. I might keep Cora (as bet to bring in big bro to the coaching staff), But Tatis, Wags, Feliciano, Livian, dare i say luis AND Mike Lamb could bring in some farm help.

    Writing off one year is hard but writing off multiple years is ridiculous.

    And kudos to Ollie, who it appears sported a new wind up, with release point.

    The only thing NOT covered in Metsverse today is the LADEN oppurtunities the Mets had to blow the game up early.

    -As much as I disagree with you Joe over other points…I think we agree that the ‘last minute shopping light’ is due to come on.

  4. Mike August 8, 2009 at 10:25 am
    What can they even get for Wagner and Delgado?? I’m all for moving them but realistically wheat can they get for them? Since both are likely gone after this year anything is better than nothing, assuming they are Type B FAs and not Type A. (Even if they were Type A, why would you since Delgado or Wagner knowing you would lose your 1st round pick??)

    Assuming Type B (which I believe is a supplemental pick) I say trade them if at all possible for whatever you can get.

  5. isuzudude August 8, 2009 at 10:52 am
    Any win right now would feel like a minor miracle. How the hell this team won 9-0 against the Cardinals just 3 short days ago is mind boggling. It truly feels like the Mets won’t win again for the rest of the year.

    Is it just me, or does it feel like the Mets are winless in San Diego since Petco Park opened?

    The way this season is shaping out, the World Series is going to be between the Yankees and Phillies – the Mets 2 biggest rivals. Just our luck, no matter who wins the championship this year, we won’t be able to stand it.

    Mister “Frankie Fantastic” has been anything but for approximately the past 2 months. Ever since his blown save June 18 at Baltimore, Rodriguez has thrown 16.2 innings, given up 16 earned runs on 19 hits with 15 walks and 15 strikeouts. In this Year of the Injury, what are the odds that Krod is hiding some physical ailment causing him to put up such revolting numbers? I’d say pretty good.

    Kudos to your wife, Joe, for even knowing who Lou Piniella and Tony La Russa are. My girlfriend’s a Braves fan and she’s lucky to know all the names in their starting lineup. Though, if your wife is a Yankee fan, why she would be watching the debacle of a season the Mets are going through rather than watching the 15-inning classic the Yanks and Red Sox engaged in last night is beyond me. Even my wandering eyes flipped to YES while the Mets were playing.

    Kenny – why are you looking for T-n-A during a baseball game? Are you really that desperate for some eye candy?

  6. joejanish August 8, 2009 at 1:43 pm
    Mike – I’m not sure the Mets would be willing to offer arbitration to Wags and Delgado, for fear they will accept. If they don’t offer arbitration, the Mets get no draft picks.

    Personally, I’d offer arbitration to Wags … wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to have him around next spring as a setup man and/or trade bait.

    isuzudude – who ever said my wife was a Yankees fan? She used to be a diehard Mets fans, but is currently a fan of any team playing the Mets — it’s much easier on the heart and the stomach.

  7. isuzudude August 8, 2009 at 2:53 pm
    I could have SWORN you mentioned on here at one time or another that your wife was a Yankee fan. I must have been mistaken. My apologies to your wife.
  8. Andy August 8, 2009 at 5:31 pm
    A pro pos of nothing in particular: Didn’t the Padres sweep the Mets in a 4-game series in San Diego last year or the year before?
  9. joejanish August 8, 2009 at 8:54 pm
    ‘dude, you are confusing me with Matt Cerrone. But hey, all us bloggers look alike I guess. Now if only the ad-buying reps from Geico, Pepsi, and Verizon would also confuse me with Mr. Cerrone …

    Andy – yeah I vaguely remember that myself. Or I subconsciously erased it from my memory.