Mets Game 121: Loss to Braves

Braves 3 Mets 2

So strange to feel indifferent with Chipper Jones and the Braves in Flushing.

I tried really hard to care about this game, but just couldn’t get anything going — much like the Mets offense.

Kenshin Kawakami held the Mets to one run on seven hits through seven strong innings, pitching just a bit better than Johan Santana. Santana pitched well, but just well enough to lose, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits.


Fernando Tatis grounded out with the bases drunk in the first, the first of only two rallies by the home team on the evening. With that, the Mets are 4-for-49 this season with bases loaded and two outs.

Mets pitching threatened to go an entire game without walking a batter, until Francisco Rodriguez entered and handed two free passes.

Luis Castillo collected another two hits and is now hitting .312 — good for ninth in the NL.

Strange to see the Braves bunt in the ninth after K-Rod walked the leadoff hitter. I’d never give outs to Frankie Fantastic, and especially not when he might be struggling.

Billy Wagner made his 2009 debut in the 8th and pitched an easy 1-2-3 inning, hitting as high as 96 MPH on the SNY radar gun. If he’s throwing a legit 96, I see no reason to trade him now unless he brings back serious prospects. Pick up the option and shop him all winter … and shop K-Rod as well. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to have them both in 2010.

Wags was throwing with a slightly low elbow on several of his pitches, which is a mild concern. He needs to make sure he gets on top of the ball at release.

When was the last time you heard entrance music for a reliever in the 8th inning? Pretty cool … and emotional.

Many pundits criticized the Braves for acquiring Adam LaRoche, but the guy is hitting a shade under .400 since re-joining Atlanta. The Braves’ defense was that he is a second-half hitter and strong finisher. Well played.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a four-game series against the Phillies on Friday night at 7:10 PM. This is the Mets’ big chance to get back into the race … if they sweep the Phils, they’ll be back to within single digits of first place. Mike Pelfrey faces Cole Hamels.

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. Walnutz15 August 21, 2009 at 8:42 am
    I turned this game on for about 7 minutes last night.

    In that time, I saw Adam LaRoche scorch 2 foul homeruns down the right field line off Johan — and a smoked line-drive base hit; on 3 consecutive pitches.

    All pulled.

    Johan is going to have a very interesting tenure with this organization. Unless some major acquisitions are made over the winter, 2010 will be the year he becomes fed up with NY.

    If not publicly, definitely privately — provided he’s not there already.

    I’m with ya, Joe. For me, not a single soul on this squad would be considered untouchable….just my own personal opinion, and I know that management would never feel the same way.

  2. isuzudude August 21, 2009 at 10:55 am
    I think you’d be playing with fire if you picked up Billy’s option for 2010. Forget about his $8-mil pricetag, which, for a team becoming notorious for penny pinching and for one needing to fill a lot of holes this winter, will be a hefty sum considering his projected role would be a setup man. I won’t even get into that. What I will get into is that Billy is going to be turning 39 next July. The jury is out whether he can remain effective with as many miles on his arm at that age, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he can still keep an ERA under 3.00 with more strikeouts than innings pitched IF he is kept to under 70 appearances (although that’s a push). But at his age, and if Billy shows in 2009 he can still bring it, he is not going to want to be a setup man. He will want to close, and he will want a chance to win a ring. And I doubt he thinks the Mets are going to give him those opportunities. So, in my mind, by picking up his option, the Mets would be setting themselves up for a season-long malcontent in Wagner. Billy has never been one to shy away from letting his opinions be heard, and with his seniority he will feel somewhat entitled to having the Mets allow him to find a new home where he can assume the role he desires. And I can definitely see a future in which Billy is setting up for the Mets and being absolutely miserable, perhaps to the extent of allowing his on-field performance and clubhouse personality suffer. I realize that accusation may be a big leap, but that’s just what I feel in my gut. And that’s why I think the Mets would be FAR better off declining Billy’s option but offering him arbitration, which then puts the ball in Billy’s court. Because of his desire to close, I foresee Billy declining the arbitration, even if it is a higher amount than what his option would have been or what he can get on the open market (although I don’t see how that’s possible considering he missed practically all of 2009). That will net the Mets a 1st round draft pick this winter, Billy rides off into the sunset happy, and the Mets can turn the page on their bullpen makeup. Of course, all this is contingent on whether Billy gets traded over the next 10 days or not, but I would hope the Mets know not to settle for anything less than an established prospect or two in a trade involving Billy because they do have that first round draft pick option waiting down the road. The way I see it, if the Mets were to pick up Billy’s option, they will have painted themselves into a corner of either needing to get a return for Billy better than the first round pick they passed up on, or the threat of having a disgruntled employee residing in your bullpen. Declining his option and offering him arbitration just seems like a safer, happier way to put this situation to bed.
  3. joejanish August 21, 2009 at 11:47 am
    ‘dude, interesting assessment worth mulling over.

    My main concern is that the Mets have absolutely NOTHING to offer in trade this winter, and they have no money thanks to Madoff, and they have multiple holes to fill. There are and will be plenty of teams needing a closer next year, so I don’t believe the Mets will be painted into a corner by keeping him. I stand by my feeling that they should have a price tag in mind right now, and get a top-10 or top-5 prospect in return if they trade him before the end of this season. And if they don’t get a good return, pick up the option and trade him over the winter, when there will be more suitors.

    How about this: trade K-Rod and his obnoxious salary? If K-Rod gets enough appearances, his $17M option in the fourth year kicks in automatically.

  4. isuzudude August 21, 2009 at 12:02 pm
    I understand you’re point of view, Joe, and agree that the Mets more than likely will get a decent enough return for Billy if they do pick up his option and trade him prior to 2010. I could see the Mets getting an even bigger return if they pick up some of Billy’s 2010 salary, as well. It’s funny how, for $8-mil, Billy would be a mega-expensive setup man on the cash strapped Mets, but for a team needing a closer he’d be a relatively cheap option who is only a short term obligation.

    I also find it funny how Krod’s salary is described as obnoxious now, but when he was inked by Omar last winter it was considered a steal for the Mets. How in the world paying a closer in upwards of $17-mil is considered a steal is beyond me, though. With Krod’s 2nd half slump, I seriously doubt any team will be interested in fielding offers for Krod, and I can easily see him becoming yet another albatross around the Mets payroll flexibility in years to come.

  5. joejanish August 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm
    I have to admit, I was one of the people who thought the Mets got a good deal on K-Rod. It was only recently I realized the cost of the option year, and how easy it would be for K-Rod to attain it.

    Had I done my due diligence and looked at the details of the deal last winter, I’d have had a much different perspective.

  6. mic August 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm
    Actually given that Arte Moreno bowed out of the bidding when K-Rod asked for 5yrs/75M I AGREE that NOW is the time to trade K-Rod (to the Angels). especially if Wags IS back and proves his health.

    Plus the media ripples are too juicy enticing!