Mets Game 135: Win Over Cubs

Mets 6 Cubs 2

Break up the Mets!

The Mets won their second consecutive time, and for the second time in two days. In other words, they’re on a two-game win streak!

Bobby Parnell was fabulous, shutting out the Cubs on only five hits through seven stellar innings. He worked out of two tough bases loaded situations — one in the second, and one in the seventh — in what was arguably his best performance as a Major League starter.

Unfortunately, the bullpen was unable to hold the Mets’ slim one-run lead, and Parnell’s gem resulted in a no-decision. However, the Mets did win the game, thanks to the dam busting in the Chicago bullpen.

The Mets surged for six runs on six hits against three Cub pitchers in the eighth inning, breaking the game wide open and allowing plenty of cushion for the ninth. As it was, the extra insurance was helpful, as Brian Stokes allowed a run and left the game to Frankie Rodriguez with the bases loaded. Frankie Fantastic proceeded to induce a popup from Aramis Ramirez and struck out Jake “Grand Slam” Fox en route to his 29th save of the season.

Ironically, the Mets pitcher who was least effective — Stokes — was awarded the win.


Bobby Parnell looked loose and comfortable for most of the contest — when he was pitching from the windup. However, when he threw from the stretch, his body language changed just a bit — enough to look tense — and he seemed to be trying too hard to hit spots. Not quite aiming, but “spotting”, if that makes any sense.

There were a few other issues with Parnell’s otherwise outstanding performance that did not sit right with me. First, I didn’t like that he was using the slider as his main secondary pitch, mainly because it’s a pitch that should not be thrown in the strike zone and also because it’s a shortcut strategy that tends to be inconsistent — see: Mike Pelfrey. I’d much prefer to see Parnell experimenting more with his changeup and failing (and eventually finding success in the future), than getting lucky with flat sliders that float over the middle of the plate. The slider should be a “put away pitch” when he is ahead on the count.

Second, Parnell threw very few fastballs in the bottom of the strike zone. Nearly all of his strikes were above the belt, and most of his low fastballs were in the dirt or just above the shoetops. Though, it was good to see him get a number of swings and misses on pitches up in the zone and out of the zone. Bottom line is that I’m not sure Parnell’s success was of his own doing, or more the result of poor hitting.

Sorry to rain on the Parnell parade, but that’s what I saw. At the same time, I’m thrilled he was able to get this kind of a performance under his belt, for the purpose of building his confidence. He needs to know that he can get big-league hitters out, and this game was proof that he can do it. I also liked the way he responded to the bases loaded, no-out situation in the seventh — that was HUGE, and impressive, especially considering he was near the end of his rope in regard to pitch count. But he still needs a lot of polish. Blame Mike Pelfrey for causing me to be so cynical about Parnell — because to me, Parnell is right now where Pelf was in 2006.

The Cory Sullivan Theatre was performing on this particular evening, as Cory hit a solo homer and made a magnificent diving catch to prevent an extra base hit. A strong September finish by Sullivan could spell the end of Jeremy Reed’s career as a Met — though, Reed has been exceptional in his role as a pinch-hitter. The Reed – Sullivan competition is likely the most legitimate audition occurring this month.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Cubs do it again at 1:10 PM in Flushing. Nelson Figueroa faces Rich Harden. Rumor has it that Josh Thole will catch Figgy.

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. George Fisher September 5, 2009 at 9:42 am
    Hey…if PAGAN would hae taken charge in centerfield….probably no runs would have been scored. Either way…Stokes is not the answer to a long term 8th inning solution!
  2. isuzudude September 5, 2009 at 10:02 am
    I’m also cautiously optimistic regarding Parnell’s fantastic start. I’m just not going to be quick to make a mountain out of a mole hill when Parnell’s only 2 good starts out of 6 so far have been against the light-hitting Giants and the depleted Cubs (no Derrick Lee, no Soriano). And both teams are righty-heavy. Maybe a quality-start percentage of 33% is acceptable from a 5th starter, but I’d still prefer to plug Bobby into the bullpen, where he can maximize his talents and be of service 3 or 4 times a week instead of once or twice, and in a much more profound way.

    Did it not seem like both teams were trying not to win as the game wound down? When Tatis committed the error in the 9th, I really thought the Cubs were going to mount the comeback. It would have been very appropriate considering how the 2009 season has unfold thus far.

    By the way, Cory Sullivan’s HR meant the Mets have hit home runs in 3 straight games (Murphy Thursday, Francoeur Wednesday). It’s the first time they’ve homered in at least 3 straight games since July 30-Aug 3. And this is all without leading slugger Gary Sheffield and his whopping 10 homers in the lineup! You’re right, Joe – time to break up this team!

  3. Mike September 5, 2009 at 11:56 am
    Joe, there is a must read article on by Toby Hyde. To all, if you don’t read this blog please start. Toby is one of the best and this is basically the best part of my morning (reading this blog) other than reading Metstoday of course 😉

    Point is Hyde addresses 2010 and two articles writen by Jason Stark and Ted Berg. From the perspective of a minor league bloger it is interesting to see where he thinks help is coming from 2010 and 2011. Again, I feel this is a must read.

  4. gary s. September 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm
    Hopefully parnell will continue to improve, because with the cheap wilpons, he’ll probably be our #2 starter next year.Our leading homerun hitter has 10 and the mets announced the fences are not being moved in.another good decision by the wilpons..2010 will probably be a disaster also.Can’t wait to hear about ticket prices for 2010
  5. mic September 5, 2009 at 11:32 pm
    Its Sept. We are already dissecting options for 2010. Toby Hyde has jumped into the ring as Isuzu referenced and done a good job. I endorse his comments;

    1. Let Delgado go. Murph has done a good job I think though that he shows he is not ‘prepared for the role everyday. Chris Carter (?), Murph and Ike are the best scenario going forward. This tandem is cheap & home grown. I suspect that a senior (cheap) vet could be plugged in to push the trio and posibly Murph could be traded.

    2. I agree on Bay/Holiday. The Mets WILL need rbi. A homecoming for Bay would be very popular too.

    3. The rotation sucks. Sorry but I STILL think Pelfrey is odd man out. Yes he is young with great upside. THAT gives him value. If Maine can come back that helps. Niese and Misch are competitors for one spot. So I have Santana, Maine OR Pel, Nisese/Misch. I think a ‘Matt Garza/kevin slowey/Nolasco’ type could be an offseason target in trade.

    4. As for Fmart- his age means there is no rush. He can be 4th OF getting reps at both corners. A bay/Beltran/Francoeur/Fmart outfield should form a nice defensive/offensive tandem.

    5. Feliciano should have been traded. He could have netted a good return. In his stead Bostick should have been up getting a fulltime audition.

    In my formula I have savings from Del, Feliciano, Putz, Wags, accounted. With investment in a LF.