Mets Game 2: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 7 Mets 6

So much for the afterglow.

The Mets were removed from the top of the NL East in a game that was so poorly played by the Marlins, it resembled a high school JV contest.

For six innings, it didn’t appear as though the Mets had much of a chance to win. Ricky Nolasco handled the Mets easily and was cruising with a 6-1 lead. Then in the 7th, he ran out of gas, put the game in the incapable left hand of Renyel Pinto, who allowed the Mets to scratch out two runs to make it a three-run ballgame. Pinto completely shat the bed, and left the game with the bases loaded and David Wright at the plate; the stage was set for a momentus, dramatic at-bat by the new Mets leader.

Jose Veras came in and threw his first pitch over the head of catcher John Baker. Fernando Tatis came sprinting for home, but Baker got to the ball quickly, made a perfect throw to Veras, who tagged out Tatis to end the inning.

The Marlins did give the Mets three more runs in the eighth to tie the game, but the momentum was gone. In the 10th, Ronny Paulino singled in Wes Helms to spoil Hisanori Takahashi’s debut and give the Mets their first loss of the year.

Game Notes

Though the game went into extra innings, and the Mets “came back” from a five-run deficit, do not be fooled — the Marlins did everything in their power to give away this game, and somehow managed not to lose. The SNY post-game spin was that the Mets “hung in there” and “kept fighting” but the truth is, the Mets merely kept from falling asleep. It was an ugly game for a baseball fan to watch.

Fernando Tatis – He made a terrible mistake in attempting to score on that wild pitch. However, it wasn’t necessarily a terrible decision; rather, the execution was bad. Tatis did not get a very good “secondary lead” off 3B, and thus was only a few feet off the bag when the ball deflected off Baker’s glove. Tatis reacted immediately, but had too much ground to cover. It was a bang-bang play, but would’ve been an easy score had he been a few feet further down the line from the get-go. Though, had Tatis scored, the Fish might’ve walked Wright to face Mike “Automatic Out” Jacobs, and who knows how that might’ve turned out.

John Maine – was John Maine: zero command, up in the zone all night, inefficient. He did get 3 Ks in 5 IP, but also allowed 2 gopher balls and threw 92 pitches in those five frames. From the beginning, he was behind 2-0 on nearly every batter, and you can’t be successful at any level of baseball with that kind of pattern. Additionally, his lack of velocity was mildly concerning.

Umpires – The Mets scored the tying run on a questionable balk call. That’s what it took for the Mets to tie the game — a questionable balk.

Jennry Mejia – I’m going to give the kid the benefit of the doubt and chalk up his awful appearance to nerves. Let’s hope he’s relaxed next time out and shows us what he really can do.

Sean Green – I’m not sold on that in-between arm angle; it looks like he’s skipping stones across a pond, and the ball looks flat.

Mets Offense – happy to finally see some patience at the plate. The Fish bullpen resembled the Mets’ 2009 pitching staff with their wildness, but previous personnel would not have taken advantage.

Marlins Offense – collected 17 hits to the Mets’ 6, yet squeaked out a one-run win.

Fredi Gonzalez – How is this man still the Marlins manager? For four years now, he has led teams lacking in focus and fundamentals. Payroll is no excuse for lack of execution nor attention to detail. It’s remarkable he spent time under Bobby Cox, and more remarkable the Fish felt he was a better option than Joe Girardi. Every year the Marlins are loaded with young, raw talent, yet perennially beat themselves.

Next Mets Game

The third and final game of the opening series begins at 7:10 PM in Flushing on Thursday night. Jon Niese takes the mound against Nate Robertson in a lefty-lefty matchup.

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. Matt Himelfarb April 8, 2010 at 1:37 am
    I was at the game tonight. I know its’ not really relevant to the outcome, but after Jerry made a double switch replacing Castillo with Tejada- i think around the eighth inning- why did Cora remain at short while Tejada played second? The Mets would have been far better off defensively. Tejada played short most if not all of spring training, and has been a shortstop his entire minor league career. The only rationale I can see is the Mets plan on playing Tejada at second when he returns to Buffalo.
  2. Walnutz15 April 8, 2010 at 7:57 am
    Nice to know that the Mets didn’t completely “mail it in” after Maine and Co’s stinker. And if you’ve watched the Mets for years, you know I’m talking about previous Met teams that have fallen behind early, only to swing at every pitch they were thrown for the rest of the game until the game ended in an 8 inning performance by the opposing starting pitcher.

    Most of that is on the Marlins’ wild bullpen…..some of it was due to patience. Credit where credit is due, there.

    ….That’s where it ends with the sunshine “fluff” for me, though.

    This team only had 6 hits last night.

    They were handed 9 walks, 2 Intentional Passes, and 1 HBP — in addition to a key Marlin fielding error [again by one of their shaky middle infielders: Hanley and Uggla absolutely mash, but there’s really nuthin’ doin’ with the leather], and a phantom “balk” call that tied the game.

    When a team does everything [and I do mean everything] in their power to hand you a ball-game, best believe you’d better capitalize on it early in the season…..or you’ll be reflecting upon in later on when you’re chasing someone in the standings.

    Spin it any way you’d like: John Maine looked awful last night. In fact, that was the proverbial “Johnny Rocket” performance — the moniker I gave him in ’06 when he allowed some of the longest HR’s I’ve ever witnessed at Shea….and he’s still (even more prone now throwing meatballs) to it today.

    They used 6 pitchers after he exited the ballgame….that simply can’t happen with so many questions coming out of this bullpen.

    I’ve read this on a few different message boards this morning….for anyone looking to blame 3rd base coach, Chip Hale on Tatis’ base-running blunder at the plate? Stop, please.

    Professional ball-players should step up and take responsibility for their own actions. What happened there is not on the 3rd base coach. In a split-second decision like that, Tatis doesn’t act upon what his coach might be telling him — he should be going on his own read/reaction. It boiled down to an overall bad decision (especially with Wright at the plate) — and a pretty nice play by Baker behind the dish to recover.

    Game 2 of 162 in the grand scheme… doubt.

    A winnable ballgame, provided you got anything in the way of starting pitching?


    Maine absolutely needs to find that extra “oomph” on his fastball…..if he doesn’t, he’s toast.

  3. Mike April 8, 2010 at 8:43 am
    Mets can’t do much this year with Maine pitching like that. It will kill the pen and put the Mets behind early. Any bets on how long before he is removed from the rotation? I’d say a solid month of garbage pitching like that will do it. Why not send him down a la Steve Trachsel and see if he can’t finally fix his awful mechanics? Probably wishful thinking but what else can you do?

    Again, Mejia won’t last much longer (thank the goddess) and Jacobs won’t either with performances like that. I’m betting Reyes replaces Tejada as expected, Carter is brought up while Jacobs is DFA’d and Kiko Calero replaces Mejia, both by the end of the month. I hope so anyways.

    Talk is Reyes is back on Saturday. I could not be more excited. Reyes is what makes this lineup dangerous. Say what you will about how lineups are constructed, but when that lineup turns over I love seeing Reyes at the plate and not Alex Cora. The Mets score more runs last night if Reyes is at the plate and not Cora during the 7th inning. His ability to drive the ball makes him ideal for big RBI spots and it is something this team has missed greatly for too long.

  4. joejanish April 8, 2010 at 9:39 am
    Matt – that’s a good point, thanks for bringing it up. You’re right that Ruben Tejada at SS would presumably give the Mets better defense (assuming you buy into the hype that Tejada is as awesome as the Mets would like us to believe). If Jerry Manuel made decisions based on sense / logic, would Cora be batting leadoff and Jacobs cleanup?

    ‘nutz – you’re right, in past years the Mets would have gone in the tank after the 5th frame. Sad, isn’t it, that we have to be pleased with the team keeping focus / effort through 9 innings?

    Mike – I doubt the Mets see Maine’s mechanics as a problem. I also doubt it’s possible to overhaul his delivery at this stage of his career; the time to do it was during his post-surgery rehab. Agreed on all other points.

  5. isuzudude April 8, 2010 at 11:02 am
    These are the types of games we’ve been accustomed to, and should expect to see on a regular basis throughout the 2010 season. Inefficient and short outings by the starting pitching, an offense that will come up short on many late game rallies, a bullpen that will allow the opposition to pad their lead and score in big spots, and a team that will lose on quirky plays (Tatis getting thrown out at home on a wild pitch, et al.) These are all ingredients to a losing formula, my Met fan brethren.

    Mike: the problem with Maine isn’t exclusively his mechanics, but also his arm strength. Regardless if his shoulder is flying open to early or whatever, if his fastball only tops out at 88 mph and it’s as straight as an arrow, there’s little chance of a minor league stint helping his productivity. The Mets will likely wait out his struggles until he gains back his lost velocity, or until he gets hurt again. Which do you think happens first?

    I am in favor of your roster moves, though. And speaking of roster moves – have we all heard the news that Nelson Figueroa got picked up by the Phillies? NO DOUBT in my mind that’s going to come back to haunt the Mets later this year.

  6. gary s. April 8, 2010 at 11:36 am
    maine has been a bullpen killer most of his career.u have to hope he can win 10-11 games this year.that’s the best case scenario.the worst case is release or injury by july 1.ron darling pointed out last nite on the homer by cantu, it was in a good location, high and inside but only 88 mph and cantu was able to turn on it.if it was 93 mps it’s a foul back.on the flip side, jason marquis was rocked last nite by the phillies and maybe in the long run they were right to pass on marquis and piniero because they are so silmilar to what we have (maine, pelfrey).all the more reason, imho to send mejia down and try and develop him as a starter.we need some in house young starting last thing, why is jacobs getting more ab’s than bay??
  7. Mike April 8, 2010 at 11:55 am
    All fine points. But maybe Maine needs to refocus in a minor league stint. Roy Halladay did that and became the best pitcher in baseball. He was close to Maine’s age at the time (though a few years younger). Point it it can’t be worse than what we are seeing now. I give him a month of bad results before a change is made.

    I understand everyone hates Jacobs in the 4th spot, and I do too, but he has the same number of plate appearances so far as Bay. And it won’t last much longer anyway. So stop with the “why is he getting more at bats.”

  8. gary s. April 9, 2010 at 1:30 am more why is he getting more ab’s than bay and batting cleanup..he hit .228 for the royals last year..WHY IS HE ON THE METS????