Mets Game 11: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 2 Cardinals 1

A marathon, to say the least.

Fittingly, I’m currently in Boston, where a marathon is taking place on Monday. No, I’m not running, and not even sticking around to watch it. I’m here for business, working a different kind of marathon: a wine tasting event that went from noon to 11 PM.

As such, I completely missed watching this game — the first game I’ve missed since 2004. What a game to miss, huh? Considering that the game went 20 innings, had no score for 19 frames, and TV viewers had to endure nearly 7 hours of mindless, hometown drivel from Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, maybe it was better to have missed it.

Looking at the boxscore and the play-by-play, I do have a few questions:

1. The Mets managed only 3 hits through nearly 15 innings against future Hall of Famers Jamie Garcia, Kyle McClellan, Mitchell Boggs, Trever Miller, Jason Motte, Dennys Reyes, and Blake Hawksworth? Really?

2. The Mets were shut out for an inning by middle infielder Felipe Lopez?

3. What in the world was Ryan Ludwick doing, attempting to steal second base in the 19th, down by one, with Albert Pujols at the plate?

4. Did Jerry Manuel outsmart Tony LaRussa by holding out K-Rod until the 19th?

5. Were St. Louis fans charged double since, essentially, they watched two ballgames?

6. How many of you were hoping to see Jeff Francoeur take the mound?

7. Did the high school kids still take the field after the game, even though it was past their curfew?

8. Was Yadier Molina carried off the field on a stretcher after catching 20 innings?

Even though I didn’t watch the game, I get the feeling it wasn’t well played — so I look forward to hearing your comments.

On a positive note, we have to be pleased that the Mets hung in there for 20 innings and finally pulled out a win, even if it took two innings against a backup outfielder throwing BP off the mound. Also, we MUST be happy to have seen Mike Pelfrey suck it up and take the ball on one days’ rest (or was it two by that hour?) to save the ballgame. The fact he did so speaks volumes about his growing maturity, and goes a long way toward building respect from his teammates. Kudos to Big Pelf!

Post your comments below — I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

Next Mets Game

Luckily for these two weary clubs, the final game of the series isn’t until 8:05 PM EST on Sunday, so there will be some rest for the weary. Also lucky (for the Mets), innings-eater John Maine takes the mound against Adam Wainwright, so the Mets bullpen will get at least 4-5 frames of rest.

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. Nick April 18, 2010 at 1:51 am
    I caught the extras and it was terrible. It looked like a game that people were playing for fun at one of their buddies fourth of july barbecues. Not only because of bonehead baserunning by BOTH teams, or Tim McCarver doing the classic commentator rhetorics “Oh he was safe. Definetely safe”. “See from that replay, tottaly safe, yeah he had the bag first”. “Now from that angle it kinda, okay, it looks like he might be out”.
    But mostly because we couldn’t get a hit offa Felipe Freakin Lopez. It looked like he was throwing BP out there. Really thats the best description for how Lopez looked out there, like he was throwing softies for a homerun derby. Mather at least got it up in the early 80’s, which might explain why he couldn’t hit the strike zone, hence why the Mets won.

    The pitching of Pelfrey, Santana and dare I say Perez has gotten me excited recently. But did anyone see this offensive crisis coming? We should have, this team sucks with runners on base.
    Disturbing… Just Disturbing..

  2. José April 18, 2010 at 2:59 am
    It was an odd day. Most of the game was burdened with the dread that the Mets were going to lose another close one, but by the end of the 13th, enough Met like things had happened to the Cardinals that I started to believe they might win.

    2. The Mets were shut out for an inning by middle infielder Felipe Lopez?

    Lopez wasn’t too awful. He threw strikes, including some highly entertaining curve balls. The highlight of the game for me was actually Lopez pitching to Raul Valdes. Valdes won the battle with an infield hit, and was then immediately thrown out trying to advance on an errant throw. The whole sequence was full of laughs. The only other hitters he had to face were the Silver Sluggers Henry Blanco and Mike Jacobs, so that’s why they didn’t score.

    A better question is how they only scored two runs in two innings off Joe Mather. He couldn’t throw strike to save his life, so the Mets thought things like swinging away and sacrifice bunts were in order.

    Did Jerry Manuel outsmart Tony LaRussa by holding out K-Rod until the 19th?

    I think that LaRussa definitely had a few more questionable moves this game. The bad move Manual made today that stood out for me was the teams approach on offense in the 19th and 20th innings. In the end though, LaRussa had exhausted his bullpen too early, and pretty much ceded victory when he was unwilling to put a starting pitcher in the game (Excluding Kyle Lohse, who was of course playing left field).

  3. alexSVK April 18, 2010 at 3:50 am
    What a game and you missed it Joe! I know I’m in minority but I truly enjoyed every second of it. I’d even say that it’s worth to pay the MLB.tv subscription just to watch this game re-live online. Sure, you have to fast-forward through the anemic Mets offense during innings 1-17, but the rest is priceless. You can’t make this stuff up. Just a few highlights:

    1) Jerry saving Frankie in the bullpen through countless high-leverage (but non-save, of course) situations only to bring him to the game to blow the save. (And not keeping him for the next inning to at least earn his ‘W’.)

    2) TLR not pinch-hitting with his last position player with bases loaded and two outs in innings 12 & 14 and the Mets pitchers actually striking out the Cards’ pitchers. (Thank god Green was on the DL.)

    3) Mets offense unable to score more than two measly runs during three innings tossed by Lopez and Mather and using a bunt (!) and two sacrify flyouts in the process.

    Good stuff, really. Embarrassing night for Mets’ offense, but a win is a win. If only Maine could pitch 7 innings tonight.

  4. sincekindergarten April 18, 2010 at 7:22 am
    I got home from singing at two Masses (one normal Saturday vigil, one Confirmation marathon) and flipped on the TV to ESPN to see what the score had turned out to be.

    That was the 12th.

    I latched on and stuck it out until Big Pelf got the first save of the Mets’ season. Pretty effin’ bad for the offense, pretty effin’ good for the bullpen. Watching Hisanori Takahashi get out of bases-loaded jam after bases-loaded jam was rather entertaining. Watching Raul Valdes against Rolaids Relief Man-candidate Felipe Lopez (the Mets sure made him look good on the mound!) was also pretty entertaining. The one angle that conclusively showed Ryan Ludwick out in the 19th on that boneheaded steal attempt just happened to be the one that the umpire also had. Speaking of boneheaded running, Jose Reyes nailing the aforementioned Ryan Ludwick on the wide turn around third in the bottom of the 16th was a heads-up play, too.

    I was starting to wonder if we’d see David Wright on the mound.

    On to tonight. Watch what happens–Maine will likely shock all of us and pitch a complete game. Or, he won’t retire a batter.

  5. isuzudude April 18, 2010 at 9:10 am
    I must be getting cantankerous in my old age because I thought this was one of the most embarrassing and pathetically played games by the Mets in a long time (which is really saying something). But both teams showed absolutely horrible execution and utterly mindless managing. I truly believe the only reason we won is because LaRussa conceded, by the 12th inning no less. Why he didn’t pinch hit for a relief pitcher with the bases loaded (twice!) is absurdly stupid. But, now it makes sense why there were rumors abounding this past offseason that a possible replacement for Jerry could be LaRussa – he’s the only guy who makes more boneheaded decisions than Jerry in baseball!

    The offense had a hard enough time scratching out 2 runs in 3 innings against Felipe Lopez and Joe Mather. If LaRussa had stretched out his bullpen a little more I’m sure the Mets would have gone scoreless for another 10 innings. At this pace it looks like a lock the Mets will finish the year with the NL’s most strikeouts and lowest runs scored. Put that together with a pitching staff with three #5 starters and a bullpen that will tire out by mid-May, and we’re in store for a 100+ loss 2010 season. But hey, they’re “playing hard” and “outlasting their opposition.” That’s got to count for something…

    Thankfully, though, Joe Buck called in sick for the game and we got to listen to Kenny Albert for the 20 innings. Still, Tim McCarver is completely intolerable. His anti-Met bias runs so deep it’s appalling. I love the comment by Nick above – it’s so true.

  6. gary s. April 18, 2010 at 9:45 am
    dude, me and u are on the same page.if they had lost this game it would have been the worst loss in franchise history.i watched from the 8th inning forward.even the victory was hollow.the cardinals lost the game much more than we won the game.mindblowingly bad decisions by larussa.but the worst was gangsta manuel sacrifice bunting with castillo vs. joe mather (an outfielder).i couldn’t believe my eyes!!talk about losing baseball.Reyes on first and u can’t let castillo swing away against a guy lobbing 80 mph fastballs??losing has become accepted on this team from omar to jerry and most of the players.than in the top of top of the 20th our 3&4 hitters popping up against a batting practice pitcher.pathetic.i saw jason bay swing and miss on a 79 mph fastball.he is a strikeout machine right now.no plate discipline.ok i promise not to mention josh willingham anymore, but right now jason bay can’t hit 79 mph fastballs.feel free to explain that to me.
  7. hart April 18, 2010 at 10:40 am
    I’m with Gary S. and Isuzu — this was not a game to feel good about. When the opposing manager essentially concedes the game, and we still stumble through several more innings until we finally, mercifully, find a way to close it out…well, that doesn’t really speak well for this team’s ability to play winning baseball over the long haul. As Gary S. notes, having Castillo sacrifice in that spot was a mind-boggling bad decision by Manuel, though not because he should have had Castillo swinging; he should have had Castillo, and everyone else, taking until Mather showed he could throw a strike, patiently build a big inning, and have some insurance for when the heart of the Cardinal order came to bat in the bottom half. But alas, Manuel showed no leadership, no command of the situation…dare I say this was the time where a middle-of-the-night firing might have been in order.
  8. mooshinator April 18, 2010 at 11:11 am
    It was really a terrible game on both sides. The only reason the Mets won is that, inexplicably, the Cardinals played dumber than the Mets. If I recall correctly, Cardinals runner got caught in a rundown between 3rd and home *twice*. LaRussa letting a relief pitcher bat with the game tied, bases loaded, bottom of an extra inning… *twice*.

    The Cardinals finally decided that just playing dumb wasn’t enough to hand the game to the Mets, so they started pitching position players and even THAT was hard for the Mets to take advantage of.

    Now to be fair, it is very easy to be pessimistic about this game by focusing solely on the offense but you do have to give the pitching staff credit – they threw 18 straight scoreless innings against a good offense. In fact, the pitching staff overall has been much better than expected and I think that a lot of Mets fans are piling onto the under-performing offense (justifiably so) without giving some amount of credit to the pitching staff for keeping these games competitive.

    The fact is that the pitching staff, sans Maine, has done excellent and made almost every game competitive. Unfortunately, the embarrassment that is the Mets offense hasn’t taken advantage of it.

  9. murph April 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    The Mets offensive performance last night reminded me of this old joke:

    “Auburn was playing Georgia Tech in a late season game that didn’t mean a lot to either team since they were both were tied for last place in the SEC. The game was tied with about six minutes left in the game, when Georgia Tech punted and an Auburn player dropped the ball. A tech player accidentally fell on the ball and they signaled a fumble recovery, leaving Tech on the 20-yard line. That was the closest they’d been to the end zone all year. But Auburn disputed the call and raised all kinds of ruckus.

    The argument went on for ten minutes, and finally, the Auburn coach just took his team, walked off the field and headed back to Alabama. Georgia Tech remained on the field, and three plays later, they scored a touchdown!”

    The Mets are Georgia Tech in this joke.

    But kudos to the entire Mets pitching staff *except* K-Rod.

  10. John April 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm
    I am not all that excited about what I saw last night. I hear lots of fans looking at it as a season-changing win. I would LOVE to see it that way. But I saw a team that was shut down for most of the game, including having to scratch out two runs on an outfielder while our closer blew it.

    all-in-all not a great game!

  11. hart April 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm
    I like the analogy, Murph! The illustration that occurred to me was Grant and Lee getting together at Appomattox with Lee ready to surrender, and Major Manuel coming along to advise Grant that it would be much better to extend the war a few more months before achieving victory.
  12. Mike April 18, 2010 at 2:45 pm
    I can’t believe I missed this game too! Ugh. I went out after the first for a friend’s birthday. We went out to eat and I followed on my phone. My XM radio was great for the few moments I was in the car going to a bar and seeing a movie. People were yelling at me to turn off my phone in the movie but it was the 15th inning! This was the most crackerjack game I’ve ever seen and I didn’t ever watch it live!
  13. Jeff April 18, 2010 at 7:26 pm
    Manuel is an absolute idiot for having K-Rod warming up each and every inning from the 9th on – just in case the Mets scored that inning. He wound up throwing about 100 pitches before he even came in! Can you picture Mariano Rivera being abused that way? You warm the guy up once, then keep him down until when – and if – the Mets take the lead. Even if someone hits a two-out home run, there still is another batter coming to the plate who would likely be instructed to take his time walking to the plate and to take at least two pitches. K-Rod, who already threw earlier that evening, would have time for at least 12-15 pitches in the pen plus another 8 when he takes the mound. Absolutely no reason to have him up every single inning. The man was SHOT by the time he got out there! I also lay some blame with K-Rod though. He’s gotta be the one to say that he’s warm enough and can’t keep throwing every inning. It’s his arm after all, and he needs to be more assertive about it not being abused when they don’t even have a rally going….
  14. Nick April 18, 2010 at 11:22 pm
    Krod said he musta threw a 100 pitches in the bullpen.
    All in all, Larussa basically forfeited this game and the Mets took more than 7 innings to finally squeak one by and win it. It’s doggone embarrassing…
    It was funny though that Valdes, who gave up the grand slam to Lopez, got a hit off of Lopez, and would have been a double if he slid into second.
    And yes, it was awesome to see Takahashi get into a man on second and third, no outs jam and K his way out. Who knew we would be praising the pitching and damning the offense?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
  15. Steven Scott April 19, 2010 at 4:11 am
    3.) REALLY!!! He should have stayed ON base! Though I DID enjoy the look on his face when the Umpire(Does “Umpire” need to be capitalized?) called him out! It was priceless! He deserved it for being such an idiot!

    5.) I have been to double-headers, and I wasn’t charged double. In the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

    When the Mets scored in the 19th inning, I sat up in my chair thinking, “YES!”. BUT when the Cardinals scored, I slumped back down. When the Mets scored in the 20th, I was thinking, “Come on, hold that run…” {WHEW!} The team I was rooting for WON! YES!

  16. Paul April 19, 2010 at 11:39 am
    To balance out the vitriol, I will say a win is a win. And this one was hard earned. If we hold the cardinals in such high regard, why are we not looking at how well we did against their big bats? Have you seen Pujols’ numbers this weekend? Our pitchers did a hell of a job messing him up. Huge props.

    I’m also a big fan of Cora’s jump into the stands with the bases loaded and takahashi shutting it down with the bases loaded.

    We should have and could have won both game 1 and last night, but that’s a lot better than the beating I know many of you expected we’d be getting this weekend. I think our guys played hard and I respect it.

    As for Jerry Manuel? Saturday bought him time, but Friday and last night were terribly managed. I cringed when they pulled Feliciano against Ludwick… has anyone seen Ludwick’s splits? He’s a MUCH better hitter against righties than lefties!

  17. Baseball Mom April 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm
    7. Did the high school kids still take the field after the game, even though it was past their curfew?

    Answer…Yes they did play! The game started just after 11pm and ended around 1:20am. It will be an experience that they will never forget. OFallon IL vs Hillsboro Mo, Hillsboro won 4-2 over OFallon.