Mets Game 12: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 5 Mets 3

It was only a matter of time.

The Mets gave John Maine an early 3-0 lead, but even the most optimistic fan was simply waiting for that advantage to disappear. And disappear it did in the fifth, when Colby Rasmus tattooed a BP fastball over the middle of the plate, sending it into the stands for a three-run, game-tying homer.

The game remained tied until the 8th, when Ryan Ludwick blasted a homer of his own, a two-run shot on the first pitch he saw from Ryota Igarashi to take the victory.

At no point in the game did the offense appear to have a chance to score — even the three runs they did in the second were more a function of luck than anything else.

Game Notes

John Maine looked somewhat better compared to his last start, but that’s not saying much. On a night when it was imperative to save the bullpen, Maine threw 115 pitches in five innings, forcing Tobi Stoner into the game. There was much hullabaloo about Maine getting more hitters to hit foul balls — both from Jerry Manuel and the ESPN broadcast team — but is that really a good sign? I remember when Maine was “pretty good”, and we felt that all the foul balls was a BAD thing and an indication that he needed to develop an out pitch.

Meanwhile, Adam Wainwright threw 8 fewer pitches (107) and 5 more strikes (75), but he finished the game. As in, he pitched a 9-inning complete game. As in, he did exactly what the Cardinals needed: their starting pitcher to go the distance, and save the bullpen. Kudos, Mr. Wainwright.

The Mets offense continues to struggle, as they were 2-for-7 with RISP and had only 6 baserunners all night. Though, with Smithtown’s own Frank Catalanotto hitting cleanup, expectations were tempered.

The Mets remain in last place in the NL East with a 4-8 record. However, it’s still early, and as my wife points out, “the Orioles are much worse at 2-11”. Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel better.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a four-game series against the Cubs in Chicago on Monday night at 7:10 PM EST. Jon Niese goes to the hill against Randy Wells.

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. sincekindergarten April 19, 2010 at 5:14 am
    As long as the current leadership package is in place, from the Wilpons down to Dan Warthen, get used to the cellar.
  2. isuzudude April 19, 2010 at 6:57 am
    I can’t decide what was more pathetic: a lineup featuring Frank Catalanotto hitting cleanup, or John Maine needing over 100 pitches to make it through 4 innings. If these aren’t the tell-tale signs of a team destined for last place and 100+ losses, then I don’t know what are.

    Perhaps the glimmer of hope everyone is waiting for will arrive for the start of the Cub series. Mike Jacobs was DFA’d (finally!) on Sunday to make room for Tobi Stoner, but the Mets can’t go forever (or can they?) with a Catalanotto/Tatis 1B platoon. The thought is, since Jacobs was DFA’d, thus opening up a 40-man roster spot rather than simply being demoted to AAA, that Ike Davis is on his way to the big club. It seems like a desperation move (and certainly the timing is suspicious, since the Mets just happen to be returning home today), but at this point what’s to lose? Davis was crushing AAA pitching, and though he only got half a season at AA and 2 weeks at AAA, he appears ready to contribute. And even if he struggles initially in the big leagues, it’s not like the Mets are going anywhere this season. Let him take his lumps and gain experience on the big stage, with the thought of it speeding up his maturation in the long run. What this means for Dan Murphy is anybody’s guess. I hope Davis holds his own, which means Murphy becomes a bench player or gets sent to AAA to learn a new position. But I got a sneaking suspicion, having dealt with this organization long enough to know better, that Murphy will retain his starter’s job when he returns, and that Davis, regardless of how well he’s hitting, will go back to AAA for further “conditioning.” Thus making the Mets offense a boring group of singles-hitting nancyboys again, while Ike Davis and Chris Carter continue their Maris & Mantle routine in Buffalo.

  3. CatchDog April 19, 2010 at 7:55 am
    Once again, right on ‘dude. I’d be willing to bet that the Mets are the first team to ever DFA their cleanup hitter, in the middle of a series, no less. And perhaps the same fate awaits last night’s cleanup hitter.

    I’d love to see Carter get the call but Ike’s already on his way. It should be very intersting to see what happens when Murphy returns.

  4. Mike April 19, 2010 at 10:45 am
    OK. IF in fact the Mets are bringing up Davis then mark my words if he hits, Murphy will need a new position. Not that Davis is going to be an all world 1st baseman, but if he is producing the Mets would never dare to remove him. If they believe Murphy is capable of out producing someone in the lineup they will find a place for him. (2nd base? Oh please yes.) I think more likely he would rehab while playing multiple positions and the Mets will take their time bringing him back siting extensive rehab when we all know he is just trying to learn new positions because Ike is holding down 1st base.

    Which brings me to my real point. Where is the Animal!? Carter needs to be the one called up. Let Ike continue to rake and use Carter until Murphy returns. Let them share the position until one is traded or fails miserably and then bring up Ike. GAH!

    But overall if Ike produces I will gladly say I told you so to those who doubted his prospect status over the past year. I believe he will be a very good Mets for several years, and a shining example of why this team needs to continue to build from within and compliment via FA. Rose colored glasses? I hope not.

  5. mooshinator April 19, 2010 at 10:59 am
    I am excited about Ike as well, and he doesn’t need to do all too much to constitute an improvement over the status quo. However even if he surprises on the upside it’s not going to fix the Mets problems.

    The real problems:

    Bay and Reyes need to step up. They are not even performing above replacement player level, let alone to their potential.

    Since Reyes returned, the Mets have gone 2-6, losing 3 games by 1 run and 1 game by 2 runs. Now imagine if Reyes and Bay were performing *at all*. I’m not talking All-Star caliber seasons, I’m talking “slightly above major league average” type performance, which both are more than capable of. In my opinion, that would be the difference between their 4-8 record and a 6-6 record, which would be adequate while waiting for Beltran’s return.

  6. isuzudude April 19, 2010 at 11:41 am
    Mike: I agree Carter should get the call over Davis. He’s by far the more seasoned of the 2, and would make things much easier when Murphy returns from the DL. However, if Davis’ contract is not purchased from AAA, then why was Jacobs DFA’d (to make room on the 40-man roster) instead of simply being demoted? To me it seems like the team is preparing to recall someone not yet on the 40-man roster, and aside from Davis there ain’t much else in AAA that the Mets would appear to be interested in adding, considering they are currently carrying 13 pitchers and just 4 bench players. (Kiko Calero? Mike Hessman? Dillon Gee? RA Dickey? Elmer Dessens?)

    You also won’t need to convince me of Davis’ worth, whether he produces or flops upon promotion. Umpteen offseason rumors had Davis a part of packages to obtain Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego, which I stood in opposition against from day one. Why trade a young and cheap commodity in Davis for an expensive and aging guy like Gonzalez when Davis could develop into Gonzalez if given 2 or 3 years? It’s no guarantee Davis ever makes it, but I’d much rather give him the shot and trust the farm system (for once) then go the same old tired route of trading our prospects for players about to enter the downslope of their careers.

    Mooshin: regarding Reyes, I view the first 3 or 4 weeks of 2010 as his spring training. Considering he sat out most of the preseason, he is behind everyone else in the majors – and it’s showing. Not only is he slumping miserably, but I bet he’s tired and confused and not yet up to speed with the competition. This is all putting him at heightened risks of further injury, too, I may add. All the more reason why he should have stayed in the minors rehabing for at least 2 weeks to start the season, as I supported all along, so that he could get up to speed without effecting the Mets’ chances of success. Instead, he was rushed back to the majors just 4 games after opening day, and what you’re seeing (.154 batting average, .209 OBP) is what you get when you want be hasty.
    As for Jason Bay, he’s always been a streaky hitter, and it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me he’s gotten off to a slow start with chumps like Mike Jacobs and Fernando Tatis hitting behind him in the lineup. Don’t be shocked if it takes until Carlos Beltran’s return to get Bay hitting like he’s supposed to.

  7. Mic April 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm
    Great talking guys.

    1- The roster is beginning to look like it should given Spring trng performances, with Ike and Raul up. I had a hunch this could happen, especially if Jacobs did not hit in Apr. HIS problem is the 4-way jam on the bench between Cat, Tatis, Carter and himself (Jake). As such if he did not start hot he inevitably had to go. Carter does not have a position either, they will not give him 1st base.

    Joe is dead on with Maine: yes he reverted to (early) 2006…but that is not so good. He might stay in the rotation but only because he has no competition.