Mets Game 16: Win Over Cubs
Mets 5 Cubs 2
The Mets did nearly everything they could to give Chicago the game, but in the end the Cubs just weren’t interested. As a result, the Metropolitans won their first series of 2010.
Johan Santana did not have his best stuff, but had enough to win. Hey … where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah — in all of his starts thus far. Once again the velocity was on the low side (though higher than in previous games) and his command was less than stellar. However, he had an occasionally nasty, vanishing change-up that induced many swings and misses. A few more crafty, savvy performances like this and we may start to wonder if this is what we’ll expect from Santana as a rule, rather than an exception. If so, that’s OK, as long as he keeps winning. Though, the high pitch counts that keep him from plowing through a full seven innings will eventually take their toll on an already overused bullpen. I’m going to assume that Johan’s slow start to the season has something to do with the recovery from elbow surgery. By mid-June he may be at full strength and these so-so (for Santana) starts will be considered a temporary anomaly.
Jerry Manuel is operating like a man managing for his life. In other words, he’s managing every game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series, with a beheading certain to follow a loss (previously he managed every game like it was the seventh game of the World Series, but with the assumption that his life would be spared if he were unsuccessful). This short-sighted strategy may get him through May, but will be detrimental in the long run — particularly to the bullpen. His desperation to win this game and this series led to four relievers in the final 2 2/3 innings, including Fernando Nieve’s 11th appearance and a five-out save from Francisco Rodriguez.
Speaking of, Fernando Nieve is on pace to appear in 110 games this season. In contrast, K-Rod is on pace to save 10 games over the course of the year.
Enough of the negativity; on to the positive.
Ike Davis had 3 of the Mets’ 7 hits, going 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored. He also collected his first Major League extra-base hit, a double to left field in the 8th. Granted, Alfonso Soriano was standing next to the peanut salesman in the stands along the left field foul line, and took his time in chasing the ball, but we’ll take it. Half of Davis’ 6 hits in this series came against lefthanded pitchers.
David Wright had only one hit, but it was a big one — a double to left that scored Jose Reyes for the first run of the game. Wright struck out three times on the night and was down 0-2 in that particular at-bat, but fought back and took a strong cut to blast the ball over Soriano’s head. God bless Alfonso Soriano.
Jeff Francoeur also had only one hit, but his also was a biggie — a single to score Wright only moments later. Frenchy flew to first base on the hit, having shed a gorilla-sized monkey off his back (he had been 0 for 24 prior to the RBI single).
There’s just one more middle-of-the-order slugger to bust out of a slump, and I won’t mention his name but you may currently think of him as the righthanded Jeromy Burnitz.
The Mets are in last place in the NL East but currently have a better won-loss record than the Boston Red Sox — so, there’s that. See, I can see a silver lining.
Next Mets Game
The Mets host the Braves for a three-game weekend series in Flushing beginning at 7:10 PM on Friday. The matchup pairs two winless starters in John Maine and Kenshin Kawakami.