Mets Game 45: Win over Braves

Mets 3 Braves 0

Willie Randolph was not happy with the productivity of his lineup, so he shook things up.

Mets pitcher Oliver Perez leaps over the baseline after an inningWith Shawn Green in the two hole, David Wright batting cleanup, Paul LoDuca behind him in the fifth spot, Carlos Delgado dropped to sixth, and Carlos Gomez batting eighth, the Mets managed to score three runs in the first five innings.

But that wasn’t the only unusual move by Willie. Normally a slave to the 100-pitch count, Randolph allowed Oliver Perez to start the seventh inning, despite having thrown 107 pitches through the initial six. Ollie rewarded the decision by pitching a scoreless seventh, expending 15 pitches in the process. His outing finished up like this: 7 innings, 4 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, 122 pitches, 81 for strikes.

His stellar pitching was supported by a Mets offense that got back to the basics: taking pitches, getting on base, and executing fundamental situational hitting (placing bunts, hitting behind the runner, etc.). The first run was manufactured in the third inning by a Jose Reyes walk, single by Green, and a double steal that resulted in Reyes scoring when the throw to second base by Atlanta catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia bounced off second baseman Martin Prado’s leg. In the fourth, Paul LoDuca, Carlos Delgado, and Damion Easley hit consecutive singles to load the bases, and Carlos Gomez popped a sacrifice fly to score Loduca. The Mets scored their third and final run in the fifth when D-Wright went down and fished out a pitch on the outside of the plate, below his knees, and drove it over the 380 mark in leftfield.

After Perez pitched his seven stellar innings, Mighty Joe Smith came on to pitch a perfect eighth, striking out Edgar Renteria and Chipper Jones swinging and inducing a groundout from Jeff Francoeur.

Billy Wagner finished things up by striking out two for this 11th save in 11 tries. Remarkable that Bobby Cox allowed Chris Woodward to face Wagner as the last out in the game.

Notes

Paul LoDuca remains red-hot, stroking an opposite-field single and pulling a double down the leftfield line.

The drop in the lineup did some good for Carlos Delgado, as he had two hits — one to left-center and the other to left. It was absolutely baffling to see the Braves infielders all lined up to the right of second base when Delgado came up, yet also see the pitcher continously pound the outside part of the plate. Kind of counterintuitive, dontcha think?

You have to like the hustle and raw talent of Carlos Gomez. However, he’s defintely a product of the Dominican adage, “you don’t walk off the island (you hit your way off of it)”. Gomez swings at just about everything he can reach — and he manages to make contact. When and if he learns to be a bit more selective, he’ll be a bonafide superstar. If he doesn’t … well, Vlad Guerrero and Jeff Francoeur have done OK with a similar approach.

Something I’ve noticed about Oliver Perez in his last two starts: when in the windup, he often makes an exaggerated pause at the top of his leg lift, getting his balance and gathering his power, before exploding to the plate. Watch closely and you’ll see what I’m talking about. When he makes the pause, he seems to be in more control of his body, and has a more controlled follow-through. If he doesn’t take the pause, the pitch is rushed, and he ends up flailing out toward third base. I wonder if Rick Peterson has established the top of his leg lift as a checkpoint, and is helping Ollie stay consistent with his mechanics.

Lately, Jose Reyes is being overly aggressive on 1-0 and 1-1 counts, particularly with runners on base. As a result, he’s chasing pitches he should be taking — balls that could be putting him into very favorable 2-0 and 2-1 counts. Instead, he’s digging himself into 1-2 holes and having to take defensive swings. He’ll need to get back to his patient ways with runners on if he’s going to continue driving up the RBI total.

Perez, by the way, touched 95 a few times during the game. That’s gas, and nearly unhittable with his movement.

Next Game

Tom Glavine goes for win #296 while John Smoltz tries for #200. MetsToday reader Sincekindergarten believes that Glavine is too proud and too competitive to allow best friend Smoltzie to win his 200th against him. Let’s hope he’s right. Game time is 7:35 PM.

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 May 24, 2007 at 5:29 am
    Joe, I had heard that one of the flaws that was found in Ollie’s delivery, by The Jacket earlier this season, was the height of his leg kick. We can see the results. On the MLB.com article, Matt Diaz claims that “You’ve gotta believe Omar [Minaya, the Mets’ general manager] over there pulled a [John] Schuerholz,” when he picked up Ollie. Ain’t imitation supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery? 😉

    And, yes, I said that–I’m not backing off that one. Glavine may not show it the same way as, say, an Eric Byrnes or a Roger Clemens would, but he’s got a huge ego. (He has to.) He does not want to have to deal with Smoltz’ very presence rubbing it in to Glavine every time they get together, for the rest of their lives. It may be late in the game when the Mets offense gets to Smoltz, but they will. Five out of the six runs they scored off of Smoltz im the last duel between these two certain first-year HOF inductees came in the sixth inning. It was the pen that couldn’t hold it for Glavine. I just don’t see the pen blowing it this time. It’ll probably be more humid down there than it is up here, and we know that Glavine likes more humid conditions to pitch in, as it gives him a better feel for the circle change and his curveball, which he needs to throw more.

  2. joe May 24, 2007 at 10:57 am
    Good point on the weather factor — it seems like Glavine pitches better in warmer, more humid weather. Most likely has something to do with the touchy-feely aspect of his fastball and changeup grips.

    The more I think about it, the more I think you’re right … I can just see Glavine and Smoltz spending Thanksgiving together, and Smoltz ribbing Tommy about giving him his 200th win — like a couple of frat boys busting each other over a pickup game of b-ball.

    That said, let’s hope Tommy has a “Vintage Glavine” performance, and we take 2 outta 3 in Atlanter.