Mets Game 30: Win Over Giants
Mets 5 Giants 4
Same script, different cast.
Following Friday’s storyline, the Mets’ starting pitcher went deep into the game — pitching into the 8th inning — stunting the opposing offense and leaving the game in line for a win. Upon his departure, the bullpen blew the lead, sending the contest into extra innings. Eventually, the catcher sends a ball into orbit and over the fence to give the Mets a dramatic, exhilarating, walkoff victory.
As the Mets World Turns …
I will stop short of saying “Johan Santana didn’t have his best stuff …” because I’m beginning to believe what we’re seeing IS Johan’s best — for now, at least. Despite a fastball that hovered in the 86-88 MPH range for most of the afternoon — occasionally topping out at 90 — and less-than-precise command, Santana trudged through 7 2/3 innings, holding the Giants to 4 runs on 8 hits and no walks. He put the tying run on base but was in the dugout by the time it came around, thanks to back-to-back singles allowed by situational relievers Fernando “Nightly” Nieve and “Perpetual” Pedro Feliciano.
Henry Blanco hit a solo homer to win the game in the bottom of the 11th off Guillermo Mota. Could it have happened to a better person? (Which person? Both!)
Blanco, by the way, was on fire all day, going 3-for-5. No other Met had more than one hit, and the team had only 7 in total.
Hisanori Takahashi took the win after pitching a perfect top of the 11th, striking out 2 and expending a paltry 9 pitches (8 for strikes). Takahashi already has 3 wins in relief for the Mets.
Todd Wellemeyer “held” the Mets to only 4 runs on 3 hits and 5 walks. I say “held” because I can’t figure out how the Mets didn’t score at least 8 runs against Wellemeyer, who was and is absolutely awful. Making matters more painful was Wellemeyer’s pace, which harkened back to the days of Steve Trachsel. His four-inning outing felt like four hours of C-SPAN.
Luis Castillo left the game prior to the 8th inning with a bone bruise in his foot. No word on how long he’ll be out of action.
Next Mets Game
The Mets go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 PM. Oliver Perez (or Mr. Hyde) faces Tim Lincecum.
Also, it’s nice to see the production coming from the bottom of the order. Yeah, we all wish that it were coming from the top of the order, but the bottom of the order is definitely picking up the top. Good teams can do this–they find a way to win. Right now, the Mets are finding ways to win. Let’s enjoy it.
On the road this season, in 12 games, the Mets are hitting .214 with a .340 slugging percentage. They’ve hit just 1 triple and 12 home runs. That’s counting playing in hitter friendly parks like in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Colorado.
That said, and with the way this team struggled at the plate JUST AS MUCH on the road as at home, there should be no more complaints about the Mets’ inability to produce runs at home because of CitiField’s dimension until evidence to the contrary becomes painfully obvious. We’ve seen first hand over the first 18 games at home this year how the Mets are taking advantage of their home ballpark’s dimensions with their above-average OF defense and their team speed. This advantage has give the Mets a 9 game winning streak and a 13-5 overall record at home. There are more ways to put runs on the board than hitting 5 home runs a game. The Mets are making this apparent and would be wise to continue to construct their team around this philosophy as long as they play half their games at Citifield each year.
However, though I’m enjoying the dramatic victories of the past 2 games, I’m still not getting entirely excited or optimistic. The bullpen’s starting to choke up leads, the offense is still sputtering, and Johan still has less-than-ideal stuff. I understand a win is a win, but I’m still getting the feeling that this magic won’t last forever and eventually this stagecoach is going to morph back into a pumpkin before too long.
One thing though, that I’m starting to question – the notion that the Mets’ “team speed” is helping them win games. Is it? Or are home runs the difference?
This may be worth investigating.