Mets Game 31: Loss to Giants

Giants 6 Mets 5

The Mets almost won … but fell a hair short. Still, they took a series they needed to take.

Early on, it didn’t seem possible. Mr. Hyde Oliver Perez was walking the ballpark, and the Mets hitters couldn’t touch Tim Lincecum.

Then, the wind changed.

Thanks to idiotic management decisions, terrible fundamentals, and a few wind-blown balls, the Giants completely blew golden opportunities to put the game away and gave the Mets extra chances to gain a win — and the Mets made the most of them.

Then, the wind changed again. Rookie Jenrry Mejia, pitching in the setup role and protecting a one-run lead, walked John Bowker in the 8th, then allowed a two-run homer to Aaron Rowand to give the lead back to the Giants.

Jason Bay had a wind-blown double to lead off the ninth, but was stranded there when closer Brian Wilson struck out the side.

Game Notes

Oliver Perez
was terrible. Absolutely terrible. At one point he had 3-ball counts to nine straight batters, and 11 out of 12. By the time he left, he allowed only 3 earned runs but walked 7 in 3 1/3 innings. It could’ve — and should’ve — been a lot worse. Only the horrendous managing of Bruce Bochy kept him in the game.

Bruce Bochy has a great reputation as a manager, but he had me baffled in the top of third, while Oliver Perez was on the mound and unable to throw a strike. With a runner on first — due to a walk — and Pablo Sandoval at the plate with no outs and a 3-1 count, Bochy called the hit and run TWICE in a row. These calls came just moments after Perez threw a pitch 20 feet outside — causing Gary Cohen to channel his inner Bob Uecker a la “Bull Durham” / Nuke LaLoosh. As a result of this stupidity, Sandoval swung at two pitches out of the strike zone, and eventually popped out for the first out of the inning. Didn’t seem like a big deal, but the Giants eventually loaded the bases thanks to another walk and a hit-by-pitch. A pop out and a great catch at the wall by Angel Pagan ended an inning that Perez should never have escaped.

An inning later, after Perez walked the leadoff man, Bochy had Tim Lincecum sacrifice — this despite the fact Perez had gone to a three-ball count to 9 straight hitters and the fact that Lincecum walked his previous at-bat. As it turned out, Lincecum’s bunt was right back to Perez, who — ironically — threw wildly to second base but got the out. Why Bochy would give the Mets, and Perez, an out under those circumstances is beyond comprehension. As it was, the Giants again loaded the bases, knocked Perez out of the game, and scored only two runs. Between those two innings, the Giants should have scored at least 4 or 5.

Maybe that sounds like me not being a Mets fan or being negative but I’m a baseball fan first and stupid baseball makes me insane — and that was stupid, stupid, stupid baseball by Bochy. Sometimes managers should step out of the way and let the other team beat themselves, rather than forcing their genius into an opportunity.

Tim Lincecum
was unusually fabulous against the Mets. I say “unusually” because he was winless in 3 career starts vs. the Mets, allowing 30 baserunners in 19 innings and posting a 5.68 ERA. This time, Mets fans saw the “real” Tim Lincecum. OK, now we get it.

Strangely, though, Lincecum’s fastball sat around 90 MPH, only occasionally going as high as 91-92. This is a pitcher who regularly threw 97-101 MPH not so long ago. Cold weather, lack of strength, or possible injury? Time will tell.

David Wright was thrown out of the game after striking out looking in the bottom of the 9th with Bay on second base. It was a close call, could’ve gone either way — it was a fastball with a heckuva lotta run, and it ended up looking off the plate by the time it was caught. Had the Mets tied the game, they’d have been in a bit of a fix, because they were out of position players. We might’ve seen Mike Pelfrey playing left field in the top of the 10th.

Fernando Nieve made an appearance, and is on pace to tie Mike Marshall’s record for most games by a pitcher in a season (104).

Next Mets Game

Mets host the surprising Nationals on Monday night at 7:10 PM. John Maine faces Luis Atilano.

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. wohjr May 9, 2010 at 6:44 pm
    So i’ve just started watching Lost on hulu… when can we start referring to DWright as the ‘k monster’ ala the smoke monster? That pitch in the ninth was too close to take, he looked like he wanted a walk rather than to hit the big one. Batting stance is again different than on the road… staying the same with the hands but way more crouched. 150 k’s here we come!!!!

    That said, I liked the fight from the mets. Too often in years past they would roll over in this situation– hanging tough at the end of the game is a refreshing change from years past. Refreshing too is the breaks that are going the metsies way… most particularly a couple of botched uribe plays and jbay’s blooper(s). With all the terrible luck the past few years, its about time… but you got to MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK!

  2. gary s. May 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm
    it was a gift by the lf on the giants that got us back in the game.but i agree, this team has a lot more fight than last year’s team.what has happened to d wright’s ability to go the other way with 2 strikes?he used to make a living hitting the other way with 2 strikes on it a mental thing or has hojo messed him up?the rook, davis sprays the ball the opposite way beautifully when he’s behind in the count.i don’t understand why david wright is trying to hit the ball 500 feet when he has 2 strikes on him.The mets have to remove perez from the rotation after todays disaster.start him every 5 days at buffalo.if he can’t find the plate at buffalo, close the book on him.the wilpons have to stop trying to get a return on his horrendous contract to the detriment of the team.The idea should be to win as many games as possible and mke the many games will we give away with this washed up never was on the mound?also,please release matthews and catalonotto.the bench is a disaster with these 2 clowns on it.also if manuel lets santanago 8 yesterday and krod comes in for the save, we have nieve or feliciano ready to start the 8th today, not mejia.still happy with 2 out of beat the nats 2 out of 3.
  3. wohjr May 9, 2010 at 8:08 pm
    right on gary… someone needs to send the wilpon’s an Econ 101 book with the section on SUNK COSTS highlighted. Ollie should enjoy the spicy wings in Buffalo, b/c he is worse than a $9 czechvar right now
  4. Mic May 9, 2010 at 9:11 pm
    – Ollie; with the success of Maine and Niese plus the success of the remade pen, The Mets can afford to make changes, and I for one think Ollie needs to be demoted to the pen. he has history in the pen, and he could work on his pitches..other than that the Mets would have to cut/trade him.
    -That said they would need a starter. several sites have noted other starters are available. for example the Jays could be willing to deal Dana Eveland. MLBrumors think a ‘prospect’ is all thats needed.
    – Other than that I want to say that Jerry has exhausted the pen this last week (week?) and that contributed to several ‘L’s, not just today.
  5. Mark May 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm
    Tough loss. Nice to see that they showed some fight, but an unfortunate ending.

    One of the problems with Ollie is that you can’t really demote him to the pen – you need your bullpen guys to be able to come in and throw strikes and, as we saw (yet again) today, he is incapable of doing so. I guess you have to send him down to AAA because, aside from taking the Mets out of games, he’s murdering the pen (3.1 freaking innings? seriously?). And I’m reluctant to move Takahashi to the starting rotation because he’s been so valuable in his swing man role. I think its time to either look within the system or for a (relatively) cheap alternative. Of course, if Mejia was in AA stretching out his arm since spring training, there probably would be an obvious candidate, but that ship sailed a long time ago … ahem.

    As for the bench, I really don’t know what to say that hasn’t been said repeatedly: its absurd that Carter is raking in AAA and FC is having terrible ABs. Its time to move on.

    And has anyone heard anything about Igarashi? They desperately need another dependable arm because, at the rate their going, Jerry is going to kill Nieve and Feliciano. Perhaps Parnell or Calero? Anyone? Bueller?

  6. Jason A. May 10, 2010 at 6:40 am
    Good series win for the Mets. They showed a lot of fight.

    Time for Ollie to be sent down for a long time. His career numbers tell me he isn’t going to change.

  7. isuzudude May 10, 2010 at 9:11 am
    wohjr: why no comments after the games on last week’s roadtrip where David Wright went 8 for 25 (.320) with 4 home runs and 7 rbi? Why no comments about how Wright’s defense has been superb this season? Why do you single Wright out as the only member of the offense who strikes out, or who fails in the clutch? Why do you love to hate our most dynamic position player?

    And by the way, that pitch he took in the 9th was definitely a ball and was called a ball all day long by the home plate umpire, which attributed to the Mets’ pitchers allowing 11 walks on the day. But an even bigger bonehead than the ump is Jerry Manuel, who exhausted his bench by the 8th inning. That’s simply embarrassing. You REALLY have to wonder how many more games the Mets could be winning if they had a manager with at least half a brain.

    The Mets are 1-5 in Ollie’s starts this season. To be fair, though, in 2 of those losses Perez pitched decently (at least 6 innings, no more than 2 runs allowed). And to be honest, even when Perez is going good he still endures a clunker like yesterday every now and again, where he walks the ballpark and kills the bullpen. Not to make excuses, but I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled with the weather conditions, either. That doesn’t excuse his horrible start, but it probably had something to do with it. Perez’ ERA is also 4.50, which, believe it or not, is better than Johan’s (4.54). I hate to keep Perez in the rotation because of his contract, but I don’t believe he’s pitched his way off the team as of yet. If he puts up 2 more of these clunkers in a row, then I think he needs to go. But I still think he’s more than capable of going out there in his next start and giving the Mets 6 innings of 2-run work. In fact, that was the line he had last week in Cincinnati. Believe me, Perez frustrates the bejesus out of me, too, and I think his days as a top-of-the-rotation starter are over. But the Mets have a lot invested in Perez to just kick him to the curb, and there’s still enough recent evidence displayed of Perez pitching decently enough to be kept around. I know I’m definitely in the minority here and I can’t believe I’m sticking up for Ollie, but this is truly how I feel on the matter.

  8. Mike May 10, 2010 at 9:47 am
    ‘dude that is because you are one of the only truly level headed fans out there.

    What? David Wright as 8 K’s in a row? OVERREACT! Trade him! Bench him. What? There’s no good replacement and he is still one of our best players? I don’t care get him out of here right now!

    What Ollie had another bad start? CUT HIM! I don’t care that he was recently good (for Ollie). It’s not my money, cut him!

    What? Johan gave up 10 runs to our hated rival? He’s done. What a wasted contract. He’ll never be good enough again. Wait you say May is perennially his worst month every year? Poppycock I’d rather have Dillon Gee putting up a 6 ERA than watch Johan be ONLY good.

    What? Bay only has 1 HR. Never mind how good his defense has been… and how streaky he can be… he clearly is not cut out for Citi-grand-canyon (lolololol!!1!). Trade him!

    I think you get the point. I continue to press for changes where they could actually happen, the bench and pen. I’ll concede Tatis because he is the, ahem, emergency catcher and Cora because the other option, Tejada, just is not ready or potentially very good. But GMJ and Cattalanatto are embarrassing. Carter is equally as likely to play the field at this point as FC, and obviously a way more threatening hitter than either of those two. Cut at least one, for the love all that is sacred.

    In other news guess who is injured again in Buffalo? F-Mart left the game with a leg injury. No word yet on the extent, but this is concerning. All he had to do this year was stay healthy and he would probably be starting in CF by years end (Beltran is not coming back). Good luck Fernando, but I’ve officially written you off as a true prospect… even at age 21… unless you magically stay healthy for one full year no one can count on you. Reyes found a way, hopefully you can too.

  9. wohjr May 10, 2010 at 12:25 pm
    Ah dude but I did throw in a few comments on the road trip, both about our favorite son and the team in general. One can’t comment after EVERY game like you…

    More to the point, I think you misunderstand my position. I don’t have it out for DWright. He seems like a great kid. If this team were in a different situation he’d be perfect. I don’t hate Dwright, and if you’ll recall I began suggesting this early in the season (well, actually, at the end of last season) so don’t give me this guff about it being just because he was a delightful 4ks yesterday.

    What I am saying is that this team definitely cannot win as currently constituted. Certainly not the World Series and probably not even the playoffs. This is not crazy mets fan pessimism… even after all we’ve seen from them this season, much of it good, could you really go into a short series with 90mph Johan, Pelf and Niese and expect to win even 50% of the time? The organization needs arms, particularly since we’re seeing supposedly the best arm the Mets’ system has to offer right now.

    So where are these arms going to come from? The scouting and player development system is never going to get the overhaul it needs until the Wilpons are gone so the draft is unlikely to yield what we’re looking for. If you were going to trade someone within the organization, DWright would fetch the most in return. He’s probably the only real tradable asset on the team right now that you could get close to 100 cents for. His skills are way easier to replicate than Reyes’ or Beltran’s– which is, again, not to say he isn’t a nice player but just that what he brings could be found way more cheaply.

    Finally, yes, he is the public face of the organization and has handled the spotlight of New York well. But I think for the same reason he is overrated– the constant and fawning media coverage. There was a poll of MLers on ESPN last week and DWright made the “overrated” list. This is not hating on DWright, this is fact. The media insanity in this town makes it really difficult for new players on the mets many times, lets use the media to our advantage for once and get some decent power arms that can pitch in the cavern. This team should be all about pitching, and yet there go ollie and maine, for another turn in the rotation. Sigh.

  10. isuzudude May 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm
    “His skills are way easier to replicate than Reyes’ or Beltran’s– which is, again, not to say he isn’t a nice player but just that what he brings could be found way more cheaply.”

    Since when do gold-glove caliber third basemen who can hit 30 homers, steal 30 bases, and hit .300 start to grow on trees? Name me one other 3B in the sport who can duplicate those statistics. Not Arod. Not Zimmerman. Not Reynolds. I think the problem here is that you focus entirely too much on Wright’s flaws without appreciating the positive things he can do. Not to mention “the kid” is also only 27 years old, which means he still may not have hit his peak yet. He can still get better, while the skills that he already possesses aren’t set to start to deteriorate for at least another half-dozen years. Also, over the final 4 years of his current contract, Wright is going to average just over $13 million per year – yet, if you put a player like Wright on the open market he’d easily command annual figures between $15-20 million. So you’re getting an all-star 3B who is the most well-rounded athlete at his position in baseball for less than market value, and yet you want to trade him for pitching prospects who may or may not to turn out to be anything useful. Sorry, wohjr, but you are WAY WRONG.

    I’m as disgruntled over the Mets’ current pitching situation as you are, but the solution is not trading your best player to get the pitching depth you desire. You’d only be sealing up one leak in the dam by creating another. And how awful does the Mets’ pitching forecast really look? Johan may no longer be a Cy Young candidate but he’s still on target for 12+ wins and 180+ strikeouts. And I trust, if his stuff continues to abandon him, he can learn to adapt and refine his game to remain successful. Pelfrey is developing before our eyes and is just 26. Jon Niese is coming along. Jenrry Mejia will eventually be starting. Brad Holt and Eric Niesen are promising and there’s a boatload of talented arms at the lower levels who may be just another year or two away. Check for yourself: I’m all for stockpiling pitching and loading the minor league system with talented arms, but when it comes at the expense of one of your key offensive and defensive components, then the plan becomes self-defeating.

    We agree that, as currently constituted, the Mets are not a legitimate playoff contender. But the crux of their mediocrity has not lied in their inability to find capable pitching. As a team, the Mets’ have a .238 average, .319 OBP, and .384 SLG%, which all fall into the bottom half of the MLB rankings. It’s the offense that has been the problem, and things certainly will not be helped by taking someone like David Wright away from the team.

    If you don’t have it out for Wright, how about generating some criticism for some of the other components of the team? Pardon me if I feel like you like to use Wright as a punching bag when all you ever do is get on his case when he slumps yet ignore anything positive he contributes.

  11. gary s. May 10, 2010 at 6:09 pm
    dude, i’m a huge dw fan since he joined the team.maybe he spoiled all the fans with the amazing numbers he put up his first 4 years.i think the ballpark dimensions got in his head last u stated he had a great road trip with 4 dingers, but slumped the minute he got back to citicavern.coincidence??i’m not a hitting coach, but he does seem to overswing and have a lot of trouble hitting fastballs above the belt.that said, trading him is not a good idea and i think if other players would play up to their ability, nobody would focus on far as ollie, we’re in 2 different camps on him.he’s horrible and only his contract keeps him around.not a good reason imho to go out there every 5 days.he also sucks the life out of a game to the fans and the players..BAD KARMA!!i look forward to his last day as a met..hopefully sooner than later..