Mets Game 54: Loss to Padres

Padres 5 Mets 1

The final score falls remarkably short of telling the whole story.

In yet another rubber match gone bad, the Mets wasted a brilliant performance by Johan Santana to lose in San Diego in extra innings — via a walkoff grand slam by Adrian Gonzalez.

Game Notes

Johan Santana “didn’t have his best stuff” but somehow managed to shut out the Padres through 7 innings, allowing 5 hits and 5 walks, striking out 3. His command was off — way off — but it worked to his advantage against a San Diego lineup that would struggle in the Can-Am League. In other words, the awful Padres hitters made him “effectively wild”. Santana gutted his way to a 123-pitch count over those 7 IP; I bet he wished he went to 150 and finished the game.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: this “best stuff” thing is getting old. We need to adjust our expectations and come to the understanding that Johan is NOT the pitcher we thought we were getting two years ago. He can still pitch well enough to win just about every time out, but we cannot expect him to dominate.

Francisco Rodriguez was brought in for a four-out save and blew it (his third blown save of the season). That four-out save became a seven-out no-decision in which he threw 46 pitches — less than 20 hours after tossing 30 pitches in Tuesday night’s win. Some quick math tells you that’s 76 pitches within a 24-hour period — fine for a starter, OK for a long reliever, unacceptable for a closer. Yes, K-Rod (and the Mets) have an off-day on Thursday but that’s not nearly enough to recover. A prudent manager would hold K-Rod out until at least Sunday. However, Jerry Manuel is a desperate man managing for his job, so don’t be surprised to see Rodriguez in the game on Friday and/or Saturday. Then, don’t be surprised to see K-Rod on the DL and/or blowing games regularly in the second half of the season.

For those who may be confused as to why it’s OK for Santana to throw 123 pitches in one day and not OK for K-Rod to throw 76 over two, it’s all about recovery. Santana has at least 4, maybe 5 days to rest and recover. K-Rod will be back in a game, throwing with 100% effort, immediately. K-Rod, in particular, has a violent delivery that tears down the muscles in his shoulder, elbow, hips, and knees — which is why previous manager Mike Scioscia was so judicious and careful with his use of Rodriguez.

Losing pitcher Raul Valdes allowed three hits and hit David Eckstein before giving up the gopher ball to Gonzalez. I find it funny that many people are “surprised” to see Valdes failing lately. Is it really surprising to see Valdes performing like someone who belongs in the Mexican League? That IS where the Mets found the 32-year-old, after all.

Jeff Francoeur drove in the only Mets run. Let that sink in.

Jason Bay was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk. For naught.

In case you missed it, Geoff Young of Ducksnorts told us that — if Adrian Gonzalez was not an option — David Eckstein was the guy he wanted to see at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game. Lo and behold, it was Eckstein who drove in the tying run against K-Rod with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Next Mets Game

The Mets have the day off as they travel home from the Left Coast and return to Flushing for a 7:10 PM game vs. the Marlins. R.A. Dickey goes to the mound against Anibal Sanchez.

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. gary s. June 3, 2010 at 3:41 am
    big time closers don't give up 2 strike hits to 2 different batters in the same inning.why was valdez in the game?could it be that jerry has burned out every arm in the bullpen?we should have fired him in atlanta.his moves are so bad, it just makes u sick to watch this team
  2. John Fitzgerald June 3, 2010 at 4:02 am
    Er… I'm hearing that Danny Murphy was led off the field tonight after hurting himself while turning a DP.

    Not. Good.

  3. Friar Rob June 3, 2010 at 1:50 am
    Apparently, all it takes is Can-Am league level hitting to deliver a series win against the Mets. Don’t worry it isn’t over yet…we’ll do it to again at Citi Field in a few days.
  4. Happy June 3, 2010 at 9:40 am
    They said last night that Santana won't pitch again til next Wednesday.
  5. isuzudude June 3, 2010 at 11:11 am
    A pathetic offensive showing. A brilliant start by Johan wasted. A Krod blown save. A bullpen meltdown. A Gary Matthews strikeout as a pinch hitter. Yup, sounds like Met baseball to me!
  6. Wendy June 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm
    I was desperately pulling for Cora to through with DWright and Frenchy on base in the fourth, a two run double could have changed the outcome drastically.
  7. MikeTomaselli June 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm
    As awful as this loss was, I'm still more pissed about watching that perfect game get ruined by James Joyce. I have because I live in Houston, so I decided to PiP that game and watch Gallaraga get the perfect game. That Austin Jackson catch was unbelievable! I figured well as a Mets fan I'll never see one, so I might as well watch the end of this game. I almost feel bad that my Mets fan no no-no/perfecto curse rubbed off on James Joyce or something. I was and are still more upset about watching that than watching Ekstein beat the Mets, again.
  8. isuzudude June 3, 2010 at 5:07 pm
    Imagine if Joyce (or any umpire for that matter) had blown the last out call in a potential no-hitter/perfect game for a Met pitcher? 48 years of not having one to be spoiled by a blown call on the last play of the game. That umpire would have to go into protective service.
  9. MikeTomaselli June 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm
    Oh I thought about that. Metstradamus talked about it in his latest too. I think Joyce would have needed to be escorted off the field and out of the city. Honestly he never would have made it without a police escort.

    As sad as it was the city and the team handled it well and Joyce did the classy thing too. But now he has to call the balls and strikes today. Never would have happened in NY.

  10. Mic June 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm
    Ray Knight talked about a near-no-no with Dwight in which he made an 'error"Enter text right here!