Mets Game 77: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 7 Mets 6

Ugh … as in, “Ugh-la”.

Dan Uggla bounced a grounder through the middle of the artificial infield to bring home Jorge Cantu from second base to give the Fish a 7-6 victory in the bottom of the ninth in San Juan.

I guess you call that a “walkoff single”? Hmm … the ring of it is underwhelming, but the result is the same.

Game Notes

Hisanori Takahashi was pitching a perfect game until opposing pitcher Nate Robertson dribbled a grounder through the infield in the bottom of the third. Then, it was like a dam broke, as seven consecutive Marlins reached base in the inning. One of them reached home on one swing — Hanley Ramirez, who blasted a no-doubter grand slam to apply the damage of the inning.

By the time Takahashi left the game, he had hurled 5 2/3 innings, and allowed 6 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks.

The bullpen more or less held the fort until Feliciano gave up a double to Jorge Cantu and then the fateful single by Ugh-la.

Jerry Manuel made the mysterious move of bringing in Francisco Rodriguez in the 8th inning, down two runs, to face the bottom of the Marlins lineup. I can understand wanting to get K-Rod into the game to get work. But why not wait until the 9th?

Manuel also chose to pitch to Dan Uggla in the 9th with first base open. I understood the decision — the idea was that Pedro Feliciano would nibble outside the strike zone in the hopes that Uggla would chase something and either strike out or not get good wood on the ball — and if he didn’t take the bait, the worst that would happen would be a free pass. However, Feliciano got too much plate, Uggla had choked up on the bat looking to poke something through the infield, and the rest was history. Some may criticize Manuel for pitching to Uggla, but I don’t know that it was such a bad idea. However, the K-Rod decision was a bit puzzling.

David Wright hit 3 unproductive singles and was thrown out stealing in the first frame. The only other Met with more than one hit was Ruben Tejada, who stroked two singles, drove in a run, and scored one.

Chris Carter hit a key pinch-hit double to set up Josh Thole’s pinch-hit RBI single in the top of the ninth. Maybe one or both of them should’ve been in the game from the get-go … but, there was a lefty starter on the mound, and we all know that lefthanded hitters can’t hit lefthanded pitchers.

Next Mets Game

The Mets will try to salvage at least one game in San Juan on Wednesday night at 7:10 PM. Ace starter Mike Pelfrey takes the mound against Chris Volstad.

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 30, 2010 at 7:45 am
    the need for an extra starter quality starter if we are going to contend was on display the last 2 games.takahashi needs to go back to pen where his maximum value of going thru the lineup one time would be taken advantage of.lee or oswalt would set us up for meaningful games the rest of the year and fill up all the seats in citicavern.your move, omar..
  2. Walnutz15 June 30, 2010 at 8:08 am
    Last night’s game tells us 3 things we already knew, dating back to this winter:

    – The Mets need another starting pitcher.
    – The Mets need another legit bullpen arm.
    – The Mets will have to win games in spite of their dopey manager.

    Hopefully, 1 & 2 are taken care of…since they’re no longer “nice to have”‘s — and are more of a necessity.

    3 on the other hand? Unfortunately, won’t be taken care of anytime soon.

    Back to NL Ball, and back to Jerry mistakes in tight ballgames…..set your watch to it, it’s very predictable stuff.

    The Mets are now 0-2 in games where the brilliant strategy of “being fine” in pitching to Dan Uggla with an open base is employed.

    First time was a walk-off wild pitch by Nieve. Last night it was Feliciano’s turn with the walk-off single.

    Dumb and Dumber….but I guess it’s true that History repeats itself.

  3. Walnutz15 June 30, 2010 at 8:15 am
    Wright was actually picked at 2nd on the cut-off to the plate in the first. The Caught Stealing came later on in the game.

    Nice to see him on the ball, with 3 hits — but he did have a little too much pep in his step last night on the basepaths.

    Loved seeing the comeback, didn’t love hearing the wood burning as Manuel pain-stakingly thought out his master-mind moves — leading us to….inevitable defeat.

    This team can’t get out of PR quick enough. Always crappy games when they play down there.

  4. Gil Reich June 30, 2010 at 8:22 am
    He couldn’t wait till the 9th to bring K-Rod in because that would have required assuming the Mets would score at least 2 in the top. I have no problem with the decision. Once you decide you’re going to pitch him, it doesn’t make that much difference which inning, except that the better hitters were up in the 9th.

    3 unproductive singles? That’s not fair. The first moved Pagan from 1st to 3rd, from which he scored the Mets’ first run. And not his fault the guy behind him hit into a DP in the 7th. Yes, it was his fault that he got erased the other 2 times.

  5. Walnutz15 June 30, 2010 at 8:31 am
    The current construction of the bullpen led directly to last night’s outcome.

    You have to provide a manager like Manuel with keys to a Bentley, and not an Edsel — otherwise, expect to run out of plausible options throughout a ballgame.

    He’s terrible in managing a pen. Always has been.

    In bringing Dessens in for 1 pitch in the 6th inning, he essentially had 2 relievers left in his bullpen the rest of the way (Parnell and Frankie). Wasteful.

    I say this because Feliciano proves, time and time again – that he’s strictly a left-handed specialist….something that doesn’t factor in when playing the Marlins. They’re virtually all RH-hitters.

    This isn’t even touching the actual strategic points of the ballgame — like in the 9th inning. Granted, the decision not to run for Barajas was made-up for when they came through on run-scoring hits later in the inning — but was very curious at the time, too.

    However it was supposed to be this year, role-wise — I doubt very much that it was ever supposed to be K-Rod in the 8th, and Feliciano vs. all RH-hitters in the 9th.

    Sorry, Jerry…..

  6. isuzudude June 30, 2010 at 9:16 am
    I think this is clearly a loss to peg on Jerry. First, the lineup composition. Ike Davis was 4 for 6 against Robertson this season before last night’s game, and is hitting over .300 against LHP this year, but Jerry decides to sit him in favor of Fernando Tatis, who can’t hit his own weight. On top of that, he bats Tatis 6th. I know Francoeur hasn’t exactly been the most consistent force in the lineup this year, but any fool can tell you his .266 batting average trumps Tatis’ .175. And then you have Barajas batting 5th, and he hadn’t had an extra base hit in weeks until he clubbed a double in the 9th inning last night. With the risk of guaranteeing a series loss with a loss last night, Jerry should have had his “A” lineup out there last night, which would have included Davis and had Francoeur hitting above Barajas.

    But the bigger bonehead move was bringing the closer into the game in the 8th inning. Jerry is so in love with giving his already overused bullpen arms some work that it obviously cost the Mets a game last night. Parnell could have worked a 2nd inning, or used Feliciano in the 8th, but instead Jerry went with Krod in the 8th, meaning that if the Mets tied the game in the 9th, the best pitcher in the bullpen is no longer available. Hence, Krod faced the meek 8-9-1 part of the lineup, and Jerry had to turn to Feliciano to hold the righty-exclusive 2-3-4-5 part of the lineup at bay in the 9th. Awful awful awful. Now, I realize it’s no guarantee that Krod would have made it thru the 8th inning unscathed either, but if you had your pick, would you prefer Parnell pitching a 2nd inning down 6-4 with Krod in reserve in case the Mets rallied, or would you prefer using Krod in a meaningless situation, and then having only 3 pitchers available for the rest of the game in case the offense came back? The choice is obvious, yet Jerry got it wrong, and his defenders (like Gil) refuse to place the blame on him where it belongs. Jerry is a manager who can’t manage. They win despite him and they lose because of him. How much longer do we have to witness this foolishness until we come to this unanimous consensus??

    And now I’m sure the kneejerk reaction fans are going to start clamoring like nobody’s business to trade the farm for a pitcher. I say relax. Can the Mets do better than Takahashi and Dickey? Yes. But it’s only been 2 rough games at the bandbox in San Juan. Dickey didn’t have his best stuff and Takahashi had 1 bad inning. This is not cause to pull your hair out and ship out every good prospect in the organization for Cliff Lee. It would behoove the Mets to continue to try and find the best deal that’s out there that would land them a quality long-term pitching solution for the most reasonable price. A 2 game losing streak is not just concern to throw that gameplan out the window.

  7. Mike June 30, 2010 at 9:57 am
    I agree, ‘dude. I refuse to make any judgments on this team while they are playing in San Juan. Too many variables. If the Mets decide to get aggressive now they will get robbed by the Mariners. I am becoming more and more okay with the idea of adding Lee, even as a rental, so long as the Mets do this right and don’t get taken advantage of.
  8. Andy June 30, 2010 at 11:10 am

    A team’s record in close games is good evidence for how good or bad its manager is. This is because the manager’s tactical decisions and motivational presence can squeeze a few extra wins out of the games that could go either way.

    The percentage of a team’s games that result in blow-out wins is good evidence for how good or bad the team’s players are. This is because the manager can’t bat, pitch, field or run. Only the actual talent on the team can do that, and if the talent on the team is good then the team is going to win a lot of games by large margins.

  9. isuzudude June 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm
    Well, Andy, if your hypothesis holds any water, we can derive that the Mets have a lot of talent but a very bad manager, as they are 14-8 in blowout affairs (+/- 5 run differential) and 9-13 in 1-run games. By in large, I would say your hypothesis is quite sound.
  10. Walnutz15 June 30, 2010 at 12:38 pm
    Agreed, whole-heartedly.
  11. Micalpalyn June 30, 2010 at 3:31 pm
    But the players like him……