Mets 4 Giants 3
In ugly fashion, K-Rod blew a save, was saved from a loss by a bad call, and wound up with a win.
Johan Santana set down the Giants through eight innings, allowing only one earned run on eight hits and a walk, striking out five. He was in line for his eighth victory of the year as he handed the ball over to fellow countryman Francisco Rodriguez.
But K-Rod did not close out the ninth.
Instead, he walked Pablo Sandoval to start the ninth, then gave up two hard-hit singles, a sacrifice bunt, and a double as the Giants tied up the game before you could say “Santana”. With one out and Travis Ishikawa on third, Freddy Sanchez bounced a ball to David Wright, who quickly flipped the ball home as Ishikawa came charging home. The throw was high and Ishikawa slid under Henry Blanco and across the plate well before Blanco could apply a tag. That was it — game over, and a crushing loss for the Mets and Rodriguez.
Except, home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called Ishikawa OUT — and the game resumed.
Somehow, K-Rod managed to get the third out, and Ike Davis doubled home Jason Bay to give the Mets the lead once again. Rodriguez finished up the bottom of the tenth in his usual shaky fashion — allowing a two-out double to Edgar Renteria — before striking out Eli Whiteside to end the game and take home the “W”.
Cuzzi had a rough time all game as the Mets bench razzed him on several close ball/strike calls. It came to a head in the ninth when both the bench and K-Rod complained on a close ball call to Ishikawa. First Blanco turned around to argue with Cuzzi, then Cuzzi motioned toward the Mets bench, then he walked out to the mound toward K-Rod, then yelled again at Blanco, before finally having a discussion with Jerry Manuel. It was bad form on all sides, beginning with Blanco who should have never turned around on a pitch that could have gone either way. Cuzzi should not have been so demonstrative, either, but clearly someone said something on the bench that got his goat, and K-Rod was being his usual obnoxious self, so I guess all that combined caused Cuzzi to lose his cool — not very professional.
A few minutes after Cuzzi’s terrible out call at the plate, he allowed the third base ump to overrule him on a fair / foul call on a ball hit in front of the plate by Aubrey Huff. Cuzzi called fair (correctly) but Mike Estabrook ruled it foul. Eventually, Huff bounced out to Ike Davis to end the inning (Davis had to beat Huff to the bag because K-Rod was late in getting to the bag — tough to do considering his follow-through takes him to 1B).
According to various reports, Cuzzi admitted to Giants manager Bruce Bochy that he blew the call, but couldn’t do anything about it. Ouch.
Blanco has a great reputation as a defensive backstop but his incessant jerking of close pitches — most coaches call it “framing” — is exactly the reason there was so much drama regarding ball and strike calls during the afternoon. It’s next to impossible to get a good look at pitches on your TV screen from the off-center angle of camera behind the pitcher but I would bet that Blanco is losing more calls than he’s getting by his “framing”. I’ll give you an example of proper receiving in a post coming soon.
Ishikawa might’ve had a shot to score on a double by Andres Torres, but the Giants third base coach held him up as the relay from Jeff Francouer to Davis came in quickly.
Davis, by the way, smashed two doubles and a single, driving in half of the Mets runs. His second double, which drove in the winning run, bounced high off the RF wall and missed a dinger by about six feet. He’s in the midst of a hot streak, so pick him up in your fantasy league.
Jerry Manuel ordered the potential winning run intentionally walked with two out in the bottom of the tenth. It worked out — this time. Blind squirrels run into nuts every now and then as well.
K-Rod expended 47 pitches in two innings of work en route to his fifth blown save and third victory. He looked absolutely terrible, missing his spots consistently and then serving up belt-high pitches with moderate velocity over the heart of the plate. If it sounds like I’m down on K-Rod, well, I am. If he’s not hiding an injury then he’s just plain losing his skills at an alarmingly fast rate.
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About the Author
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.