Mets Game 97: Win Over Dodgers

Mets 6 Dodgers 1

After two days of journalists, shock jocks, and bloggers (including this one) criticizing the recent lackluster effort of the Mets, a series of sliding, diving catches and a six-run outburst put the matter to rest.

Along the way, Jason Bay may have singlehandedly saved Howard Johnson’s job — and Jerry Manuel’s — for another day.

For those hoping to see Manuel dismissed by the end of this weekend, Friday was a bad day. Because Manuel pulled out all the stops to hold onto his job, namely:

– working with Jason Bay during batting practice, and Bay responding with a big day

– juggling the lineup and winding up with a win

– getting thrown out early, to show how fiery and supportive he can be

Additionally, each of the three outfielders made sparkling, high-effort catches during the game, disproving the theory that Manuel cannot motivate his players. But is it too little, too late? Or is it the beginning of another job-saving winning streak? Two more games in LA will give us the answer.

Game Notes

Johan Santana has settled back into his role as the staff ace, allowing one run on 5 hits in 7 innings. He looked a little better than “not having his best stuff”.

In addition to blasting a huge 3-run double to put the game out of reach, Jason Bay also did a faceplant into the leftfield wall to rob Jamey Carroll of an extra-base hit. On the replay he resembled a bobblehead after hitting the wall, and it appeared he’d be knocked out of the contest. I personally was stunned to see him remain in the game, and have to believe his neck and/or back will be pretty sore tomorrow. Bay may have disappointed us with his homerun total this year, but he is the “gamer” we have been clamoring for since 2006.

During the SNY postgame, Gary Apple mentioned that Manuel “lit a fire under the club” no less than SIX TIMES in a five-minute period. I get the whole idea of following talking points to push the station owner’s agenda, but six times in five minutes? Try not to make it so obvious next time — we know the Wilpons would rather not pay two managers simultaneously if they can help it.

Henry Blanco got a rare start and went 2-for-4. How does he keep doing that? The guy is a terrible hitter, yet somehow his average is .280. How many 38-year-olds suddenly learn how to hit and post an average 50 points above their career line?

After Luis Castillo bunted in the first frame, Ed Coleman mentioned that “Jerry Manuel loves to see Castillo at the top of the lineup because he shows a lot of energy there”. Here I thought his high career OBP, ability to drop a bunt, and patience at the plate (to allow Reyes a chance to steal and to wear out the pitcher) were the reasons.

Though the Mets were probably shafted on the out call in the top of the second that resulted in Manuel getting tossed, they also were extremely lucky to score a run in the first frame. With Reyes on third and Castillo at first with one out, Vicente Padilla struck out David Wright on a nasty, slow, 12-6 curveball — except home plate umpire CB Buckner called it ball three. On the next pitch, Castillo attempted to steal second while Wright struck out, and Russell Martin‘s throw beat Castillo by a good six feet. He was out by so much he didn’t even slide, but Blake DeWitt dropped the ball, and in addition to Castillo being safe, Reyes raced home to score the Mets first run.

The Dodgers played sloppy baseball all evening, particularly up the middle with both DeWitt and Rafael Furcal.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Dodgers play game three in LA at 4:10 PM EST on Saturday afternoon. Mike Pelfrey faces Met-for-a-Minute Carlos Monasterios. Good thing the Mets got cold cash for Monasterios, since they had no need for a young pitcher.

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. mic July 24, 2010 at 7:54 am
    Best managing job by snoop in recent memory. But Rey and Luis DID their job, as opposed to last night when Rey was caught and the 1st inning opurtunity was lost.

    Thanks for the Bay comment. He needed that, really he was THE hot bat in early June, now CB needs to pick it up.

  2. gary s. July 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    i was hoping bay would go on dl for the rest of the year after the face plant and we could put feliciano in left for the rest of the year.maybe the shot to the head confused him and he thought he was back on the red sox when he finally delivered with the bases loaded..
  3. mic July 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm
    harsh. Actually if there are a couple of ‘real’ observations to be made….

    – 2B is a problem. and Castillo cant hit ANYWHERE else.
    – I still think trading CB is the best trade out there. AND with matt Harvey, Jenry, Familia, on the horizon, I think trading Pelfrey in a Oswalt type deal should be considered. …especially if Ollie/Castillo can be moved at the same time.