Mets Game 98: Loss to Dodgers

Dodgers 3 Mets 2

An even dozen — the Mets collected their 12th walkoff loss of 2010, losing in extras for the 7th time in 11 tries, and on the short end of a one-run ballgame for the 19th time out of 30 occurrences.

Does losing so many times in tight ballgames indicate anything? Bad luck? Poor management? Subpar fundamentals? Lack of intestinal fortitude? Or do they just plain stink?

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey walked off the mound allowing “only” two runs, but he walked off after only five frames and 82 pitches. He gave up 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2, in his longest outing since June 26.

Jerry Manuel continues to insist that Pelfrey’s problems are due to his inability to establish the fastball and get ahead early. That’s partly true, but it’s mostly unhelpful. Manuel’s explanation is similar to telling you that your shirt is full of red blotches because you have a nosebleed. Thanks, I already know my nose is bleeding — but can you tell me WHY it’s bleeding? Can you tell me how to make it stop? And how to prevent it? As mentioned here before, the reason Pelfrey can’t establish his fastball, and can’t get ahead of hitters — with any of his pitches — is because of an intermittent balance problem during the leg lift that affects his arm angle and release point. You probably noticed that he was still doing that slight hunch over about half the time during the game. If he can go back to staying tall more consistently as he comes out of the leg lift, he’ll regain command, likely regain his confidence, and hopefully get back close to where he was in the first half.

Carlos Monasterios pitched pretty well for a Rule 5 pick, spinning five shutout innings. Too bad the Mets didn’t choose him in that December 2009 draft. Oh wait, they did.

The Mets used 7 pitchers in the 13-inning game, with Oliver Perez the last man standing. Somehow Ollie managed to work out of trouble started by Elmer Dessens in the 11th, and his luck continued when Matt Kemp flied out on a 3-0 pitch to lead off the 13th, but that luck ran out with the next batter James Loney — who hit a walkoff homer.

Just what the heck was Kemp thinking, by the way? There’s nothing wrong with swinging away on a 3-0 count when the situation warrants it, but considering Ollie’s wildness, hacking away there made little sense.

More bad baseball: Jose Reyes going from first to third on a groundout with one out in the top of the third. Had Reyes been thrown out — and he nearly was — it would have been out number three. Not worth the risk, since with two outs it would’ve taken a base hit to score him anyway.

Reyes pulled a Marv Throneberry and lost a ground ball in the sun in the first frame. A few minutes later, it appeared that Ike Davis similarly lost sight of a pickoff throw. The disappearing ball trick resulted in the Dodgers scoring the first run of the game.

Jason Bay had two more hits. Let’s hope these past two games are the beginning of a rampage by Bay.

Rod Barajas left the game with an oblique strain in the sixth inning. Henry Blanco took his place as a pinch-runner on second base with one out and Jose Reyes coming to bat with the score 2-1 Dodgers. Reyes singled to left to score Bay (who was on third) but station-to-station Blanco had to stop at third base. Luis Castillo hit into a DP to end the inning and strand Blanco on 3B. Why did the lead-footed Blanco pinch-run instead of Josh Thole? Hmm … well, Blanco did throw out an attempted base-stealer in the bottom of the sixth, so maybe Jerry Manuel saw that coming. (Blanco threw out another runner in extras, but there wouldn’t have been extras if the Mets score a third run in the 6th.) Maybe Thole — who isn’t exactly a speed demon, though more fleet of foot than Blanco — doesn’t score either, but it did seem to be a curious decision at the time and looks even worse after the fact.

Next Mets Game

The final game of this four-game set begins at 4:10 PM EST. R.A. Dickey goes to the hill against Clayton Kershaw. The contest will be broadcast on channel 11 / WPIX.

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. Judy Kamilhor July 25, 2010 at 11:21 am
    The Mets lack killer instinct, and have for a long time. They have talent and chemistry this year, but do not have that quality that winning teams have to seize the moment and put the other team away. Guys like Andre Ethier, David Ortiz, David Eckstein seem to come through more often than most in those situations. Rod Barajas was able to do it in the first couple of months, but for whatever reason that Rod Barajas seems like a mirage.
  2. metsfan1962 July 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm
    When a team has a batting slump like this, one must think of psychological factors. I dont think the players are consciously not trying-BUT, when they see the way management has handled Perez (who needs to be dropped the way theTigers did Sheffield) and Castillo
    (closest thing to an automatic DP, or certainly an automatic out) it is apparent that Management cares more about $ , than winning/ NOTputting the best team on the field. Swallow th lost $/it is a factof life !

    IYhis all has a psychological effect.These are a result of inept GM actions that preceded inept ownership actions. Combine that with the way the manager handles the pitching staf f (e.g., is anybody really surprised that Nieve blew his arm out-(OK , I expected it to be in August, not July) … Nieve, Feliciano, etc. incredibly poor overall handling choices ( recent ones-benching the player with the highest team BA at the time- Pagan-to please the 4th outfielder. ..or placing Beltran in CF rather than RF for a week or so after his return.Yes the problems permeate all levels

    If management does really not care about winning passionately, ties the hands of those reporting to top management, why jeopardize ‘my career’ on maybe getting hurt..Not conscoius,I insist….but real.

    Is there an answer? I dont see this ownership ever placing winning along with a satisfactory profit –as primary—-rather than an absolute maximum profit first and concurrently going thru the motions on winning —secondarily.

    I will say I have been harsh on Minaya above, he has made some good moves to (it is alway a mixture but his losers have be massive fiascos),.It is also obvious that his hands are tied..and it is also obvious that Manuel (poor communicator that he is) has his hands tied too–otherwise why broadcast his needs/desires in the press..He is clearly giving the world a message about management and imposed budget limitations..

    Will a change in GM and Manager improve things? Maybe a bit temporarily–but the psychological aspect will remain/buried deeper for a while.The fundamenall problem will reman..
    .

  3. gary s. July 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm
    mf1962, excellent analysis..what you are describing is a culture of losing from the owners that permeates down to the team thru the lousy hand tied g.m to the to the inept manager who should have been fired in may of this year.It won’t change till the wilpons sell the team.The NY Jets are a good example of a team that was immersed in a losing culture for years under the ownership of Leon Hess.It all changed when the team was sold to woody johnson,they have been in the playoffs 5 times in the last 10 years and they are one of the favorites to win a super bowl this year.When Rex Ryan was hired he said he expects to win a super bowl in 3 years.He might not win it, but that seems to be the main focus of his team.Omar talks about total wins since he took over, like that has any signifigance!! We met fans need to organize to force the wilpons to sell..The same losing crap will go on every year they own the team ,,
    • metsfan1962 July 25, 2010 at 2:16 pm
      Just calling it as I see it.
  4. wohjr July 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    None of the fan boys want to discuss this and you seem strangely reluctant as well, Joe, so I’ll do it and take the heat from the idol worshippers.

    Yet ANOTHER strikeout in a big situation from Dwright– this one one of his three-pitch specials. DW has had plenty of chances this year to put this team on his back, last night being yet another example. Is it really to much to ask that he actually get a big hit once in a while rather than just putting up stats to make the fan boys drool while consistiently disappearing when there’s a big spot? I mean honestly, how many times this season has he done the toss the helmet to the side and stare off into the distance after striking out with runners on??? Feels like 50 at this point.

    DW is not the kind of player that can be the best hitter on your team if you are going to have success. He’s a second banana… a good one– don’t get me wrong– but a second banana nonetheless. There’s nothing wrong with that and a lot of teams could use a player like that… I feel like he would go off even more with someone else in the lineup like say an Adrian Gonzalez. Hey– do the Pads need a 3b? They have pitching, and they’re still in first

    • gary516 July 25, 2010 at 3:41 pm
      DWRIGHT = SPIPPEN
    • joe July 25, 2010 at 4:14 pm
      I’m reluctant to put blame on D-Wright because he DID put the team on his back and carry it for most of June, when he hit over .400 and the team was 10 games over .500.

      Maybe he is a “second banana”, but unfortunately the two people paid to be “first banana” — Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran — are more like lemons this year.

      The main thing that bothers me about Wright this year is his wild inconsistency and streakiness. I know people (perhaps listening to Keith Hernandez) think Wright has always been “streaky”, but that’s not truly the case. Even when he was “running cold”, his average was always around .280. I think he’s too longball happy with that new big loopy swing.

  5. wohjr July 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm
    @169-

    You’re quite right…. nothing is changing until the Wilpons will sell. My personal dream is for the russian billionaire to take over– we could be the Nyets!

    But seriously, ever since the Madoff thing broke there has been a feeling of desperation coming from ownership. Bernie took these guys to the cleaners– that sucks, but can you please not f**k up our franchise in a futile attempt to recoup that money?? KTHXBAI!

  6. Mic July 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm
    - Please lets not think that $$$ will solve problems…it wont. See Mets annuals circa; 1992, and 2003.

    - The Mets problems were characterized by Luis Castillo (DP) and his awfull defense. Indeed Jerry could have played for the win right then. As for 2nd base I think Cora and Russ adams are better options.

    - isuzu has said it, I have (now) said it….so have MANY other but I think CB is the odd man out in the OF, not French. AND if CB were traded (Giants for Rowand and Sanchez) and French was non tendered …wow that alot of $$$ to spend in the offseason. I mean its not like we dont have a .310 hitting GG (lite) caliber CF …. who is the 3rd in the NL w/RISP…….already on the roster.