Mets Game 101: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 8 Mets 7

Deja vu all over again.

The last time Johan Santana and Jaime Garcia hooked up, the result was a 20-inning snorefest. Both starters were absolutely spectacular, each leaving after 7 frames of shutout ball.

This time, the matchup was kind of the same, only different. Like the last time, Santana and Garcia had similar outings — except, they were both the opposite of spectacular. OK, that’s not fair — Garcia wasn’t that bad (though Johan was). Santana allowed 7 runs on 13 hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. Garcia went one more out, finishing a full six, and he gave up “only” 3 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks. Immediately after Garcia left the game, however, flamethrower Mitchell Boggs came in and allowed four scores to make it seven-all. Then, the snorefest began.

There was another difference contrasting this extra-inning game and the one from mid-April: Francisco Rodriguez made an appearance BEFORE tossing 100+ warmups in the bullpen.

Oh, one other difference — the Mets didn’t win. Shame, really, because they tried so damn hard, fighting back and all.

Game Notes

We already posted Johan’s numbers, and he did look pretty awful. His velocity was around 89-91, but he was laying his fastball over the middle of the plate, belt high, during his entire outing. Eventually, Major League hitters will hit a 90-MPH fastball over the middle of the plate — and hard. When he wasn’t serving up meatballs, he was missing the strike zone completely on all pitches. My eyes saw him getting under the ball frequently, particularly on the changeup — meaning, his elbow was lower than normal, and his fingers were underneath or to the side of the ball at release. The result is something that looks like “pushing” the ball, and poor command.

Prior to this start, Santana had allowed only eight runs over his last 44.0 innings dating back to June 26th. The 13 hits he allowed were a career high — his previous high was 12 hits, accomplished twice, most recently on July 24, 2009 with the Mets at Houston.

Mike Hessman is a big dude — like, Troy Glaus big. He’s a monster. He’s so big, Ike Davis looks small standing next to him, and Ike is a pretty big dude himself. Discussing his size with friend and fellow blogger Matthew Artus , Matt put it best by saying: “the Empire State Building looks small next to Hessman”. No argument here.

In the bottom of the 6th, David Wright led off with a rocket off the base of the left field fence, and was thrown out by Matt Holliday trying to stretch a single into a double. Moments later, Carlos Beltran blasted his first homer of the game. Most Mets fans and media likely will point to Wright’s over-aggressiveness as the reason the game was lost, since after all, had he remained on first base, Beltran’s bomb would’ve been a two-run shot and the Mets would’ve eventually scored 8 runs instead of 7 and they would’ve won and the game never would’ve gone to extra innings. However, I am not sure that Beltran would’ve gotten that same exact pitch with Wright standing on second base. Pitchers choose their pitches based on the situation, and oftentimes will go with a “chase” pitch with runners in scoring position. With one out and the bases empty, Garcia tried to sneak a fastball by Beltran, figuring that if he hit it out, it’s only one run. With a runner in scoring position, he may have started Beltran with a breaking pitch, or a fastball in a different location.

The final out of the top of the 13th came when John Jay tried to score from third on a wild pitch. Josh Thole flipped the ball in plenty of time to Raul Valdes, and Jay tried to slide around Valdes. Maybe I’m old school, but if I’m John Jay, I am tearing into Valdes full-force like an offensive guard on a sweep and demolishing him to try to knock the ball loose. As a Met fan, I’m glad Jay didn’t do that, but as a baseball fan, I wonder why players are so soft these days.

With this loss the Mets have dropped three extra-inning games in eight days.

All eight runs scored by the Cardinals came with two outs. The Mets have allowed 170 runs to score with two outs — almost 43% of the total runs they’ve allowed (398). I have no idea if that is a significant stat.

This was the longest game ever at Citi Field, in terms of innings (13).

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs on Thursday afternoon at 12:10 PM (huh?). R.A. Dickey will be taking the hill against Blake Hawksworth of the Cardinals.

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. TheDZA July 29, 2010 at 8:46 am
    Didn’t see game – but good point Joe on the Wright – out/Beltran -homer. I always have to make this argument to folk when they’re ‘We could have six runs if this had happened…’ etc. Well no – cos if Wright had stopped at first or made second then there the situation changes, and so the pitchers plan changes, the fielders align differently…A guy in seat 44C buys a hotdog…A butterfly claps it’s wings…
    It’s these minute occurences that make baseball such an awesome game.

    How was Beltran in the field anyone? Should he still switch with Pagan?

  2. Walnutz15 July 29, 2010 at 10:31 am
    Oswalt’s a Phillie – pending his approval……sad state of affairs in Met-land.

    They already have enough trouble with the Marlins and Nats — imagine the Braves and Phils actually improve themselves some more?

    Always looking for reasons not to make a move, this organization. Unreal.