Mets Game 113: Loss to Rockies
Rockies 6 Mets 2
As late as the 7th inning, the Mets looked like they might add to their already MLB-leading total of 16 shutouts. Instead, they added to their MLB-leading total of grand slams allowed, pushing the number to 9 and in turn losing both the shutout and the ballgame.
Jonathon Niese was, once again, absolutely brilliant. He hurled 7 full innings, allowing only one run on 5 hits, walking none and striking out 7. Unfortunately for Niese, the Mets were paralyzed by Rockies starter Jeff Francis, who allowed two runs on only 3 hits.
Niese did not allow a leadoff batter to reach base until the seventh frame.
This was the seventh time that Niese spun seven innings and allowed one run or less — he leads all rookies in this stat. The last time a Met rookie accomplished such a feat was in 1984, when Ron Darling did it seven times and Dwight Gooden did it 15 times.
As if this loss wasn’t bad enough, there were reports that Jon Niese had some leg issues after the game. According to Jerry Manuel, Niese was removed because of that leg problem. According to Niese, the leg issue had nothing to do with being removed. According to Joe Janish, Manuel’s recent double-talk and contradictions are good practice for a successful career in politics.
Hisanori Takahashi was tabbed as the “8th inning guy”, but was removed after he retired two and let two on. I guess he was really the “two-thirds of the 8th inning guy”.
Speaking of, I can’t figure how or why Takahashi allowed those two baserunners after getting two outs in the 8th. I mean, we just saw him succeed in the 8th inning role 24 hours prior.
Further, it’s absolutely baffling that Manny Acosta was unable to retire any of the five batters he faced en route to blowing the ballgame. I mean, he’s been SO GOOD since being promoted from AAA. Of course, it’s not nearly as mysterious as the sudden drop in performances by Raul Valdes and Bobby Parnell. It’s like the Mets are snakebit, seeing all these ordinary pitchers regress to the mean.
The Mets bullpen has a 6.08 ERA in August.
David Wright struck out 4 times in 4 plate appearances. Ouch. He is pulling his head off the ball on every swing, and continuing to “load up” and take really healthy cuts even with two strikes. Whatever happened to the guy who used to cut down his swing and go the other way when the situation demanded it, making him such a dangerous and effective two-strike hitter?
The one bright spot on offense was Angel Pagan‘s first-inning two-run homer. Melvin Mora‘s 8th inning grand slam might have been a bright spot if Mora were still wearing a Mets uniform. Alas, that was a long, long time ago.
Chris Iannetta‘s sac fly in the seventh plated the first run the Rockies scored against the Mets since April 14th.
At one point in the game, the Rockies struck out seven consecutive Mets, all swinging.
The Mets had one baserunner after the first inning — a single by Henry Blanco in the fifth.
The Mets have now gone 42 consecutive games without winning two in a row. How is that possible?
We can’t blame Jerry Manuel for the strange lineup decisions nor the pitching changes he made — he was simply following his gut to figure out ideal matchups. And we can’t blame Howard Johnson for an offense that is making the 1976 Mets look like The Big Orange Machine. And we can’t blame the Mets for rushing Carlos Beltran back to regular duty when he’s clearly not ready. And we can’t blame Omar Minaya for putting together this .500 team. Whew … thankfully, this is a completely blameless situation. Just a lot of really, really bad luck!
Next Mets Game
The rubber match occurs at 12:10 PM on Thursday afternoon on “getaway day”. Unfortunately for the Mets, they won’t have the opportunity to get away from themselves. Johan Santana goes to the hill against Jason Hammel. Normally, I would feel confident about the Mets chances with that matchup. However, I’m not sure Santana will hit enough to help himself win the game.
But the real problem, as you point out, was the offense. When the lineup can’t get more than one baserunner in 8 innings, then little things like pitch selection become all the more magnified.
The Mets have been lucky to shut out the opposition 16 times this year; they shouldn’t be expected to keep that kind of performance going through the last quarter of the season. At some point the offense has to stop reminding us of the days of Doug Flynn, Ron Hodges, and Steve Henderson.
I know it has already been said but this rests entirely on the management of the team. Manual is a nice man and probably will a make a good bench coach for a team, keeping the team loose, but he is not a capable manager. He has no motivational skills, awful in game tactics, and no feel for the skills of his players.
Minaya does a pretty good job of identifying potential ability in very young players. However, he is a terrible judge of major league talent, relying solely on past performance rather than trends leading to the signing of players who are clearly on the downtrend. Castillo, Alou, Shawn Green, Mota, Francouer, Jacobs, Matthews well you get the point. This goes back to his days in Montreal. He is also an atrocious judge of character. Just look at the collection of surly, indifferent and hotheaded personalities he has collected.
The Wilpons. Jeff Wilpon is in way over his head leading this team. Just because Daddy is smart and rich doesn’t mean his offspring are. And just because someone is very astute in one area, say real estate, doesn’t mean that they skilled in every other area, say baseball. This team has not been successful since Cashen left the team. The one exception was when Valentine ran the team for those few years in the late 90’s. But he wasn’t the GM and he was eventually dismissed when he couldn’t get along with the rest of those fools.
How does this resolve itself. Probably not well. Until Fred Wilpon decides to put real professionals in charge of this team they will continue to embarrass themselves. Remember, the Yankees went almost a decade of pretty mediocre baseball until they brought in a GM who was capable of running the team and given the latitude to do it.