Mets Game 69: Loss to Twins

Twins 9 Our Lady of the Blind 0

Anyone watching the Mets recently could see this was a bad thing coming — a putrid offense going up against the best pitcher in baseball.

Johan Santana’s record belied his effectiveness, and that was all the more certain after flooring the boys from Flushing. Santana struck out ONE batter in nine shutout innings, allowing four hits and no walks. In those nine innings, he threw 92 pitches.

The running pitch count was perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Santana’s performance. At one point in the game, Santana had thrown 35 pitches and Aaron Sele 32 — but, Santana had pitched four full innings and Sele only one.

Sorry, but as good as Santana is, I cannot listen to anyone justify the Mets’ inability to work the count against him. The Mets were down by five in the second inning, yet batter after batter was jumping on the first pitch, or the second pitch when ahead 1-0. While there is a contingent that believes you have to take a hack against Santana early because he’s so tough, there are a few problems with this lunacy:

  • Santana was starting MANY batters off with first-pitch balls
  • The theory to be aggressive against him so far hasn’t worked for anyone in the past
  • Last I checked, you can’t hit a five-run homerun — certainly not with the bases empty

After the Twins bombed Jorge Sosa for five runs in the top of the second, the Mets went in the tank — plain and simple. They gave up, they quit. It was showing on their faces, in their body language, in their sloppy, disgusting play. It appeared that they were swinging at pitches early in the count just to get the game over with quickly. Santana cruised from there, and the Twins tacked on runs in the fourth and fifth, thanks to myriad misplays, hits, and errors.

Notes

Hmm … nothing to note, how about that?

Rant

Generally, I get upset when watching the white flag go up — watching on the TV from the comfort of my home. However, for this particular game, I happened to be in the stands. I invested 3+ hours transporting myself back and forth, and significant cash on the tickets, the ferry rides, the MetroCard, the sausage sandwich, pretzel, adult beverages, etc. Spending my time and my money to watch a bunch of millionaires give up on a game in the second inning was not upsetting — it was offensive and disrespectful. It made me turn my stomach. I don’t expect the Mets to win every single game, but I do expect professional baseball players to put forth a genuine effort. The product received on Tuesday night was a bad product — but it couldn’t be returned, and 40,935 people cannot get those lousy 3-5 hours back.

Next Game

The Mets send Oliver Perez to the mound against Scott Baker. I fully expect the Mets to win this game handily. If they can’t beat a kid with a 7+ ERA with their best pitcher facing him, then it could be time to move your attention to the local amateur leagues. Or perhaps cricket.

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.
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