Mets Game 70: Loss to Twins
Oliver Perez did not have his good stuff, but still pitched well enough to win — especially considering that the Mets were facing a shaky young pitcher with an ERA north of seven. Perez struggled through five and a third innings, allowing five hits, five walks, and four runs — though when he left the game the score was only 3-2. Joe Smith allowed an inherited runner to score on a base hit, walked another batter, and then Scott Schoeneweis came in to insure the defeat.
On the offensive side, the Mets scored two quick runs in the first three innings, with Paul LoDuca running across home plate both times. Carlos Beltran drove him in with his first RBI single since 2001 in the initial frame, and David Wright hit a seeing-eye single in the third to chase Paulie home. After that, the Mets hitters took a nap, obviously worn out by their unprecedented production. Either that, or Scott Baker’s dad paid off the Mets to take a dive, thus keeping his son in the big leagues for at least one more start.
For the curious, no the Mets did not draw a walk. Not once. Not one time.
The Mets still had a chance to stay in the game, down 4-2 in the sixth, but Willie Randolph chose to give away the game by bringing in Scott Schoeneweis. Schoeneweis promptly gave up a two-run double to shove the Mets’ heads back up their butts (and royally screw Joe Smith’s ERA), then nearly gave up a two-run homer to Michael Cuddyer (Ricky Ledee had just barely enough room to make the catch at the wall in deep left-center). “The Show” must go on the 60-day DL ASAP, and replaced with anyone not named Jose Lima. If his severed tendon is not enough to get him disabled, then Carlos Delgado needs to make himself useful and accidentally fall on him in the shower. It would be Delgado’s most significant contribution of the season.
Interestingly, Schoeneweis arrived at Shea with a pair of horizontal gashes on his nose, which were explained away by the old standby, “I just slipped in the bathroom”. Hmmm … is it more likely that he ran into a Mets fan in a bar, who tried to singlehandedly place him on the DL? If so, wherever you are, Mystery Fan, kudos!
Oliver Perez did not have his command, evidenced by his five walks and seen with your own two eyes. Rarely did he hit the target that Paul LoDuca set, often missing by over a foot. Strangely, he had a really hard time when ahead on the count — particularly with 0-2 and 1-2 counts. He’d get far ahead, but not be able to put the batter away. In my humble opinion, he needs to start moving the ball inside — way inside — when up 0-2 or 1-2. This would keep the batters just enough uncomfortable to affect their swing. For example, the two-run homer in the top of the fifth by Torii Hunter was on a 1-2 pitch, but watching how comfortable he was in the box, you would have guessed he was hitting on a 3-0 count. Perez doesn’t need to hit anyone, he simply needs to get his hummer a little too far inside — just enough to remind the batters to be ready to get out of the way.
Mighty Joe Smith also struggled with his control, allowing a run-scoring single on a 1-2 pitch to Mike Redmond and a walk to Luis Castillo. He faced only those two batters.
Carlos Beltran had the quietest 3-for-4 day in baseball history.
Someone please explain Lew Ford’s existence in MLB? He’s not much of a hitter, not much of a runner, an average fielder — playing leftfield at that — yet he’s not only on a 25-man roster but often finds his way into the starting lineup? I suppose he’s the righthanded version of Ricky Ledee. Some day, someone must explain this phenomena to me.
There appears to be a governor on the Mets’ team that kicks in when the other team extends the lead beyond two — because as soon as the Mets go down by three or more, they quit.
The Mets get a well undeserved day off on Thursday, then welcome the Oakland Athletics to Shea for a full weekend of abuse. The butt-kicking begins at 7:10 PM, with the Mets offering Tom Glavine as the sacrificial lamb. Lenny DiNardo is scheduled to dominate the Mets for Oakland’s side.