Mets Game 81: Loss to Rockies

Rockies 6 Mets 2

Hmm … why did the Mets lose this game?

Pretty simple: Tom Glavine had an awful third inning, and the Mets went back to their ill-advised strategy of “swing your way to success.”

In fact, take out that third inning, and the Mets win 2-0.

It took the Mets eight innings to put together a decent at-bat, and it had to happen from the outside — a pinch hitter by the name of Ruben Gotay.

Unlike the batters in the starting lineup, Gotay thought it might be a good idea to take a strike. After all, the Mets were down by six and an unpredictable pitcher was on the mound. (By the way, he most likely drew this golden nugget of an idea from his little league coach — if they have little leagues in Puerto Rico). Lo and behold, the pitcher didn’t throw a strike before throwing two balls. Eventually, the count ran full, and Gotay managed to foul off numerous pitches before shooting a line drive through the hole between shortstop and third. It was a ten-pitch at-bat.

Naturally, the next batter, Jose Reyes, swung at the first pitch he saw. However, he did line it into the outfield for a double, putting men on second and third. Paul LoDuca really, really wanted to swing at the first pitch he saw, but it was out of his reach. He really, really, really wanted to swing at the second, but it bounced in the dirt, got away from the catcher, and scored Gotay for the Mets first run. Paulie couldn’t reach either of the next two pitches, and one was called a ball and the other a strike. He was able to reach the next pitch, thank goodness, otherwise it likely would have been ball four. Instead, he popped it up weakly into shallow right field, doing nothing for the rally and helping out old friend Jorge Julio. The rally pretty much died after that, though Carlos Beltran managed to bounce a run home with the second out of the inning.


LoDuca showed remarkable leadership, veteran guile, and baseball intelligence in this game. After the Mets fell behind six-zip in the bottom of the third, LoDuca led off the top of the fourth by swinging at the first pitch offered by Jason Hirsh and grounding out meekly to short. No one had any idea that LoDuca had the ability to hit a six-run homer. Absolute brilliance.

Is it me, or are Shawn Green, Carlos Gomez, Tom Glavine, and Ruben Gotay the only players on the roster with any baseball smarts whatsoever? How is it that the simplest, most fundamental basics of baseball — stuff learned by eleven-year-olds — escape people who have 5-15 years’ professional experience? When you’re behind in the score, TAKE A STRIKE. It’s so easy, such a simple thing. Yet the Mets just can’t do it. They’re in an incredible hurry to turn the opposing moundsman into Sandy Koufax and end the game as quickly as possible.

Glavine, by the way, was the only Met to draw a walk in this game. Remarkable. Oh, and would you know that Jason Hirsh had walked 41 batters in 95 innings prior to this start? That’s close to four for every nine innings, or nearly one for every two. Jorge Julio is averaging nearly a walk per inning.

Also of note: Glavine’s fastball was consistently clocked at 84 MPH. That had something to do with his inability to sneak one inside on Matt Holliday — an extra 3-4 MPH really does make a difference. Further, he did not throw his curveball once — not even as a “show” pitch.

Hirsh was 1-for-42 (.038) coming into the game, perhaps the worst-hitting pitcher since the immortal Bob Buhl. He proceeded to get two hits in consecutive at-bats in the third and sixth. Huh.

The bobcat on Todd Helton’s chin still looks awful.

Next Game

In an intelligent move by the Mets, Oliver Perez was put on the disabled list and Jason Vargas promoted to start Tuesday’s game against the Rockies, who will send Aaron Cook to the hill.

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. Micalpalyn July 3, 2007 at 8:40 am

    You seemed steamed. Here are my Tuesday morning groans.
    a. Ruben: Thank GOD!!! In the offseason many of us saw/heard Omar say that the contract given to valentin did not mean he would not look for a second baseman. We heard Grudzelanik, but he did get Gotay. Ironic since in 2005 Gotay beat out Grud for the startuing job. Here we are. Gotay has hit .300 with GREATER ABs than anyMET outside of Green and LoDuca. He has the BEST eye for the strikezone. and now I applaud his attitude. He is a SH with power and decent if not very good defensive aptitude. How is he going to get better without playing?Anyway his present lauding is gfor 2 successive Pinch hits. He is earning his place the right way.

    b. Willie: again…the Mets go from Philly to Colorado. AND still the line up is exactly the same as yesterday, with Gotay, Ledee, Easley riding pine. God forbid we have an AROD and Reyes or DW miss time!! Although Gtay could then plat SS/or Ahern.

    c. Buerle: I hope this fiasco gets over: There is no doubt that Williams is using the contract to get back particular players.

    d Now for my next bullet: It is out there that Torre could be gone after the season. Who replaces him? I can see none better than ……WILLIE RANDOLPH.

  2. joe July 3, 2007 at 10:07 am
    a. Ruben is not nearly as good as he’s playing. Just ask Willie Randolph. grrrrrrrrrr

    b. i’m waiting for LoDuca’s limbs to fall off

    c. Milledge, Pelfrey, nonprospect for Buehrle and an unknown minor leaguer who turns out to be the next John Maine

    d. Maybe. Except Willie may be too smart to climb aboard that sinking ship. More likely, Donnie Baseball gets the job, is a complete failure (though through no fault of his own), and goes down in Yankee history with a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Sad. (or George exhumes the body of Billy Martin).