Mets Game 87: Loss to Astros

Astros 8 Mets 3

Here is the dry, objective capsule of the game:

The Houston Astros rode the arm of All-Star Roy Oswalt for seven solid innings, supporting him with eight runs on eleven hits and six walks in beating the NL East-leading New York Mets 8-3 to close out the first half of the 2007 season.

Now, the diehard Mets fans capsule:

In yet another lackluster effort, the New York Mets sleptwalked their way through nine excruciating innings, offering no tangible reason for fans to keep the game displayed on their television sets beyond the first ten minutes of the contest.

Yeah … that’s pretty much the way it went.

Just hours after their most inspiring performance of the year, the dogs in orange and blue rolled over and played dead. We had an inkling of what might happen when Willie Randolph published a lineup of AAA players to face one of the best three pitchers in the National League. But while we may have not been surprised the game ended in a loss, we did not expect the team to give up after the first inning.

It all began with Dave Williams, making his first MLB appearance since suffering from a herniated disc in his neck in early spring. From the first few batters, it was clearly apparent that he needed at least a few more weeks of minor league rehab, as he barely cracked 83 MPH on his best fastballs. Unfortunately, the MLB roster rules regarding the 60-day disabled list precluded him from an extended stay, and the Mets had no choice but to add him to the roster — or face the possibility of losing him through waivers.

It’s really a shame, because Williams may help the Mets at some point in the season — but it won’t be anytime soon. His velocity is still down, his command is awful, and he simply doesn’t look comfortable on the mound — but that’s to be expected from someone who’s been off the field for nearly ten months. No one thought he would match Oswalt pitch for pitch in his first game back, but after the tough 17-inning game of the previous inning, there was hope that he’d give the Mets four or five innings. However, a 44-pitch first frame put the kabosh on that idea.

To say he struggled would be too kind. To compare his outing to a 12-year-old girl just learning to windmill would be more appropriate. When he wasn’t walking people, he was giving up hard basehits. The only saving grace, it seemed, was that he wasn’t throwing hard enough to allow a homerun. But that grace was erased in the fourth, by a fly ball off the bat of Chris Burke that extended the lead to 7-zip but still wasn’t enough to chase Williams from the game. Two doubles and another run later, Willie Randolph finally threw in the towel and pushed Aaron Sele to the mound — who pitched very well, especially considering his two-inning effort on Saturday night.

It remained eight-nothing until the top of the sixth, when Carlos Beltran hit a meaningless two-run homer to put the Mets’ B-squad on the board. Thanks, Carlos — but where were you in the first inning, with runners on first and third and none out and it still a ballgame? Oh, that’s right — you struck out looking in a situation where even a double play would have scored a run.


Sele and Scott Schoeneweis combined for four and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief, though it may have been more a matter of the Astros being too tired to hit after all that swinging in the first three innings, than anything special from either of these janitors.

After a three-hit game, Ruben Gotay was, predictably, not in the starting lineup. He did, however, make the most of a pinch-hit appearance, stroking a double to deep right off of Dan Wheeler. One must wonder, if Gotay went 7-for-7 on Saturday, would he still have sat? (The answer is, yes — of course.) Maybe if Gotay can get his average up closer to .500, Willie will consider using him, say, twice a week.

Though Gotay rode the pine, Randolph did manage to get 41-year-old Sandy Alomar, Jr., .240-hitting Jose Valentin, and the freshly promoted, .210-hitting David Newhan into the starting lineup. Newhan, in fact, batted second, and went 2-for-4. That’s why Willie is such a great manager — he gets these brilliant hunches.

In the bottom of the second inning, Dave Williams nearly walked opposing pitcher Roy Oswalt to lead off the inning. He fell behind 3-0, but managed to retire him with a strikeout, expending six pitches. In the top of the third, with the Mets down by three, Oswalt retired the Mets 1-2-3 on nine pitches. The only reason he had to use nine was because it took him five pitches to erase Williams.

Shawn Green was an extreme disappointment in this game, going 0-for-4 with zero quality at-bats. He’s paying too much attention to the other amateurs in the Mets lineup.

Next Game

The Cincinnati Redlegs come to Shea to face the Mets on Thursday, July 12th, in a 7:10PM start. The scheduled starters are Orlando Hernandez and Bronson Arroyo.

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. sincekindergarten July 8, 2007 at 4:09 pm
    It actually wasn’t that bad! And, Aaron Sele pretty much kept his roster spot for the next month or so. Ruben Gotay demonstrated that he needs to have at-bats found for him (can he play outfield?), and Sandy Alomar Jr. crushed a double in the late innings (eighth? I can’t remember! . . . and no, it’s not the Blue Moon I’m drinking!).

    An eminently forgettable game.

  2. joe July 8, 2007 at 5:50 pm
    OK, it wasn’t a ten-run-rule. But it sure felt like it — around the third.
  3. GaryG July 8, 2007 at 5:54 pm
    What stinks is that coming off last night’s dramatic 17 inning win, it would have been nice to steal this game against Oswalt. But at least we split this series.
  4. joe July 8, 2007 at 6:43 pm
    Yeah, the split was nice, but it appeared that the Mets — beginning with skipper Willie — were satisfied with a split long before the game began. It looked as though Willie was willing to simply give this game away, and the players echoed his attitude through their lackluster effort.

    I know that Williams’ struggles had something to do with it, but these guys are getting paid millions of dollars to play, and should be earning their salaries.

    Or maybe that’s the problem — they’re too damn comfortable.

    aargh … the break couldn’t come soon enough.

  5. Micalpalyn July 8, 2007 at 7:15 pm
    Sunday Rant part2:
    As mike S knows so well, I argued that DW2 occupies an Xtra spot since HIS injury forced Omar to pick up scho. Sch at the time was supposed to be a swingman (sound like DW2?). instead he has been a Loogy. Well that roster spot that DW2 is borrowing is now owned by Sele. bye Bye DW2. really its a wasted spot as Humber or Brian Lawrence would have done just as well. Also this was not excactly the Phillies line up.

    OK, sorry bear with me; If Willie had a hemorroid its name would be ‘Gotay’. Doesnt that make Gotay 5-10/6-11 in this Series? And Valentin 0-4 with 6 LOB. Hmmm. Willie usually the BEST line up wins the MOST ball games.

    Being an army guy, I dont do well with the notion its up to the guys on the field. Why the hell is thee a manager (field GENERAL then?) isnt tactics/strategy a part of the game. Did Willie call that hit and run last night?

  6. Micalpalyn July 8, 2007 at 7:16 pm
    BTW: in your vote: I go for other- Javy vazquez.
  7. sincekindergarten July 9, 2007 at 4:35 am
    I noticed that Vazquez had his second consecutive CG victory. I also think Kenny Williams wants too much for any of his SPs. Besides, with all of the injuries to the outfield, who the deuce are you willing to trade to the ChiSox?
  8. joe July 9, 2007 at 8:52 am
    sincekindergarten has a good point … if the Mets are to make a deal, their biggest chip is LMillz, but with all the OFs going down, it’s quite possible we’ll see Milledge on the roster come game 88. Unless Pelfrey is the bait? I might be OK with a Pelfrey-Vazquez deal, as I doubt Pelf is going to be much of anything for at least two years (at which point he may be another Verlander/Bonderman, but that’s the chance you take to win now).

    But then, do the Mets really need an arm more than a bat at this point?

    Speaking of arms, yeah DW2 was awful, and not ready, but the Mets didn’t have much of a choice. They would have had to activate him and not pitch him, then bring up someone else (Lawrence?), and drop someone else from the roster to make room (Newhan?).

    Oh, duh … they could have dropped Alomar Junior, added Lawrence, had Lawrence start, and use DW2 for relief. Nah, that would have made too much sense.

  9. Micalpalyn July 9, 2007 at 9:51 am
    1. Dave Williams is a lefty swing man. He was offered arbitration when Bradford was allowed to walk. Obviously because Omar saw the $10M from adequate and balked as DW2 is more versatile.

    2. Then came ‘herniated neck gate’ so Omar spent the $10M he would have spent on Bradford anyway.

    3. Enter Aaron Sele and Sosa. Ala Chad Bradford, Sele has come on at the break. But here’s my kicker, Feliciano was supposed to be the Loogy but now he is a set up man, Heilman and Mota are back to 6th/7th innings, and Sho is the Loogy. Guess what now we don’t need DW2 all. The injured list rules meant he HAD to be activated, my guess is Omar keeps him for 3 weeks or so until he can trade him for a usable part.

    4. Obviously Humber is being seasoned further, but I think he could start and do AT LEAST as good as DW2 did Sunday.

  10. joe July 9, 2007 at 10:04 am
    The only thing I disagree with is — sort of — is that we don’t need
    Williams. I will agree that RIGHT NOW we don’t need Williams, and
    certainly not at less than 100%. However, he’s shown in the past — when healthy — to be a decent fill-in spot starter and long man. If mediocre pitching weren’t at such a premium these days (i.e., the crazy contract for Darren Oliver), I’d understand dumping DW2. However, when he’s 100% (my guess, 2-3 weeks from now), may very well coincide with the need for another arm due to injuries and/or ineffectiveness. So the Mets had to find a way to keep him on the roster.

    I agree 100% that Humber — or Lawrence, for that matter — likely would have done a better job on Sunday. That’s why I think they should have dropped Alomar Jr. Why they didn’t is beyond me.

  11. Micalpalyn July 9, 2007 at 10:55 am

    1. Adding Vazquez: Rotation is glavine, Ollie, maine, Vaz, with sosa. Then duque becomes the swingman,and even better there is a 6-man rotation.
    With El duque you have the advantage of a QUICK HOOK option. ie DW2 sucks after 2 innings you can bring in Duque to keep the game close as opposed to yesterday where innings are a premium and you need the guy to get thru 4. You just have to look at El Duque’s carreer to see the success of this system. Great. he can be brilliant as a starter but, sometimes a swingman can win 2-3 times the games. look at Sele and Heilman who together have 8 wins. also el duque can pitch deep enuff that Mota and Heilman and Smith dont see 2-innings stints. My 1999 MYP was Turk Wendell who could pitch multiple innings on repeat days.
    2. Vazquez is signed well under market value. With glavine likely going to the pasture, that’s one less FA to get outbid on. One great artticle last week pointed out that if Omar gives up the milledge person he could have HAD Zito in hand. Th If Zito extended he probably does so for Oswalt money NOT the $126M/7yr crap that is the new Hampton.

    3. We really dont need offense. I really like the team as is. I think Alou comes back and rips the heart out of the Braves. Also this past 30 games has been a gut check…a man maker, and the beneficiaries are DW and Reyes who are STILL producing . Beltran and delgado are about out of their slumps. Green then becomes a platoon player with Mill. Endy is the 5th Ofer.

    4. Gotay is a jewel!!!!! This guy is a minimum wage earner who allows you to spend elsewhere.

    5. Julio is about done. We cannot carry a one at bat-no field spot on the 25man not when people are playing 17 inning games follwed by 9 innings.

    6. DW2: Someone needs a swingman and will give up a prospect.

    6. The other guy on my radar is Octavio.

  12. Micalpalyn July 9, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Before everyone blows smoke at the trade proposals out there, remember what Ken Williams took for Freddy Garcia.

  13. joe July 9, 2007 at 12:02 pm
    I like Vazquez, and I like Pelfrey for Vazquez, but I don’t see the Mets making that deal — and not sure if they’re going to make any deal.

    I also like Dotel, as you’ve pointed out. He is really the guy the Mets need to take over the setup role. Then you can move Heilman to the swing man spot where you’d put El Duque. Heilman is NOT an everyday pitcher, and he wants to start. So put him in between — into the old Darren Oliver role. I guarantee he is more effective pitching 3-4 innings every 5-7 days.

    We all know Franco is done. It would make enormous sense to drop Franco and replace him with Alomar, Jr., thus having both Castro and Alomar as PH options with power. But it won’t happen — just like we won’t see Gotay starting more than once per week. I’m with you on these … too bad Willie doesn’t read this blog.

    DW2 is not fetching any prospects, especially not after Sunday’s stint. It’s a real Catch-22 for the Mets, because he has little value on the trade market right now, but several teams would be willing to take a chance on a 28-year-old lefty whose had moderate success in the past (that’s how the Mets plucked him in the first place). It’s tough, but I think they have him eat a spot on the roster for at least a few weeks, and hope that he regains his strength.

  14. Micalpalyn July 9, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    but the Mets ARE at CWS games looking at somebody. Jermaine Dye? Mill is a younger Dye. Buerle, Contreras?

    i focused on Vaz for several reasons; He built a new home in NJ, He won as a CWS, he has (expos) history with Omie, He is an ace type, he is an innings eater, he is under control. Thats it. I like AJ Burnett too (worn out another welcome), and I like Rich Harden (bad match up). and Oswalt.

    You have to think well beyond the regular season. Bad road trips aside the Mets still lead the east and are well set to run away in August. Add that arm to take stress off the BP and you have the Champs. I want Maine and ? at the front with Ollie and Glavine4th.

  15. sincekindergarten July 9, 2007 at 1:00 pm
    Not only that (we’re still ahead in the NL East), but we’re only a game behind the Padres in overall standings. The Pads are considered by a lot of people to be the best team in the NL, and by some to be the best team in MLB. If we’ve had all the “problems” we supposedly have had (did that make any sense?) and we’re still only a game behind the Padres, we’ve got to be doing something right.
  16. joe July 9, 2007 at 1:19 pm
    Ed, I agree you have to look beyond this season. And I do like Vazquez, always did from the time I first saw him in Montreal. In fact I was certain he’d win 20 games for the Yanks … not sure what happened there.

    Vazquez is exactly the horse the Mets need, a deep-into-games guy I was clamoring for in the winter when I thought they should get either Vazquez or Garcia (glad we didn’t get Garcia!). I’d take Burnett too, even with the hefty contract (which doesn’t seem so big after the Gil Meche debacle). Though I don’t see a match with the Blue Jays, unless they want Delgado and Green back LOL.

    The Mets may be scouting CWS, but don’t forget they were hot on Randy Winn a few weeks ago too. Just because they’re looking, doesn’t mean they’re buying. But I can definitely see Omar finding a way to bring JV our way — and I bet he can finagle it without giving up too much of the future. I think Omar might be wary of a Pelfrey-JV deal simply because the fans would look at it as similar to Kazimir-Zambrano.

  17. Micalpalyn July 9, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I think the Pelfrey support is very thin right now. Plus Deolis, Mulvey, and Humber make his lost less distastefull.

    Kazmir was a top 5 prospect blowing away AA. Then on Aug 1 basically the day after he was promoted and IMMEDIATELY out dueled Pedro and the soon to be WS champs. Big difference. Pelfrey is NOT Kazmir.

    More likely he is Jon Garland. My take is Humber is ahead of him based on the better secondary pitches. I like Humber’s curve.

    Note: The AL pitcher of the month (Brian Bannister) has had a renaissance since he started using his curveball again.

  18. joe July 9, 2007 at 1:48 pm
    Ed, we’ve already agreed in the past re: Pelfrey and Humber. I’m with you — Humber’s upside looks better over the long run, and there’s enough argument to surmise he’s ahead of him already.

    My point is, that if you take the pulse of Mets fans, there is a large contingent that thinks Pelfrey is the best thing since Seaver (I think he’s destined to be a middle reliever). Now I know that Omar Minaya doesn’t make deals based on what the fans think, but there is some respect given to the fans — from a PR perspective. After all, when it’s all said and done, Omar needs to fill CitiField as much as he needs to win.

    My hope is that a Pelfrey-JV deal is a possibility — even if there’s a chance Pelfrey becomes Bonderman two years from now. Somehow, though, I don’t see Pelf getting into triple digits, so it’s a worthy gamble — mostly because, Pelfrey’s value could go down after this year.

  19. JIMMYJ723 July 9, 2007 at 2:34 pm
    I love Javier Vasquez, I think he would be an excellent addition but Ken Williams asking price is probably 2 or 3 top prospects (his asking price for Buherle was 3 top prospects). Thats definitely too high a price to pay.

    I don’t like Jermanie Dye. The talent is there but he’s very inconsistent. More importantly, he’s got an attitude problem and I think he would be terrible for our clubhouse.

    I hate Barry Zito. I was extremely happy the Mets didn’t sign him in the off-season. He’s got to be the most overrated pitcher in baseball. I would take Gil Mesche over him in a heartbeat.

    I really dont know who’s on the market that’s worth trading for. But then again I’m not the Mets GM. I trust Omar Minaya to get something done. I just hope it’s not another ageing player, we’re starting to look more and more like that other NY team everyday.

  20. JIMMYJ723 July 9, 2007 at 2:38 pm
    One more thing… let me just get on record as saying that Dontrelle Willis is the second most overrated pitcher in baseball. I hope Omar doesn’t go after him either.
  21. Micalpalyn July 9, 2007 at 3:11 pm
    In today’s game against the Connecticut Defenders, Milledge is 2-for-3 with two homeruns and 3 RBI, raising his average to .455 while with the Binghamton Mets.
  22. Micalpalyn July 9, 2007 at 3:12 pm
    In today’s game against the Connecticut Defenders, Milledge is 2-for-3 with two homeruns and 3 RBI, raising his average to .455 while with the Binghamton Mets.

    I hope he is NOT traded. I think a healthy milledge/Green (R-L) type platoon is what we need.

  23. joe July 9, 2007 at 3:19 pm
    I hope Milledge can duplicate those numbers above AA. So far, that hasn’t been the case. We need an offensive spark, and I have a funny feeling that LMillz will smell this as opportunity as his last chance to solidify himself as a Met and play his heart out.
  24. Micalpalyn July 9, 2007 at 3:47 pm
    Milz IS the real deal. He is better than Terry Long or Jermaine dye. Probably better than Gomez, (with the bat). A righty Shawn Green. Think Grady Sizemore, Jason Bay. Yes he slumped last yr, (media) but this .455 clip is eye opening. He is angry and focused.!! Two HR today???? Who else is doing that??

    Milledge is DW (with a ghetto head). But I like him greatly. I say ghetto but yet he has more refinement than the Straw. He along with Gotay, Reyes , Gomez and DW are the franchise to build on. At this point to me he is untouchable.

  25. joe July 9, 2007 at 4:06 pm
    I sincerely hope you’re right about LMillz, because as I’ve said the Mets need a spark.

    Personally, I peg LM’s ceiling to be that of Jay Payton — a nice, not great, all-around Major Leaguer who may hit .300 in a season, may hit 25 HR in a season, but likely won’t produce those numbers year in and year out. But then, if I was any good at talent evaluation, I’d be in someone’s scouting department and not BLOGGING !

    I’m anxious to see what Milledge does this year, as he showed a few raw skills last year but little knowledge of what to do with them. In contrast, all I heard was that Gomez was “raw”, yet he looked a helluva lot more polished — all around — than Milledge did last year.

    Now, I’m not saying Gomez necessarily has a higher ceiling, just that he was able to translate his skills into fair MLB productivity. Maybe he didn’t hit with the power that Milledge did, but he made use of his speed to get on base and score. He absolutely showed to be a better all-around fielder than Milledge — as well as better instincts. And, he seemed to be making daily adjustments at the plate in the few weeks before he was injured. Whether he progresses remains to be seen.

    If Milledge can learn to adjust — as Gomez did — then he could be a huge boost in the second half. I’d much rather see him start out OK, and improve steadily, than have him pull a Gregg Jefferies / Kevin Maas for a month and then flame out.

    Untouchable though? That’s a pretty bold statement. I’d be willing to trade anyone in the organization, for the right deal — including D-Wright — other than Jose Reyes. But that’s me.

  26. sincekindergarten July 9, 2007 at 4:58 pm
    Gotta agree with you about Gomez now being “raw.” The kid sort of “glided” under balls, a la the guy next to him in the outfield (Beltran). Milledge now has a standard to beat. I thnk that he knows that, and he knows that his rap album is a weight around his neck, so he’s got to play like a young (forgive me for invoking this name) Andruw Jones, only a Mets version, in whatever position in the outfield he winds up in.

    He knows that he’s trade bait. But, he also knows that he could get to the World Series with the Mets, this year. He wants a WS ring–how many other rappers can boast one of those on their finger? Instant street cred. He gets a WS ring, his rap career rockets up.

  27. sincekindergarten July 9, 2007 at 5:01 pm
    Whoops! Not “now being raw,” but “not being raw.”
  28. JIMMYJ723 July 9, 2007 at 5:27 pm
    “Untouchable though? That’s a pretty bold statement. I’d be willing to trade anyone in the organization, for the right deal — including D-Wright — other than Jose Reyes. But that’s me.”

    Joe, that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard you say. I wouldn’t trade David Wright at ANY price. IMHO, he is the future face of this franchise not Jose Reyes. Wright grew up a Mets fan in Norfolk, VA (former home of our AAA affiliate) and didn’t hesitate to sign a six-year deal. After signing the deal he said, “I have wanted to be a life-long Met and this is the first step in that direction.”

    Everyone is in love with Reyes’ speed, energy and raw talent (including myself) but I don’t think he’s as committed to the organization as Wright is. As much as it scares me to say it, I think Reyes will test the market once his four-year deal is done.

  29. Micalpalyn July 9, 2007 at 5:42 pm
    This organization imploded because of THAT notion under Steve Phillips. Sometimes you have to choose your cards and place your bets. right now DW and Reyes are coming up aces!! WHEN was the last time two home grown Mets were voted in/unananimous All Star selections …that deserved it.

    On the flip side: Tampa. You’d think a team that has produced such talent and drafted so high so long would at least be making noise.

  30. joe July 9, 2007 at 7:52 pm
    Jimmy, I didn’t mean to sound crazy, believe me, I’m not looking to dump D-Wright. But if push came to shove and the Mets had an unbelievable deal in the works, and they had to trade either Wright or Reyes — sorry, but IMHO Reyes is more valuable. Of course, the Mets would have to be getting Miguel Cabrera PLUS someone else in the deal, and I would still rather have Wright than Cabrera, but I’d never give up Reyes.

    You’re right though, D-Wright IS the face of the team — as far as marketing and promotions go. If he keeps jogging to first base on grounders, though, I’m going to kick his butt personally.