Mets Game 92: Loss to Padres

Padres 5 Mets 1

The Mets had several opportunities to push David Wells, but couldn’t move him. All that weight makes him fairly immovable, I guess. Unfortunately, every time they got a bit of a rally going, the Mets had the dumb luck of having the middle of their order up at the plate. It’s hard to score runs when you’re constantly putting runners in scoring position for Carlos Beltran and not someone further down in the lineup.

Grrrrr ….

Their inability to put anything together against a fat old man who was struggling was not only embarrassing, but a waste of a fine effort by Jorge Sosa, who pitched six strong innings in his first start since returning from the DL. Sosa, in fact, hit Wells the hardest, driving a double into the left-center gap in the third inning. Sosa also walked against Wells, and thereby had a perfect game at the plate. Pretty sad when your pitcher has the best at-bats against a grossly overweight 44-year-old. Any of the starting eight — except maybe Carlos Delgado — would have reached base easily by merely dropping a bunt back to the rotund one. In fact, had Boomer been forced to bend over, he likely would have thrown out his back and left the game.

Sosa pitched six innings and allowed two runs on five hits and two walks. He deserved better.

The bullpen wasn’t so great — Joe Smith allowed two hits, one of which eventually scored, and Aaron Heilman allowed his seventh homerun of the year, a prodigious blast to dead centerfield off the bat of Mike Cameron (huh, Heilman ineffective again on back-to-back days … who’da thunk it?). But it’s avoiding the obvious to blame the game on the bullpen. Bottom line is, the Mets had many, many chances to move runners around and failed miserably. Every game, this squad is looking less and less like champions, and more and more like also-rans. Omar Minaya is right to be concerned — and critical — of this woefully underachieving offense.

Notes

Bandits Caught

David Wright was picked off first by David Wells in the sixth inning. Unfortunately, no one noticed that Wells clearly balked — he strode a good three-quarters of his normal stride toward home plate, rather than stepping toward first as per the rule book. It didn’t matter, though, since Wright was going on first move — a bush league decision on his part. It’s OK to go first move once in a while, but it rarely makes sense before the pitcher has thrown a pitch, nor thrown to first base.

Ruben Gotay was thrown out by a mile on a 3-1 pitch to Jose Reyes in the seventh. Did someone give Jose the take sign? Normally I’m all about taking pitches and getting into deep counts, but a 3-1 count, tight ballgame, and your best triples hitter at the plate in a triples park — why isn’t he swinging there? Gotay didn’t seem to get a great jump, making one wonder if Reyes missed the hit-and-run sign. It would certainly explain things — there isn’t any other logical explanation.


mmm-kay?

After not being in good position to throw, and allowing the runners to advance on a fly ball in the third, Lastings Milledge got the TPS Reports treatment upon returning to the dugout — receiving verbal corrections from both Sandy Alomar and Jerry Manuel. Lastings’ response? “I got the memo … ”

Buff Brothers No Longer Puffed

Fascinating, isn’t it, how the Giles brothers no longer hit for any power? And how they don’t look quite as “puffy” anymore? I swear Marcus’ neck shrunk by at least two sizes. The power outage MUST have something to do with Petco, and the shrinkage may be due to the crappy food on the West Coast. Couldn’t possibly be anything else. I mean, has anything been implemented, or changed, in MLB, since 2005?

Ring My Bell

Nice to see Heath Bell pitching well for the Padres — we certainly wouldn’t be able to use an effective middle/setup reliever right now. Who did we get for him and Royce Ring? Oh, that’s right, two AAAA guys to fill out the Zephyrs’ roster.

Valid Points and Observations by My Wife During the Game

My wife Amy had a flurry of intriguing observations while watching the game and simultaneously playing solitaire with a deck of New York Mets Playing Cards (I, on the other hand, can barely walk and chew gum at the same time). Among them:

  • Khalil Greene looks like Paris Hilton.
  • Ron Darling was in the broadcast booth, but Keith Hernandez was not. My wife further noted that Darling and Hernandez are rarely in the booth together — making one wonder, are they the same person? Kind of like Michael and Latoya Jackson …
  • Jose Valentin must have punched a wall because of a girl. Because, if it were a man who ticked him off, he would have punched the man.

Speaking of Valentin, just what in tarnation was he doing in the lineup? Especially since (a) his hand injury most severely affects his righthanded hitting; (b) Damion Easley’s career batting average against David Wells is a lofty .311 in 61 ABs; and (c) Valentin was hitting .125 career vs. Wells?

Next Game

Well, there went the Mets only chance to win the series, and they had a sweaty pig ready to be placed on the spit. They lose Tuesday night in a match to Jake Peavy that begins at 10:05 PM EST. El Duque goes to the mound for the Mets, not that it matters. If the Mets can’t muster anything against the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man, the only way they’ll beat Peavy is if he tries to throw lefty.

I’m sorry, do I sound negative? I get that way when I sit up until nearly one in the morning to watch these Left Coast games, only to be disappointed by sloppy play and unfocused at-bats.

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. JIMMYJ723 July 17, 2007 at 12:15 am
    We made Wandy Rodriguez look like Johan Santana…. unless Peavy is still botherd by those sore bicepts… he’ll prob. strike out 20 tomorrow
  2. RockStar78 July 17, 2007 at 8:13 am
    The reason Valentin played last night against Wells instead of Easley is because Easley left the team for a family illness.
  3. Walnutz15 July 17, 2007 at 8:34 am
    So — what do you cats honestly think?

    Are the Mets still in 1st place by Friday….do we lose the lead in the NL East after Peavy, Maddux, and the Dodgers gearing up for a 4 game set?

    Last night was a horror show. Willie finally sets a runner in motion, and Reyes freezes on a 3-1 cock shot at the plate. Gotay gets nailed — close game in the 7th gets out of hand by the end.

    Gem of an outing by Sosa wasted — par for the course this year, no matter who’s on the hill.

    Heilman can’t pitch on consecutive nights.

    Beltran looks like a pile of cow dung in the batter’s box.

    *Negative Mode off*

    Realistically, and I’ve thought this way for the better portion of 2 months now — this team might not be all that good. I feel that we’re vastly overrated in every aspect other than starting pitching.

    Time to step it up.

  4. joe July 17, 2007 at 8:35 am
    RockStar – thanks for the tip!

    See, I AM wrong once in a while (duly noted).

    Was that reported anywhere other than the NY Times? I completely missed it.

  5. Walnutz15 July 17, 2007 at 9:04 am
    Delcos reported it over on his blog last night:

    Easley leaves club
    July 16 Damion Easley left the team because of an illness in his family.

    Even still, what exactly does this team owe an injured Jose Valentin? Ruben Gotay is the hottest hitter in the damn lineup, and lefty doughboy be damned, he should’ve started last night’s game.

    Easley is the insurance policy behind Big Rube at 2nd. Go with that and see what happens

    Day by day, there’s more and more deadwood being exposed on this team.

  6. RockStar78 July 17, 2007 at 9:17 am
    Gary mentioned it last night during the game. That’s how I knew about it.
  7. joe July 17, 2007 at 9:43 am
    I think my selective hearing is still blocking out all references to Damion Easley.

    Walnutz, I hate to be negative, but I’m with you. The Mets are simply lucky that the rest of the NL East is awful, and they have not played anywhere near a winning brand of baseball since the first week of April.

    Zero attention to the small things, hustling most rather than all of the time, brain farts, and no plan at the plate. Meanwhile, the Braves continue to play their boring, unspectacular, ho-hum style and quietly pile up wins.

  8. Micalpalyn July 17, 2007 at 11:04 am
    Joe:

    Alot of positives from last night;
    A. DW and Reyes hit last night. Gotay had a huge PH mostly because it keeps Willie aware he IS the better 2B On that note, Valentin BOTCHES a perfefect strike em out-throw em out DP not handling a GREAT throw. I’m glad Gotay sat. Becaudse it plays into my ‘everybody needs rest’ theory.

    On Barrett: his game calling was excellent and his throws were money.

  9. Walnutz15 July 17, 2007 at 11:09 am
    Time to play IIWW — “If I Were Willie”:

    Reyes
    Gotay
    Wright
    Alou
    Delgado
    Beltran
    Milledge
    Lo Duca

    I don’t know if putting these guys in a different spot in the order helps, but at least it’s the ol’ college try from Willie.

    Facing Peavy tonight (tight bicep, and all) is a guaranteed shutout waiting to happen. I hope they shock me, and I’m flat-out wrong here, but it’s doubtful.

    Again, last night — they draw 1 walk…and who puts forth this quality at-bat?

    Jorge Sosa.

    They are wasting some very good pitching performances. They have been all year!

    Realistically, it’s time to make a move for another bat. One that might be able to provide some “professional” at-bats. This all can’t hinge on the bat of Moises Alou.

    Who knows if he’ll stay on track for his return date. It’s happened before with him….

    And besides —

    Mets-ellaneous Stuff:

    As a team with 2 out & RISP the Mets are hitting .220/.348/.329.

    The NL averages are .237/.349/.383.

    The Mets .329 SLG in this situation, is last in the league.

    Overall, they are 10th in the NL in runs scored.

    This kind of situational “hitting” is what will be our undoing unless it changes very soon.

  10. Micalpalyn July 17, 2007 at 11:16 am
    Other Positives:

    Phil Humber, Mike Devaney and Jon Niese had very nice outings yesterday too.

  11. Micalpalyn July 17, 2007 at 11:18 am
    Walnut;
    I’d alternate loDuca and Castro right now.
  12. Walnutz15 July 17, 2007 at 11:26 am
    That works, too.

    I’ve never had a problem with Castro playing, in his 3 seasons with the club. Definitely not gonna start complaining now, as he’s having his finest season to date as a Metropolitan.

    Contrary to what Willie would have you think, there’s definitely some flexibility with this lineup.

    It’s all about doing it.

  13. joe July 17, 2007 at 12:10 pm
    Ed, thanks for the positives. I think Michael Barrett is a free agent target in the offseason.

    Walnutz I like that lineup. But as you’ve mentioned, Willie thinks it’s inflexible. As for all the people who claim that the lineup doesn’t matter much to a team’s success … well if that’s the case then what’s the hurt in changing things up? I’ve always been fond of the Charley Lau theory: put your best hitters at the top of the lineup, so that they get to the plate more often. So damn simple, yet few managers do it. That said, right now I put up the top hitters according to average and OBP: Reyes, Gotay, Wright, Castro, Beltran, Green, Delgado, Milledge.

    But never in a million years will you see Castro batting in front of Beltran. Beltran is stuck in the third spot of Willie’s cemented head.

    Does he do with Beltran what he did with Delgado, and wait until he’s hitting .210 to move him down?

  14. Walnutz15 July 17, 2007 at 12:19 pm
    I’m not a numbers-geek — and in fact, I’d be the first one to smack one of them upside the head with their own pocket-protectors and TI-82 calculators; however:

    I think that many Met fans who are defending Carlos Beltran right now — you know, the ones resorting to sarcasm when he and Delgado are being booed at Shea — should step back and take note of something.

    An OPS under .800 (Beltran’s is sitting at .795 right now), for a guy that’s being paid $17+ million a year is atrocious.

    It’s not any of our own money; correct. But this guy is not a 3-hitter, and I’m not sure he’ll ever be.

    (I’m a centerfielder, and love Carlos Beltran by the way. This is just my $0.02.)

  15. joe July 17, 2007 at 12:42 pm
    I really like Beltran too, and agree that he is not a three hitter. I’m not sure anyone who hits under .290 should ever be considered a three hitter, in fact — which was why it seemed like a strange place for him from the beginning.

    If your flat-out, best pure hitter is not the leadoff guy, then he HAS to be #3. There’s no way Beltran is the best pure hitter on the team — I think DWright gets that. The only other considerations are Reyes, who is batting first, and Alou, who is disabled.

  16. Micalpalyn July 17, 2007 at 3:44 pm
    Yes.

    Right now I’d have 3-4 line ups.
    The first has; Reyes, beltran, alou/gotay, delgado, wright, (gotay/alou), loduca/castro, milledge, Pitcher
    2. Reyes, beltran, delgado, wright, alou, gotay, catcher, green, P
    3. vs lefties; milledge, reyes, beltran, wright, delgado, alou, easley, catcher, p

    I still think our bench depth is compromised. But beltran has no swing.

  17. Micalpalyn July 17, 2007 at 3:47 pm
    I watched last nights game.

    DW and Beltran are great hitters with power. But right now they look like Ali in the 14th round of a George foreman fight.

    HAVE THEY EVER BEEN SUBBED-Have THEY HAD a day off? what’s the point of getting to the playoffs if no one can lift a bat by then……..

  18. joe July 17, 2007 at 4:10 pm
    Ed, you watch the games but do you listen to the announcers? Keith Hernandez has said MANY times that anyone under 25 never needs a rest — therefore, D-Wright does not need to be subbed.

    Beltran, on the other hand, is over 25, and probably should be subbed here and there. It’s tough, though, with Endy and Gomez both hurt — though they could put Milledge in there and stick Newhan in LF.

    I don’t think Beltran’s issue is lack of rest right now. He’s simply not keeping his hands back. To see him so far ahead of Wells’ crap in the first inning, and not make an adjustment afterward, tells me he simply doesn’t trust his hands. Or he’s plain stupid.

  19. Micalpalyn July 17, 2007 at 5:42 pm
    I dont get the Mets feed here in Texas. Usually I watch the direct TV package, or listen/watch with gameday/WFAN

    It is my impression that beltran is not using his legs at the plate.

  20. Micalpalyn July 17, 2007 at 6:32 pm
    Kenny Williams’ order of preference for trading: Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez, Jon Garland. I really think Vazquez could be a difference-maker; he’s the best available starter right now.

    MLBrumors

  21. joe July 17, 2007 at 8:18 pm
    Ed, then it is a shame you don’t get to listen to the golden nuggets from Keith and Ron. At first I hated them both, but have learned to love them.

    Anyway … as far as Vazquez goes, I’m sure that if he is available, Omar will be on him like white on rice.

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