Mets Game 8: Win Over Nationals

Mets 8 Nationals 4

Mets show some mettle and come from behind to take one from the Nats.

Game Notes

Chris Capuano looked solid, staying around the plate and tossing his excellent changeup. He allowed 4 runs on 7 hits (including 2 homers) and a walk in 6 innings, striking out 8. Not a spectacular effort, but a perfectly fine outing for a fifth starter.

Carlos Beltran belted two homers from the right side of the plate, driving in 3 and scoring 3. However, it was Ike Davis who had the most dramatic extra-base hit of the game, a triple in the sixth that scored Beltran and David Wright to put the Mets ahead 5-4. Davis scored moments later when Dan Murphy slashed an RBI single.

Davis has now driven in a run in 7 of the Mets’ first 8 games.

Beltran hit his first homer of the game on a 3-2 pitch and immediately after taking a very close pitch that could have gone either way. Beltran took similarly very close 2-strike pitches on Friday night and both were called balls; after one of those occasions, Carlos smashed a double off the centerfield wall. I wonder if the umpires are giving Beltran the benefit of the doubt or some kind of respect for being a longtime veteran who has knowledge of the strike zone — or if it is simply a coincidence.

Taylor Buchholz spun an efficient, effective, perfect seventh, throwing only 8 pitches (6 for strikes).

Bobby Parnell struck out two in his 2/3 of an inning setting up for K-Rod, but did not instill confidence for the second straight evening. His command was inexistent, and couldn’t place his slider anywhere near the plate. Generally speaking, you don’t want to throw the slider for a strike, but you want to make it look like it could be a strike. He was off by over a foot on his sliders, and he was killing worms with the fastball. If his velocity ever falls below 97 MPH he will be in big trouble.

Jose Reyes was 0-for-9 this season with RISP before hitting a two-run double to put the game away in the bottom of the 8th. It was his third double of the year and his first two RBI of the season. Another first for Reyes: his first walk, which he drew in the initial inning. It was the sixth straight game that he reached base to lead off the game.

Francisco Rodriguez came on to extinguish a Nats rally in the top of the 8th, then came up to the plate in the bottom half of the inning to take his first-ever MLB plate appearance. He struck out, but he looked pretty good swinging the bat — IMHO, he looked more like a hitter than a pitcher trying to be a hitter. He swung aggressively, fouled off one pitch, and took a ball off the outside corner. I honestly think he had a decent shot to do some damage had he made contact, particularly since the Nats outfielders were playing him as if he were a girl hitting in a little league game.

On the mound, however, K-Rod was shaky in the ninth. With a four-run lead, he walked the first two batters and went to a full count to Jayson Werth before inducing a double play. He loves to keep us on our toes.

There’s been much ado about Jayson Werth hitting #2 in the Nats’ lineup. I think it is a good spot for Werth. Why? First, because he usually has a high OBP, and you want to have your high OBP guys up high in the lineup to get on base but also to start wearing down the pitcher. Second, because Werth is one of Washington’s best hitters, so ideally he should be getting as many at-bats as possible. If the Nats had someone with blazing speed leading off — in which case it might make sense to put a patient, contact hitter up second — I could understand all the hullabaloo. But Ian Desmond is their leadoff guy, and so it makes sense for the Nats to simply stack their best hitters toward the top. Werth will get plenty of RBI opportunities as the season goes on — as well as many run-scoring opps.

On a personal note, I’m working this weekend down in Orlando, FL. I was unable to connect to the Mets game via due to “blackout restrictions”. This ticked me off beyond belief, and I was extremely pessimistic about calling MLB’s blackout hotline — I was sure I’d be thrown into a never-ending, inescapable carousel of pushing buttons and not getting answers (I started my work life writing voice response scripts, so I know the drill). Though it took about 15 minutes to get to a live person, when I finally did, the techie got me connected to the game within 5 minutes — much to my surprise. So, if you ever get caught in a similar situation, where you know that you should be able to connect to the game legitimately, do make the call to MLB’s toll-free number — as hard as it to believe, they have humans taking your calls and they do help you.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match takes place on Sunday at 1:10 PM. Chris Young faces Jason Marquis.

Please note that I’m working at a trade event in Orlando beginning 12 noon and going through 5pm on Sunday, so the postgame will be published fairly late. However, I’ll set up an article where you can post your comments in the meantime.

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. Sebastian April 9, 2011 at 10:55 pm
    For all of Keith Hernandez’s talk about Wright’s new swing, he is still striking out a lot. Any reason you see for that Joe?
    • Joe Janish April 10, 2011 at 12:20 am
      I don’t see that much of a difference in D-Wright’s swing. He still has a big cut, and this new over-emphasized front foot lift can make one vulnerable to off-speed pitches.

      I’d prefer to see Wright go back to the non-stride he used earlier in his career, where he simply turned his front toe in and waited for the pitch. It kept him balanced, uncommitted with the hips closed, and wound up — ready to uncoil and strike like a cobra. I don’t understand why he ever changed that approach, because he hit .300+ with it and managed to blast 25+ homers per season. I guess the far fences of Citi Field really got in his head.

  2. Steve S. April 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm
    Liked Capuano, who threw strikes! Gotta hand it to Alderson and his buddies, who signed the two Chrises!
  3. Mic April 10, 2011 at 11:34 am
    Danny Murphy !!