Mets Game 49: Loss to Cubs

Cubs 9 Mets 3

Like an overgrown 12-year-old on a little league team, Carlos Zambrano beat the Mets with his arm and his bat to take the rubber match in windy, wet, and chilly Chicago.

Mets Game Notes

Zambrano tossed six strong innings, allowing only one earned run, and went 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored. He’s hitting .375 on the season.

Meantime, R.A. Dickey was throwing decently when he suffered a heel injury that forced him from the game with one out in the third inning. Right now, the word is that the injury is not serious and will be addressed day to day.

Dickey’s immediate replacement Pedro Beato got the final out in the third with no problems but ran into trouble in the fourth, getting way too much plate and not enough sink on his fastball. As a result, he was tattooed. It didn’t help that Jason Pridie made a key error that led to two runs scoring. While pitching to Kosuke Fukudome — and eventually walking him — it was clear that Beato was exhausted and needed to be taken out. But, he remained in the game. eventually throwing 35 pitches in the inning. I’m stunned that the Mets would allow a young pitcher with promise who is not far removed from an arm injury to throw so many pitches in one frame.

Pridie’s error was one of nonchalance, a miffed grounder that was eerily similar to the miscue made by Fernando Martinez earlier in the series. Kids, take this as a lesson: always focus on every play you make, and never take anything for granted — especially when the weather conditions are affecting the baseball.

I really, really like Pat Misch, but I don’t think he is suited to MLB relief. Yet, he has shown to be adequate as a starter. Is it a small sample size or is there something about starting that gives him an advantage? For example, does he pitch better as a starter because he is able to prepare, mentally, physically, and emotionally? I’d be curious to know what his preparation routine is before starting assignments, compared to days when he is slated to be in the bullpen.

The offensively challenged Cubs might want to consider putting Carlos Zambrano in the outfield on days he’s not pitching.

On the mound, Zambrano is only a shell of his former dominant self. His fastball rides in the high 80s, topping out at 89-90, and his breaking stuff is nowhere near what it once was. For those who don’t remember, Zambrano used to sit in the mid-90s and top out just a hair below triple digits. His game began falling off considerably in 2009 — the season after he was diagnosed with rotator cuff tendinitis — and he’s been regressing ever since. Are his woes due to poor mechanics? Absolutely. Could they have been avoided? Most likely. A shame, really, for someone who was so dominant and who brings quite a bit of personality and color to the game.

Zambrano, Tony Campana, and Kosuke Fukodome combined to go 9-for-11 on the day, scoring three times and driving in two runs.

The small, speedy, and hustling Campana brought back memories of Jason Tyner and Jeff Duncan, though if I had to compare him to someone, I’d say he is David Eckstein with lightning speed.

Carlos Pena made two outstanding stretch-and-scoop plays at first base to prevent infield singles. He’s quite athletic for a big man.

Thankfully, all was not lost in this ballgame — Francisco Rodriguez recorded the last two outs in the bottom of the 8th to nail down his 19th game finished. Only 36 more to go for the pot of gold — and there are 113 games left to play. Hey, he needed the work, and the Mets have $200M coming from David Einhorn so who cares if that option vests?

Next Mets Game

Like Jesus, the Mets just left Chicago and return home to start a three-game set against the first-place Phillies. The opener begins at 7:10 PM in Flushing and pits Chris Capuano against Roy Oswalt. If the Mets can sweep the Phillies this weekend, it will put them above .500 and only 4.5 games out of first place. Hey, anything is possible — and the Mets will miss both Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.

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. izzy May 27, 2011 at 8:35 am
    Agree with you about Beato. He also is not throwing as fast since he returned from the DL. Altho Misch has been horrible in the pen he would have been the proper guy to bring in that early because he has been stretched out this year and Bearto has not and seems to be still injured.
  2. Joe May 27, 2011 at 9:28 am
    Beato pitched well in his 1.2 inning stint but clearly looked uncomfortable from the start yesterday with the cold weather not really a great help.

    Misch was a mediocre starter too. Might be a nice guy, but he’s AAA level. If he can’t go out there and give you two innings of middle relief in that situation, what good is he? He seemed the logical choice when Dickey left, at least when a clean inning began.

    This was a horrible series. They got to .500 and then had two sloppy games and a third that they easily could have lost if the Cubs pitching didn’t give them the game. Prime example why fans shouldn’t start believing just because they play good baseball for a time.

    • Joe May 27, 2011 at 9:32 am
      Right, got to toss in the Yankee series. The seventh inning on Sunday might very well be when their funk began. Ugly in almost every way, including managerial. Blah.

      Anyway, a sweep this weekend would make them .500.