Mets Game 106: Loss to Brewers

Brewers 4 Mets 2

Number 300 will have to wait, though it was no fault of Tommy Glavine.

Glavine looked great in his first three innings, holding the Brewers hitless. However, he walked J.J. Hardy to begin the fourth, then gave up a single to Ryan Braun that Moises Alou bobbled, allowing Hardy to reach third. The next batter, Prince Fielder, grounded out up the middle to score Hardy with the first run of the game.

In the top of the sixth, Jose Reyes stroked a single that he hustled into a double when Billy Hall didn’t come up with the ball right away. Luis Castillo followed with a beauty of a bunt that moved him to third, and David Wright bounced a full-count pitch over the drawn-in Ryan Braun to score Reyes and tie the game. Carlos Delgado then reached for an outside pitch and pulled it into right-center for a single, pushing Wright to third. Alou followed with a deep fly to right that scored Wright easily, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. Shawn Green then blasted a double to the left-center wall, but Delgado was nailed at the plate on a fine relay throw by Tony Graffanino (Billy Hall had overthrown cutoff man J.J. Hardy, but Graffanino was alertly backing up). Not sure what windmill man Sandy Alomar was thinking, because Delgado was barely rounding third and running out of gas when Graffanino had the ball just a few feet from the infield dirt. Not a good gamble with hot-hitting Ramon Castro on deck.

Glavine pitched six full innings, and started the seventh, but was removed after allowing a leadoff single to Damian Miller. The crowd at Miller Park offered him a standing ovation as he walked into the dugout. His stat line: 6 innings, 2 hits, 5 walks, 1 earned run, 2 strikeouts, 95 pitches.

Aaron Heilman came on in relief and induced a double play grounder on his first pitch to Tony Graffanino, who inexplicably was not bunting. Pinch-hitter Craig Counsell was, however, and dropped a beauty that Ramon Castro could not pounce on quickly enough with the cinderblocks tied to his shoes. Heilman, however, settled down to get another grounder from Corey Hart to end the inning.

In the eighth, Graffanino led off the inning by fisting a full-count fastball just beyond the reach of Jose Reyes for a bloop basehit. Heilman then retired Ryan Braun on a flyout to left before giving way to Pedro Feliciano to face Prince Fielder. Feliciano hit Fielder on the elbow to put the go-ahead run on first, and Guillermo Mota came on to put out the fire. Mota, however, threw gas — and I don’t mean he was throwing fast. Rather, he accelerated the flame. Bill Hall drilled his first pitch — a high, fat changeup — into left field and over the fence on a bounce for a ground-rule double to tie the game. Where Mota came up with that choice of pitch and location is anyone’s guess. Eventually, the Brewers were retired and the game remained tied, but not before Graffanino nearly lifted a Mota meatball to the base of the leftfield wall.

The Mets couldn’t score in the top of the ninth, and Jorge Sosa was brought on to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Strangely, he chose to pitch out of the stretch, rather than the windup, and walked leadoff batter Geoff Jenkins on four pitches. Corey Hart followed with a hard bunt that skipped past Carlos Delgado, who with those feet could have played the role of Sondra Lomax in the movie “Lady in Cement“. J.J. Hardy followed with a sacrifice to put runners on second and third, with hot-hitting Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder coming up next. Despite getting royally squeezed by the home plate umpire, Sosa managed to strike out Braun, getting him to chase sliders a foot out of the strike zone. Fielder was walked intentionally to load the bases and bring eighth-inning hero Bill Hall to the plate. Hall fell behind 0-2, but worked the count full before blooping a Texas leaguer to center that looked to be the game-winning hit before Lastings Milledge came out of nowhere and made a spectacular diving catch to end the inning.

In the top of the tenth, Milwaukee reliever Matt Wise threw 10 straight balls, walking David Wright and Carlos Delgado, before being removed for lefty Brian Shouse with a 2-0 count on Moises Alou. Shouse threw another ball before throwing a strike, then gave Moises “DP” Alou an ideal pitch to bounce into a routine double play. With two outs and Wright on third, Damion Easley was sent up to pinch-hit for Shawn Green, but Brewers manager Ned Yost countered with righty Chris Spurling, who struck out Easley to end the threat.

In the bottom of the eleventh, Aaron Sele came in and was victimized by back-to-back basehits by Geoff Jenkins and Corey Hart to start the inning and set up another sacrifice bunt for J.J. Hardy. However, Carlos Delgado pounced on the ball immediately and threw out Jenkins for his first assist to third base since 1992 (when he was a minor league catcher). Sele then induced a double play grounder from Ryan Braun to end the frame.

Prince Fielder nearly ended the game twice leading off the bottom of the 12th, hitting two 1400-foot shots just inside the rightfield foul pole and into the upper deck. OK, they weren’t exactly 1400 feet, but I’m counting the Kingman-like height on the ball as well as the distance. Fielder eventually stroked a single, and was sacrificed to second by Rickie Weeks. That brought up Kevin Mench, who was 6-for-12 lifetime vs. Sele before that at-bat. However, Mench popped up to center for the second out, and got Damian Miller to fly out to an again diving Milledge.

Leading off the 13th and therefore no possibility of hitting into a double play, Moises Alou welcomed Dave Bush with a single to start the inning. Damion Easley struck out on a full count slider, but Alou was running on the pitch and barely stole second. (Mets fans everywhere breathed a sigh of relief when Alou reached his feet unscathed.) Ramon Castro bounced out to third for the second out, and Milledge went to short for his grounder that ended the inning.a

For the third straight time, the Brewers led off the inning with a hit, as Tony Graffanino hit a double down the leftfield line off Sele. Geoff Jenkins followed by mashing a 1-2 pitch over the rightfield fence to end the game. When he reached home plate, the Brewers mobbed him like it was the World Series. Relax, guys — all you did was stay in first for another day.

Notes

Why Bud Selig wasn’t in attendance to witness this game is anybody’s guess. Milwaukee is Selig’s home, and Glavine’s potential 300th win is much more significant than any other milestones about to be reached. Unless you think there is a better chance of seeing another 300-game winner before another homerun king? Yeah, I thought so.

Glavine got squeezed pretty tightly by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild — which was expected as Fairchild has a small strike zone. Glavine’s response was to steer his change-up more toward the middle of the plate early in the count. There was one point, however, in the fourth where Glavine started off Damian Miller with a pitcher’s pitch on the outside edge of the plate and didn’t get the call from Fairchild. Glavine responded with frustrated body language, and Fairchild walked a few steps out toward the mound and said something to Glavine. Ramon Castro and Rick Peterson trotted out to the mound in unison to diffuse a situation that could have turned ugly, as Tommy was fired up and may have gotten himself tossed if given the opportunity.

With Glavine in a pinch — one out, a man on third and a 3-0 count — Bill Hall offered a gift by swinging wildly at a low change-up off the outside of the plate, popping up for the second out of the inning. Dumb baseball.

How about Glavine’s kid wearing a David Wright jersey?

Shawn Green made a great diving catch in the sixth with two outs and runners on first and third to save a run and end the inning. He showed no fear of the rightfield wall, which was about five feet from his face when he hit the ground. Green may be slow in the field, and only a shell of his former self, but you have to admire his all-out play — he seemed to be giving a little bit extra in this game, perhaps because Glavine’s #300 was on the line.

Speaking of, Aaron Heilman was pretty revved up himself for this game, touching 97 MPH on the gun a few times.

When Feliciano was removed from the game, I wondered if Willie Randolph had considered bringing in Billy Wagner for a five-out save. Crazy, I know, but Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, Sparky Lyle, and Skip Lockwood did it all the time. I’m certain Wagner would have been willing and up to the task, to save Glavine’s 300th.

Mota’s confidence is shot. He is of no use to the Mets in tight situations while his psyche is damaged. He and Aaron Sele should switch roles for a few weeks.

Jorge Sosa in the bullpen means Mike Pelfrey gets another start? The Mets normally would have to wait ten days after demoting Pelfrey to AAA, but I believe he can come back if someone — such as Paul LoDuca — is placed on the DL. If not Pelfrey, then perhaps we’ll see the 2007 debut of Philip Humber, who had been held back from his regular turn in New Orleans due to food poisoning (was he really sick, or being kept out to prevent injury in the event he was traded for Cordero?).

I know it’s only one game, but not getting Chad Cordero, Eric Gagne, or any other top reliever at the trading deadline looms as a much larger disappointment after seeing the bullpen give away Glavine’s 300th win. Who can the Mets count on out of the ‘pen, besides Billy Wagner?

Luis Castillo’s debut as a Met was inauspicious at the plate, but he flashed a good glove, making several nice plays ranging to his left and right. The Mets can’t expect him to get on base the way he did three or four years ago, but he should save a few runs in the field with his sure hands and ability to turn the double play.

Scary stat: of Luis Castillo’s 106 base hits this year, 36 were infield singles. That explains how he’s hitting .300 with that sick-looking swing. The Brewers outfielders were playing so shallow on him, it looked like a little league game when the girl on the other team comes up.

Strange move by Willie in the top of the 11th, originally getting Ruben Gotay ready to pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot, then switching to David Newhan with two out. Newhan singled, but why burn him — a guy who can play several positions, including the outfield — instead of Gotay in an extra-inning affair? Personally, I’d be more comfy having the versatile Newhan available — especially with Green and Marlon Anderson already out of the game and Easley in right — just in case.

The knock on Ryan Braun — and the reason he didn’t join the Brewers sooner — was suspect defense. However, he made at least two web gems in this game and looked like a Gold Glover at the hot corner … oh, except for his 15th error of the season in the seventh.

Geoff Jenkins is on fire, but likely won’t play with the lefty Ollie Perez pitching on Wednesday. Thank goodness.

As we suspected here at MetsToday, Carlos Beltran was placed on the 15-day DL just a few minutes after the trade deadline. Luis Castillo took his place on the roster, so the Mets are still an outfielder and a relief pitcher short. We’ll guess that Paul LoDuca hits the DL tomorrow, as the Mets really need to add an arm to the roster.


Next Game

The Mets and Brewers do it again at 8:05 PM, with Oliver Perez facing Dave Bush.

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. isuzudude August 1, 2007 at 12:42 am
    Very nice job with the analysis, Joe. It’s tough enough staying up until 12:30 watching the game, but then to write an entire recap. Kudos.

    A few points if I may:
    1. Why are you getting on the Brewers for celebrating a walk off? Every team does it, not to mention the Mets are probably most guilty. Admit it…it’s only painful to watch when it comes at the expense of your own team. I guess that’s the true measure of a great fan; gauging how angry one gets after watching a team celebrate a walk off homer to make your team lose.

    2. The Fairchild thing gets me miffed. I only watched the game thru 3 1/2 innings, so I didn’t see the incident you’re refering to, but I’ve seen it too many times in the past where umpires want to upstage the game with their theatrics. If it’s true that Fairchild delivered a message to Glavine for nothing more than bad body language (middle fingers excluded) than that seriously is a joke. Get over yourself as an umpire. If a guy complains, let him complain. Your job is to call balls and strikes, not to keep the players quiet like it’s nap time in kindergarten class. And taking it a step further, Fairchild wants to pull these antics in a game where Glavine could win #300? How much longer has Glavine been around the sport of baseball than Fairchild? And now Fairchild thinks he’s the main attraction? What a crock. Someone prescribe these hot headed umps some zanex and tell them to chill out and call the game instead of looking for a fight on the field.

    3. Aaron Heilman. Yeah, I know he was officially charged with the run that tied the game, but he looks to be falling into one of those grooves again where you feel real good about him entering a game. And with the way Feliciano has been pitching of late, he may be the ONLY guy I feel good about these days. Isn’t Heilman traditionally a good 2nd half pitcher. I know in ’05 he was downright unhittable. Have to look up last years stats though

  2. isuzudude August 1, 2007 at 12:44 am
    Oh, one other thing Joe. You have Dave Bush listed as Wednesday’s start, but I’m pretty sure that no longer is the case as he pitched the 13th for Milwaukee on Tuesday. The Brewcrew had an off day on Monday which allows them to bump everyone up a day, so I think it’s safe to say Claudio Vargas is going to start Wednesday instead, with perhaps Capuano going in the finale.
  3. Walnutz15 August 1, 2007 at 9:27 am
    (The following rant is brought to you by a clearly-biased former Centerfielder)

    I really hope Milledge runs over Alou the next time he ignores the kid who’s calling for a ball in CF.

    It’s bad enough he’s never in the lineup (and has sucked when he is — DP’s kill!!), but that is blatantly disrespectful.

    When they collide and Milledge gets injured, I will stalk Alou and personally end his career. I’m sure I’d only have to sneeze on him and he’d be in the hospital for a month.

    I hope this team drives themselves to Costco — to buy themselves a few cases of clutch hits. They’re going to need them down the stretch; and the cupboard’s dry.

  4. Micalpalyn August 1, 2007 at 10:15 am
    I’m thru defending mota. Trade him or lose him in the back of the BP. Obviously, his illegal substance was ‘confidence pills’ probably from Grandma.
  5. archeress August 1, 2007 at 10:20 am
    alou may have taken milledge’s catch, but clearly milledge got a late start as he was still running to it and somehow, alou was standing still right under the ball. i’d rather have the one who’s already there waiting for it make the catch. and joe, i couldn’t agree more about alomar sending delgado home, where the ball was waiting to tag him. people in my household disagreed, said it was standard procedure to send him in such a situation, blah blah blah, higher percentage chance the throw will be off than that the next batter will hit him in. BUT jeez i thought that was not playing it safe. glad to see i’m not the only one. and why not let Feliciano take the whole 8th inning, instead of making him come in and pitch to Fielder the very first thing, already with somone on base. that was too much pressure. why is joe smith gone?
  6. Walnutz15 August 1, 2007 at 10:51 am
    Now, HERE’S a unique talent that justifies trading multiple chips for.

    Hopefully, there’s a bit of a bond between the 2 organizations’, now that we’ve dealt with them for Castillo. Chances are, Minaya knows what he’s doing, in building partnerships. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes over the winter.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2956943

    I am sure Omar will investigate — it’d surely make my Met-decade.

  7. joe August 1, 2007 at 11:49 am
    My apologies … I got on the Brewers for celebrating because I was blogging at the moment and chose not to edit it out. After that 10-mile marathon I figured it was OK to expel a bit of emotion.

    Mota’s worthless right now, but I don’t know who the Mets will turn to for short relief. Try Sele? Pelfrey? Humber? anybody!

    Walnutz – interesting point re: the Twins relationship being built. I think the Mets will have to trade for him, if they want him, otherwise I see the Yankees opening up their wallet and buying him after 2008 — especially if A-Rod is no longer on the payroll.