Game 107: Win Over Brewers

Mets 8 Brewers 5

Willie’s played about a hundred hunches this year, and, finally, one paid off.

Instead of penciling Lastings Milledge into the “8” hole — both on the field and in the lineup — he instead wrote “Marlon Anderson” in the sixth spot of the order, and “CF” next to his name. Anderson repaid the insanity by driving in four runs in his first two at-bats, including a three-run homer that put the Mets ahead 7-5 in the third and chased starter Claudio Vargas from the ballgame.

Anderson had singled in Carlos Delgado the inning before, and Ramon Castro followed with a two-run bomb that put the Mets ahead 4-3. Milwaukee answered by jumping ahead to a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the second via a walk, two singles, and an atrocious error by Shawn “Flipper” Green, who inexplicably dove for a blooper he had no chance of catching and let it bounce over his head and to the outfield wall behind him.

Green made up for the gaffe — sort of — by blasting a solo homer over the right-centerfield wall in the sixth to extend the lead to 8-5.

Oliver Perez had a strong performance, despite allowing five runs. He pitched six innings, threw 115 pitches, and gave up five hits, three walks, one homer, four earned runs, and struck out 11. If you watched the game, he was a lot more dominating than the boxscore might suggest. I’m still not sure how those five runs scored … though I vaguely remember a three-run homer by the Pillsbury Doughboy in the first inning.

After blowing Tom Glavine’s shot at his 300th career victory, Guillermo Mota came on in relief to pitch two perfect innings. Maybe Willie should put him out there to start innings more often — he seems fine as long as there aren’t any runners on base.

Billy Wagner struggled in the ninth, allowing two singles and throwing 24 pitches, but grinded out his 25th save in 26 chances.

Notes

Good thing Marlon hit that bomb in the third. I was throwing things at the TV when third base umpire Chad Fairchild (huh … same schmuck with the tiny strike zone) called Carlos Delgado out on the swing in the previous at-bat. In case you missed it, the count was 2-2, and an inside pitch looked like it grazed Delgado’s forearm as he started to swing, then stopped and tried to get out of the way of the ball. While he was getting out of the way, he dropped the bat behind him before his hands came forward — it looked like it might have dropped right on top of the catcher’s foot. If anything, it should have been called a hit-by-pitch, at the very least a ball. However, the plate umpire asked Fairchild for help and he was only too happy to punch him out. That guy must have grown up a Braves fan. Interestingly, Willie Randolph remained on the bench, and didn’t bother to argue. A minute later, Moises Alou grounded out to third (a fantastic play by Ryan Braun, BTW), so within sixty seconds the Mets went from possibly having bases loaded and none out to two out and men on second and third.

Guillermo Mota was working much more quickly than normal in this game. Perhaps a suggestion by Rick Peterson to pick up the tempo forces Mota to think less and just throw? With the kind of talent Mota has, his lack of success can be due only to whatever is going on in his head. If speeding up his rhythm helps him to be more effective, I say, “zip, zip, my friend!”

Gary Cohen has pointed a few times in the last few games, the fact that batters watch the ball on the ground as they run down the first base line after a bunt. It’s a valid point — what the heck are these guys doing? After the ball comes off the bat, put your head down and run like there’s a rabid pitbull on your butt until you’re two steps past the first base bag. End of story.

Am I crazy, or did I hear “Hava Nagila” played sporadically in Miller Park during the game? It was never played when Shawn Green — or any other Jewish player — was at-bat, though it seemed to be played at least twice when Oliver Perez came to bat (a coincidence, I’m sure). Now I know that the Brewers ownership — the Seligs — are Jewish, but I wonder how many Milwaukee fans are wearing yarmulkes under their cheeseheads? (That can’t be kosher.) Personally, I’d like to hear “Hava Nagila” played at Shea when Green comes to bat — much the way “Volare” is played when LoDuca’s up — and am not being critical of it being played in Milwaukee. Rather, I’m curious, as I thought the city was at least 95% Christian.

Julio Franco was DFA’d by the Braves to make room for Octavio Dotel, so the Mets have a chance to claim him on waivers and return him to the role of “big-mouth cranky useless ancient guy”. My guess is they’ll pass.

Next Game

The series finale pits newly promoted Brian Lawrence against Chris Capuano in a 2:05 PM start. Catch it on MLB.com while at work or feign sickness from bad meatloaf at the caf and rush home to see it on SNY. (Or, record it with your DVR / Tivo.)

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 2, 2007 at 8:24 am
    as long as Mota shows these flashes of brilliance the Mets will keep giving him chance after chance. As badly as he’s struggled at times, though, you can’t take away the fact that he’s still touching the mid 90s with his fastball and is still able to get opposing batters to swing and miss at his changeup – all signs of a pitcher with great stuff. and as desperate as the Mets are right now for guys in the bullpen, they’re going to be willing to be patient and work with him to harness his talent, rather than simply dumping him. And I gotta tell ya, I think that’s the right idea. Don’t repeat the mistake the Indians made last year, just to have Mota resurface with, say, the Padres, and have him haunt the Mtes in this year’s playoffs.
  2. Walnutz15 August 2, 2007 at 8:25 am
    I got a curious text message before my game last night, and looked to see:

    “Marlon in CF?!” — gotta say, I was mystified; but hey….it worked out! In the words of the immortal Mel Allen: “How ’bout that?!”

    Attaboy, Willie…Lord knows, you were certainly due for a victory in the Hunch Wars..

    (Word on the street: Willie’s doubling up Marlon’s meal-money today. )

  3. Walnutz15 August 2, 2007 at 11:24 am
    P.S. — What’s your take on Fernando Cabrera?

    For those unfamiliar with Mr. Cabrera, he was DFA-ed by Cleveland last night.

    It really wouldn’t be a stretch to call him the bullpen equivalent of Oliver Perez.

    I’m talking in terms of filthy stuff, gone wrong….control problems, being forced to throw the big, fat one down the middle of the plate — because he couldn’t get the ball over early on in the count.

    And even moreso from a standpoint of: Cleveland has been looking to get rid of him, and dump him off on another organization for some time now; hoping that someone would give up some talent based on Cabrera being primed for a “breakout” year.

    Their plan was to get back something in return, while he still had some value…..but alas, the deal was never there for them. And now they DFA him.

    The Indians saw Cabrera as their closer of the future — his fastball tops out in the mid-90’s, and he has a plus-splitter. When at the top of his game, the pitch has some pretty good drop to it.

    Since Single-A, HIS K/9 has been above 9.12. It went up even further (to double digits), when he got to hit AAA.

    Last year, against major league hitters, Cabrera struck out 10.53/9 innings in 51 games; so he’s capable of dominating. He just got away from what had been working for him.

    Who knows…..like Perez, he’s a fly-ball pitcher. He’s been known to give up some homers, and struggles with his control.

    Could Peterson have himself another reclamation project on his hands?

  4. joe August 2, 2007 at 11:45 am
    Walnutz, that’s a keen eye finding Cabrera on the waiver wire. I like him a lot, but the question is whether the Mets want another Jorge Julio / Ambiorix Burgos this late in the season.

    Personally, I’d take the chance on him, because if he doesn’t figure it out this year, there’s always next year (he’s only 25, I think). His big problem has always been the inability to get anything other than the fastball over the plate, as his splitter is inconsistent and other pitches are throwaways.

    Who knows, maybe all The Jacket has to do is move him to the other side of the rubber and he’ll start pitching lights out. Wouldn’t that be ironic?

    I say, send Jon Adkins or some other AAA schlep to the Indians in exchange, before he gets through waivers. I don’t know that any other strikeout artists are going to be available this summer.

  5. Walnutz15 August 2, 2007 at 12:06 pm
    My sentiments exactly — the only thing I kept thinking to myself is: this guy has to stick on the Major League roster, and having a pen full of less than “lights-out” candidates could wind up being detrimental.

    Guys like Schoeneweis, Mota, Adkins. They’re not going to be relied upon down the stretch — or god forbid, in October. I don’t care what anyone says, but Mota’s through….and if I saw Schoeneweis pitching in a big spot for us, I’d just as soon flip on “The Wonder Years” on ION television. I’ve done it before, only to flip back and see the hitter circling the basepaths.

    But anyway, throw over an Adkins for this guy….if they even had to send that much. I think it might take some time for the tutelage to settle in (a’la the Perez of 2007, as opposed to the Perez of 2006) but why not?

    We’ll see what happens, I guess. But this guy could be a stud. I don’t see him being any different than if Burgos were healthy right now. He’d certainly be in our pen, given the recent developments…..I’d like to see how Sosa pans out, too.

    (Probably no structure to this post, but I’m going to lunch now — starving…..maybe I’ll make more sense later on.)

    Remember 2:05PM start!