Mets Game 115: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 4 Mets 3

That was great comedy. Now can we please move on to the game?

Oh crap … that WAS the game.

The Mets played a cruel joke on their fans who braved the elements on this cold and soggy Friday evening, losing painfully to a far inferior club. At times, being held to three runs is understandable — because the opposing pitcher has been so dominant on a particular night. In this case, there is no explanation. All you can do is shake your head.

With the Mets up by one in the top of the ninth, Miguel Olivo — who owns Wagner for unexplained reasons — led off with a single up the middle. After a strikeout, pinch-hitter Jason Wood worked a walk, and Hanley Ramirez followed with a 400-foot blast just shy of the centerfield wall and outside the grasp of Carlos Beltran, who had initially misjudged the drive. The blast drove in both runs and landed Ramirez on second with a two-run double that put the Fish up by one. The Mets went down with barely a whimper in the bottom of the frame against Marlins closer Kevin Gregg.

It’s not fair nor logical to blame this game on Billy Wagner, who had been perfect since June. Nor can you believe that the game was lost because Carlos Beltran mis-read a fly ball off the bat of Ramirez. No more was this game lost in the ninth than the previous night’s game lost because Willie Harris robbed Carlos Delgado of a homerun for the final out. This game was lost, plain and simple, because the Mets did not execute in the previous eight innings.

The Marlins got on the board first when Ramirez singled to lead off the game, stole second and third, and was driven in by a Josh Willingham single. They scored again in the second when Mike Jacobs singled, took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a hit by Miguel Olivo, then scored on a base hit by Jeremy Hermida.

That was all starter Brian Lawrence would allow, in an admirable outing. He pitched six innings, allowed two runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, striking out 6. I don’t think the Mets could have asked for much more from the fringe fifth starter.

Down by two, the Mets marched back in the fifth. Jose Reyes led off the inning by reaching on an error by second baseman Dan Uggla, and was joined on the bases by Luis Castillo, who turned an attempted sacrifice bunt into a base hit. Carlos Beltran followed with a blast over the right-center fence to put the Mets up 3-2. Unfortunately, that was all the scoring the Mets could accomplish against a starting pitcher and middle relievers that would be considered mediocre at the the AAA level.

Notes

Paul LoDuca was the only Met in the lineup with more than one hit. He went 2-for-3.

Beltran’s blast was the best he could do in his first game back. He struck out in his other three trips to the plate. It was good to see him back in centerfield, partially because he got to everything with ease — other than the Ramirez drive in the ninth — and kept several runners from taking extra bases (and scoring) based on the respect of his arm.

By the way, Beltran’s ability to start against the lefthanded Scott Olsen tomorrow is questionable, because Beltran is not comfortable batting righty due to his oblique strain. Am I crazy, or why not simply bat lefty? I’d much rather have Beltran in the lineup batting lefty vs. a lefty and playing centerfield, than seeing Lastings Milledge take his place. Nothing against Milledge — but I’d much rather see “Stings” in rightfield tomorrow alongside Beltran instead of Shawn Green. Lets use our heads here people — can Beltran do worse as a lefty against a lefty than Green has done against lefties? And which gloves would you rather see out there? LMillz in center and Green in right or Beltran in center and LMillz in right? It’s astounding that this even being contemplated.

Jorge Sosa pitched two perfect innings of relief, striking out one. He is quickly becoming Willie Randolph’s version of Scott Proctor. Luckily it’s late enough in the season that he likely won’t be burnt out.

I’ve stated it before, I’ll state it again: the Marlins and “hustle” will never be confused. Instead of being called the “fish”, they should be called the “dogs”. One glaring example is their emerging superstar Hanley Ramirez, who stood and watched his ninth inning drive to center rather than getting his ass out of the box and running toward first. Just what in the world was he doing? Admiring what might have been a long fly out? We’d heard all kinds of great reports about manager Fredi Gonzalez, but I’m not seeing anything near the influence Joe Girardi had on these kids a year ago. Nevermind the regression of their pitching — we know that’s the main reason the Marlins have lost more games this — but they play like losers. You can still carry yourself like a winner, and play winning baseball, despite being on the losing end of the final score.


Next Game

Well the Fish screwed me up with their starting Dan Barone in the first contest, so I have no idea who’s pitching for them in Saturday night’s game. We’ll guess Scott Olsen faces Tom Glavine in the 7:10 PM start.

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 10, 2007 at 10:53 pm
    Good decision not pegging the loss solely on Beltran. Same for Wagner, although the loss was more his fault than anyone else. Chalk this one up as being overdue.

    As for who plays versus the lefty on Saturday, how about Milledge in CF and Easley in RF, benching both Beltran and Green. This is a doubtful scenario, but why not stack the deck with right hand hitters? Beltran is likely to get the day off anyway, with the weather likely an excuse for his ribcage to tighten up. Plus I think Willie has a thing for starting at least 2 of his 3 starting OFs everyday, even if the numbers aren’t in his
    favor, which means Green gets the start vs Olsen and bats 7th or 8th and Milledge plays CF and fills the bottom of the order lineup slot not occupied by Green. Of course, that means batting Lo Duca 6th…but maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see Castro, as he is more of the prototypical #6 hitter.

  2. joe August 11, 2007 at 12:38 am
    Ah yes, Easley … I always conveniently forget about Damion, and then Willie reminds me we have a guy with no position and a suspect bat but who can lift the ball. Somehow his one homerun for every 33 popups is valuable to the cause. Certainly more valuable than, say, Ruben Gotay, who gets a hit three and a half times for every ten at-bats, works deep counts, can run the bases well, and raps an extra base hit only once every 11 at-bats (compared to Easley’s once every 13 ABs … oh, wait, that’s a better rate than Easley, isn’t it? huh …).

    Too bad Ruben doesn’t play the OF, and is so much better as a LH hitter. And too bad Willie is so married to the whole lefty-righty nonsense that is often more a product of self-fulfilling prophecy than anything else.

    Though, I don’t like Green vs. Olsen because Green is vulnerable of good sliders from lefties. And I’d still rather see Beltran hitting LH and LM in RF, for the combined defense and athleticism. But lefty-righty matchups overcome defensive shortcomings and win more games than athleticism, right?

  3. isuzudude August 11, 2007 at 9:49 am
    Hey man, I think you’re preaching to the choir. It is too bad Gotay doesn’t play OF…but since he doesn’t, comparing his bat to Easley’s in nonsensical. I’m all for benching Green versus tough LHP, but if Beltran comes down with the ouchies again, Green’s only RF replacement is Easley, so you have to live with what you can get. Would it be nice to see Beltran suck it up and play against Olsen, even if it means batting left handed? Absolutely. Is it realistic? Probably not.

    You’re also right, Joe, in that lefty/righty match-ups should not dictate how you construct the lineup on a day to day basis. But there’s got to be something to the philosophy when you look at almost EVERY left hand hitter and he’s better versus RHP, and vice versa for right hand hitters versus LHP. You have to use common sense. And if Milledge/Easley are combined .350 vs LHP, and Beltran is still hurting, and Green stinks versus Olsen, then you take the hit at defense and play the hand you’re dealt with.

  4. Micalpalyn August 11, 2007 at 10:37 am
    I think someone stole Isu password.

    PS: it would not matter, Gotay would be mired on the bench no matter what position he played.

    2. willie uses the righty lefty arguement when it suits him. Otherwise it becomes a ‘hunch’.

  5. joe August 11, 2007 at 11:15 am
    Mic’s right on both counts.

    As for the lefty/righty thing, the reason almost every LH hitter is better against RH pitchers, and vice-versa, is because Jeff Torborg wrote a doctoral thesis on the subject, Earl Weaver found some success with a John Lowenstein / Gary Roenicke platoon in 1979, and the idea grew into a monster. As a result, lefty hitters saw less lefty pitchers and RH hitters saw less RH pitchers. You can’t get better at something unless you’re exposed to it.

    Are there some lefty batters to whom a slider or curve from a LH pitcher is kryptonite? Of course (and vice-versa with RH). But there may be just as many who are able to wait back on the breaking pitch and either poke it the other way or lay off. Unfortunately few less than exceptional hitters are given the opportunity to succeed. It’s all CYA from the manager’s standpoint.

  6. Micalpalyn August 11, 2007 at 5:58 pm
    OK Isu,

    Easley and millz are starting….

  7. isuzudude August 12, 2007 at 7:20 am
    just a note on the lefty/righty thing…

    Joe had brought it up because he wanted Beltran to bat lefty versus a LHP. It was an idea destined for failure because 1) Beltran is still hurt, and 2) Beltran has NEVER hit lefty versus a LHP. Doesn’t mean he can’t do it, or at least try, but aren’t you setting him up for an 0for 4, 4 K day?

    Now the argument has been extended into “less exceptional hitters are given the opportunity to succeed.” Who are we calling exceptional players, here? Chris Duncan? Geoff Jenkins? Matt Diaz? Players that come to mind who pretty much bat exclusively against one brand of pitching. You certainly don’t see Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard riding pine when they have to play tough pitchers from their side of the plate. A step further, Moises Alou is given every chance to exceed ahainst RHP, and same applies for Carlos Delgado vs LHP. So why are we getting our panties in a bunch when Easley starts over Green in RF and Milledge plays over Beltran in center for one lousy game?

    You can’t wait to remove Beltran from the 3 hole in the lineup. Now, with a bad ribcage muscle, you want him in there batting from the wrong side of the plate vs a LHP. Make up your mind.

  8. joe August 12, 2007 at 12:47 pm
    isuzu, my mind changes every day. i’m a manic Mets fan. if you hadn’t noticed, i have an illogical love-hate relationship with Willie Randolph, and a similar like-hate one with Beltran. And Milledge. And some other guys.

    i think i miscommunicated the “less than exceptional hitters”, or you misconstrued … or something.

    my point is that guys like C. Duncan, Jenkins, and Diaz are “less than exceptional” and are not given the chance to succeed against certain pitchers based on their handedness. And that people like Pujols, Howard, Alou, Delgado, who are considered more or less exceptional, are given the chance to succeed. And when you check the numbers year in and year out, the exceptional players often hit better against the opposite-hand pitchers, but also have years where they hit better against same-handed pitchers — in other words, no hard and fast rule.

    imho, the lefty-righty thing is more bogus than individual matchups.