Mets Game 145: Loss to Cubs

Cubs 5 Mets 4

This contest resembled a college basketball game, in that it was pretty boring and uneventful until the last few minutes.

Mets Game Notes

There were only 11 baserunners combined through the first seven innings, but it didn’t have the feel of a true “pitchers’ duel”.

Chris Capuano and Randy Wells locked down the offensive game, with Wells pitching just a hair better — seven shutout innings, while Cappy allowed two through the same length. In the 8th, though, Wells allowed a walk and a run-scoring double that chased him from the game, and by the time that inning was over the Mets scored four runs to take the lead.

Bobby Parnell came on in the ninth to hold up the 4-3 lead, and did a great job of keeping fannies in the seats for the duration of the game. Geovany Soto reached base on David Wright‘s second error to lead off the inning, and pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair followed with a double to put men on second and third with none out. Parnell came back to get a comebacker grounder from Starlin Castro and struck out Reed Johnson. He was nearly out of the woods, facing Aramis Ramirez with two outs and first base open. In that situation the strategy is to throw the ball out of the strike zone and get Ramirez to chase something — you want him to strike out, make poor contact, or walk. However, Parnell offered up a 100-MPH fastball over the outer half of the plate, knee-high, and Ramirez poked it into right field to drive in both baserunners. Ramirez has a career .300 AVG with RISP, and that’s part of the reason why — he “shortens up” and looks to go the other way if that’s what it takes to drive in a run.

Though, I cannot disagree with the decision to pitch to Ramirez. I do not believe in giving away a base — particularly when you have a lead — and I don’t like giving the pitcher no margin for error by walking the bases loaded. Make the batter earn it, and if he does, you tip your cap — that’s what competition is all about, man vs. man and let’s see who’s better. I’ve never liked the whole “we’re not going to let so-and-so beat us” mentality.

It should be noted that both of those Cubs runs were technically unearned due to Wright’s error. But, it still qualifies as a blown save for Parnell — his fifth so far. A closer has to be able to overcome adversity like that.

On the bright side, Jason Bay remains red-hot. He went 2-for-4, including an 8th-inning, two-out base hit that put the Mets ahead 4-3. However, he was picked off moments later, ending the inning.

David Wright and Lucas Duda also had two hits apiece. Wright and Jose Reyes had two errors apiece.

Starlin Castro had two hits and made a few spectacular plays on defense. He reminds me a lot of a young Jose Reyes — particularly when he flashes his cannon arm.

In the something is wrong with the way games are scored department, Kerry Wood — who blew Wells’ hard-earned victory — gets credited with the win.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Cubs play the rubber match on Sunday night in an 8 PM start. Miguel Batista drags his old bones up the hill to face Matt Garza.

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 September 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm
    Believe you are totally incorrect in the Ramirez strategy. The proper stategy was to give Ramirez an intentional walk because the next guy can’t hit and Ramirez is actually one of the few legitimate hitters on the Cubs. But Collins will play the lefty righty crap no matter what. He walked a bum like Bernandina to lose the game to Zimmerman the other night and now he pitches to Aramis because the “great” NOT Camapana is up next. Even Jerry Manuel doesn”t manage as poorly as Collins has lately.

    As for the game beleive it reminded me of an NBA game not a college game.

    • Jimmy Prinzler September 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm
      Point taken, Izzy. I do not understand this move at all. I bet that Backman will not make this similiar play.

      Janish, I do understand your point about giving a base but in that situation, you have to walk Ramirez and face a lighter hitter, Campana. If next hitter is as good as Ramirez, I would understand his move. In one of ESPN comments, a Cub fan is surprised about this move. That’s probably the reason that Collins never won 86 or more in his managerial record.

      • Joe Janish September 11, 2011 at 12:32 am
        Maybe IBBs are the “right” play, but I’m a crusty old schooler who believes in and appreciates the “mano a mano” confrontation. If my guy is throwing 100 MPH BBs, then I want him to get beat by the other team’s best hitter — not by the backup outfielder who might get lucky and hit a broken-bat bleeder to win the ballgame. My best vs. your best, and may the best man win — isn’t that the essence of sport?

        I may write a quick post about this for us to argue … stay tuned.

        • Izzy September 11, 2011 at 9:13 am
          Would agree with this comment completely if the guy throwing 100 was named Bob Feller or Nolan Ryan, but the guy throwing was a bum, givien the closer job out of desperation.
        • Joe Janish September 11, 2011 at 11:31 am
          I have been under the assumption that the Mets planned to use September as an opportunity to see if Parnell could become a bonafide MLB closer. Such an individual has to be able to pitch against the other teams’ best hitters. If you don’t let Parnell challenge Ramirez now, when the games are meaningless, when will you ever let him, and find out whether he can do it?
  2. jdeutsch55 September 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm
    A very disappointing and ugly loss today. Scoring 4 in the 8th and then losing in the 9th is pretty unacceptable. It doesn’t appear that Parnell has what it takes to be a closer. Just have a bad feeling whenever he enters the game. While Parnell got the first two outs on the comebacker and the strikeout, how come the Mets didn’t load the bases after the Cubs got second and third to set up the force play at home with no outs or the double play with one out. Seems to me to be the better play than leaving first base open and playing the infield in. While that worked out I didn’t like the odds.
    • Joe Janish September 11, 2011 at 12:24 am
      It isn’t until we watch people like Parnell — who are unable to close out ballgames consistently — that we begin to understand the value of a truly good closer. A lot of people are of the opinion that closers are over-valued, but i have a hard time buying into that argument after a game like this.
  3. Steve S. September 10, 2011 at 9:22 pm
    What’s with Wright’s fielding? He backs up too much, backhands too much, and throws sidearm too much. He is good at coming in on bunts and dribblers and throwing guys out though.
    • Joe Janish September 11, 2011 at 11:29 am
      I don’t think he was incorrect on backing up on that grounder in the 9th. It was a difficult play, I believe he made the right decision, but it didn’t work out.

      As for the sidearming, I don’t quite understand it, but I don’t know enough about playing 3B to know if it’s proper technique. I know Graig Nettles used to sidearm the ball a lot, and he was one of the best. That doesn’t mean Nettles was correct, just putting it out there.

  4. Joe September 11, 2011 at 10:05 am
    The four errors were pathetic. Parnell still doesn’t seem like a closer to me. Truly good? He doesn’t even seem passable at times. Many teams have at credible if not truly good closers. Parnell will need to do more to meet even that lower standard.