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.
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.