Mets Game 123: Win Over Nationals

Mets 8 Nationals 2

Orlando Hernandez and Shawn Hill locked horns in a good old-fashioned pitcher’s duel, with each starter going seven innings and allowing only a pair of runs.

El Duque was wonderful, making only one major mistake — a ball left over the middle of the plate that Wily Mo Pena sent soaring into another solar system for a solo homer in the fourth. The Nats’ first run came home in the third on a cheap blooper by Ryan Zimmerman.

Hill was just as tough, and might have shut out the Mets if not for two fly balls by Carlos Beltran. One of those chased home Luis Castillo as a sacrifice fly, the other was deposited over the rightfield fence for a solo homerun.

Once Hill left the game, however, things changed dramatically.

After El Duque pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh, the Mets reached reliever Jon Rauch for four runs in the top of the eighth. Luis Castillo started the party with a seeing-eye single that barely dribbled through the middle of the infield, and was chased to third on a booming double to deep left-center by David Wright. Beltran was intentionally walked to face Shawn Green, who took one pitch in the dirt before bouncing a ball through the center of the drawn-in Washington infield (nearly the same spot Castillo’s ball found only minutes before) to drive in two go-ahead runs. Rauch overpowered Lastings Milledge for a strikeout, but his troubles continued with Marlon Anderson, who blasted a bases-clearing double to put the Mets up 6-2 and earn Rauch a trip to the showers.

El Duque might have returned for the 8th had the game remained close, but after the Mets went up by four they handed the reigns to Jorge Sosa, who pitched a perfect eighth.

In the top of the ninth, Beltran showed why the Nats walked him to load the bases the previous inning, blasting his second homer of the game — a two-run shot to make the score 8-2.

Pedro Feliciano pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the game, but was whacked in the leg by a liner on the last play … I imagine he’ll be “day-to-day”.

Notes

Marlon Anderson had an offensive outburst, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Green also had two RBI as well as a run scored and went 2-for-4 in replacing the ailing but not disabled Carlos Delgado. Wright reached base three times on two hits and a walk; he’s now hitting .312. with a .400 OBP. Beltran finished the day 2-for-3 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.

Sandy Alomar was promoted and Ramon Castro DL’d prior to the game. Alomar caught the entire game and did a fine job, throwing out the one runner attempting to steal.

With this win, the Mets went 17 games over .500 for the first time this season.

Next Game

Day off on Monday, then the Mets return to Shea on Tuesday to host the Padres for a three-game series. John Maine looks to get back to his first-half form against the towering Chris Young. Game time is 7:10 PM.

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. sincekindergarten August 19, 2007 at 3:47 pm
    Great way they turned it on when Hill left the game.

    Shawn Green had a pretty good day. I think the throwing error by Feliciano was properly attributed. Neither Delgado nor Easley would have gotten the out, though Easley might have stopped the ball.

  2. isuzudude August 19, 2007 at 4:25 pm
    I don’t agree. Feliciano’s throw, although off line, was in Green’s glove, but bounced out. As a firstbaseman, you gotta make that play. E-3.

    Other thoughts…

    1. After going 4-2 vs. Brewers and Cubs on the road, the Mets return home to lose 4 of 6 against the Braves and Marlins. Now after a 5-1 roadtrip vs Pirates and Nats, let’s carry the success back home and create some seperation in the division.

    2. I have a problem with how Willie used the bullpen in this one. Up by 4 in the 8th, he goes to “everyday” Jorge, then elects to bring in Feliciano working with a 6 run lead in the 9th. What’s the point? Aren’t these the types of situations we keep Schoeneweis and Sele for? Essentially, this tells you that if the Mets don’t have a 10 run lead, Willie works with a 5 man bullpen. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s obessed with using the same 5 guys or if he absolutley has no trust in Sele and Scott, but it’s really a waste of two roster spots. Someone’s gotta tell him that they have to get used some time or another, and if not then it’s time to dump them and get two more trustworthy arms in here. It may seem like a hill of beans at this point, but keep using Sosa and Pedro and Heilman everyday and you’ll see what happens to their arsm come October.

    3. Endy Chavez is coming back soon…perhaps this week? When he is activated, who goes? Easy answer is Hernandez, but suddenly the bench looks very left-hand heavy. Chavez, Green, Anderson, Gotay, and then Castro when he comes back. Your one true right hand batter is the backup catcher. Not good. Looks like the loss of Easley will hurt more than expected. Time to look for a right hand bat if you ask me. Trouble is, there’s little to no room for one on the team until rosters expand next month. Whether it be calling up Hermansen or Ambres, or acquiring someone like Craig Monroe (who was DFA by Detroit) or some other versatile righty, I’d be interested to know who goes and who stays.

  3. sincekindergarten August 20, 2007 at 4:29 am
    Jeff Conine? But, then again, who goes?

    We should know more after today’s MRI on Easley’s ankle.

  4. joe August 20, 2007 at 11:51 am
    Can we convince Gene Tenace or Cliff Johnson to come out of retirement? Either would be a perfect RH-hitting bench guy, who can play C / OF / 1B (whatever happened to those type of guys?)

    My bet is on Omar to get Conine, now that Easley is down for the count.

    As for the Green/Feliciano error, I think it could go either way. Can’t blame Green too much because a.) he hasn’t played much there this year and b.) Pedro threw that ball sidearm, it probably had some tail on it, and Green isn’t used to catching sinkers.

    I agree with isuzudude — poor bullpen management on Willie’s part. I understand why Sele didn’t come in — there were two outs when the lead extended to four and he didn’t have time to warm up (remember the last time they put him in there before he was ready). But why not The Show? Maybe The Show has another “day to day” injury that we don’t know about? Otherwise ideal situation for him.

    Or maybe this was Willie’s way of getting Feliciano’s confidence up in a stressless spot.