Mets Game 129: Loss to Dodgers

Dodgers 6 Mets 2

What began as a promising game for John Maine ended a disappointment.

Maine pitched well through the first four innings, showing excellent poise in the fourth by working out of a tough jam (men on first and third with no outs). The fifth inning, however, was not so kind.

The top of the fifth began with, of all things, a leadoff bunt single by David Wells. Right then and there I ran outside to see if there were amphibians falling from the sky. The push bunt by Wells set off an inning full of cheap bloops, seeing-eye singles, and improbable infield hits that produced two runs, putting LA up 3-2.

Meantime, the Goodyear Blimp held the Mets to two runs in five innings of work, throwing 71 curveballs mixed in with one fastball.

If the fifth inning were frustrating, the sixth was disgraceful. Maine got a quick groundout to start the inning, then seemed to get a second from James Loney, who bounced a ball to Jeff Conine at first base. However, the ball careened off Conine’s glove and toward Ruben Gotay, who made a wild throw with Maine covering; Loney was safe. It didn’t seem like too big a deal at the time, because Maine settled down to strike out Mike Lieberthal. But then came Luis Gonzalez, pinch-hitting for the blimp.

After getting ahead of Gonzo 1-2 by getting him to chase high strikes, Maine inexplicably pounded the bottom of the zone against the lowball-hitting Luis. Gonzalez fouled off five pitches and drew two balls, working the count full before drilling another low fastball over Lastings Milledge’s head and off the rightfield wall — scoring Loney easily (since the count was full and there were two out, he was running on the pitch). Why Maine didn’t elevate a pitch after the third pitch is anyone’s guess. That marathon at-bat took a toll on Maine and gave LA new life. First, Rafael Furcal singled up the middle, and then Maine was removed. Scott Blowenweis came in and proceeded to give up singles to Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp (Kemp’s was another cheap infield hit), allowing two more runs. By the time the inning ended, the Dodgers were up 6-2 and the wind had left the sails on Willie Randolph’s ship.


John Maine drilled Jeff Kent with a pitch in the fourth, causing him to leave the game. Maine’s command seemed to be off from that point on, and not sure if one had to do with the other, or if the beanball was merely a product of Maine losing his touch.

David Wright again had two hits in a game; he’s now a shade under .320. Milledge and Jose Reyes also had two hits apiece, and Reyes stole third for his 71st theft of the season.

If there was a silver lining in this contest, it was two strong innings from Guillermo Mota. Considering that he pitches so well in games that have long been decided, I think he’ll make a great mop-up man. Watch out, Aaron Sele — your two appearances per month are suddenly in jeopardy!

Next Game

The Mets travel down the Jersey Turnpike to play the Phillies in a huge four-game set. Brian Lawrence takes the hill against J.D. Durbin in a 7:05 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 27, 2007 at 8:44 am
    Joe: Although I don’t blame you for turning the sound off on ESPN’s broadcast last night (Morgan called Marlon Anderson Marlon Byrd, John Miller pronouncing Rafael Furcal FORE-cal), you missed one gem they explained regarding Mota. Apparently, Guy Conti, Mets bullpen coach, talked to his brother, Stan, who works with the Dodgers, and asked him if he noticed if Mota was doing anything wrong. Stan said, uh duh yeah, his stride is shorter when he throws a change up, which gives batters time to adjust to it. So Guy relayed that info to Peterson, and lo and behold, 2 flawless, dominant innings last night from Mota. The question deserves to be raised: why the hell is a Dodgers coach helping the Mets fix their players, but my standpoint is who cares. I standby by proclomation that you cannot drop a pitcher who throws 95 and gets batters to swing and miss at a change up. Now it looks like it’s a good thing he wasn’t dropped, because just perhaps the mistake in his mechanics has been corrected.

    and oh yeah, we’re taking 3 of 4 from the Fillies

  2. Micalpalyn August 27, 2007 at 12:12 pm
    “….Why Maine didn’t elevate a pitch after the third pitch is anyone’s guess. ”

    Joe: This is the first I actually seen Maine in a while and I was very happy. His slider/cutter was GREAT at times. his FB looked really good.

    On the above at bat; I agree. In fact he had multiple options; he could have used the slider off the plate or the rising FB. By the time gonzo hit that pitch he had that measured. Also at fault Difelice…who had just come out and said something to Maine then Gonzo laces aFB. What did he say?

    The game tho pivoted on several Met ABs in which they had men on and did not bring them home.

  3. Micalpalyn August 27, 2007 at 12:27 pm
  4. joe August 27, 2007 at 3:41 pm
    1. RE: Mota — I really hope his issue was mechanical (though I’m not buying it) and it can be fixed. We really really need someone to get outs in front of Wags.

    2. On Maine — I agree, I thought he looked really good, but was simply victimized by bad luck.

    3. Mic – thanks for the tip … very interesting stuff there!