Mets Game 131: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 4 Mets 2

Albert Einstein once said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If we agree that is true, is there anyone who disagrees that Willie Randolph must be committed?

All I want to know is why, why, why was Tom Glavine removed from the game … AGAIN? Have we not learned that pitch counts mean nothing to a man who throws 83 MPH? Have we not figured out that Glavine in a groove but tiring is still much better than anyone from the bullpen other than Billy Wagner? How many times does Tom Glavine have to pitch lights out only to come out with a no-decision because the bullpen blows his masterpiece, before Randolph tries something different? What stroke of genius is going through his head when he makes the decision to take Glavine out? Is he thinking that Glavine is about to tire on the 103rd pitch? Does he think that the Phillies — who couldn’t figure out what to do with Glavine for seven innings, would suddenly figure it out in the eighth? Why does Willie think he’s so damn smart?

I absolutely refuse to say that the Mets bullpen blew this game, even though they did. All of the blame — 100 percent — goes to Randolph for removing Glavine. And if Glavine took himself out, then the blame shifts to him. There is absolutely no logic in removing a guy who is dominating the opposing team, and replacing him with gas-can carriers such as Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, and Guillermo Mota. Shame on Willie for wasting yet another grand effort by Glavine, who might be vying for Cy Young consideration if not for the stupidity of his manager.

Oh, do you want to read about the game? Fine. The Mets got on the board first thanks to a two-run homer crushed by Carlos Delgado in the top of the second (Moises Alou led off with a hard-hit single to left). That was it for the mighty Mets, batting against the worst starting pitcher in the National League in about a hundred years (in this case, that’s not an exaggeration). And they couldn’t do anything against Geoff Geary, J.C. Romero, nor Brett Myers, either. Pack it up, fans, this is the beginning of the end. If the Mets ain’t scoring against these schleps, they ain’t scoring against nobody.

The Phillies were shut out by Glavine for seven full innings, mustering eight hits and no walks. Feliciano was brought in and gave up a solo homer to Jimmy Rollins to start the game. He got into more trouble as the inning continued and eventually gave way to Heilman, leaving the game with two outs and Shane Victorino on first base. Victorino stole second and advanced to third when rag-armed Paul LoDuca’s throw bounced into the outfield. Aaron Rowand followed by smashing a pitch into a poor worm in front of home plate, and the ball bounced about 33 times hugging the third base line before falling at rest about 35 feet from the plate, two inches inside the line — an infield hit, scoring Victorino with the tying run. The drunken Philadelphia crowd exploded, and the momentum had shifted. There was no way the Mets had a chance in the world to win the game after that crap.

But since you’re still reading, I’ll let you know that the game went into extras, and Mota was brought in to surrender the game-winning homerun off the bat of Ryan Howard — scoring himself and, guess who, Victorino again.

Notes

Endy Chavez didn’t do much at the plate, but he definitely made an impact in right field. He made a good catch on a Chase Utley liner in the first, played the ball perfectly in the third to hold Ryan Howard to a single, and made another great running catch in the sixth with one out and a runner on third to save a run. His defense saved at least one run, possibly two or three.

I really hate when Jose Reyes swings at the first pitch of a game and pops up weakly — particularly against a schmuck like Adam Eaton. You want to guess that Roy Oswalt or John Smoltz is going to give you a meatball to start off the game, fine. Adam Eaton? Please. If Eaton gets ahead 0-1, there’s nothing to fear — he tops out at 89 MPH and has no dominating “out” pitch. He’s the kind of guy you force to beat himself, and to force into giving you a pitch to hit. Too often, Reyes starts a game with the Mickey Rivers mentality — swing at the first pitch, no matter where it is. Yes, Reyes had some success earlier in the year looking to jack that initial pitch, but by now every pitcher in the NL sees that on the scouting report and gives him nothing good to drive in the first pitch of the game. It may seem like a petty issue, but it’s a major downer for the offense to give the pitcher an out on the first pitch of the game. First of all, you’re almost automatically putting Luis Castillo in a hole, because he has to take a strike after that occurs. Secondly, you give the pitcher what could turn out to be an extra inning — which is one less inning the opposing bullpen has to cover. The worst pitchers on any team are the middle relievers, and so you want to do everything possible to get to them. I’d really like to see a stat showing Reyes’ batting average when swinging at the first pitch of a game, so if someone knows where to find it, please comment or drop me an email. OK, off the soapbox … it wasn’t Jose’s fault the Mets lost, after all.

In the top of the sixth, Adam Eaton hit Carlos Beltran with a pitch, and then Joe West issued warnings to both teams. Ridiculous. Eaton did not hit Beltran on purpose, and even if he did, by issuing a warning you penalize Beltran’s team because the Mets pitchers have to worry about throwing the ball too far inside. This is one rule that absolutely must be reviewed and tossed during the offseason.

Keith Hernandez quote of the night: ” … looks like a little Archie Bell and the Drells with not being able to throw inside … ” in reference to Eaton walking Alou after hitting Beltran and getting the warning. For those too young to remember, Archie Bell & the Drells performed the top-40 hit “Tighten Up”. Classic.

Delgado, Moises Alou, and Tom Glavine were the only Mets to reach base safely after striking the ball with their bats. Each had two hits. Everyone else went oh-fer.

Delgado missed a second homer by less than ten feet on a towering fly ball to the rightfield wall in the sixth.


Next Game

Oliver Perez vs. Jamie Moyer in another 7:05 PM start. While the Mets will likely lose again to the red-hot Phillies, it might be interesting to see how they blow it this time. I plan to have a 1.5-liter bottle of whiskey next to me during the game.

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. RockStar78 August 29, 2007 at 7:07 am
    Reyes is hitting .366 when swinging at the first pitch.

    Agree on not sending Glavine out for the 8th.

    DWright has been the most consistent player, so I’m not really bashing him here, but he’s the one who always makes the comments about how the Mets need to beat the Braves and Phillies head to head, and then he comes up small (0-for-8 so far). Chipper and Rollins always talk the talk, but they back it up with late inning home runs (some of which are hit halfway up the scoreboard). How about DWright driving a steak through their hearts for once?

  2. themayor August 29, 2007 at 7:38 am
    speaking of keith hernandez, there are a lot more great lines here i’m keith hernandez – the movie

    have you guys seen that?

  3. joe August 29, 2007 at 7:49 am
    I did see “I’m Keith Hernandez” and am planning to write a review one of these days. It’s kind of hard to digest, though, if you are a big fan of Keith — it doesn’t exactly portray him in a positive light. I came out of it thinking, “how am I supposed to feel about this?”
  4. isuzudude August 29, 2007 at 9:17 am
    I’m glad the game summary didn’t include a paragraph on Mota sucking, again. Although he gave up the winning runs, it was more fate that won the Phillies the game. Giving up a home run to Ryan Howard in Philadelphia is something even the best of pitchers are guilty of. There was really only one pitcher for the Mets last night that did poorly, and that was Feliciano. Home run to Rollins, a walk to Burrell, deep fly ball to Howard. Lo Duca certainly worsened the matter with his 50 foot throw, and Castillo didn’t make a great attempt to save it going into CF. Other than that, Glavine was masterful, Heilman gave up two weak singles that scored a run, and Mota pitched well until Howard’s blast.

    On the topic of Lo Duca, is he taking lessons from Mike Piazza on how to throw runners out at second base or something? Aside from his putrid offense this season, his throws on stolen base attempts and another reason why he must NOT be retained this offseason. I’d rather Mike DiFelice than Lo Duca.

    I don’t see it explained anywhere why Pelfrey lasted just 2.2 innings last night for New Orleans, but my guess is the Mets pulled him early so he can be ready for a start on Saturday. He only used 43 pitches, so it should be ok. BTW, Willie Collazo in relief last night: 5.1 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 BBs, 7 K’s. His last 18.2 innings are scoreless. I think it’s safe to say the Mets will find a way to get him on the team in September.

  5. Coop August 29, 2007 at 9:29 am
    I also don’t believe the turning point was solely Mota’s meatball to Ryan Howard…nor was it the stupid stupid STUPID play that LoDuca and the rest just idly watched Victorino score on a cheap infield bunt/single. It was Alou being intentionally walked to get to Delgado, who promptly struck out. Look, I know we can’t expect anything from Delgado these days and it would be ridiculous to think that wasn’t a cheap ass move by Phils. But the long and short of it is…Delgado iis a dead weight. He contributes nothing and he is dragging the team down as a result. Enough.
  6. joe August 29, 2007 at 9:31 am
    isuzudude, i should let you write the game recaps!

    I agree on LoDuca … he was throwing well early in the season, what the heck happened? I was a little upset to hear Sandy Alomar getting demoted after he was throwing out everyone in sight. And Castro has been no better this year. Oh well.

    I read somewhere that Pelfrey was on a strict pitch count (45?) so that he could be an option for Saturday.

  7. joe August 29, 2007 at 9:41 am
    RockStar – thanks for the number. However I’m interested in his average swinging at the first pitch to start a game and/or an inning. In my mind it’s a different situation.
  8. RockStar78 August 29, 2007 at 9:45 am
    In fairness, that play by LoDuca was the right one. I watched the replay in slo-mo, and Victorino was practically almost on the plate by the time LoDuca got to that ball, and had he fielded it immediately, there was very little chance he would have had Rowand. Hoping it would go foul was the right thing to do.
  9. joe August 29, 2007 at 10:11 am
    It was definitely the right play by LoDuca. There is no point in trying to lay blame on anyone on that play — it was just one of those dumb luck crap hits. Kind of like treating the symptom instead of the disease.

    It all goes back to why was Glavine removed in the first place?

  10. isuzudude August 29, 2007 at 4:36 pm
    Listening to WFAN, it was reported that Glavine indeed took himself out last night after his 103 pitch outing. If that’s the case, you gotta let it go. As a 41 year old, I’m not sure that it matters he only throws 84 MPH. It’s going to tire him out all the same. In a big spot, throwing a shutout, I would hope Glavine would suck it up and go the extra frame, but if he REALLY was done, then you gotta put the blame on the bullpen for not getting the job done and off of Willie and Glavine.

    Of course, Glavine could just be saying he was tired to not make Willie and the bullpen look bvad, but then we’re getting into splitting hairs and crying over spilt milk. Bottom line is we lost, and fingers could be pointed at a lot of things that happened, some that were in the team’s control (Lo Duca’s poor throw, Delgado striking out versus Romero) and some not (Rowand’s swinging bunt). Let’s move on with the esson learned: ignore the pitch count when the starter is throwing a great game and the score is close.

  11. joe August 29, 2007 at 10:31 pm
    Huh … if that’s the case — that Glavine took himself out — then I still blame Willie, because he’s conditioned all of his starters to peter out once they hit the century mark.

    If he pushed these “men” up to 110 or 120 once or twice a month, maybe they wouldn’t get tired the minute they hit 100 pitches.

    These are grown men receiving tens of millions of dollars to throw a five-ounce ball, right?

    Pardon me, I’m going outside to practice throwing a knuckleball …

  12. phillyPhan August 30, 2007 at 12:19 am
    Its curious that this manager was being praised for his astute mannerism and composure when the Mets were winning in the regular season last year.Give him a break- his conventional ways did pay dividends, didnt they?
  13. joe August 30, 2007 at 9:25 am
    phillyPhan – we’ve been criticizing Willie here all year, even during the winning. While I like Willie Randolph the person, I often feel the Mets win in spite of him.

    Besides if we didn’t complain about the manager, there would be a lot less to blog about and we’d have to spend our time considering much more important and mundane things — like our jobs!