Mets Game 143: Win Over Braves

Mets' David Wright blasts a Tim Hudson pitch into the bleachers for a two-run homerun

Mets 3 Braves 2

It was a classic pitchers’ duel between Oliver Perez and Tim Hudson.

Hudson made few mistakes, but Perez made a few less.

Ollie went 7 full innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks, striking out 7. He was focused, pitched with a consistent arm angle, and was on top of his game. It was one of his most impressive performances of the season.

The Mets could muster only one measly run against Hudson through the first five — the lone run scored by Jose Reyes in the initial inning on a groundout by Carlos Beltran. Hudson was rolling ground balls like it was his job, as the Mets killed worms for five innings. Then in the sixth, Reyes led off with a walk, and was sacrificed to second on a great bunt by Luis Castillo, bringing up David Wright. Wright worked the count to 2-2, then went down and drove a flat sidearm slider into the leftfield bleachers for his 28th homer of the season, making the score 3-0.

Perez began the following inning — the seventh — with two quick outs sandwiching a single by Jeff Francoeur. He then went to a full count to Brian McCann before uncorking one of his few mistakes of the evening — a waist-high fastball that got a bit too much of the plate. McCann jumped all over it, blasting it over the rightfield fence to make the score 3-2. Ollie kept his cool and rebounded by striking out Willie Harris, whose body language clearly screamed that he wanted no part of facing Perez at that time.

Aaron Heilman came on to pitch a perfect eighth, bridging the gap to Billy Wagner, who pitched a 1-2-3 inning capped by a sliding catch web gem in the gap by Beltran to end the game.

Notes

A turning point in the game came in the sixth, when the Braves got men on first and second with none out and Edgar Renteria at the plate. Renteria lined out to Wright, then Perez picked off Hudson straying too far from second to squash the threat (a perfect timing play between Ollie and Luis Castillo), and Perez proceeded to strike out Matt Diaz looking to end the inning.

Castillo is really hobbling around on that bad knee, but is somehow gritting through it and both making plays and running the bases well. It’s kind of scary — if his knee were healthy, I think he’d be getting to a few more balls, stealing more bases, and hitting at least 15-20 points higher. And yet he’s still been remarkably effective on the bad wheel.

Reyes finally drew a walk — his first in 37 at-bats — and added a hit and his 75th stolen base. He still looks like he’s jumping a bit at the ball, and making his decision to swing too early, but on several pitches he stayed back the way he should, letting the ball get deep. I’d be fine with him slowly getting his stroke back, then exploding in, say, October.

David Wright is hitting like a man possessed. Those MVP chants at Shea may well become reality. Interestingly, the Mets have never had a Most Valuable Player in their history.

Tim Hudson has to be suffering from some kind of shoulder ailment — or at the minimum, fatigue. He was dropping down sidearm far more often than normal, and moving his arm around in gingerly motions. He’s a pretty tough competitor, so it wouldn’t be a surprise that he’s pitching hurt — and it might explain his last few starts, which have been less than stellar.

SNY finally turned down the orange tint a bit. In their postgame show, both Matt Yalloff and Lee Mazzilli looked nearly human.


Next Game

The Mets and Braves do it again at 7:10 PM. Orlando Hernandez is scheduled to start against Buddy Carlyle — we’ll see if El Duque is good enough to go.

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 September 10, 2007 at 9:41 pm
    Ok, Joe, we jump all over Willie for taking his pitchers out of games too early. Now it’s only fair to give credit where credit is due, as Willie allowed Perez to go a full 7 innings, using 116 pitches, and working through the homer he gave up to McCann.

    Sort of surprised that Heilman and Wagner were allowed to work for a third straight game. They both got the job done so no harm done, but, again, an interesting decision considering claims of getting overworked this season. I can understand, though, that Willie wanted to start the Atlanta series off on the right foot using his best guys and ensure winning at least one game. Safe to say Heilman and Wagner definitely get the day off on Tuesday?

    Mets w/o Delgado: 4-0. How about that?

    Regarding a previous statement by Mic: I disagree that Duque is the candidate to go to the pen in the postseason. Has he not been the most consistent SP on the team this year? And his reward for a 9-4 record and 3.32 ERA is a demotion? Yes, he has postseason experience as a reliever, but he also has 9 career wins as a starter in the playoffs, too. So I say as long as he’s healthy he’s going to be starting in October. I think the most sensical candidate for bullpen duty in the playoffs is Maine, as his 2nd half has been sub-par and his performance in last year’s playoffs, compared to Glavine and Perez, was worst.

  2. joe September 10, 2007 at 10:08 pm
    Good point on Willie’s decision to keep Ollie in there. I think he’s FINALLY realized that you have to ride the horse while he’s going good … especially when there’s horsesh*t as the alternative.

    I don’t know if Wags gets the day off tomorrow … if it’s another tight game, and the Mets have a one-run lead going into the ninth, who else would you bring in?

    I have to agree that El Duque absolutely positively must be a starter in the postseason, assuming he’s completely recovered from the foot injury. He’s been too good this year, and he’s been known to turn it up a notch in the big games. He’s the kind of guy who can give you an 8-inning game in the playoffs.

    But let’s not get the cart ahead of the horse … let’s get that magic number down into the single digits before we start talking postseason plans.

  3. isuzudude September 10, 2007 at 11:51 pm
    Sounds good…but again, just searching for blog fodder.

    However, re: Wagner, he’s gotta get an off day Tuesday no matter what. Although he hasn’t had to throw more than 13 pitches in any of his last 3 appearances, I don’t see how you can march a pitcher of Wagner’s importance out there for a 4th straight game just a week or so removed from a “dead arm” period. You can’t tell me having him close out a game against the LOWLY Braves (ah, that feels good to say) in September is more important than having him fresh and healthy in October.

    Feliciano has two saves, give him the opp.

  4. sincekindergarten September 11, 2007 at 4:09 am
    Not only does Feliciano have two saves, but I seem to remember that one of them came a couple of weeks ago against the Braves. ID’s right, Joe. Sit Wags down for a game. Hopefully, Wednesday night’s game will be a blowout when Smoltz gets pulled, and the Atlanta bullpen falls apart. While Willie’s at it, sit Heilman down, too, and let Pelfrey or Humber get an inning as the setup guy.

    To be fair, ID, Wags is going to get Thursday off. 😉

  5. joe September 11, 2007 at 8:00 am
    What are the chances that Wags gets the day off and Willie’s brilliant idea is to use Heilman (again) to close?
  6. isuzudude September 11, 2007 at 10:43 am
    I HOPE slim to none, since Heilman has been used in each of Wagner’s last 3 appearances as well. However, knowing Willie, I’d put the chances at 67%.
  7. Micalpalyn September 11, 2007 at 11:09 am
    Hi guys:
    2 quick salvos: a. Since the Phillies series the Mets have totally come together: I think the Sept 1st marker, the extra players and 6man rotation are factors. Humber looks like a viable reliever (where Pelfrey did not), and I think even if Pelfrey cannot crack the post season roster I love that he is proving he can be the 5th guy next year.

    b. I will stand on my point (which might be moot) about El Duque. My reason for his BP assignment is NOT that he is worst than Maine but that he translates into a better pitcher out of the pen than Maine. I dont see maine (ala Traxx) is being a short suspense/warm up quick/get focused pitcher. In the playoffs I see close games where we need a stud in the 5-7th to bridge a gap and as constructed that is a deficit. Last yr the BP was a weakness in the playoffs…for whatever reason.

  8. Micalpalyn September 11, 2007 at 11:22 am
    After the dialogue yesterday on Ollie then his performance last night, I cant help but bring up Barry Zito. The pundits gave us NO credit for retaining Ollie then bowing out of the Zito sweepstakes. Yet Ollie has been a more consistent pitcher this season at a fraction of the cost.
  9. joe September 11, 2007 at 11:22 am
    Mic,

    I think your man-crush on Humber is nearly as passionate as mine for Shawn Green (and Ruben Gotay). And though I’m higher than a kite on Humber, I don’t see how looks like a more viable reliever after one shaky relief appearance. Though, I WOULD like to see him come out of the ‘pen several more times in the next few weeks, as we are desperate for a 2006 Mota to team with Heilman and lock down 7th and 8th innings.

    Your point on El Duque is well respected, but I’ll continue to disagree. A short series can be won with great starting pitching, and Duque is the guy most likely to give us a lights-out start.

    I do agree that we need a stud in that 5-7 gap, and wish like hell that Pelfrey or Humber would be given some opps to be the lightning in a bottle to take that spot.

    Maybe we can Mota back on the juice?

  10. joe September 11, 2007 at 11:33 am
    Excellent point on Zito / Ollie. In fact I’m toying with the idea of reexamining all of Omar’s offseason NON-moves for an article on FlushingU. i.e., Zito, Suppan, Adam Kennedy, etc.

    If anyone has similar examples, send them on.

  11. sincekindergarten September 11, 2007 at 4:54 pm
    If anyone saw the New York Post today, on Page 77, there was a pretty good column on Tom Glavine wanting to play another year in New York. Apparently, his wife and kids really want to see this happen, and his friends have told him, “Play as long as you can.” Omar would be an fool to not want Glav back. Atalnta has $42 million wrapped up on these three pitchers–Hudson (well worth it), Smoltz (worth every penny that he gets), and Hampton (WTF???). Atlanta won’t want Glav back. Omar should jump all over the chance to keep somoene who 1) is a proven winner, and 2) will teach Maine, Pelfrey, and Humber (don’t forget Kevin Mulvey)–but only if they want to learn.
  12. isuzudude September 11, 2007 at 4:57 pm
    No surprise – I agree with Joe and disgaree with Mic. How can Humber look like a viable reliever after one outing in which he gave up a run? What do you know that we don’t? And it’s far more important to have strong SPs in the postseason that strong 5-7 inning relief guys. And though El Duque may be better served than Maine for bullpen duty, he’s also better served in the rotation, so he can’t be messed with.

    Joe: other names rumored to be a Met in 2007….
    1. Julio Lugo
    2. Alfonso Soriano
    3. Mike Mussina
    4. Does Chad Bradford count?

  13. isuzudude September 11, 2007 at 5:05 pm
    SK – the news surrounding Glavine certainly is encouraging, but I would expect him to say something like this during the season, especially on a team about to embark into the postseason. I would not be surprised if he turns around this winter and announces his retirement anyway. There’s no doubt the Mets will want him back and pick up his option, but the ball lies in Glavine’s court. I’ll wait until he signs his name on the dotted line to get excited about his return to the team in 2008.