Mets Game 158: Phillies Beat Braves

Phillies 5 Braves 2

The Mets’ strategy of waiting for the Phillies to lose backfired, as the Braves fell to Philadelphia 5-2. Tim Hudson’s solid outing was marred by a crucial Chipper Jones error (way to go, Larry — even when you’re playing against other teams, you kill the Mets), and the Braves bats were no match for the mighty Kyle Lohse — a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer of the future.

Nationals 9 Mets 6

Meantime, the Mets held the Nationals to less than ten runs for only the third time this month, but couldn’t get their passing game going after the fourth inning. After jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first four, the offense stopped. You can’t really blame them, though — the guys coming out of the Washington ‘pen resembled Koufax, Gibson, and Feller. When you have lights-out arms like that coming at you, combined with Brooks Robinson at third base, you may as well pack it in and call it a night.

Philip Humber — the first true starting pitcher in history to make his first MLB start for a team in the midst of a pennant race in the last week of the season — pitched much better than his 4-inning, 5-run stat line would indicate. Truth was, he pitched well through the first three, then completely forgot how to throw a fastball — which can be detrimental against big league hitters. He left the game with a 6-3 lead, but also with runners on second and third. Joe Smith did an outstanding job of making sure those runners made it all the way home, and exited the game without recording an out. Because he also left a couple runners on, the next reliever, Pedro Feliciano, felt obliged to jack up Smith’s ERA the same way he did Humber’s. Eventually, Feliciano found a way to record three outs before the Nationals could score an eighth run.

The Nats batters were so tired from all that swinging and running around the bases, they chose to take a nap the next three innings, as Scott Schoeneweis, Orlando Hernandez, and Aaron Heilman tossed up zeroes. However, the nap was a refreshing one, as they battered closer Billy Wagner for another two. But Wags would not allow a tenth run to cross the plate — he was too proud, and reached way down inside of himself to limit the Nats to single digits. A most valiant effort.


Carlos Beltran clubbed two homers from the right side, and drove in three runs. Moises Alou extended his hitting streak to 30 games, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. No one else in the lineup did anything of consequence.

As if it weren’t bad enough that the Phillies are now one measly game behind, putting the Mets’ postseason hopes in jeopardy, the lovely Yankees clinched a playoff berth. Yee ha.

At this point, it’s hard to point the finger at Willie Randolph. It doesn’t matter who he sends to the mound, they give up walks, hits, and runs by the bushelful. No manager in the history of baseball — not LaRussa, not Stengel, not Lasorda, not McGraw — no one can lead a team to victory when you’re giving up seven to ten runs a game. And that’s exactly what the Mets have done over the past two weeks.

It’s getting harder every day to even LIKE this Mets team. Looking at their long, beaten faces, tensed-up bodies, and fearful play is depressing.

Next Game

The Braves send John Smoltz to the mound against Adam Eaton in a last-ditch effort to reduce the Mets’ magic number to three. Luckily, the only team that can’t score against Eaton is the Mets, so the Braves have half a chance.

Unfortunately, the Mets will also have to show up on the field for a contest of their own, a makeup game against the Cardinals. Pedro “The Savior” Martinez goes against Joel Pineiro — a guy the Mets didn’t bother picking up off the scrap heap because their pitching was too deep and high quality to warrant such a gamble. Game time is 7:10 PM; heavy drinking of copious amounts of the strongest alcoholic beverages available begins at 5:05 PM (except for those under the age of 21, of course). Go Braves.

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 September 27, 2007 at 4:22 am

    That’s all I can say.

    That, and I was wrong about Phil Humber–after four or so. 😮

  2. isuzudude September 27, 2007 at 5:44 am
    I give up. I refuse to root for a team that allows itself to get swept by the Nationals at home in the thick of a playoff race. There’s no way the Mets deserve to make the postseason the way they’ve been playing, nor do they deserve my precious time and energy. The Phillies want it more, they deserve it more, and they’d make the better playoff contender than the Mets. From here on out the Mets will be without my company. See you in March.
  3. joe September 27, 2007 at 7:50 am
    It’s amazing that a first place team could be so disappointing, but they’ve managed to pull it off. And the Phillies make a much better story.
  4. Walnutz15 September 27, 2007 at 8:29 am
    Muck the Fets….
    Muck the Fets….
    New York Mets!

    Watch them bungle every play —
    Then the bullpen takes a dump on your day.

    Because the Mets are really takin’ a fall —
    As their relievers…give up longballs…..

    Freddie, Jeffy and those clowwwwns….
    Should kick these M-E-T-S — Mets
    Asses all over town.


  5. joe September 27, 2007 at 9:45 am
    great lyrics, Walnutz … i’m singing it now and trying not to fall off my chair with laughter
  6. Walnutz15 September 27, 2007 at 9:55 am
    Glad ya liked it, Joe. It all just flowed so naturally….I had to post it.

    Highlight of my night was seeing my brother’s swollen hand, coming off a fresh punch of a steel girder at Shea.


  7. Micalpalyn September 27, 2007 at 12:03 pm
    Random whining:

    The nats won, note after bacsik was ineffective, Manny Acta pulled him for Hanrahan…novel coaching pulling a pitcher after 3-4 innings…

    its obvious that Willie has NO PLAN for a game. No strategy. Everything is throw ball-hit ball. no match up, no in game tactics.

    On Omar: we all know Willie detests rookies. Interestingly the Yanks laud the contributions of Joba, cano and melky. But Heath Bell, Henry Owens, Royce Ring and Lindstrom had NO chance with willie. but G.mota, sho and Feliciano are bread and butter. also that is more than 3 times Willie has gone to joe Smith in game pivotal situations and lost.

    we are losing the majority of games in the middle innings 5-7. Yet as you remark we turned down-made no effort to get; pinero, wickman, Tomko, JC Romero, dave Wells(OK), Mike Myers (really appropriate).

  8. joe September 27, 2007 at 1:06 pm
    Agreed … before the last few weeks, Willie’s in-game plan and tactics were awful, but at least he had some kind of direction (however misguided). Though, in his defense, NO ONE is performing.

    As for Smith, I’m not understanding why Willie continues to bring him into situations with men on second and third. First and second, OK, looking for the DP. But again, in Willie’s defense — who do you bring in instead? Mota? Sele? Collazo?

    And I also agree — the fact Willie has no options is because he refused to give the youngins’ a chance.

  9. isuzudude September 27, 2007 at 6:39 pm
    Those lyrics by Walnutz were classic. If someone produces a rendition on YouTube and puts a copyright on it, they’re sure to make a ton of money