Mets Game 160: Loss to Marlins
Marlins 7 Mets 4
The Mr. Hyde alter-ego of Oliver Perez took the mound, and with it, the ballgame. From the first inning, it was apparent that Ollie didn’t have his command, but it appeared as though he was going to grit his way through. Unfortunately, he couldn’t deal without his command and the bit of adversity that struck him in the top of the third.
Just minutes after rapping an unlikely, two-out, RBI hit to drive in the first Mets run, Perez gave up a similarly unlikely bloop base hit to opposing pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim — he of the .033 batting average. It was pure, sheer luck — a Texas Leaguer in the Bermuda Triangle between Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green, and Luis Castillo. It shouldn’t have been a big deal. The next batter Hanley Ramirez got ahead 2-0, but Ollie came back to even it up 2-2. Ramirez fought off a few good potential strike-three pitches, then got sawed off by another great pitch on his hands. However, the ball flew a few dozen feet past his barrel, over David Wright’s head and into the no man’s land exactly opposite of Kim’s hit. Perez then hit Dan Uggla to load the bases, but got Jeremy Hermida to ground to Wright, who went for the forceout at home. LoDuca fired back to third to nail Ramirez for the DP, but Wright flaked and tried to tag Ramirez instead of simply stepping on the bag. Perez then pulled off the dramatic, striking out slugger Miguel Cabrera, and it appeared he’d get out of the mess. With the crowd behind him, and the momentum of retiring the Marlins’ best hitter, Mr. Hyde reappeared, and hit the next two batters, driving in two runs.
In the bottom of the inning, the Mets fought back, with Luis Castillo singling and stealing second, then jogging home on a 450-foot homer by Carlos Beltran, getting the Mets as close as they’d get all night: 4-3.
It looked like all would be OK when Ollie started off the fourth with two quick outs. Unfortunately, the opposition making two outs has been the kiss of death for the Mets lately, as the Fish hit an infield single, a legit single, drew a walk, then hit another infield single — and scored two more runs. Watching it all unravel was mind-boggling. Other than the walk, Perez didn’t make bad pitches. Maybe he needs to read The Secret.
And that was the ballgame, because the Mets offense shut down after Beltran’s blast (unless you want to count a crappy RBI groundout by Wright that scored Castillo in the fifth. It’s amazing — the Marlins can score two runs riding two infield singles, and the Mets couldn’t muster much of anything with a dozen base hits of their own. Of course, it doesn’t help when your opponent draws four bases on balls and three HBPs in key situations and you only reach base with hits (oh, and one lousy walk — though NONE against Kim, who walks around five for every nine innings).
Luis Castillo was 3-for-5, Carlos Delgado poked two useless hits in the hole vacated by Cabrera during the shift, and Shawn Green rapped two singles up the middle. All those singles and Beltran’s homer was pretty much the extent of the excitement on the offense.
In case you missed it, the Phillies won (surprise, surprise), giving the Mets sole possession of second place.
John Maine faces Chris Seddon at 1:10 PM. It’s do or die — and now that the Phils are one up, destiny is out of the Mets’ control. Bravo, boys, and best of luck. Let’s hope the young Marlins decide to hit the NYC club scene all night long, and show up with a collective hangover — the Mets need every edge they can get at this point.
We have John Maine going today. The same John Maine who the Marlins are hitting .197 against. The Phillthies have Adam Eaton going for them–with a 6.3+ ERA. I think that we win, the Phillthies lose, and Sunday sees Jamie Moyer on the mound for the Phillthies, and Tom Glavine on the mound for us. I’ll take that one.
As Troy Percival said yesterday, with three to go, we’re playing to get into the playoffs. He said that he’d take that.
If we aren’t scheduled to play next week, Willie should go, and be replaced by Joe Girardi. Think of what Girardi did with the Marlins last year, and the level of talent he had. Now, give him the level of talent that we have, with a few changes (new BP, another starter).
It really doesn’t matter what advantages the Mets have on paper anymore. Look at the Nationals series, game 2. Tom Glavine had an ERA of 1.38 in 2 starts against Washington on the year and got blown up. In my mind, even if it was Tom Seaver for the Mets vs. Chris Seddon’s grandmother, the Marlins are still going to find a way to beat the Mets…or should I say the Mets are going to find a way to beat themselves. On paper, John Maine looks like a lock to get the Mets a much needed win, but if games were won on paper, shit, we would have kept our 7 game lead in the division.
Listen to any of the postgame comments yesterday? This team is dead. You could hear a pindrop in the clubhouse. And that’s expected – there’s absolutely nothing to be celebratory or jubilant about these days – but no one was even talking to each other. The comments to the media reek of confusion and desperation. It’s as if the Mets have forgotten how to win, and like Joe was mentioned many times, they’re simply waiting for the Phillies to lose. Not gonna happen.
It’s so hard to blame September’s failures entirely on Willie, which is pretty much what you imply if you fire him at season’s end. It wasn’t all that long ago the team swept the Braves in Atlanta to rebound so perfectly from a 4-game sweep in Philly. And then they were sent on their roll thru Cincy and Houston – bad teams, mind you, but at least at that point the Mets were beating teams they were supposed to beat. And Willie deserves credit for rallying the troops, refocusing their energies, and managing good baseball. But, unfortunately, we all know how the story goes after that, as the Mets have monumentally unravelled. Firing Willie might send the message that it was all his fault, which is wrong. There’s not one guy on the 40-man roster (maybe besides Pedro) who can say they had no part in the Mets demise. Each and every player and coach has had some part in the team’s undoing. So I’m not a fan of firing Willie if the message sent to the team is “It was all his fault.” However, canning Willie might be a good move, too, as it may come unexpected to the players. Thinking, “ah, he’s safe, we were in first place all season until now and we made it to within one game of the WS last year with him.” Suddenly, he’s gone, and the team wakes up. No more chummy manager to hang out with in the dugout. No more free-wheelin’ Willie who won’t yell or bench you. No more unfair advantages to veterans despite lack of production. A new regime comes in to shake things up, revitalize the team, and set the bar higher. Whether that be Joe Girardi, I’m not sure. I’ve had enough of riding the coattails of the Yankee managerial system. But as far as possible replacements, I’m without an answer. I’d nominate Joe, but then I think he wouldn’t have enough time to blog anymore, and we just can’t have that.
And it’s not ALL Willie’s fault (though he definitely deserves some blame).
Isuzude, you’re right that the Mets are dead — mentally and emotionally beaten. However, we have two games left and then a cold, lonely five months before pitchers and catchers report, so if a Mets fan can find optimism, I’m not going to stifle it. Personally, I’m going to be going out of my mind without having the voices of Keith, Gary, and Ron filling my living room until next April.
Let’s try to hold off the negativity until Monday — we’ll have all winter to analyze and debate the downfall.
Besides, there’s the hot stove stuff.