Game 53: Loss
Giants 6 Mets 4
This was a tough one to watch … the kind of game that turns my stomach.
As much as El Duque brings to the team in terms of experience, guts, and winning, there is this ugly side of him that we will see perhaps 50% of the time. Though he managed to get through a decent five innings, he threw an astounding number of pitches, which in the end contributed to his total collapse in the sixth inning, when he blew a 4-2 lead. There was no point in the game where he was cruising, and it seems like he tries to strike out every single batter. This isn’t a bad plan if you are Nolan Ryan, and have no problem throwing 150-160 pitches a game. However, when you are Orlando Hernandez, and you tire after 90 pitches, you need to be more efficient, and get guys out with first-pitch popups and groundouts. We can only hope that El Duque pays close attention when El Pedro is on the mound — he the master of the five-pitch inning — and pick up a few pointers.
The Mets bullpen did an OK job keeping the game within reach, giving up only one run the rest of the way. However, you can only shorten a game so much, and you can count on the comeback kids only so many times before games that should be lost ARE lost, as it occurred in the first game of the doubleheader today. There comes a point where a team has to be serious in addressing their most glaring weakness: starting pitching. With the way the rotation is currently constructed, there is almost no possibility of making it to the playoffs; you can’t go far in a season with only two starters who can consistently get past the sixth inning — but never complete a game — and fill the rest of the rotation with three guys who you hope and pray can get you through the fifth. Eventually, the bullpen is going to crack, and it’s happening little by little already. Either the Mets need to find a solid 6-9 inning guy, like a Livan Hernandez, or they need to carry 15 pitchers on the roster.
The only bright spots in this game were David Wright’s three-for-four with two doubles, and Jose Reyes’s two runs scored and standup triple. There aren’t too many guys on the planet who can hit a standup triple on a soaking wet baseball diamond.