Mets Game 64: Win Over Cubs

Mets 4 Cubs 3

Mets win a game they should have lost. But at least they do it in dramatic fashion.

Mets Game Notes

It was an uplifting and exciting win for Mets fans. Coming back from three runs down in the bottom of the ninth is the ultimate in baseball entertainment. However, all a pure baseball fan can do is shake his/her head.

Neither starting pitcher deserved the fate he was handed. Jeremy Hefner pitched a fairly strong five frames, but was victimized by awful defense. Meanwhile, Cubs starter Matt Garza was outstanding, shutting out the Mets through seven innings, allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks in a 107-pitch effort. Yes, Hefner pitched well, but didn’t have the length, so if an objective observer is going to name the starter with the tougher luck, Garza gets the nod.

Though, one has to wonder whether Garza was really that good, or the Mets that bad. There were a few situations where the Mets had Garza on the ropes, but fizzled. Garza had only five strikeouts, but they seemed to come at the most opportune times — such as, with runners in scoring position.

Both the Mets and Cubs were equally futile in that department, as both teams were 1-for-8 with RISP.

While we’re on the subject of futility, let’s briefly discuss the fifth frame, when the Mets made two errors on one play (though it could have easily been three) and allowed two runs to score. I can’t say that I’ve never seen that before, because I see it regularly coaching an 11U team. Inexperienced kids have a tendency to throw the ball around without thought, filled with desperation. It’s like a person who says the wrong thing at the wrong time — the kids have no filter when it comes to runners rounding the bases. They just pick up the ball and throw — without thought, often without even looking at the target. That’s pretty much what Daniel Murphy did during that fateful play — he picked up the ball, spun, and fired. Never mind that there was zero chance of getting the runner at third. Never mind that his throw was a few yards from the target. Maybe John Buck was calling for the ball, in which case, shame on him. Then Omar Quintanilla put a cherry on top of that bad sundae by throwing the ball away again, allowing Alfonso Soriano to reach third. The Mets were lucky to get out of that keystone cops debacle allowing only two runs.

Again, what happened in the bottom of the ninth was entertaining, but far from magical. In fact, it was predictable. The moment Carlos Marmol strode to the mound, there was a 50/50 chance the Mets would win the game. You have to feel a little bad for Dale Sveum, who had/has no choice but to use Marmol in that situation. Closer Kevin Gregg had thrown in four consecutive games, so he had the day off. If he had his druthers, I’m sure Sveum would have preferred to put Shawn Camp in the game, but he’s obligated to use Marmol instead. It’s kind of like feeling bad for Terry Collins when he had no choice but to continue writing Ike Davis‘ name into the lineup — the Cubs have to keep putting Marmol out there in the late innings, hope like heck he can pull out a few saves and holds, and trade him at the deadline.

Hopefully, Sveum wasn’t holding his breath during the ninth inning of this contest, because Marmol was like a BP machine. He couldn’t get the slider over the plate and the alternative was to throw a flat, fat fastball over the middle of the plate, somewhere between the waist and the chest. It’s difficult if not impossible to succeed against professional hitters at any level with that strategy. Once Marmol served up a meatball to D-Byrd, it seemed like every Met was jumping out of his shoes to grab a bat and face him.

Next Mets Game

After nearly being swept by the Cubs, the Mets move on to Atlanta to begin a five-game series against the Braves. Game one begins at 7:10 p.m. on Monday night. The pitching matchup is Dillon Gee vs. Tim Hudson.

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. TexasGusCC June 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm
    I still can’t believe what happened. Did you really believe at the beginning of the bottom of the ninth, or even after the Byrd bomb, that the team we have been watching was going to score tree more times? LOL, after the bunt I didn’t think they’d get a hit.
    • Izzy June 16, 2013 at 10:46 pm
      Obviously Tex, you are not familiar with Carlos Marmol. He actually would be the worst pitcher in the Mets pen during the Sandy Alderson reign of ineptitude. Maybe Alderson will bring him in next year.
      Seriously, congrats to Kirk. He looked like a guy who knew he was going to lose the job he loves each at bat before the ninth.
    • Joe Janish June 17, 2013 at 8:36 am
      I was absolutely sure that Marmol would blow it, one way or another. I didn’t think it would be two bombs, though. I figured he’d walk the bases loaded, hit a batter, and give up a bleeder or bloop, etc.

      The only surprise was how quickly he managed to lose the game. Usually he likes to draw it out a bit more.

  2. DaveSchneck June 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm
    That opening line of yours is a bit suspect – the team that scores the most runs is always the team that should win. Inept play goes both ways. Anyhow, a special thanks to the Mets (and Cubs) for that Father’s Day gift. I was fortunate enough to miss the prior two losses, and tune in today right after Byrd hit his HR. Why Marmol threw Duda a slider with 3 balls up 2 with no one on is mind boggling. Hat tip to Captain Kirk. I wonder if the team partied like wild off a 2-6 homestand on the plane headed for 5 with 1st place Atlanta and Sid Finch slated to go on Tuesday.
    • Joe Janish June 17, 2013 at 8:42 am
      DaveSchneck – I get your point re: the team with the most runs. But that was a case of Carlos Marmol, and not the Cubs, losing the game. It was really all on him. Last time I checked the rule book, the outfielders are not allowed to position themselves in the stands beyond the fence.

      I suppose you can credit the Mets for forcing save situations in the first two games, which helped make Kevin Gregg unavailable.

      • DaveSchneck June 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm
        Last time I checked, Marmol was on the Cubs (and in this case, thankfully). Kidding aside, I get your point, and it is a good point, but a baseball game is 27 outs, and I try abide by the Parcells’ addage that you are what your record (or the fianl score) says you are. I also like the Al Davis line “just win, baby”. So in that light, thank you Mr. Marmol, for yesterday’s gift.
  3. The King June 17, 2013 at 12:43 am
    Just looked at Ike’s numbers after a week at AAA. Rough week.
    • Dan42 June 17, 2013 at 4:40 am
      It’s even worse if you compare him to Mike Jacobs, who hasn’t been able to hit Major League pitching effectively since 2008.
      • Joe Janish June 17, 2013 at 8:46 am
        It’s not fair to judge Ike Davis’ minor league stint just yet. It will take at least a week or two for him to clear his head and for the Las Vegas staff to figure out what he needs to do next. Then there is likely to be at least another two weeks of applying whatever fixes are necessary. If Ike’s lucky, the fixes will create immediate success. Realistically, though, I wouldn’t expect to see him until after the All Star break.
        • Dan42 June 17, 2013 at 9:41 am
          Very true, but if he’s not able to do better than Jacobs in Reno seeming success there may not be a good indication of a cure.
  4. Dan Capwell June 17, 2013 at 8:01 am
    This was a great game–in a lost season you have to grab onto moments like this. Lost in the shuffle a bit is the inning turned in by David Aardsma.

    Still early, but maybe they don’t have to sacrifice Bobby Parnell for some outfield help at the deadline. If Aardsma is all the way back, he could fetch a decent prospect or two.

    • DaveSchneck June 17, 2013 at 8:05 am
      Hell no. We’re keeping Aardsma for the playoff push, that is unless they cut him tomorrow to get Atchison back on the roster. Parnell-Aardsma-Franky Frank, sho says the Braves have the best pen in the NL East.
      • NormE June 17, 2013 at 8:22 am
        I know a doctor who can help you remove your tongue from your cheek.
  5. Dan B June 17, 2013 at 9:52 am
    Hey Izzy, did you see the Cubs not overshift on Duda in the ninth? Gotta think it was result of the bunt attempt. Didn’t result in anything but still supports my concept of forcing other teams into positioning themselves where they don’t want to be
  6. Joe June 17, 2013 at 10:01 am
    Carlos Torres pitched well … at least the box score suggests it. I had turned off the game to do something at that point. Hefner doesn’t get a win yet again. Still, he tweeted to defend the team when Costas made fun of them celebrating in the 9th. Anyway, thanks Marmol. That cat in the Garfield comic strip can pitch about as well there.