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.