Marlins 4 Mets 3
That was great comedy. Now can we please move on to the game?
Oh crap … that WAS the game.
The Mets played a cruel joke on their fans who braved the elements on this cold and soggy Friday evening, losing painfully to a far inferior club. At times, being held to three runs is understandable — because the opposing pitcher has been so dominant on a particular night. In this case, there is no explanation. All you can do is shake your head.
With the Mets up by one in the top of the ninth, Miguel Olivo — who owns Wagner for unexplained reasons — led off with a single up the middle. After a strikeout, pinch-hitter Jason Wood worked a walk, and Hanley Ramirez followed with a 400-foot blast just shy of the centerfield wall and outside the grasp of Carlos Beltran, who had initially misjudged the drive. The blast drove in both runs and landed Ramirez on second with a two-run double that put the Fish up by one. The Mets went down with barely a whimper in the bottom of the frame against Marlins closer Kevin Gregg.
It’s not fair nor logical to blame this game on Billy Wagner, who had been perfect since June. Nor can you believe that the game was lost because Carlos Beltran mis-read a fly ball off the bat of Ramirez. No more was this game lost in the ninth than the previous night’s game lost because Willie Harris robbed Carlos Delgado of a homerun for the final out. This game was lost, plain and simple, because the Mets did not execute in the previous eight innings.
The Marlins got on the board first when Ramirez singled to lead off the game, stole second and third, and was driven in by a Josh Willingham single. They scored again in the second when Mike Jacobs singled, took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a hit by Miguel Olivo, then scored on a base hit by Jeremy Hermida.
That was all starter Brian Lawrence would allow, in an admirable outing. He pitched six innings, allowed two runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, striking out 6. I don’t think the Mets could have asked for much more from the fringe fifth starter.
Down by two, the Mets marched back in the fifth. Jose Reyes led off the inning by reaching on an error by second baseman Dan Uggla, and was joined on the bases by Luis Castillo, who turned an attempted sacrifice bunt into a base hit. Carlos Beltran followed with a blast over the right-center fence to put the Mets up 3-2. Unfortunately, that was all the scoring the Mets could accomplish against a starting pitcher and middle relievers that would be considered mediocre at the the AAA level.
Paul LoDuca was the only Met in the lineup with more than one hit. He went 2-for-3.
Beltran’s blast was the best he could do in his first game back. He struck out in his other three trips to the plate. It was good to see him back in centerfield, partially because he got to everything with ease — other than the Ramirez drive in the ninth — and kept several runners from taking extra bases (and scoring) based on the respect of his arm.
By the way, Beltran’s ability to start against the lefthanded Scott Olsen tomorrow is questionable, because Beltran is not comfortable batting righty due to his oblique strain. Am I crazy, or why not simply bat lefty? I’d much rather have Beltran in the lineup batting lefty vs. a lefty and playing centerfield, than seeing Lastings Milledge take his place. Nothing against Milledge — but I’d much rather see “Stings” in rightfield tomorrow alongside Beltran instead of Shawn Green. Lets use our heads here people — can Beltran do worse as a lefty against a lefty than Green has done against lefties? And which gloves would you rather see out there? LMillz in center and Green in right or Beltran in center and LMillz in right? It’s astounding that this even being contemplated.
Jorge Sosa pitched two perfect innings of relief, striking out one. He is quickly becoming Willie Randolph’s version of Scott Proctor. Luckily it’s late enough in the season that he likely won’t be burnt out.
I’ve stated it before, I’ll state it again: the Marlins and “hustle” will never be confused. Instead of being called the “fish”, they should be called the “dogs”. One glaring example is their emerging superstar Hanley Ramirez, who stood and watched his ninth inning drive to center rather than getting his ass out of the box and running toward first. Just what in the world was he doing? Admiring what might have been a long fly out? We’d heard all kinds of great reports about manager Fredi Gonzalez, but I’m not seeing anything near the influence Joe Girardi had on these kids a year ago. Nevermind the regression of their pitching — we know that’s the main reason the Marlins have lost more games this — but they play like losers. You can still carry yourself like a winner, and play winning baseball, despite being on the losing end of the final score.
Well the Fish screwed me up with their starting Dan Barone in the first contest, so I have no idea who’s pitching for them in Saturday night’s game. We’ll guess Scott Olsen faces Tom Glavine in the 7:10 PM start.