Archive: August 10th, 2007

Mets Game 115: Loss to Marlins

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.

Next Game

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.


Series Preview: Mets vs. Marlins II

Florida Marlins baseball logoNow we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of the season — the “stretch run” at the end of the season when it’s time to “turn it on”. We’ve been deluded into thinking that games in April, May, and June are not nearly as important as August and September, which of course is ludicrous. Nevertheless, if that’s the message Willie Randolph and co. want to send, we’ll oblige by buying into the concept and expect the Mets to suddenly become a wrecking crew, inflicting their wrath on their National League East rivals from this point forward.

In other words, we want sweeps. Get out the broom and whisk away the Marlins, the Nationals, and the Phillies, please. Part one starts today (weather permitting).

Game One: Brian Lawrence vs. Scott Olsen

If it were truly Lawrence vs. Olsen, such as in a caged fight to determine the ultimate warrior, I’d put my money on the fists of Olsen. However, since it’s a baseball game, and it doesn’t take much to break Olsen’s concentration, I’m liking the Mets chances.

Though the big lefty has superior stuff, his two-cent head and previous poor outings versus the Mets go against him. The Mets need to get to him early, or do something to get under his skin, and the ballgame is theirs. The longer they allow him to remain in the game, and confident, the more dominant his 93-MPH fastball, biting slider, and fair change-up will be.

Game Two: Tom Glavine vs. Daniel Barone

Two things have me worried about this one. First, the denouement / crescendo following the historical 300th win may cause Glavine’s guard to go down. Then again, the pressure off, his routine back to normal, could be a godsend. The second concern is the fact that Barone is making his Major League debut, and we all know that means the Wandy Rodriguez Effect comes into play. Independent of all outside influences, Glavine should enjoy teasing Florida’s young and aggressive hitters — assuming they’re still about as smart as a box of rocks.

Game Three: Oliver Perez vs. Rick VandenHurk

Ollie, like John Maine, needs to get back on track ASAP. This would be a fine time to get back in the saddle. At the same time, he shouldn’t have to worry about giving up five runs, as the Mets really should pound the bejesus out of VandenHurk, as they did the last time they faced him, and as every other NL team has this season — his ERA is 7.49. This is the “gimme” game, and the Mets better take what’s been given.


… should not come into play as a factor. The Mets’ starters should keep the Marlins at bay (pardon the pun) until the offense has established a lead no one this side of Scott Schoeneweis can blow. Lawrence may need help, but Glavine and Perez should go 7-8 innings in their outings. The Marlins have very little in the way of firefighters — unless you’re talking about the firemen of Fahrenheit 451 — and therefore the Mets’ batters should feast on their offerings. If Willie needs to play the shell game with his setup men in this series, the Mets are in deep doo doo.

Mets Bats

David Wright is still fairly hot, and Moises Alou is swinging a good stick when he’s not grounding into double plays, but at this point it shouldn’t matter who’s hot and who’s not. Against the Marlins’ pitching — which won’t include D-Train nor Sergio Mitre — the Mets must score early and often. Anything less than six runs per game will be a disappointment and travesty.

Marlins Bats

Hanley Ramirez is arguably a more impactful all-around offensive force than Jose Reyes this year. If only he’d wear his cap on straight someone might pay attention to him. Miguel Cabrera remains the best young slugger this side of Albert Pujols. After that there is a tremendous dropoff, as the next-best threats are sluggers Dan Uggla and Josh Willingham, who do a lot of swinging and missing.

Bottom Line

The Mets really need to sweep. It’s clear they can’t match up, head to head, with the Braves, and are a crapshoot against similarly talented teams. Therefore, they must beat up on the lesser teams, and beat up on them good. The Marlins are currently sharing the basement with the Nationals, eleven and a half games back. If the Mets can win the first two of this series, the third is in the bag. It’s time to bury the bottom-feeders of the division.