Archive: August 22nd, 2007

Mets Game 125: Loss to Padres

Padres 7 Mets 5

Sometimes it’s simply not your night.

Jake Peavy gave up only two runs in six innings, and struck out 11, but he wasn’t entirely dominating. The Mets reached him for two runs on five walks and two hits, and nearly busted the game open in the third, loading the bases with one out. However, Peavy whiffed hot-hitting Carlos Beltran and got Carlos Delgado to pop a harmless fly to left to end the inning. I’m still not sure how he snuck a fastball over the middle of the plate past Beltran for strike one — it was exactly the type of pitch ‘los has been putting over fences. Getting out of that mess was the turning point in the game, giving both the Padres and Peavy confidence, momentum, and a positive mindset to take through the next six innings.

Brian Lawrence did not pitch nearly as poorly as the stat line suggests. He was victimized by an evil official scorer, bad bounces, a few defensive lapses, and at least one bad umpire call (the one that sticks out is Moises Alou nailing Milton Bradley at home by a foot, but the play called safe — that should have been out number two in the fifth).

The game wasn’t as close as the final score indicates — the Padres had a two-run lead from the fifth inning, and extended it to a five-run lead in the seventh inning. Only a comedy of errors and bloopers gave the Mets an unlikely three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth — which ended when automatic out Carlos Delgado struck out swinging, to no one’s surprise.

Notes

On a positive note, Jose Reyes stole three bases, reaching 67 for the season and breaking the club record of 66 previously held by Roger Cedeno.

David Wright walked four times.

Jeff Conine drove in Marlon Anderson (who led off the ninth with a double) with a single up the middle in his first at-bat as a Met. He was pinch-hitting for the pitcher.

Carlos Delgado looks absolutely awful, both in the field and at bat. Currently, no one has any confidence in his ability to hit the baseball — he’s waving weakly under balls that are a foot inside or bouncing in the dirt. Worse, his atrocious fielding has reached an all-time low. Not sure if it’s due to his knee, or not being in games for a week, but he looks both lost and frightened in the field. There was one ball that went through his legs (in the fifth), and Luis Castillo might have still thrown the batter out — but Delgado couldn’t make it to the bag in time (and where was Brian Lawrence, by the way?). When Delgado finally did make it to first, he was nearly upended by Adrian Gonzalez, and fell flat on his face. It’s like watching an eleven-year-old outfielder play his first little league game in the infield. Hopefully, he’ll continue to slump until the last week of September, and then burst out with a season’s worth of pent-up frustration just in time for the postseason.

Gary Cohen took the words right out of my keyboard in the top of the fifth, when, with the Padres up 4-0 to support Jake Peavy, and Brian Lawrence in trouble, Jorge Sosa was warming up in the bullpen instead of Aaron “Phantom” Sele. As Cohen quipped, if that’s not a situation for Sele, what is? The Mets may as well give Sele his unconditional release, and bring up Joe Smith, Carlos Muniz, or some other arm if Willie is never going to give him the ball in suitable situations. The Mets stopped wasting roster spots with the release of Julio Franco. (Sele did finally make it into the game — but not until the eighth.)

How much did Doug Brocail pay Todd Helton for that goatee?

The Padres’ road uniform color is really awful. They call it “sand”, but the players look like they all returned from a golden shower, rather than the beach.

Guillermo Mota’s confidence is shot — and I’m not sure how that can be fixed. His stuff still has the potential to dominate, but he’s a head case. If Sele remains forgotten, maybe he should be released and Mota put into the mopup role with the hopes that he can somehow get his confidence back. When his head is right, he’s phenomenal — and that is enough justification for trying to help him get back “there”.

With Lastings Milledge starting against Chris Young and again against Jake Peavy, it’s pretty clear that Willie has handed LMillz the rightfielder job. On the one hand — and despite my strange love for Shawn Green — I like the move. On the other, I’m a bit miffed and annoyed at Randolph. First, because late last week he stated that Milledge and Green would share time, when in fact Milledge was being given the job. Second, why does Milledge win a job over Green, while Gotay doesn’t win a job over Damion Easley? I realize the Mets now have Luis Castillo, and that Castillo has turned out to be a fantastic addition. However, pre-Castillo, Gotay was given the runaround over and over, despite sparking the team, outplaying all other second base candidates, and hitting .340. You can’t say it’s because Milledge had experience from last year, because Gotay had 130 MLB games under his belt prior to this season. It’s simply another example of one player having organizational support, while the other has no one in his corner. Amazing that a guy can be such an extreme overachiever, keep his mouth shut, do everything “right”, but because no one predicted his success or otherwise “fell in love” with him, he sits. Again, I wholeheartedly agree with Milledge winning a starting spot. My frustration is with the double standard held against Gotay. In other words, it’s all about the hype, and not necessarily about the production.

By the way, Milledge went 0-for-4, striking out four times. Interestingly, Shawn Green has a career .306 average against Jake Peavy.


Next Game

The finale has Tom Glavine going against Justin Germano, in another 7:10 PM start.

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Mets Game 124: Win Over Padres

Mets 7 Padres 6

Ladies and gentlemen, Carlos Beltran has entered the building.

Continuing the hot hitting on the road that made him the NL player of the week, Beltran was a one-man wrecking crew, driving in five runs with three hits, including a laser-beam double and an opposite-field homerun, to lead the Mets over the Padres.

Though starter John Maine struggled with his command, he left the game with two outs in the sixth with a 4-3 lead, preserved brilliantly by Scott Schoeneweis. The Show struck out Brian Giles looking to end the inning, stranding the other Giles (Marcus) on third. However, the bullpen gave away the lead in the seventh. After getting two groundouts to start the inning, Schoeneweis allowed a single to Adrian Gonzalez, who trotted into second base after his grounder skipped under the legs of Lastings Milledge in rightfield. At that point, The Show was removed in favor of righthander Jorge Sosa to face the righty hitting Mike Cameron. The strategy did not pay off, however, as Cameron doubled to drive in Gonzalez with the tying run. Sosa then gave up a single to Khalil Greene, scoring Cameron with the go-ahead, before striking out Kevin Kouzmanoff to end the inning.

The score remained 5-4 Padres until the bottom of the eighth, when former Met Heath Bell came on to set up Trevor Hoffman — but failed in his mission. You just knew things wouldn’t go well for Heath when Jose Reyes led off with an infield single off the glove of Greene. Within minutes, Reyes had stolen second and was advanced to third on a groundout by small-ball master Luis Castillo. David Wright walked, bringing up Beltran — who had already driven in all four of the Mets runs. Suffice to say, he singled in the fifth as well, stroking a 1-2 pitch into left.

Billy Wagner came on to preserve the tie, but his command was off as well — perhaps due to the wet weather. He allowed a leadoff single to Milton Bradley, struck out Gonzalez, but then walked Cameron on four pitches and hit Greene to load the bases. Kouzmanoff then lifted a fly to shallow rightfield that scored Bradley and put the Padres up 6-5. Wagner then settled down to strike out Josh Bard to end the ninth.

However, it was a bad night for both closers. Trevor Hoffman came in to save the game, but like his predecessor Bell, failed to fulfill his assignment. Second-half sparkplug Lastings Milledge started things off with a single to left, and was sacrificed to second by Mike DiFelice. Pinch-hitter Marlon “Mr. Clutch” Anderson then rapped a base hit up the middle to score Milledge with the tying run. Hoffman then got ahead of Reyes 0-2, but Jose dropped a flare in front of Cameron to put runners on first and second. Castillo then jumped on the first pitch he saw and dumped a 22-bouncer into center, and Anderson beat the throw home from Cameron to score the winning run.

Notes

John Maine had more issues with pitch count, tallying 118 pitches in his five and two-thirds. He seemed to go full count on every other batter — though some of it could have been attributed to the combined factors of the wet weather and Angel Hernandez’s tight strike zone.

Speaking of the wetness, what in the world is Carlos Delgado doing on the field in his first game back from a hyperextended knee? I was at Shea for the game, and can say for certain that the infield was slick. I’m not sure what the logic was behind getting Delgado out there on wet ground with a bum knee — why not wait one more day, and play Shawn Green at first? Luckily, Delgado didn’t further damage the joint, but that was mostly due to his refusal to move. There was one ground ball toward him, in the third inning, that looked like it might be a routine double play. Instead the ball skipped about a foot past Delgado, who I believe was downloading new ringtones on his cell phone rather than reaching over to make a swipe at the ball. Instead of a double play, Milton Bradley had himself an RBI single.

As much as we like to denigrate The Show, he pitched pretty well — despite being charged with one run in one inning of work. His strikeout to end the sixth was key, and there’s a chance his runner in the seventh — Gonzalez — doesn’t score from first on the Cameron double. However, the Milledge error put him on second, and he thus scored easily.

I was quite surprised to see David Wells enter the game in the bottom of the eighth, as I thought he had been released by the Padres a few weeks ago. I was even more surprised to see him pitching with his right rather than left hand — but figured he couldn’t do any worse than he’d been doing previously. Then I realized it was not Wells on the mound but “Boomer” Bell. Hey Heath, either lay off the Big Macs, or talk to the equipment manager about a more billowy uniform — your weekly increase in girth is publicly embarrassing.

Next Game

Brian Lawrence faces Jake Peavy in another 7:10 PM start at Shea. Let’s hope Lawrence has a bit more black magic left in his travel bag from his time in N’Awlins.

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