Archive: September 15th, 2007

Mets Game 147: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 5 Mets 3

Once again the Mets squandered a stellar performance by their starting pitcher.

Pedro Martinez pitched 6 innings, allow one measly run on 7 hits and no walks, striking out 9, expending 98 pitches. He was masterful, riding a very effective down and in, sinking fastball and a variety of change-ups. I didn’t see him throw one curveball nor other breaking pitch — making the performance all the more impressive. But then, when your slowest pitch is clocked at 58 MPH and your fastest 93 MPH, you can get by pretty nicely commanding pitches at varying speeds.

After those strong six frames, Pedro Feliciano came on in relief and promptly gave up a double to Tadahito Iguchi, who scored on Shawn Green’s first error in 80 games at first base. It was typical of the Phillies’ day — of their seven hits off of Pedro, three were weak bloops perfectly placed between fielders, with one of them an RBI single by Aaron Rowand.

Feliciano responded by striking out the next three batters — Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, and Ryan Howard — to end the inning. Unfortunately, despite the fact it is September 15th, Willie Randolph still hasn’t figured out that his relief pitchers are not effective beyond one inning. As a result, he pushed Pedro Lite back out there to start the eighth, and whaddya know Aaron Rowand hit a homer on the second pitch he saw to tie the game. The genius known as Randolph brought in Jorge Slider … er, Sosa … to come in one batter too late. However, Sosa wasn’t very effective, walking future Hall of Famers Wes Helms and Pete LaForest (who?!) to face Jimmy Rollins. Somehow before Rollins came to the plate, two outs were made — but that was actually a negative because the runners were going at the crack of the bat. And once again the Phillies got lucky, as Rollins lifted a fly to center that Carlos Beltran either misjudged or lost in the sun. By the time Beltran chased after the ball and got it back to the infield, both runners scored and Rollins was standing on third. Phillies, 5-3.

In the eighth, J.C. “Superman” Romero came on to get a groundout from pinch-hitter Carlos Gomez, and then Tom “Flash” Gordon came on to get two easy outs from Paul LoDuca and Lastings Milledge. With the Mets down by two runs and no one on base, both LoDuca and LMillz swung wildly at the very first offering from Gordon. When Gordon was really “Flash” — about three years ago — I MIGHT excuse that bit of stupidity. But against a guy who’s a shell of his former self, and carrying an ERA near six? Take a strike, dummy.


Anyone think J.C. Romero might have some “help” since joining the Phillies? You know, kind of like the “help” Guillermo Mota received last year when he joined the Mets? Romero was a bullpen teammate of Juan Rincon with the Twins. It’s sad, isn’t it, that we now have to question anyone who suddenly revitalizes his career? (Mota, cough, cough … Ankiel, cough, cough … )

Pedro was clocked as high as 93 MPH, but I think it may have been a glitch in the tracking by the Shea Stadium gun — partly because he didn’t go above 89 on any other pitch, and partly because Phillies’ reliever Kane Davis was also clocked at 99 on one pitch (his next-fastest clocking was 93).

Although he popped up the pitch, it was good to see Moises Alou swinging on a 3-0 pitch in the bottom of the third with Beltran on second base and one out. Why? Because pitchers often throw meatballs on 3-0, and Shawn Green was on deck — Green the double play machine. If Alou walks and Green grounds into a DP, it’s essentially the same result (I hope that made sense). As it turned out, Green walked instead of grounding out — but he wouldn’t necessarily have walked if first base were not open and the righty-hitting LoDuca on deck against the righty Kyle Lohse.

The Mets stole four bases in the third inning, the third time they have accomplished the feat in their history (the first time included a TRIPLE steal).

However, there was some buffoonery on the bases. Most glaring: Jose Reyes attempting to steal third base with two outs and David Wright at the plate — and getting thrown out. What the heck was Jose thinking? Beltran had pulled the same stupid stunt in the third inning and got away with it — but it didn’t make it an intelligent move.

Marlon Anderson was thrown out of the game for arguing a full-count strike three call in the ninth. The pitch was at least four inches outside. Reyes walked as the following batter, so instead of first and second with no outs, it was one out and a man on first in the ninth. Going one further, Luis Castillo reached on an infield hit, so it could have been bases loaded, no outs, with David Wright up at the plate. Still, it was too little, too late.

The Mets have now lost seven straight games against the Phillies.

Next Game

Another afternoon game for the finale, with Oliver Perez facing Adam Eaton at 1:10 PM. As mentioned in the Series Preview, the Mets need only win ONE game, and this is the one they need. Ollie has pitched some nice Sunday afternoon games at Shea this year, let’s hope he keeps that trend going.


Mets Game 146: Loss to Phillies

If Tom Glavine received a little more support from both the bats and bullpen this year, he’d have at least three to four more wins and be a legitimate Cy Young candidate. Friday night’s game was another example of a gem of a game thrown away.

Unfortunately for Glavine, Jamie Moyer matched him pitch-for-pitch. Actually, that’s not quite right, because Moyer didn’t need quite as many — throwing only 76 pitches in 7 innings to Glavine’s 107 in 7 2/3. Both geezers gave up only two runs and two walks in their stints, with Moyer allow one less hit (4 to Glavine’s 5). Each gave up a homerun. If you weren’t a baseball fan, you might have assumed the same pitcher was throwing for both teams — and been fascinated by the speed with which he could change his uniform between half innings.

The Mets offense was completely stalled by Moyer’s offspeed stuff, with only David Wright and Lastings Milledge hitting the ball hard off the graybeard. D-Wright’s two-run homer was half of the offensive output (Moises Alou drove in a run with a single), and though Milledge doubled, he also hit the ball hard two other times but right at people.

The turning point in the game came in the bottom of the 8th, when the Mets loaded the bases with two out but couldn’t score. J.C. Romero — who has been stunningly effective since plucked off the scrap heap — began the inning by plunking Milledge with a pitch. Carlos Gomez was called on to sac bunt, failed twice, then bunted right back to the box with two strikes. Catcher Carlos Ruiz pounced on the ball and fired to second to get Milledge easily. No matter, because Gomez stole second two pitches later, then advanced to third on an infield bouncer by Jose Reyes to put runners on the corners. Bunter extraordinaire Luis Castillo batted next, and with the speedy Gomez dancing off the third base bag, 90% of the stadium was expecting a squeeze. Instead, Castillo swung away and struck out on three pitches. No matter, because MVP candidate David Wright was the next batter, and 99% of the stadium knew he’d come through with the clutch hit. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was one of those 99% and brought in Tom Gordon to make it look like he was trying. Phortunately for the Phils, Gordon hit Wright with the first pitch, loading the bases for Carlos Beltran. That same 99% recognized the situation all too well: bases loaded, two outs, game-winning hit needed, Beltran batting, a curveball expert on the mound. For most of the crowd at Shea, it appeared to be a good time to hit the men’s room. Predictably, Beltran struck out to end the inning.

Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth, striking out the side on 12 pitches. The Mets, however, couldn’t score in the bottom of the frame, and when Aaron Heilman came on to pitch the top of the tenth, most people remembered the plotline. Personally, the moment I saw Aaron jog in from the bullpen, I hightailed it to the #7 train — I’d seen this story before.


Glavine threw more pitches to Jamie Moyer in a third inning at-bat (11) than he did in the entire first inning (8).

Glavine no doubt was kicking himself last night after walking Abraham Nunez on four pitches to lead off the sixth. Nunez eventually came around to score (don’t leadoff walks always seem to do that?) on a Chase Utley homerun, which some mistakenly point to as Glavine’s only mistake of the game (it wasn’t really a mistake, it was a pretty good full-count pitch with Burrell and Howard waiting on deck). In fact, the real mistake was walking Nunez, the 8th hitter with the .241 batting average and zero homeruns in 230+ at-bats. We like to talk about youngsters Ollie Perez and John Maine losing their focus, but the old men are prone to brain farts as well.

Next Game

Pedro Martinez makes his 2007 debut against an NL East team today at 1:10 PM. Kyle Lohse is the scheduled starter for the Phils.