Cardinals 7 Mets 1
Win one, lose one. Win one, lose one. This, my friends, is the pattern of a .500 team.
After splitting a four-game series with the Yankees, the Mets dropped the opener of another four-game set to the Cardinals in St. Louis.
John Maine was just awful, allowing five runs — three earned — on 7 hits and 3 walks in only 4 innings. Yes, two of those runs were unearned, but he pitched only four frames! One day after seeing Oliver Perez make a transformation for the better, the generally reliable John Maine seemed to make one for the worse.
The bullpen wasn’t much better. Carlos Muniz had another ineffective outing, giving up a two-run homer to Chris Duncan in his two innings of work. Scott Schoeneweis allowed three baserunners in his one frame, yet somehow managed to escape unscathed. Aaron Heilman was the final reliever for the Mets, and he also struggled through a scoreless inning. So much for the young starters pitching deeper into games and the relievers having specific roles, eh? Maybe Willie Randolph was smart to keep his mouth shut about such brilliant ideas.
Meantime, the offense was paralyzed by Kyle “Koufax” Lohse, who allowed just one unearned run in 7 innings. Ron Villone — a guy who I once took deep in high school (and therefore tells you more about his age than his ability) — pitched a scoreless eighth and Mark Mulder tossed a scoreless ninth in the first relief appearance of his career. It was also the first time Mulder appeared in a MLB game since Bill Clinton was President. OK, maybe not that long.
The only run scored by the Mets came in the fifth, when Andy Phillips rapped a single pinch-hitting for Maine, raced to third on a single by Luis Castillo, and scored when Rick Ankiel thought he was on the mound again and air-mailed an unnecessary throw over the third baseman’s head.
This was the fourth time this season that John Maine went only four innings. And we thought Oliver Perez was the guy we needed to worry about. Here’s an interesting fact: while Perez has pitched less than two innings twice this year, he otherwise has always pitched more than four.
Andy Phillips was DFA’d after the game to make room for Tony Armas, Jr., who will start tomorrow’s game vs. Todd Wellemeyer. Glad the Mets came to their senses about Phillips, who was redundant with Fernando Tatis around. Also about time they came to their senses about Armas, who had a 2.50 ERA in the PCL — a notorious hitter’s league.
Endy Chavez had another two hits, the only Met with more than one. Ryan Church, Carlos Beltran, and Castillo all went 1-for-3. That was the extent of the excitement.