Archive: June 8th, 2008

Mets Game 62: Loss to Padres

Padres 8 Mets 6

This is the way it should have happened: Tony Clark looks at strike three to end the eighth inning, stranding two runners. Billy Wagner finishes off a four-out save by setting down the Padres in order in the ninth.

However, home plate umpire Laz Diaz called the pitch ball three instead of strike three, giving Clark a second life. Wagner came in with a pretty damn good pitch — a 96-MPH fastball at the knees — and Clark put the bat head on it. Next thing you know, the ball is flying over the centerfield fence, and the Padres had a two-run lead.

After losing three straight games 2-1 to the last-place Padres, it looked as though the Mets would finally pull out a win in San Diego. They led 3-0, then 4-3, then 5-4, then 6-4 — in other words, they controlled the game from the beginning to that fateful eighth.

Pedro Martinez was less than stellar, allowing 10 hits and 4 runs in 5 innings, but the Mets bullpen did a decent job of holding the fort for the next three innings. On offense, Carlos Delgado led the way, nearly hitting for the cycle. He had his second consecutive three-hit game, with a single, double, and triple, and drove in two runs. Damion Easley and Endy Chavez each had two hits and an RBI, and Luis Castillo drove in two runs with a single and a sac fly.

Notes

A little surprising to see Wagner attempt a four-out save, but the Mets were desperate after losing three straight to the lowly Friars.

Despite the fact that Delgado had six hits in two days, I still think he’s a dog and a poison. Case in point: in the seventh, while on third base and two out, Endy Chavez dragged a bunt to first, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had no chance at getting Chavez, but saw Delgado taking a slow jog from third and had a shot to throw him out at home. Gonzalez, however, bobbled the ball, and Delgado started running a little harder when he realized what Gonzalez was thinking. Oh, and how fitting that Delgado made the last out of the game in typical fashion: swinging at the first offering from Trevor Hoffman and popping up weakly to third base.

The last time the Padres swept the Mets in a four-game series was before Jose Reyes and David Wright were born: 1980. The Mets really stunk back then — but they had two excuses: 1) they were unskilled; and 2) half the team was on drugs. What is the excuse of the 2008 squad?

Shortsighted fans can piss and moan about Wagner blowing the game, but the real problem lies in the first three games. Wagner struck out Clark on the previous pitch, and Clark blasted the next one, which happened to be a good pitch in a good location. Things like that happen on occasion. However, flukes like that are easier to swallow when you’re winning games you’re supposed to win. On the other hand, when you’re rendered impotent by a last place club for three straight days, fluke losses are more glaring.

Next Game

The Mets have a day off on Monday (thank goodness), then travel home to host the Arizona Diamondbacks. The FIRST-PLACE D’Backs, by the way. If the Mets can’t beat the last-place Padres, how can they beat the Diamondbacks? My theory is that the Mets play to the level of their competition, which means they’ll have a decent shot of winning against Arizona. We’ll see. John Maine goes against Micah Owings in a 7:10 pm start at Shea.

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Mets Game 61: Loss to Padres

Padres 2 Mets 1

This is what’s called “playing down to your competition”.

I know about this first-hand, having played on a college team that would play “up” and to nationally ranked Seton Hall — who had Mo Vaughn, Craig Biggio, and John Valentin in the lineup (we lost 6-5) — but then play “down” to a D-3 school such as Bloomfield College (we lost 4-3).

Not sure about you, but this game “felt” like a losing cause from the third inning — I sincerely felt like I was waiting for the Mets to lose. Watching the body language of the dead Mets, it seemed only a matter of time before they lost the game. The only question was when would the frail-hitting Padres be able to plate a runner.

After a glorious homestand of intelligent at-bats, putting the bat on the ball, and overall excellent offensive execution, the Mets mirror the punchless Padres, scoring all of three runs in three games. What makes this most frustrating is that the Padres have sent neither Jake Peavy nor Chris Young to the mound — both aces are on the DL. Instead, the Mets have been handcuffed by remarkably mediocre no-names such as Josh Banks, Justin Hampson, Randy Wolf, Cha Seung Baek, Brian Corey, and Mike Adams. Meantime, the NL East-leading Phillies light up the scoreboard against everyone — the well-knowns, the unknowns, and everyone in between. But I digress …

Oliver Perez had an acceptable outing, pitching five and a third and allowing one run on four hits and two walks, striking out five. I was surprised that Willie Randolph let him hit in the top of the sixth with two outs and runners on first and second — to me, it was time for a pinch-hitter, with the best hitters on the Padres due up and getting their third look of the day on Ollie. However, Perez hit for himself, grounded out, and then put two runners on before yielding to Joe Smith, who did an outstanding job of shutting down San Diego.

Ollie made only one mistake, which turned into a homerun by Michael Barrett. The Mets’ only score came on a sac fly by Endy Chavez in the second. That second inning was especially sickening, as the Mets had the bases loaded, no outs, and a 3-0 count on Endy — and in the end, were able to score only one run. Why? Because the Padres were bright enough to intentionally walk Brian Schneider with one out, to get the easy out on Perez and then face Reyes with two dead. That right there was the turning point of the ballgame.

Notes

How bad is Carlos Delgado? In a game where he already collected three hits, the opposing team didn’t think twice about pitching to him with the winning run on second in the 10th inning and the pitcher’s spot on deck. Really wonderful of Carlos to get those three hits, but a huge red flag seeing the Padres have no fear of him doing damage in a key spot.

Yes, the Mets’ offensive ineptness is in part due to the absences of Moises Alou and Ryan Church. But, who expected a) Alou to play in more than 90 games and b) Church to be as good as he was in April and May? What baffles me to no end is that those two big bats are unavailable, yet you fill out the roster with the likes of Robinson Cancel, Raul Casanova, and Abraham Nunez. Are you kidding me????? Get Val Pascucci, Chris Aguila, or Mike Carp up here, let’s see what they can do. Bring back Jose Valentin. Sign Scott Hatteberg. Trade for Kevin Millar. Ask Mike Piazza to come out of retirement. ANYTHING other than filling out the roster with guys swinging bats made of balsa wood.


Next Game

I really hope my prophecy doesn’t hold true — the one where I suggested the Mets would get swept — but at this point, who really cares? The Mets certainly don’t, and the way the fire-and-brimstone Phillies are playing lately, it’s clear who WANTS to win the NL East. But I suppose our favorite team will try to do something interesting in their 4:05 pm EST contest. Pedro Martinez goes against another no-name, Wilfredo Ledezma.

May I remind everyone that the Mets are playing the LAST-PLACE Padres?

A desperate, major change to this team is absolutely essential at this point in time, if the Wilpons are interested in filling Citi Field next year. Please don’t bother messing with Willie — the problem is in the personnel. Make a move, Omar, if you want to be here for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies next April.

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