Diamondbacks 9 Mets 5
What started out so promising ended horribly.
John Maine was shaky in the first frame, allowing a run, but the Mets came right back in the bottom of the inning to jump ahead 3-1. They tacked on two more in the second inning to extend the lead to 5-1, and things were really looking up for the first time in about a week.
But, that fifth run was the last one they’d score, and the pitching couldn’t hold the fort.
After that difficult initial inning, Maine settled down and kept the D’Backs scoreless until the fifth, when his inefficient execution caught up to him and rendered him exhausted. Orlando Hudson re-directed Maine’s 97th pitch off the scoreboard to make the score 5-3. Maine finished the inning but was replaced by Claudio Vargas in the sixth.
It was all downhill from there.
The previously struggling Diamondbacks scored two more in the sixth to tie the game five-all, went ahead 6-5 in the eighth when Chris Snyder took Joe Smith deep, and then added three insurance runs in the ninth off Duaner Sanchez. The Mets offense was predictably inept against the dominating D-Backs bullpen, and that was that.
Someone was wearing Carlos Delgado’s uniform today — either that or the Mets have been denying him meals, because a hustling, hungry player was running around wearing #21 in this game. Delgado had only one hit, but it was a ground-ball single stretched into a double when Chris Young bobbled the ball in centerfield. A few minutes later, Delgado scored all the way from second on a base hit, running full speed (for him) all the way. And I swear I saw him hustling on a routine grounder to second base — busting out of the box and running completely through first base. I really wonder if perhaps Willie Randolph had a chat with Delgado … perhaps after reading about Del’s comparison to a rattlesnake.
Interestingly, since that scathing post by yours truly, Delgado is hitting .411. Coincidence?
Moises Alou returned to the lineup and swatted a two-run single on the first pitch he saw. However, he did not return after the rain delay due to tightness in his calf (don’t laugh). Marlon Anderson also appeared as a pinch-hitter and flied out. Ryan Church was finally placed on the DL and Raul Casanova was demoted. Thus the pressure is on Ramon Castro to wake up on time.
John Maine’s command is affected by a minor mechanical flaw in his delivery. He drops his glove and opens up his front side a bit too early, which causes his right arm to drag a little behind and also causes the ball to fly up and to the right (up and in to a righthanded hitter). He’s had this issue for as long as he’s been a Met, but usually finds a way to correct himself. If he doesn’t fix the problem, he’ll not only continue to miss up and in, but will also begin to strain his shoulder. An easy fix is to keep the glove up as he begins the stride, and push it forward toward the catcher instead of down past his hip. This little tweak should also help hide the ball for an extra moment. I’m surprised Ron Darling hasn’t pointed out this issue.
Duaner Sanchez was terrible. His pitches were up and flat, and looked like they didn’t have much velocity. An off day, but what can you do — no one is perfect.
Joe Smith actually pitched quite well, other than the gopher ball. Shame he had to take the loss.
Aaron Heilman cleaned up Duaner’s mess, throwing two pitches and getting an inning-ending popup from Justin Upton.
The game was delayed for about an hour due to rain. Before the rain came down, the grounds crew struggled to get the tarp down in swirling winds. However, they received a helping hand from Billy Wagner and Scott Schoeneweis, who jogged out and helped pull the tarp into place. It was like something out of a minor league or college game, and it was beautiful. And it made the rest of the Mets sitting in the dugout look like bums. Too bad … it may have been nothing, but it could have been something. How great would it have been if the entire team followed Billy’s and Scho’s lead and 25 Mets were out there positioning the tarp? It would have been a good highlight, but a better symbol of unity and teamwork that this team sorely needs.
Mike Pelfrey takes the mound against (gulp) Brandon Webb. My expectations are very low, and I will be attending the game (so don’t expect to see a post until early in the AM). I suggest you also lower your expectations, and be pleasantly surprised if Big Pelf can outduel the best pitcher in MLB.