Marlins 4 Mets 3
As usual, the Mets jumped out to an early lead, then slumbered. They scored two runs in the first, another one in the third, then went right to bed. Meantime, Mike Pelfrey pitched another gem, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. He left with a 3-2 lead, which we all knew would not last.
Naturally, the bullpen blew the one-run lead. Duaner Sanchez gave up a solo homer to Mike Jacobs to make it 3-3, and Jerry Manuel set up Aaron Heilman to fail in the ninth.
Go ahead, blame Aaron Heilman if you’re a “Heilman hater”. I blame Jerry Manuel, the “genius” who demanded on back-to-back intentional walks to load the bases. Tell me again why that’s such a brilliant idea? Oh yeah, it’s not — because when there’s a ground ball hit to a drawn-in infield without a force, it is just as easy to nail the runner at home via tag play as it is via force play. Loading the bases intentionally is one of the most illogical and senseless recent trends in baseball management — all it does is create a situation where the pitcher has no room for error. Completely idiotic.
I’m not saying Heilman would have gotten out of that jam. However, I don’t see the point in making his job more difficult by creating a situation where he CANNOT walk a batter. With the winning run on third base, the pitcher’s goal more than any other time is to make the batter hit a “pitcher’s pitch”. It’s difficult — close to impossible — to succeed in getting three outs that way with no margin for error.
I’m amazed at the stupidity of postgame reporters who were asking why Aaron Heilman threw so many balls, wondering if perhaps there was something wrong with his mechanics. Did you watch the game? Some of Heilman’s pitches missed by a lot, but some of the others were damn close. In fact I thought ball four to Hanley Ramirez could easily have gone either way — home plate umpire Jim Wolf was squeezing both sides all night.
Will some sabermetrician please remind Manuel and all the other “genius” managers out there that even the very best hitters FAIL 7 out of 10 times?
While the talking heads and knee-jerk pundits continue to berate the bullpen, how about we go back to my theory: score more runs! Yes, the Mets bullpen blows a lot of games. But they’re also handed too many opportunities to blow games. Again, I call for a math geek — please tell us how many times the bullpen was given a one-run lead or less? These games would be much easier to win if the offense would provide a few runs of cushion.
Luis Castillo and Daniel Murphy were the only two Mets in the lineup with more than one hit.
Pelfrey hit Cody Ross in the bottom of the second, and Ross took issue with the action, sparking a bench-clearing non-brawl. It was clearly a mistake, so not sure why Ross was going crazy. Someone needs to check him for greenies. A few minutes after the teams returned to their dugouts, Pelf picked off Ross at first.
My vote for 2009 Mets manager: Lee Mazzilli. He’s the only guy who seems to understand how a bullpen works.
The rubber match will be played at 1:10 pm. Pedro Martinez goes against Scott Olsen. Coverage will be on CW11, WFAN, and XM 183.