Archive: September 14th, 2008

Mets Game 148: Loss to Braves

Braves 7 Mets 4

If the Mets played high school rules — seven-inning games — they’d have this NL East title wrapped up. Unfortunately, the games in MLB go nine, which means that every contest is a crapshoot.

Oliver Perez spun seven stellar frames, allowing only two runs on four hits and three walks, striking out 8, and left the game with a two run lead. From this point of view, he wasn’t dominating, but he pitched well enough to win. Unfortunately, he didn’t.

Because for the second time in two days, the Mets bullpen blew the game and wasted a valiant effort from the starting pitcher. Once Oliver exited, Scott Schoeneweis and Joe Smith squeaked through a stressful eighth, then handed the game over to “closer” Luis Ayala. Ayala, who had converted seven saves in eight opportunities, did not gain an eighth. In fact, he did not retire a batter, allowing three hits, the third a three-run homer that put the Braves ahead 5-4. Ayala was replaced by Pedro Feliciano, who helped the Braves ignite a second rally in the inning by giving up two hits and two walks. Brian Stokes was brought in to throw more gas on the fire, and by the time the top of the ninth inning closed, it was 7-4 Braves.

The Mets were unable to come back from the three-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth, and ended the game with the tying run at the plate.

Former Met Jorge Julio earned his second victory of the season in relief for the Bravos.


David Wright went 4-for-5 with 2 homers and 3 RBI. Carlos Delgado had three hits but neither a run nor a run driven in. No one else in the lineup did anything of consequence, as the offense stranded a dozen runners.

Speaking of Wright, did anyone else notice his slight change in approach? Over a week ago I mentioned that he was over-rotating during his stride, and no longer doing his “toe-tap”. In this game, however, the stride, toe-tap, and waiting back returned, and he wasn’t “winding up” that front shoulder. The result? Four hits including two homers, and one of those blasts going to the opposite field. David, don’t go changin’ — we love you just the way you are!

Strange to see the same relief pitchers two days in a row, particularly after getting two days off and having 18 pitchers on the roster. It’s sort of like deja vu, like we’ve seen this type of (mis)management before, at a similar time of year.

Though, I find Jerry Manuel’s relief strategy very smart — borderline genius, in fact. If you haven’t noticed, he puts a pitcher in until that pitcher gives up a run, and then replaces him with someone else. That pitcher remains in the game until he gives up a run, and so on. If a pitcher doesn’t give up a run at all, then he pitches again, either the next inning or the next day. Manuel is really “reinventing” the bullpen by committee, if you ask me.

Corky Miller, batting .086 on the season, drove a 1-2 pitch from Brian Stokes to center for a sac fly to drive in the Braves’ seventh run of the game.

The Phillies won both ends of their doubleheader, and now sit one game behind in the standings. Thank goodness Jon Niese pulled that amazing performance out of his keister, or the Mets would be in deep doo-doo right now.

Next Game

The Mets play another “easy” team, the Nationals, in a four-game series in Washington. Pedro Martinez faces John Lannan in the opener. I’m nervous.

If you care, the Phillies have Monday off, then face the Braves, who will be throwing James Parr (who?) and Jo-Jo Reyes in two of the three games. Again, I’m nervous.


Mets Game 147: Win Over Braves

Mets 5 Braves 0

The rookie came up big.

The sleepy Mets bats woke up in the nightcap, pounding Braves starter and loser JoJo Reyes for four runs in the first two innings. David Wright delivered the initial blow, a two-run homer to score Jose Reyes, and Fernando Tatis singled in Carlos Beltran only minutes later to give the Mets a quick 3-0 advantage. Jose Reyes blasted a solo homer in the second frame, giving rookie Jon Niese an early four-run cushion in his second big league start.

Niese then mowed down the Braves for eight innings, allowing only six hits, two walks, and striking out seven, in a fairly efficient 116-pitch effort. Luis Ayala preserved the young lefty’s first big league win by pitching a perfect ninth. The win kept the Mets 2.5 games above the Phillies, who won earlier in the day.


Carlos Beltran also homered, smashing a solo shot in the seventh. Beltran was 3-for-4, and also stroked a double and stole a base. He’s seven for his last seventeen, with a 1.209 OPS over the last four games.

Tatis also went 3-for-4.

Next Game

The rubber match will be played on Sunday at 1:10 pm. Oliver Perez takes the hill against Jorge Campillo. Ollie needs to shake his recent Mr. Hyde episodes and get back on track.


Mets Game 146: Loss to Braves

Braves 3 Mets 2

Another heartbreaker for Johan.

The Mets gave their ace a two-run lead in the fourth, and looked like it would be all he’d need against the fast-fading Atlanta Braves.

Johan Santana pitched seven shutout innings, but unfortunately couldn’t make it eight. He ran out of gas in the top of the 8th, allowing two singles to start the inning, then handed off his 2-0 lead to the Mets bullpen — and that didn’t go so well.

Scott Schoeneweis was the first to answer the call, and he allowed a third single to load the bases. Manager Jerry Manuel immediately went to Brian Stokes, who gave up a two-run single to Jeff Francoeur to tie up the game. Stokes remained in the game, and a few batters later, allowed the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly. The sleepy Mets offense couldn’t respond, and that’s the way the game ended — yet another strong performance by Santana wasted.


Carlos Delgado went 2-for-4, the only Met with more than one hit.

The Braves left 11 men on base to the Mets’ 8.