Mets 7 Nationals 2
Now that’s more like it … a playoff-bound team is supposed to be beating up on the last place teams at this time of year.
Johan Santana made the Nats hitters look like minor leaguers, allowing only one run in seven innings of balls missing bats. Johan allowed 8 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 8.
On the other side of things, the offense continued its onslaught, again sparked by Jose Reyes. Reyes doubled to lead off the game and scored on a single by Daniel Murphy to give the Mets a lead they never relinquished.
The Mets added two runs to their lead in the second inning, thanks to the first of two homers by Brian Schneider and an RBI single by Reyes. And they plated another pair in the third, courtesy of a Carlos Beltran triple and a Ryan Church single. In the fourth, Schneider blasted another bomb to put the Mets ahead 6-zip, and Church drove in another run in the fifth frame to give the Mets a 7-0 advantage.
The Nationals held the Mets scoreless through the remainder of the game, but the damage was done.
Schneider, Church, and Murphy all went 2-for-4, and Reyes had two safeties in five tries.
David Wright continued his “slump” with another oh-fer. It’s obvious he’s pressing, but the question is why? Wright was unconscious against the Braves last weekend, then goes hitless one game and everyone is wondering what’s wrong with him. He must have been reading / listening to the pundits, because he’s looked tight ever since that 0-for-4 Monday game.
Speaking of tension, it should be relieved for the Mets, and we should see them go ballistic on the Braves. That is, if they’re being realistic and can see what everyone else is seeing: the Milwaukee Brewers are finished, which means the Mets can skate into the postseason via the wild card. Earlier in the day, the Cubs essentially ripped the heart out of the Brewers, overcoming a 4-run deficit in the ninth and taking the game in the 12th inning. The Brew Crew was already on its last shred of courage, and this latest disaster no doubt will put them into a mental state that will be next to impossible to overcome.
And while we’re segueing into mental games, what’s up with Jerry Manuel’s quick hook in the ninth inning? I realize the bullpen has been shaky, but why is he managing a 5-run lead like it’s the seventh game of the World Series? It’s bad enough he’s been doing it in three-run games since June, but I don’t see the advantage of burning through both of your top LOOGYs in a 7-2 contest. Besides wearing out arms that might be needed tomorrow, he’s also sending a negative message to every man in the ‘pen: be perfect, or be gone. Who can perform their best with that kind of expectation? The pundits can keep yapping about the relievers being “terrible”, but I’m sticking to my evaluation that Manuel is an absolute moron when it comes to bullpen management — yes, he’s WORSE than Willie.
Which brings me to one more point: where the heck was Bobby Parnell? Before the game, a reporter asked Manuel if it would take another blowout situation for him to see Parnell, and the answer was “no”. Yet, this would have appeared to be a perfect time to see what the kid could do — finish up a game with a five-run cushion. I understand that there is still the concern that he’ll crap the bed and ruin Santana’s gem, but wouldn’t you rather find out now, rather than, say, game 160? Further, isn’t Parnell one of the “untouchables” who the Mets couldn’t trade away for people like Jon Rauch, Huston Street, Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, or Manny Ramirez? If he’s that good and is on the roster of a team vying for the postseason, shouldn’t we be seeing him make a contribution? For all the hype we were fed, I was expecting Parnell to be our version of the 2006 Adam Wainwright. Instead, we get a combination of Philip Humber / Aaron Sele.
Last bullpen point: Al Reyes was released. I’m guessing that he never fully recovered from the shoulder ailment that kept him out for the past few months.
Oh, in case you missed it, Brian Schneider is looking fresh. We know this because Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, and Kevin Burkhardt all brought up the fact that Schneider’s lack of playing time early in the season means he’s fresh now, at the end of the season. Lee Mazzilli mentioned it in the postgame, as well, and Burkhardt brought it up with both Jerry Manuel and Schneider himself in postgame interviews. Matt Yalloff and Gary Apple mentioned it too, so it must be true. So why are we worried about the tendinitis in Schneider’s knee?
A good, much-needed win. I really feel like it’s going to be smooth sailing from here on — the Brewers are dead and the Fish have too much ground to cover in too short a time.
The Mets begin a three-game series in Atlanta on Friday night with Oliver Perez going to the hill against Jo-Jo Reyes. First pitch is at 7:30 pm.