Mets 8 Marlins 4
Ricky Nolasco’s struggles against the Mets continued, as he allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 5 innings en route to his sixth career loss (against two victories) to the orange and blue.
The Mets’ offense finally figured out how to push all those runners around the bases, exploding for 8 runs on 15 hits, including a homerun by Jose Reyes and doubles by Reyes, the two Carloses, and Ryan Church (2).
Livan Hernandez lulled the Marlins hitters to sleep (who knew that Fish slept?), using a variety of lollipop curves, slow changeups, and fading fastballs. By the time the Fish woke up, Livan had muddled through 6 2/3 uneventful innings, the first Mets starter to see the seventh inning. A variety of Mets relievers turned the final seven outs into a circus, but Francisco Rodriguez arrived with his cape in the ninth to end the madness.
As expected, Marlon Anderson was DFA’d before the game to make room for Livan Hernandez. Anderson is a lock to pass through waivers, as no one is going to claim a pinch-hitter with a 7-figure contract. However, there’s an outside shot someone might be interested in him as a free-agent, if he chooses that route. I personally will miss Marlon, as I love the way he plays and approaches the game, but unfortunately there simply isn’t room on an NL roster for him. If he was a little better with the glove, particularly in the infield, he’d be more valuable, but at this point in his career, he’d need to be an outstanding pinch-hitter (like he was in 2007), and even then, I’m not sure there’s room. Good luck Marlon!
So Jerry Manuel had a chat with Luis Castillo before the game and told him he needed to be more aggressive at the plate. Castillo responded with four hits, so Manuel is a genius motivator. My only question is, what did Manuel say differently in this most recent chat, that he didn’t say in the previous 15 chats on the same subject going back to July of last year? Better explanation: Luis reads MetsToday, and was determined to prove that an old dog COULD learn new tricks!
By the way, where did Manuel get the idea that Castillo needed to be more aggressive? Was it all the pitches down the middle he’s been taking with runners in scoring position? Huh, I hardly noticed (*sarcasm*). Manuel = Master of the Obvious.
Speaking of hitting with runners in scoring position, the Mets still weren’t exactly awesome in that area, despite the eight runs scored. They left 10 runners on base, seven of which were in scoring position. Further, of their 8 runs, half scored via homeruns and doubles with a runner on first, and two more scored on infield groundouts. All told, they also failed to hit safely 9 times with runners in scoring position during the course of the game — for those with calculators, that comes to 2 hits in 11 chances, or a .181 average. Nitpicking, maybe. We certainly must be happy to see the hitters finally drive in a few of those ducks on the pond.
Livan Hernandez is not just a pitcher, he’s a ballplayer, meaning he plays, and takes pride in, every aspect of the game — not unlike that of Johan Santana and Tom Glavine. He showed it in this game with solid defense and outstanding bunting fundamentals. Every little bit helps, and when you can execute the little things, you can win in double digits despite an ERA over six.
The latest Danny Murphy comparison is Pete Rose, per Keith Hernandez. Rose, Mattingly, Boggs … those are some big names to live up to (I’m sticking by my Mike Hargrove comparison). Can we just let the kid be himself, please? He’s being set up for major disappointment … does no one remember Gregg Jefferies?
Next Mets Game
The series finale between the Mets and Marlins takes place at 1:10 PM on Easter Sunday, with Johan Santana going to the hill against Josh Johnson.