Archive: April 22nd, 2009

Mets Game 14: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 5 Mets 2

It wasn’t even that close.

John Maine finally made it into the sixth inning, but not because he pitched well. He also did not finish the sixth.

Maine allowed five runs on seven hits and five walks in five and two-third innings, expending 111 pitches in the process. He left the game with the bases loaded and reliever Casey Fossum was kind enough to get a quick final out and leave the ducks on the pond.

Offensively, the Mets did nothing against Joel “All World” Pineiro, whose best pitch was “strike one” throughout the contest. The Mets hitters managed six hits and two walks in eight innings against Pineiro, who pitched into the ninth but needed help from the St. Louis bullpen to finish. Pineiro struck out no one and expended 91 pitches. So much for the sabermetricians and their negative opinion of hurlers who “pitch to contact”.

Game Notes

Fascinating to see Jerry Manuel play the “matchup” game in the seventh inning, down four runs. Does it REALLY matter whether Casey Fossum faces a righthanded hitter at that point? Here’s a crazy idea: how about allowing Fossum to face a righty as training to be a “crossover” pitcher?

Quick quiz on baseball fundamentals: it’s the sixth inning, your team is down by four. What do you do with the first pitch thrown to you, no matter where it is? If you said “take the pitch”, congratulations, you know simple baseball! If you said, “swing away and pop up weakly to the third baseman”, congratulations, you play centerfield for the New York Mets and make over a hundred million dollars!

We can’t get too hard on Beltran, though, since he did collect three hits and drive in one of the Mets’ runs.

Danny Murphy drove in a run and allowed none, improving his plus/minus tally.

In the ninth inning, down by two with a runner on second and two outs, Jerry Manuel sent up Gary Sheffield instead of Jeremy Reed to hit for Ramon Castro against RHP Ryan Franklin. Why? No one is sure.

Regarding Maine in this contest, Manuel said he “… had control but not command …” Uh, OK.

Next Mets Game

The series finale is an afternoon affair beginning at 1:40 PM EST in St. Louis. Livan Hernandez faces Kyle Lohse in an attempt to avoid a sweep.


Figueroa Elects Free Agency

Nelson Figueoroa in the Citi Field dugout for the New York MetsAlthough official word has not yet been published, inside sources suggest that Nelson Figueroa has elected free agency rather than accept a demotion to AAA Buffalo. **UPDATE: Adam Rubin has been given similar information. **

Hat tip to loyal MetsToday reader HDarvick for the scoop.

Figueroa was waived by the Mets after pitching six strong innings in a start against the Brewers last weekend, filling in for the ailing Mike Pelfrey. While he wasn’t claimed by another MLB team, I imagine he has some options — the Angels, for one, immediately come to mind as a team in need of starting pitching.

It’s hard to blame Figgy for declining the opportunity to return to balmy Buffalo. First, because it’s Buffalo. Second, it’s hard to imagine what more Figueroa could have done to earn a spot on the big league roster — if his stellar WBC performance and strong start on Saturday weren’t enough, then it’s clear the Mets don’t value his skillset, so why hang around? Third, the Mets have over $3M invested in Tim Redding and Freddy Garcia, both of whom are expected to be ready in the next few weeks — so the chance of Figueroa getting the call the next time a spot start is needed is next to nil.

If indeed Nelson chooses free agency over assignment to the minors, I wish him the best of luck. He’s a good man who gets the most out of his abilities and deserves a fair chance to stick in MLB.


O’Day Claimed by Rangers

Darren O’Day, a Rule 5 pick offered on waivers by the New York Mets a few days ago, has been claimed by the pitching-starved Texas Rangers.

The Rule 5 requirements now apply to the Rangers, meaning, if they choose not to keep O’Day on the 25-man roster, they must waive him and then offer him back to the Angels of Los Angeles / Anaheim / California / Disneyland.


Manuel Concerned But Not Worried

The on-the-job training and resulting mistakes of Danny Murphy in left field did not phase Jerry Manuel a week ago, but Murphy’s latest snafu has the Mets manager “concerned”, though not “worried”.

After Murphy fell flat on his kiester on a routine liner, Manuel expressed this sentiment:

“I guess I’m a little concerned – I have to be honest with you,” Manuel said. “I think he’s a hard worker. He does everything we ask him to do. I think for the most part I’d just like to see him relax out there.”

Further, Manuel made it clear that the Mets would barge ahead and take their lumps while Murphy figures out the position:

“I have to keep putting him out there,” Manuel said. “I have to keep putting him out there until we feel that he’s getting comfortable, and I think he will.”

I wonder what Johan Santana’s thoughts are on that? What are the chances that Murphy is the starting left fielder this Friday against the Marlins, when Santana takes the hill? The Fish send Scott Olsen to the mound, who, conveniently, is a lefty. Odds are 3-2 that Gary Sheffield starts in left field that night.

Which brings up another question: will Manuel ever use Sheffield as a defensive replacement for Murphy in the late innings of a ballgame? Laugh all you want at the concept, but the bottom line is that Sheff is not awful in the field, and has played nearly 1600 MLB games in the outfield — a quarter of those in left.


Flaying Fossum

casey_fossum_mets.jpgSome “play possum”, while in Flushing we “flay Fossum”.

Read on to decipher and debate the mysterious moves that brought Casey Fossum to New York and sent Darren O’Day and Nelson Figueroa packing.