Archive: June 5th, 2009

Mets Game 53: Win Over Nationals

Mets 3 Nationals 1

Sparked by fearless leader Carlos Beltran, the New York Mets showed tremendous resolve, grittiness, determination, and gumption in beating the Washington Nationals in ten innings.

Beltran led the offense with a booming double in the first frame, but was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple. Sometimes he just can’t contain his exuberance. But, his aggressiveness clearly motivated the rest of the lineup, as the Mets rallied for a run in the very next inning. David Wright — who obviously was watching Beltran and taking notes from the on-deck circle — led off the second with a double himself, and raced to third on a flyout by Dan Murphy. Wright then scored on a grounder that Fernando Tatis pulverized into the infield dirt.

The Mets didn’t score again until the tenth, but in the meantime took things personally and played better than they did in Pittsburgh.

Tim Redding threw six brilliant innings, allowing just six hits, two walks, and a run, and the bullpen combination of Brian Stokes, Bobby Parnell, Sean Green, and Frankie Rodriguez did not embarrass themselves through the last four frames, shutting out the Nats and allowing only one hit.

Captain Beltran sparked the rally in the top of the tenth, walking on four straight pitches to push the winning run, Luis Castillo, to second base. Again inspired by his teammate, David Wright lashed a double to right-center to score both runners.

K-Rod finished off the Nats 1-2-3 to earn his 15th save. He dedicated it to Beltran in an emotional outburst after striking out the final hitter of the game.

Notes

Knowing in their hearts that they were not as good as the Mets, the Nationals desperately tried to give away outs and provide golden opportunities for their opponent to run away with the game, but the Mets refused their advances, preferring instead to win the game on the level. In addition to handing the Mets’ batters seven free passes, on several occasions, they threw balls away, let them drop safely in the outfield, and skip past the catcher, but all to no avail.

Performing in Beltran’s shadow, David Wright went 4-for-5, though two of the hits weren’t exactly line drives. For example, his “double” in the second was actually a routine popup that should’ve been handled easily by shortstop Christian Guzman, but Guzman never ran after it and the ball fell safely in front of a diving Adam Dunn. He’s hitting .338, though it doesn’t seem like it.

Speaking of that Guzman gaffe, Keith Hernandez finally expressed a rare critical assessment of Manny Acta (aka Connie Mackta). He astutely pointed out that Acta routinely makes excuses for his players when they don’t hustle. Interestingly, now that Acta is on the hot seat, he gave Guzman a stern talking-to between the innings after that muffed popup. It may be too little, too late … but, no doubt the Mets will welcome Acta back with open arms if he finds himself unemployed (watch out, Jerry!).

Captain Beltran would have been on third standing up in his first at-bat, had he simply HUSTLED out of the box. Instead, the “leader” watched his long fly ball, and jogged around first, jogged toward second, then decided to “turn it on” after he rounded second base. I don’t know if his legs are hurting, or he was concerned about the muddy basepaths, but he likely wouldn’t have been caught dogging it had he simply stayed on second base. Never mind this is like the umpteenth time Beltran has made either the first or third out at third base in the last three years … it’s hard to stomach all this talk of Beltran’s leadership after watching him take his time on that blast.

While we’re on the subject of running and not running, in the top of the seventh, Fernando Martinez attempted a sacrifice that rolled foul. Ironically, Ron Villone — the pitcher last week when F-Mart chose not to run on an infield popup — was again the pitcher. Catcher Josh Bard alertly allowed the ball to roll, in case it spun into fair territory (it was only about a foot, maybe less, from the baseline), because Martinez never left the batter’s box. I’m not picking on F-Mart here — I can’t, not when the “leader” is making assumptions on long fly balls, and not when his manager doesn’t make hustling a priority. Rather, I’m pointing out that this team continues to run hard only when they feel like it, rather than all the time. And also pointing out that, despite all the “he’ll never do THAT again!” rants, Martinez DID do it again, only this time the ball remained foul and wasn’t nearly as glaring a gaffe as last week’s popup. And why did he do it again? Because he wasn’t disciplined the first time. Again — it’s not F-Mart’s fault, but rather the fault of Mets management and the lazy, loser approach to the game that they’ve cultivated.

(BTW, did you notice I used “gaffe” twice in this post, without mentioning Brent Gaff?)

I still can’t figure out how Redding made it through six innings allowing only one run. It seemed like every inning the Nats were a hit away from breaking the game wide open. My guess is the Nationals hitters were distracted by the possum hanging for dear life from his chin (I’m surprised he hasn’t heard from PETA about that yet). In any case, it was a much-needed outing, both for the depleted Mets and for the veteran’s survival on the roster.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nationals play again in soggy DC on Saturday night at 7:05 PM. John Maine faces John Lannan.

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Your Leader Drives a Bus

beltran-outI’m not getting all the media hype about Carlos Beltran’s comments yesterday, and how it is Beltran becoming a “leader”.

Anyone who has played a team sport would not be inspired by anything Beltran has ever said publicly. Nearly every time the reclusive Beltran says something, he’s either directly or indirectly throwing his teammates under the bus.

Interestingly, the other perceived “leader” on the Mets — Johan Santana — has a similar method of public flogging. Just ask Danny Murphy, or anyone else who ever made an error behind him.

Sorry, I don’t find it “refreshing” or “motivating” when a player says he’s embarrassed about how the rest of his teammates played in two games while he sat home with a tummy ache. The media’s grasping at straws in an effort to find a story and identify the “leader” that doesn’t exist, and the fans are buying into it because they’re so desperate to find something or someone that suggests this club can get through the current storm.

Keep searching, fellas, and bring an umbrella. More rain is about to fall, to be followed by increasing wind.

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New Trainer on Staff, and Other Links

TheRopolitans broke the news of the newest addition to the Mets’ medical staff. This may be the biggest acquisition of the season.

RumBunter has an open letter to Carlos Beltran

MetsBlog mulls over the replacements for Jose Reyes.

DisgruntledMetsFan outlines the most successful spy mission in MLB history.

Eli at Mets Underground has some new signs for Razor Shines.

Kerel Cooper considers going Unknown Comic as he gives a videoblog summary of the Pittsburgh series

Also hat tip to Kerel for finding today’s video, a basement remodeling for a nerdy serious Mets fan:

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What the Mets Do Next

Much of the Mets’ chances for success this year relied on the bat of Carlos Delgado, who is out until at least mid-July. But, Gary Sheffield stepped up and filled some of the void in the middle of the lineup — though, it wasn’t enough with Carlos Beltran suffering from a stomach bug and Ryan Church on the DL. Still, with Beltran healthy and Church on the way back, it looked as though the Mets could tread water while they waited for Jose Reyes to return to the lineup, which was reportedly “any day now”.

After an MRI revealed a tear in Reyes’ hamstring, that “day” may be in August. To compound matters, J.J. Putz may need elbow surgery — which could knock him out for the rest of the season.

There’s a real possibility we’ll next see Billy Wagner in a Mets uniform before Delgado, Reyes, or Putz.

What will the Mets do next?

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Elbows and Hamstrings

hamstring-musclesSorta sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, or a Rufus Wainwright song, no?

Elbows and hamstrings, finger strains and dislocations, groin pulls and labrum tears, and recently some stomach bugs …

I do not like them, Mets fan I am, I do not like them.

The latest news, if you haven’t heard, is that Jose Reyes will be out indefinitely with a right hamstring tear suffered during a rehab game in Florida. Strangely, this reportedly is not related to the right calf injury that originally put him in the disabled list. Not that it matters — point is, Reyes will be out a minimum of another month, probably longer.

Has it really been five years since Jose was struggling with hamstring injuries to the point that we questioned whether he’d ever be on the field long enough to make a difference? Wow, I just had a Kaz Matsui flashback.

In addition to Jose’s hamstring, J.J. Putz is experiencing pain in his right elbow when he throws his trademark split-finger fastball. You know, the pitch that makes him a dominating reliever, the kind you trade seven players for.

From the Daily News:

“It hurts like hell to yank it,” Putz said about finishing his splitter and two-seam fastball. “I’ve been trying to put it in another perspective. It would be like trying to tell Johan (Santana) to go out there and throw his changeup with two fingers, and not being able to roll his changeup. I just can’t physically do it.”

Who knows, this could be a blessing in disguise. Bobby Parnell now has the 8th inning all to himself, and may emerge as the next great setup man. Similarly, Wilson Valdez could take this opportunity to evolve into the next … hmm …. Rey Ordonez?

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