Archive: June 13th, 2009

Mets Game 60: Win Over Yankees

Mets 6 Yankees 2

There’s no better way to put a catastrophe in the rearview mirror, than to win handily the very next day.

The Mets picked up their second baseman and beat the Yankees easily in one of the most boring Subway Series games in baseball history. The three-hour, 11-minute affair felt much longer than that, and I’ll place equal blame on the poor performance of Andy Pettitte and the insipid commentary of Joe “Velvet” Buck and Tim “Sinatra” McCarver.

From the initial inning, Pettitte was laboring, something of a cross between a typical John Maine start and Friday night’s performance by Joba Chamberlain. He was up to 75 pitches by the fourth inning, yet somehow walked only one batter. The Mets took advantage of his nitpicking and inability to put away hitters by singling him to death — except for Omir Santos, who took him deep once and lashed a double in a subsequent at-bat.

Meantime, as bad as Pettitte was, Fernando Nieve was contrastingly good, allowing only two runs on four hits in six and two-thirds innings. Fernando fired 95-MPH fastball after 95-MPH fastball, pounding all locations of the strike zone with pinpoint accuracy. If he can pitch like this every time out, we won’t need to worry about Maine coming off the DL.

Notes

It’s clear that Omir Santos should be playing in the AL East. He may just create a bidding war for his services between the Red Sox and Yanks this winter.

Gary Sheffield blasted his seventh homer of the year, a soaring, majestic fly into the left field stands. Sheff is the only hitter I know who can hit a high fly that leaves the park as quickly as a line drive. That thing singed through the heavy, misty air.

Frankie Rodriguez finished the game in a non-save situation. Jerry Manuel had no choice but to use him after Friday night’s debacle — you can’t take any chances, even with a four-run lead.

Seven Mets had two hits or more. Fernando Martinez very quietly went 3-for-4 in the nine spot.

Lost in the excitement of scoring six runs and beating the mighty Yanks, the Mets left 11 runners on base.

Also lost was Luis Castillo trotting for the first few steps off first base in the top of the eighth with two outs on the Carlos Beltran liner that fell safely when Brett Gardner slipped and fell. He turned it on after he saw Gardner drop, though — and that’s pretty much what the Mets expect from the players (as F-Mart learned on a certain popup). But hey, the Mets were up by four, so who cares, right? And the Mets won, so why nitpick, right? We only care about selective hustling and poor fundamentals in games they lose, and specifically when we see they directly lead to the winning run, right? Yeah … that’s right!

Sean Green pitched an inning and a third of scoreless ball. And just like that, he’s anointed the setup man. Will it last?

Late in the game, Brian Stokes was seen in the players’ parking lot outside the Stadium, washing cars. The Mets figured he should be doing something.

What ever motivated Tim McCarver to record a CD? One where he sings? My best guess is it was not unlike the plot of “The Whistler” episode from 10 Items or Less (a show I recommend highly for laughs — and you can watch episodes for free!).

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs at 1:05 PM in the Bronx. Ace Johan Santana faces bust A.J. Burnett. I’m liking the Mets chances — and wouldn’t it be sweet justice if the Mets won this series, after the way it started? Then again, the majority of Mets fans would be whining “it shoulda been a sweep!”.

If you’ve given up on the Mets, but not on baseball, head down to Riverbank Park in Newark (not to be confused with RiverFRONT Park) to jeer and heckle yours truly as I partake in a doubleheader (hardball, wood bats). First game begins at 10 AM, and I’ll be catching a kid half my age. If you get bored, you can leave the park and enjoy the Portuguese Festival, which is sure to be chock full of shellfish, garlic, and brandy. Public transportation is highly recommended.

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Fifty Percent is Unacceptable

manuel-ghandi-smPerhaps as egregious and disappointing as Luis Castillo’s dropped popup was Jerry Manuel’s postgame quote in regard to the next 6-10 weeks the Mets face without Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, etc., etc., etc.

I can’t find a media scribe who published the quote, so can’t link to it, but he stated that the Mets need to keep their heads above water and “try to play .500 ball” through the next month or so, and hope to go on a run once all the injured ballplayers return from the disabled list.

Excuse me?

A journalist or TV personality can suggest that idea. A manager — or a GM — can THINK such a thought, but it can never, ever be verbalized. What kind of a leader tells his squad that the goal is to win 50% of your games? A bit defeatist, wouldn’t you think? Certainly not motivating.

And here I thought I was the pessimist.

Again, the theory of playing .500 ball makes sense, and is a very realistic goal, and something we can all discuss as non-members of the Mets. But as the man in charge you can’t state that publicly, because you’ve essentially lowered the bar. Maybe the wisdom in this is to take pressure off the team, but if so, I disagree with the plan. It sends the wrong message, and de-motivates players’ psyche. Suddenly, it’s OK if you throw a bad pitch or drop a ball or swing and miss, because if you lose today, well, there’s always tomorrow. One out of two.

But then, it fits right in to the rest of this team’s attitude. They hustle 50% of the time, they execute 50% of the time, they keep focused 50% of the time … so why not aim to win 50% of the time?

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