Archive: August 29th, 2009

Mets Game 130: Loss to Cubs

Cubs 11 Mets 4

The Bobby Parnell Experiment took another step backward.

Parnell allowed 8 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks in 4 2/3 innings, capped by a grand-slam homerun.

The offense scored four early runs against Ryan Dempster, then kind of fizzled.

Not much more to describe about this game, from the Mets’ point of view. Another long day of watching poor fundamentals, questionable decisions, walks of the opposing pitcher, etc., etc.

Notes

The bullpen was no better than Parnell. Ken Takahashi allowed a run in his one inning, and Lance Broadway gave up two in his inauspicious Mets debut.

The Mets had a chance to have a HUGE inning in the fourth, loading the bases with no outs. Brian Schneider stroked a double to score two, but Fernando Tatis was tossed out at home after stopping at third, then re-starting toward home for reasons unknown. Then Jerry Manuel gave up an out (and the game) by allowing the already struggling Parnell to hit, and having him sacrifice for the second out. Angel Pagan grounded out weakly to get Dempster out of trouble.

Tatis became the 16th Met runner thrown out at home this season.

Was it just a coincidence that the cameras were focused on the back of Jake Fox’s jersey every chance they had?

Fox’s grand slam came on an 0-2 slider that hung up in the zone. It was like deja vu all over again — the pitch took almost the exact flight of Brian Stokes’ hanger to Alfonso Soriano on the previous afternoon.

Aaron Heilman made his first-ever appearance against the Mets. He wasn’t dominating, but did well enough. He also put on a few pounds (perhaps the home cooking?) and was wearing old-school stirrups. Something else was different, too — his arm angle, which was more over the top than we’d seen in the past. He’s still throwing three-quarter, but more of a high three-quarter than he usually did as a Met. If you remember, the more Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel (ab)used him, the more Heilman’s arm angle would drop — to the point where at times his delivery resembled that of Joe Smith.

Seeing Heilman and Parnell in the same game stoked a memory. Remember when Omar Minaya explained that Aaron Heilman wouldn’t be a starter because he didn’t have command of enough different pitches? Yeah …

Next Mets Game

The Mets can’t leave Chicago fast enough, but before they do there’s one more afternoon affair with the Cubs. Game time is 2:20 PM, with Nelson Figueroa facing Carlos Zambrano.

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Mets Game 129: Loss to Cubs

Cubs 5 Mets 2

Waiting to lose … that’s what it looks like these Mets are doing lately.

Pat Misch was hit hard by the Cubs batters, but most were outs or foul balls, and others were knocked down by the crosswind. As a result, he managed to hang around for 7 innings, allowing only one run on six hits and two walks. All in all, an impressive performance.

Through six, soft-tossing Ted Lilly matched Misch pitch for pitch, and the game was deadlocked at one apiece. But in the seventh, the Mets finally broke the tie, scratching out a run thanks in part to the terrible fielding of Alfonso Soriano. Two balls hit Soriano’s way fell for doubles, Lilly was chased from the game, and by the time the dust settled, the score was 2-1.

Brian Stokes then entered the game to hold the lead, but unfortunately did no such thing. Instead, he allowed four runs on a walk and three hits, including a booming homer by Soriano, in one-third of an inning.

Notes

Soriano was absolutely horrendous in the field, and I’m not sure how he was absconded from being charged with at least one error in the seventh. He flat-out dropped a ball earlier in the game, on a fly ball that bounced off his glove.

Stokes’ appearance was Exhibit A of why he has not been more successful in MLB despite seemingly “good stuff”. With a man on third and RBI machine Aramis Ramirez at the plate, Stokes’ first pitch was left over the middle of the plate, and Ramirez drilled it into left to drive home the run. After doing that, he was inexplicably pitching around Jeff Baker. (Kids, take note. If you’re going to pitch around someone, make it in a situation where the go-ahead run is on third, first base is open, and the monster RBI guy is at the plate — not AFTER the run has already scored.) Then, with men on first and second, Stokes got Soriano to chase two breaking pitches in the dirt to get ahead 0-2. He hung the next pitch chest-high and over the middle of the plate, letting Soriano demolish it.

The Mets need to decide whether Stokes is a starter or a reliever. If it’s a reliever, he needs to cut his repertoire to a fastball and one other pitch — one that he can master. His biggest issue has always been trying to throw too many different pitches. All can look good at one time or another, but none are consistent.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Cubs do it again at 4:10 PM EST on Saturday. Bobby Parnell faces Ryan Dempster.

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