Giants 6 Mets 5
The Mets almost won … but fell a hair short. Still, they took a series they needed to take.
Early on, it didn’t seem possible.
Mr. Hyde Oliver Perez was walking the ballpark, and the Mets hitters couldn’t touch Tim Lincecum.
Then, the wind changed.
Thanks to idiotic management decisions, terrible fundamentals, and a few wind-blown balls, the Giants completely blew golden opportunities to put the game away and gave the Mets extra chances to gain a win — and the Mets made the most of them.
Then, the wind changed again. Rookie Jenrry Mejia, pitching in the setup role and protecting a one-run lead, walked John Bowker in the 8th, then allowed a two-run homer to Aaron Rowand to give the lead back to the Giants.
Jason Bay had a wind-blown double to lead off the ninth, but was stranded there when closer Brian Wilson struck out the side.
Oliver Perez was terrible. Absolutely terrible. At one point he had 3-ball counts to nine straight batters, and 11 out of 12. By the time he left, he allowed only 3 earned runs but walked 7 in 3 1/3 innings. It could’ve — and should’ve — been a lot worse. Only the horrendous managing of Bruce Bochy kept him in the game.
Bruce Bochy has a great reputation as a manager, but he had me baffled in the top of third, while Oliver Perez was on the mound and unable to throw a strike. With a runner on first — due to a walk — and Pablo Sandoval at the plate with no outs and a 3-1 count, Bochy called the hit and run TWICE in a row. These calls came just moments after Perez threw a pitch 20 feet outside — causing Gary Cohen to channel his inner Bob Uecker a la “Bull Durham” / Nuke LaLoosh. As a result of this stupidity, Sandoval swung at two pitches out of the strike zone, and eventually popped out for the first out of the inning. Didn’t seem like a big deal, but the Giants eventually loaded the bases thanks to another walk and a hit-by-pitch. A pop out and a great catch at the wall by Angel Pagan ended an inning that Perez should never have escaped.
An inning later, after Perez walked the leadoff man, Bochy had Tim Lincecum sacrifice — this despite the fact Perez had gone to a three-ball count to 9 straight hitters and the fact that Lincecum walked his previous at-bat. As it turned out, Lincecum’s bunt was right back to Perez, who — ironically — threw wildly to second base but got the out. Why Bochy would give the Mets, and Perez, an out under those circumstances is beyond comprehension. As it was, the Giants again loaded the bases, knocked Perez out of the game, and scored only two runs. Between those two innings, the Giants should have scored at least 4 or 5.
Maybe that sounds like me not being a Mets fan or being negative but I’m a baseball fan first and stupid baseball makes me insane — and that was stupid, stupid, stupid baseball by Bochy. Sometimes managers should step out of the way and let the other team beat themselves, rather than forcing their genius into an opportunity.
Tim Lincecum was unusually fabulous against the Mets. I say “unusually” because he was winless in 3 career starts vs. the Mets, allowing 30 baserunners in 19 innings and posting a 5.68 ERA. This time, Mets fans saw the “real” Tim Lincecum. OK, now we get it.
Strangely, though, Lincecum’s fastball sat around 90 MPH, only occasionally going as high as 91-92. This is a pitcher who regularly threw 97-101 MPH not so long ago. Cold weather, lack of strength, or possible injury? Time will tell.
David Wright was thrown out of the game after striking out looking in the bottom of the 9th with Bay on second base. It was a close call, could’ve gone either way — it was a fastball with a heckuva lotta run, and it ended up looking off the plate by the time it was caught. Had the Mets tied the game, they’d have been in a bit of a fix, because they were out of position players. We might’ve seen Mike Pelfrey playing left field in the top of the 10th.
Fernando Nieve made an appearance, and is on pace to tie Mike Marshall’s record for most games by a pitcher in a season (104).
Next Mets Game
Mets host the surprising Nationals on Monday night at 7:10 PM. John Maine faces Luis Atilano.