Cardinals 4 Mets 3
If I told you Oliver Perez pitched into the seventh inning, allowing only one run on four hits, you’d probably think that either I had the wrong information or that the Mets won the game.
Yet, Perez DID put up that performance, and the Mets lost.
Wasting a rare occasion of superbness by Perez, the Mets bullpen finally caved, as Felipe Lopez blasted a grand slam homer in the seventh off 32-year-old rookie Raul Valdes to give the Cardinals all the runs they needed to win the game.
As well as Ollie pitched, Chris Carpenter pitched just as well — maybe a bit better — as he held the Mets offense to 4 hits and 3 walks and struck out 10 in 7 full innings. The Mets rallied for two runs against “closer” Ryan Franklin in the ninth, but it was too little, too late.
The Mets hitters were a woeful 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They left 8 runners on base.
Jeff Francoeur, buried in the #6 spot, remains red hot, going 2-for-3 with a walk (!) and two runs scored. He’s now hitting .457, and has a hit in every game this year, but it makes more sense to bat Mike Jacobs ahead of him against a righthanded pitcher because, after all, Jacobs hits from the left side.
Frank Catalanotto rapped an RBI single for the Mets second run on the first and only pitch he saw, as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
Garry Mathews, Jr. scored the Mets’ third and final run but struck out three times.
The Mets’ first run of the game came on a throwing error by Brendan Ryan on a sac bunt by Ollie Perez.
Yes, the bullpen failed. Did you expect them to be perfect through 162 games?
Felipe Lopez hit his first grand slam since April 4, 2008 — he hit that one against the Mets, too, but as a member of the Nationals. For those unaware, Lopez plays both SS and 2B, hits from both sides, and was a free agent this winter. He signed a one-year, $1M contract at the end of February. However, he doesn’t have the clubhouse presence of Alex Cora.
You can get frustrated watching the Mets lose this game, thinking, “jeez, they finally played a good game for nine full innings, and battled, and they still lost”. However, what the Mets need to do is compete and perform like this EVERY game, and eventually the wins will outnumber the losses. You can’t expect a team to win just because they play well — this is the big leagues, and to be a contender you must play well all the time.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Cardinals do it again at 4:10 PM on Saturday in St. Louis. Johan Santana faces Jamie Garcia.