Marlins 11 Mets 4
At first, it seemed as though the game was in the bag for the Mets. They had a 4-zip lead early on, and Jonathon Niese was mowing down the Fish, striking out 6 in the first three frames.
The Fish chipped out two in the fourth on a homer by Hanley Ramirez, and then fed on Niese like piranha in the sixth, splashing seven runs before the tide rolled out.
Oh, and to add injury to insult, Jose Reyes left the game in the first inning with an aggravation of his oblique injury. He’ll be out at least one game, and until he “is completely healed”.
Niese looked so good initially, then completely fell apart. 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, but 8 Ks. It was too ugly to talk about.
In contrast, Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez looked awful at first, but wound up the winner. He was walking and hitting batters like it was his intention, and allowed 15 baserunners in 5 innings, but the futile Flushing offense couldn’t take advantage, leaving a dozen men on base. This game was representative of the three-game series, and the Marlins-Mets meetups in general, in that it always seems like the Fish are trying to give the game away but the Mets appear unable to take it from them. Ever since Joe Girardi left, the Marlins have been a fundamentally flawed team that finds ways to lose ballgames — a function of having a tiny payroll and playing kids who should be getting seasoning in the minors. Yet, they’re a game and a half ahead of the Mets in the standings.
Ah, yes, the standings. The Mets gained no ground on the Phillies, who were swept by the Astros in four straight, nor the Braves, who lost their last three. They’re once again under .500 and 10 games back in the NL East.
But let’s try to be positive. For example, David Wright is definitely “in the zone”, as he had two more hits including a monstrous homer in the first. Angel Pagan is also long beyond his mini-slump, as he collected two more hits, including a double.
Another positive: Manny Acosta threw two perfect innings, expending just 18 pitches in the process.
Further, Jeff Francoeur had two hits, an RBI, and a walk (!) and made a fantastic catch at the wall in the sixth of a Wes Helms liner … but allowed a blooper by Brett Hayes to bounce into the stands only minutes later.
Speaking of Francoeur, during the postgame coverage on SNY, the ebullient rightfielder was quoted as saying “…after they scored the ninth run, it was pretty much over.” Hmm … at that point, it was 9-4. Not to nitpick, but about 24 years earlier, there were two teams that came back from 10-1 deficits to win. Being down five runs doesn’t seem so insurmountable compared to being down nine. Maybe that defeatist mentality is something solely specific to Francoeur — or maybe it is something that has been cultivated by Jerry Manuel over the past two and a half years. You’ve been watching this team over that period, so you be the judge.
So much for the positive.
Next Mets Game
The Mets host the red-hot Houston Astros for a weekend series in Flushing beginning Friday at 7:10 PM. Mike Pelfrey faces former Met Nelson Figueroa.