Angels 4 Mets 3
Inning late, base hit short.
Inning late, base hit short.
Another target of Omar Minaya has chosen greener pastures — starting pitcher Joel Pineiro has signed with the Angels for two years, $16M.
Personally, I’m indifferent, since I see Pineiro
It is no secret that the Mets need to acquire more quality pitching to contend in 2010 — both in the starting rotation and the bullpen (though, most people are ignoring the ‘pen part of the issue).
Let’s go over the names being bandied about.
Free agents go on the open market today, and with a lack of trading chips, the Mets are expected to dive in deep to fill their multiple holes.
At minimum, they need at least one starting pitcher — maybe two; a catcher; a left fielder; a utility infielder; a LOOGY; a righthanded reliever; and a first baseman (though, that one’s up for argument).
With so many holes to fill and the Mets desperate to erase the 2009 season from memory, fans should fear the following.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse …
Thanks to Iron Mike, the Mets were able to touch the previously untouchable Joel Pineiro for 7 runs on 11 hits in only five frames. Combine that with the fact they had ace Johan Santana on the mound, and you would think this game would be a slam-dunk.
You know how ugly a missed dunk is?
Santana was not his vintage self, but appeared to have pitched just well enough to win. Backed by the offense’s seven-run outburst (two of which he drove in himself), Johan allowed five runs on nine hits in eight innings, and exited with a two-run lead in the hands of fellow Venezuelan Francisco Rodriguez.
However, Frankie shat the bed, giving up back-to-back doubles to Rick Ankiel and Julio Lugo to start the ninth. He struck out pinch-hitter Colby Rasmus, but engaged in a 7-pitch battle royale with the next hitter, Skip Schumaker. Unfortunately for the Mets, Schumaker ended the at-bat with a single to score Lugo and tie up the game. Just like that, Santana had a no-decision and K-Rod his fourth blown save.
The Mets mounted a mild two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth but it petered out when Dan Murphy fanned. The Cards loaded the bases in the top of the tenth and were given the go-ahead run when Sean Green’s first pitch plunked Mark DeRosa. Green’s fifth pitch — an 0-2 slider — was deposited into the seats by Sir Albert Pujols, completing the Cards’ eight-run blitzkrieg over the final three innings.
Green’s HBP scored a runner initially put on base by Pedro Feliciano, so Feliciano was tagged with the loss — his fourth of the year.
To add injury to insult, Luis Castillo slipped on his way down the dugout steps and sprained his ankle after grounding out in the seventh. He’ll likely miss a few games as a result. Shame, considering how well Castillo has been playing of late.
Have to wonder why Brian Stokes threw only one pitch in the tenth. Jerry Manuel chose to play the Matchup Game one day after the bullpen was severely stretched, using Stokes, Feliciano, and Green. What exactly was the plan if the game went 11 or 12 frames? I suppose we would have seen Nelson Figueroa at some point.
K-Rod seemed to be having trouble with his release point, as he left many of his breaking pitches up in the strike zone — he wasn’t “finishing” his pitches, releasing just a hair too early. He threw a season-high 41 pitches, so with Wednesday’s game beginning in the early afternoon, you can forget about his availability. Additionally, Feliciano has thrown 40 pitches over the past 5 days, and 79 over the last 9. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but remember he’s warming up in the bullpen before coming into these games, so add in another 15-20 pitches at minimum per day.
In all honesty, I felt a slight pang of concern when Manuel pinch-hit for Santana in the bottom of the 8th. I know he was having a rough night, and had thrown 103 pitches, but there was this thought in my head suggesting that the best plan was to leave Johan in there. Naturally, if he was left in and the Mets lost as a result, I’d be raking Manuel over the coals for making such a boneheaded decision. Maybe the problem is that I’ve been trained to expect the worst from this ballclub.
Pujols, who had been “slumping” recently (1 for his last 13 coming into the game), was 4-for-5 with 2 HRs, 3 runs scored, and 5 RBI. Hate to think what might’ve happened if he were on a hot streak.
The final game of the series occurs at 12:10 PM on Wednesday afternoon. Jonathan Niese faces Kyle Lohse.
Since joining the St. Louis Cardinals, Joel Pineiro has been a thorn in the Mets’ side, most recently channeling Christy Mathewson when he faced the orange and blue.
In two starts covering 17 innings this year, Pineiro has a 1.04 ERA vs. the Mets, allowing only 8 hits and a .151 batting average.
Last year, the Mets pounded him for 21 hits in 9 innings, but the Cards won both contests.
However, tonight it’s going to be different. Jerry Manuel — always looking for ways to exploit technology to get an edge on the competition — has come up with a way to prepare for Pineiro’s vaunted sinkerball. Manuel told reporters prior to the game that the pitching machine was adjusted in such a manner that it was now throwing sinkers (previously, if you remember, it was set to throw curveballs).
So no worries …. after facing the sinkers from “Iron Mike”, Pineiro should be no problem at all.
If you were wondering what happens when a bad hitting team runs into a hot pitcher …
Joel Pineiro was magnificent, spinning a complete game, two-hit shutout, the second he’s thrown this season. Pineiro induced 22 ground balls — 21 for outs — and struck out one in completely paralyzing the Mets bats.
The Mets wasted a very good outing by Livan Hernandez, who hurled seven innings of 8-hit, 3-run (2 earned) ball.
Joel Pineiro has evolved into something of a Met killer. Super.
Pineiro scored the first run of the game on a throwing error by first baseman Danny Murphy. The other two runs scored on a single by Albert Pujols, who now leads MLB with 70 RBI. Wow … 70 RBI in 71 games played … crazy.
Elmer Dessens pitched the final two innings for the Mets, but I didn’t even notice. He held the Redbirds hitless.
The only Mets who hit safely were Luis Castillo and Jeremy Reed, both singles. Reed’s hit was of the pinch variety, and came with one out in the ninth. So he spoiled the one-hitter. Yee ha.
The game was delayed a few times due to rain. The grounds crew reminded me of the Keystone Cops, rolling the tarp on and off the field as the rain clouds came and went.
The Mets and Cardinals play game three of four on Wednesday evening at 7:10 PM. Fernando Nieve faces Brad Thompson.