Mets 9 Reds 4
The final score belies what this game was.
The final score belies what this game was.
Well, at least they fought back.
The Mets fell behind 8-1 after a six-run top of the fifth but before the Reds could relax, the home team responded with five runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. Unfortunately, the Mets didn’t score again while the Reds added an insurance run, hence the final score. Hey, the guy is 10-3 … games like this are going to happen once in a while.
Mike Pelfrey had a bad night, allowing 7 earned runs on 9 hits and 4 walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Fernando Nieve crawled out from under his rock and pitched three innings of relief, allowing one run and striking out 3. I still like his running, sinking fastball but he seems to have lost his “edge” — and that has nothing to do with Derek Jeter.
Reds 8 Mets 6
You can’t win ’em all …
Not a good day for Oliver Perez, who was charged with 8 runs in less than five innings of work — though he wasn’t helped by Darren O’Day, who allowed two inherited runners to score.
Ollie cruised through the first two innings, then allowed four runs in the third and fell apart in the fifth. Other than O’Day, the bullpen did its job in holding the Reds scoreless, and the offense tried to chip away, but fell short.
If nothing else, it was interesting to see that the Mets would in fact play all nine innings when behind. There was some speculation that they would concede the contest after the seventh, since JJ Putz and K-Rod were acquired with the intention of shortening the game by two innings.
Sure, you don’t like to see the Mets lose, but look at it this way — they took two out of three, and won their first series.
Prior to Opening Day, the Reds were my sleeper pick for the Cinderella team of 2009. If these first three games are any indication, I’m WAY off. Their pitching is thinner than it appears on paper, and their young hitters may still be a year away. Mostly, though, they look sloppy in the field, reminiscent of the Marlins of the past few seasons. If they don’t find another quality starting pitcher and tighten up the defense, they’re headed for another dismal season.
Before the game, Jerry Manuel told reporters that “if you can get six good innings out of Ollie, that’ll be great”. No kidding. That’s pretty much the hope for every starting pitcher, isn’t it? For example, wouldn’t it have been “great” if Johan Santana could have given the Mets six good innings on Opening Day? I can’t believe they cut away from the game action to show us that pearl of wisdom.
Ryan Church is starting out similarly to last April, mashing line drives to all fields.
I seem to remember the Mets having a hard time winning the final game of a series when it was a weekday, day game. I can’t find the numbers anywhere to support that assumption, but it sure felt that way.
Keith Hernandez likes the new SNY graphics. I don’t, since they remove about one-fifth of my TV screen real estate. Andrew Vazzano of TheRopolitans agrees.
Keith and I do agree on one thing though — Joey Votto is the real deal. I’m sticking by my outrageous MVP prediction.
A number of missed hit-and-runs from both sides in this series, yet nearly all of them resulted in a stolen base.
Gary Sheffield made his Mets debut in this game, appearing as a pinch-hitter to lead off the ninth (he struck out looking). Strange move, since high-OBP man Luis Castillo was available on the bench. Maybe Jerry Manuel promised Castillo a full day off — I’m sure he was absolutely exhausted after playing two full games over the previous three days.
Ramon Castro remains a sloppy catcher, who drives me crazy with his annoying habit of jerking (I’m sure he calls it “framing”) every pitch. I spotted at least five occasions where Castro lost a legit strike because he jerked his glove toward the middle of the plate instead of catching the ball when it was a strike (a.k.a., “beating the ball to the spot”). One of those pitches came in the fifth and would’ve been strike three to Votto, and on the next pitch Votto hit an RBI single. Think about that. Votto’s single would’ve been an out, which means there would not have been a man on third so Brandon Phillips’ fly ball would not have been a sac fly driving in a run, and Ryan Hanigan’s fly ball would’ve been out number three, and Paul Janish would not have come to bat and singled in two. Do the math, and you tell me whether I’m nitpicking.
No, Paul Janish is not related to me. People in my family can hit, and have much larger feet. And my name is not pronounced “Yahn-ish” — it’s “Jan-ish”.
The Mets travel to Miami to play the first-place Marlins in a three-game set, beginning with a Friday night game at 7:10 PM. John Maine is scheduled to face Anibal Sanchez.
Mets 9 Reds 7
This one was reminiscent of a 2008 ballgame: Mets jump ahead, Mike Pelfrey has control issues, loses the lead, gets it back, and barely gets through five, and the bullpen keeps us on the edge of our seat through the final out. If this were 2008, we’d expect the offense to go to sleep after the fifth. But this is 2009, and the offense did something that was rarely seen last year: they tacked on runs in the later innings.
Carlos Delgado gave the Mets a two-run lead with a prodigious blast in the top of the first, but Joey Votto did one better with a not-so-prodigious but more productive fly ball.
It took Pelfrey 43 pitches to get through the initial inning, an early signal that the bullpen would play a key role in the contest.
However the Mets came back with three runs in the fifth, when Delgado grounded out with the bases loaded and Carlos Beltran followed with a two-run single. Delgado added another run in the seventh, singling in David Wright. The two Carloses combined for 6 of the Mets’ 9 runs on the night.
Brian Schneider broke the game open in the seventh with a three-run double to make it easy on the bullpen, which was less than perfect.
Luis Castillo made several key defensive plays throughout the game, including a throw to home to cut down Joey Votto attempting to steal home on a pickoff attempt.
Big Pelf was falling behind with his sinker, which was running too hard and far in on the righties / away from the lefties. My guess is he was having trouble getting a good grip on the ball in the cold weather, and/or his thumb was a little too high and to the side of the ball at the release. When the thumb slides up, the ball will go flying in the opposite direction. Cold, slightly humid weather can make the ball feel slick and cause that to happen.
Bobby Parnell started off the sixth with two quick outs, then walked the next two batters. He was saved by Darnell McDonald, who showed why he spent 11 years in the minors by swinging at the first pitch (out of the strike zone) following a four-pitch walk. McDonald fell behind 0-2 and grounded out weakly to end the almost-rally. Parnell was hitting 94-95 MPH on the radar gun with his fastball, but was unable to spot the slider in the strike zone.
Pedro Feliciano and J.J. Putz gave up a run each in the 7th and 8th, which was OK since the Mets had a significant lead. However, Francisco “Don’t Call Me K-Rod” Rodriguez made things interesting in the ninth,
giving up another run(wow it sure felt like he did) loading the bases with one out before retiring the side on a strikeout and a long fly ball to the warning track. Get used to this, Mets fans — Frankie was famous for these thrillers in Hollywood.
Nine walks by Mets pitchers in this game. That’s too many, for those who aren’t sure.
K-Rod threw 30 pitches; is he available to close on Thursday afternoon?
The Mets and Reds do it again in an early afternoon game tomorrow at 12:30 PM EST. Oliver Perez goes against Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo had been suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, but reportedly is OK after a cortisone shot. Too much guitar playing?