Mets 5 Marlins 3
Josh Johnson beat the Mets. Unfortunately for him, his Marlins team could not.
Josh Johnson beat the Mets. Unfortunately for him, his Marlins team could not.
Mets fans may have just heard the best news possible: the Marlins are sellers.
Seems we’re still traveling in a time machine and emerging from it to watch pitcher-dominated baseball from the 1970s — and I’m loving every minute of it.
So much for the longest-running Opening Day winning streak … not even Terry Collins’ speech could inspire the Mets to win.
They’re not dead yet!
The Mets came from behind in dramatic fashion, as the beleaguered Luis Castillo stroked a game-winning blooper in the bottom of the ninth to drive home Ike Davis with the winning run.
The situation was set up the inning before, when Angel Pagan stretched a single into a double and raced home on a base hit by Carlos Beltran to tie the ballgame.
Both the Braves and the Phillies lost, so the Mets picked up a game on both in the standings!
I heard the Mets won — listened on the radio — but didn’t see it, so don’t have much from an analysis perspective. This game must have been fun to watch (it was thrilling to listen to), yet how many actually did? Too bad it didn’t happen in May, when people were still paying attention. With the Mets more or less out of the race, the team usually playing more lackluster than they did in this contest, and the NFL season coming soon, people are finding better things to do than pay attention to the futiles of Flushing.
If you didn’t listen on the radio, you missed a gem at the very end by Howie Rose, after Castillo’s game-winner, as his teammates rushed from the dugout to congratulate him:
“No one’s ever loved a pounding as much as the one Castillo is getting right now ….”
That right there almost made it worth listening.
Angel Pagan went 4-for-5 with 2 doubles, his 31st stolen base, and 3 runs scored. Beltran went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and 2 walks. Perhaps he is getting hot and will put the Mets on his back and carry him to a playoff spot?
Jeff Francoeur drove in 2 runs with two sac flies.
Gaby Sanchez hit a homer and a double and drove in four of the five Fish runs.
In unrelated news, lifelong Dodger fan Rod Barajas fulfilled his childhood dream of wearing an LA uniform and went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer. He did that once for the Mets a few months ago, I believe.
Mets and Fish play again in Flushing on Wednesday night at 7:10 PM. Pat Misch goes against Alex Sanabia, whoever that is.
Another close one, and this time the Mets came up short.
It was a battle of the aces, and both Josh Johnson and Johan Santana lived up to their billing, trading zeroes through seven frames. Each ace gave up one run, and each made an error. Both received stellar defense from their teammates.
In the end, it was a battle of the bullpens — and the Mets’ most-used reliever gave up a walk, a hit, and a wild pitch to give the Fish the ballgame.
Johan Santana didn’t have his best stuff, but … I promised not to write this any more. He is who he is — a crafty pitcher who pitches backward, relying on an array of changeups and sliders to set up an occasional 89-90 MPH fastball. In other words, a younger version of Jamie Moyer.
Santana went a full 7 innings, allowing one unearned run on 6 hits and a walk, striking out 5 and tossing 98 pitches. The one unearned run came as a result of Santana throwing the ball too high to second base after a sacrifice bunt attempt by Johnson.
Josh Johnson matched Santana pitch-for-pitch, and then some. The Mets managed only 3 hits and 1 run, striking out 7 times and drawing zero walks in 7 innings against him. I don’t know how anyone can hit his 96 MPH, knee-high fastball.
Gaby Sanchez was the only batter from either side to have a good day, going 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored. He also made a leaping, snazzy snare of a bullet of a line drive off the bat of Santana in the second that ended the innng and prevented at least one run from scoring.
Jerry Manuel made some head-scratching moves in this game, that were magnified due to the final score. First, why are you asking Jose Reyes to bunt in the 9th with Luis Castillo on second base and no outs? Mind you, I’m an old-school guy and believe there is room in the game for a sac bunt now and then. This was neither now nor then. Why? Because by writing Reyes into the #3 spot in the order, you are effectively stating that he is your BEST hitter. If you are tied late in the game, and there is a runner on second base, you want your BEST hitter at the plate to drive the run in. You do not make your best hitter give away one of your precious 27 outs in that situation. The purpose of the sacrifice bunt is to push a runner into scoring position so that one of your best hitters can drive that runner home. So when you already HAVE a runner in scoring position, and your best hitter is at the plate, there is no need to do anything other than sit back and give that hitter the opportunity to drive the run home.
And never mind the argument that Reyes has been struggling lately — it’s an obvious point. But if he is struggling, to the point where you’d rather he make an out than take a shot at driving in a run, then why is he in the #3 spot in the first place?
The second head-scratcher was leaving Fernando Nieve in for a second inning, after he successfully threw a scoreless 8th without having his arm fall off. Nieve has appeared in 22 games thus far (on pace for 102 by season’s end), and has been looking increasingly tired as the month of May has wore on. Managing in a vacuum, where yesterday is forgotten and tomorrow may never come, keeping Nieve in for a second inning makes sense. But in reality, where you have to consider a pitcher’s past and what you hope to accomplish in the future, asking him to pitch multiple innings is both irresponsible and akin to playing with dynamite. As a result, the decision blew up in Manuel’s face.
The Mets have now lost 8 of their last 12, have fallen to third place, and could allow the Fish to join them in third if they lose on Friday. Oh, and guess who’s pitching tomorrow? See below.
The Mets and Marlins do it again at 7:10 PM on Friday night. Oliver Perez takes the mound against Anibal Sanchez. What happens next is anyone’s guess.
It couldn’t be a better day.
Beautiful, sunny, warm weather, an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel for five frames, followed by an offensive outburst by the home team.
And by the late afternoon, the Mets notched their first win of the year.
Johan Santana didn’t have Cy Young stuff, but he had enough to hold off the Fish through six — allowing only four hits and two walks, striking out five. He also had an early lead, thanks to a two-run homer by David Wright in his first at-bat of 2010.
Meanwhile, the Mets finally figured out their perennial nemesis Josh Johnson, who struggled with his command and was knocked out of the game before recording an out in the sixth. The Mets scored four times that inning and once again in the seventh to put the game away.
Fernando Nieve pitched two scoreless innings of pressure-free relief and Francisco Rodriguez finished up in a non-save situation.
This was the first time the Mets beat Josh Johnson. Ever. He’s now 7-1 career vs. the Mets.
Gary Matthews Jr. went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, and 2 runs scored. “So there!”, says GMJ and Jerry Manuel to all the critics lambasting Manuel for the Opening Day lineup.
Though, Mike Jacobs and Alex Cora were a combined 0-for-8 with an RBI, neither player reaching base. All part of Jerry’s master plan, I guess.
Jason Bay quietly went 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored and saw more pitches — 23 — than any other Met hitter.
Fernando Tatis came into the game as a defensive replacement for Mike Jacobs in the 8th. I’m not sure whether that’s comical or sad.
The Mets begin 2010 in first place in the NL East, and will remain there, guaranteed, for at least the next 50 hours. Game Two of 2010 begins at 7:10 PM on Wednesday in Flushing. John Maine takes the mound against Ricky Nolasco.
Late summer depression has set in: the days getting shorter, Mets games growing longer.
Somehow, this 2-hour and 40-minute contest felt more like 4-5 hours of Chinese water torture … don’t ask me why.
Mike Pelfrey squandered an early 2-0 lead, eventually allowing 5 runs on 11 hits and 5 walks in 5 2/3 innings, expending 118 pitches.
Josh Johnson scattered 9 hits over 6 innings to beat the Mets for the seventh time against no losses in his career. Former Met Matt Lindstrom threw another dominating innng in setup relief.
There was some talk in the postgame suggesting that Luis Castillo’s lack of execution on a few plays didn’t help Pelfrey (strangely, no mention of Dan Murphy not helping Castillo with a routine scoop on a low throw at the back end of a DP relay). Maybe Castillo’s poor night did compound a situation or two, but Pelfrey still allowed 16 baserunners through less than 6 innings.
Jerry Manuel thought Pelfrey “was OK”. Huh. Not the descriptor I would’ve used.
Manuel also suggested that had the Mets executed defensively, they would’ve had a better chance to win. No sh**, Sherlock? News flash to the Master of the Obvious: your team has had a problem executing defensively, and fundamentally, since you took over from Willie Randolph. It’s not a coincidence.
Though Murphy was awful in the field on this particular evening, he did collect two hits, including a double that moved Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen to compare him to Pete Rose and Wade Boggs. Stop. It. Now. This is the exact insanity at the this exact time last year that caused the Mets to pencil in Murphy as the team’s starting leftfielder in February. When Murph gets his average over .270 and his OBP to .320, we can start including him in sentences with everyday MLBers (though, still not HOFers).
Don’t get me wrong, I like Dan Murphy, I really do. But I find it obscenely offensive to compare him to people like Pete Rose and Wade Boggs at this point in his career — it’s an insult to my intelligence, and akin to comparing Omir Santos to Johnny Bench. Let’s see the kid achieve the level of “Major League Average Everyday Ballplayer” (or as the geeks say, “replacement level player“) before comparing him to Hall of Famers, OK?
Fernando Tatis paralleled the weather with a hot night, going 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored — moving Ron Darling to quip in the postgame, “Tatis is not part of the problem, he’s part of the solution”. Dear lord … if a 34-year-old .250 hitter is part of the solution, maybe I’ve misunderstood the problem.
On a positive note, Cory Sullivan made an awesome throw from left field to nail Dan Uggla attempting to stretch a single into a double. He made another impressive throw to home plate later in the game (though there was no play). See, I’m not completely negative.
The series finale begins at 1:10 PM on Thursday afternoon. Tim Redding goes against Anibal Sanchez.