Tag: livan hernandez

Mets Game 69: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 3 Mets 0

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.

Notes

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.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Cardinals play game three of four on Wednesday evening at 7:10 PM. Fernando Nieve faces Brad Thompson.

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Mets Game 64: Loss to Orioles

Orioles 5 Mets 4

Not even Frankie Rodriguez is immune to the failure disease permeating the New York Mets.

Given a one-run lead to hold, K-Rod allowed two hits, walked two batters, and allowed two runs to hand the victory to the Baltimore Orioles in the bottom of the ninth.

The tying run scored on a bases-loaded walk, and the winning run scampered home on an Aubrey Huff line drive single to right field.

K-Rod’s second blown save of the week wasted a brilliant outing by Livan Hernandez, who had thrown 7 solid innings of two-run ball.

Notes

I’ve decided to view Mets games in the same way I do college basketball — which is, don’t bother watching until the final minutes, when the game is ultimately decided.

Was it me, or was Carlos Beltran loafing on a ground ball to shortstop before Robert Andino threw the ball away, allowing Beltran to proceed to second base? I could swear he let up about halfway down the line. But, I nitpick. Beltran WAS running hard on his two stolen bases, after all.

David Wright went 0 for 4, snapping an 11-game hitting streak. He was taking some very big swings and producing a lot of cool breezes.

Alex Cora was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base out of the leadoff spot. His OBP is now .387. His career OBP in 11 years of MLB service is .315, which begs the question: is this a fluke, or is he simply a really, really late bloomer?

Aubrey Huff was 3-for-5 with a run and the game-winning RBI in his final audition for Omar Minaya. However, his glovework at 1B was less than mediocre.

Pedro Feliciano was brought in to face the lefties in the 8th. He got a groundout from Nick Markakis but Huff ripped a double off of him. Huff eventually scored with Sean Green on the mound.

Next Mets Game

The Mets come home to host the Tampa Bay No Longer Devilish Rays. Flamethrower Fernando Nieve faces Andy Sonnanstine in his Flushing hideaway on Friday. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

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Mets Game 59: Loss to Yankees

Yankees 9 Mets 8

castillo-oopsJust pack it in, Mets fans.

The score went back and forth all night, and in the end it was a combination of poor fundamentals / bad baseball vs. all-out hustle that was the difference.

After going ahead 8-7 in the top of the eighth — against the immortal Mariano Rivera no less — the Mets appeared poised to take the game, with their perfect closer Francisco Rodriguez heading to the mound.

Indeed, K-Rod dispatched of Brett Gardner to get the initial out of the ninth, gave up a single to Derek Jeter, then struck out Johnny Damon for the second out of the inning. However, Jeter stole second on the strikeout, putting himself in scoring position and leaving first base open — giving Rodriguez the luxury of pitching around Mark Teixeira, which he did. That brought up Alex Rodriguez, who was ahead of the count 3-1 when he popped a routine fly ball to short right field. It appeared to be an easy out, but Luis Castillo stumbled a bit, lost sight of the ball, and the horsehide bounced off the side of his glove, falling safely on the outfield grass. Meantime, Mark Teixeira took nothing for granted, and was busting it full tilt on contact, and scored easily from first base on the dropped ball. Just like that, game over, Yanks win. Ouch.

Notes

What a shame … Luis Castillo seemed to have finally found his way back into the hearts of Mets fans with his slick glove work and much-improved offense. But all that has been erased thanks to one little popup. Honestly, he should be traded as soon as possible — not because he’s a bad ballplayer, but because the fans will never, ever forgive him for this one.

BTW, where was Ryan Church on that popup? He should have been nearby, maybe close enough to back up the play. Instead, he assumed — like the rest of us — that the game was over and thus he was jogging toward the dugout. Maybe, just maybe, had he continued charging in and been nearby when Castillo dropped the ball, he would’ve been in position to pick it up and keep Teixeira at third base. Then, who knows?

People wonder why I get on certain Mets for dogging it on occasion, and make such a big deal about hustling 100%, all the time. Well, Teixeira showed you why — because although 99% of the time it may not make a difference, at least 1% of the time it wins you a game (in truth, the percentage is much higher than that).

Yes, Castillo is clearly and obviously the most visible goat of this game. However, I had a major problem with intentionally walking Teixeira, who represented the winning run, particularly with Alex Rodriguez coming to bat. It’s just bad baseball to put the winning run on base. Let the guy beat you with a two-run homer — the odds are in your favor if you make him swing.

Speaking of other goats grazing in the pasture, new LOOGY Jon Switzer allowed a three-run homer to Hideki Matsui on the third pitch he threw as a Met to give up a two-run lead. Switzer threw six balls total — three were balls, three were hit into play. Next!

Home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth made it tough on all hitters and all pitchers, for both sides, with his remarkably inconsistent strike zone. Pitches in particular spots that were called strikes one minute were called balls the next, and vice-versa.

Strange move by Joe Girardi to bring in Mo Rivera with two outs in the eighth inning of a tie game. Obviously he wanted the matchup of Rivera’s cutter against Beltran from the left side, but it backfired when Beltran walked, setting up David Wright to drive a double to put the Mets ahead. Talk about managing for your job.

Another strange move by Girardi was allowing Brett Gardner to lead off the bottom of the ninth, rather than replace him with veteran Johnny Damon — who came in two batters later as a pinch-hitter for Nick Swisher. Personally, I’d have preferred to have the two veterans — Swisher AND Damon — face K-Rod in that situation. Further, I’ll take Damon any day of the week, against any pitcher, to lead off an inning in a game where I absolutely need a baserunner. The guy has been and remains an on-base machine.

Early in the game, Joba Chamberlain seemed to be giving away the contest — and boring everyone to sleep — with his inability to throw strikes to the least-dangerous hitters in the Mets lineup. I don’t know what was going through that young man’s head, but he wasn’t focused on making his pitches. How in the world do you walk Alex Cora twice in consecutive innings without coming near the strike zone once — knowing full well that the two best hitters in the NL are looming on double-deck? If I were Jorge Posada, I might have choked Chamberlain.

All told, Yankees pitchers handed nine free passes to the Mets. From that standpoint, the Bronx Bombers had no business winning the game. But they did.

The Mets left nine runners on base, the Yankees left five.

Ryan Church had only one hit but drove in three runs and stole a base. Wright had two more hits and a walk, lifting his average to .364 and his OBP to .461.

You can’t keep saying, “well the Mets would’ve won if only … (fill in the blank: so-and-so didn’t make an error, did make a play, didn’t allow a hit, was called safe / out, etc. etc.)” Because here’s the bottom line: whereas winning teams seem to find ways to win night in and night out, losing teams seem to find ways to lose. Guess which side of the fence the Mets are on this year?

Next Mets Game

Somehow, some way, the Mets will suit up again on Saturday in the Bronx to face the Yanks. Fernando Nieve makes his first start as a Met against Andy Pettitte. First pitch is at 4:10 PM and will be broadcast on FOX. Could it get any worse?

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Mets Game 55: Win Over Nationals

Mets 7 Nationals 0

The Mets scored five runs before Livan Hernandez threw a pitch, and Livan coasted through the next 7 innings, shutting out the Nats and allowing only four hits and an uncharacteristic four walks en route to his fifth win.

Nats starter Craig Stammen stammered through the initial inning, allowing three hits, walking two, and uncorking a wild pitch to give the Mets a comfy five-spot. From there the Nats bats and defense rolled over, continuing to play uninspired, sloppy baseball, as the Mets stepped on their necks.

Notes

David Wright, Danny Murphy, and Ryan Church had two hits apiece, and all three scored a run. Church ripped a double in his first at-bat since coming off the DL.

Fernando Martinez also lashed a double in the first inning, driving in Alex Cora with the game’s first run.

Wright is now hitting .345, and has passed Carlos Beltran (.342). Beltran, though, was 0-for-7 just prior to the stomach bug, and is swinging the bat well, so we may see the two of them neck and neck for the batting title. There’s just the matter of Miguel Tejada, who is leading the NL at .351.

Next Mets Game

The Mets have a day off on Monday, then come home to host the Phillies on Tuesday. Johan Santana goes for his eighth win against J.A. Happ. First pitch to be released at 7:10 PM.

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Mets Game 50: Loss to Pirates

Pirates 8 Mets 5

Early on, it looked like it was going to be a laugher, as the Mets put up five quick runs in the first three innings off starter Ian Snell, who was getting no relief from the Pittsburgh bullpen at that point of the ballgame. But, in the end, it was the Pirates laughing last.

Snell settled down to pitch three scoreless innings, and the Bucs scored three times in the fourth to begin their crawl back, then plated another five in the eighth against Pedro Feliciano and J.J. Putz to take the lead.

Four members of the Bucco bullpen shut out the Mets over the final three innings.

Livan Hernandez pitched five and two-thirds innings before running out of gas, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out five.

Offensively, the bottom of the lineup did the bulk of the damage for the Mets, led by Jeremy Reed and Wilson Valdez in the #6 and #7 spots, who combined for four extra-base hits, three runs, and three RBI.

Notes

The Pirates sent 10 batters to the plate in that fateful eighth. Feliciano was charged with one, Putz the other four. Putz did not retire a batter in his 12-pitch performance.

Putz had a special bullpen session around 3pm prior to the game, supposedly to work on a glitch in his delivery that caused him to tip his pitches.

Prior to the game, Angel Pagan was put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin. No word on who would replace him, though Alex Cora is scheduled to come off the DL on Tuesday.

Carlos Beltran was a late scratch due to a stomach virus.

Gary Sheffield is definitely suffering from some kind of leg injury, because he’s running about one-quarter speed on the bases.

I realize the Mets are shorthanded and playing a makeshift lineup, but it’s hard to use that as an excuse in this contest. The Mets were cruising early, and the 100% healthy bullpen blew the game.

Bobby Parnell came in during the bottom of the sixth and struck out slugger Ramon Vazquez with the bases loaded to end the inning and preserve the Mets’ two-run lead. At the time it was a huge out. Oh well.

Two of the Pirates’ hits were deflected off the gloves of Mets pitchers.

I noticed that Wilson Valdez wears a Wilson glove. Coincidence?

Valdez failed to run on a chopper off the plate in the 8th, presumably because he thought the ball was foul. As it was, the ball was fair, and he was thrown out by 88 feet. But hey, he didn’t know where it was, and that’s a fine enough excuse for Omar Minaya’s dog pound known as the New York Mets. (Note to youngsters: run immediately, and keep running until the umpire makes a call.)

Nate McLouth, who is arguably the best young centerfielder in the National League, looked terrible, striking out three times.

PNC Park was looking empty; I would guess there were less than 10,000 people at the game — it was reminiscent of a 21st-century Montreal Expos game. And it should be noted that ticket prices are the same regardless of what team the Pirates are hosting (what a novel concept!).

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Pirates play again on Tuesday evening at 7:05 PM in Pittsburgh. Johan Santana faces Zach Duke.

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Mets Game 45: Win Over Nationals

Mets 6 Nationals 1

After watching two games with the Nationals, it’s clear the Mets have no fear of falling into the NL East cellar — even if all eight of their regulars go on the 60-day disabled list. Because for the second time in as many games, it wasn’t even close.

Livan Hernandez rode the Enterprise like Captain Kirk, going where no other Met starter has gone before — the ninth inning. (Heck, no Mets starter has pitched through the 8th!) Livan scattered nine hits and one walk, struck out six, and induced three double plays — all with an efficient 127 pitches. For the youngins’, this is how Major League starters used to navigate ballgames, back in the day.

On the offense, the orange and blue scored six times, but it didn’t seem like that many — it was a rather lazy, mostly uneventful game. The first three were scored on a Ramon “Don’t Send Me Down” Martinez double, a Fernando Tatis single, and a groundout by 20-year-old phenom Fernando Martinez. The final three scored on Gary Sheffield’s second three-run homerun into the left field stands in as many days (no review needed). By the way, are we still concerned about Sheff’s “poisonous” personality in the clubhouse?

The Nats’ only score came on a solo shot by Adam Dunn.

Notes

No doubt someone will be aghast by Livan’s pitch count, but it’s high time that MLB turns a blind eye to the sabermaniacs, the ASMI, and other nincompoops who preach the 100-pitch count as a blanket absolute. Every individual is different, and has unique limits. Based on their mechanics and volume of stressful pitches per outing (read: sliders) I’d let Livan go to 140 pitches before I’d let John Maine go to 100.

In the seventh inning, Nats reliever Jason Bergmann threw an awful 75-MPH curveball that hung up and in to Fernando Tatis, immediately after Gary Sheffield’s homer. Home plate umpire Dan Iassogna immediately, and inexplicably, issued warnings to both teams. Moments later, Tatis was hit with a fastball that looked a heckuva lot more like a purpose pitch than the hanging deuce, but was not ejected (he did, however, leave due to a pitching change). An inning later, Livan Hernandez plunked Justin Maxwell. In other words, the situation, if there was one, was handled as it’s supposed to be, by the players. But, can someone please explain the purpose of the “warning”? How does it make baseball a better game to change the strike zone and put the game in the hands of the umpires? Oh yeah … Bud “MCP” Selig perpetuated this blasphemy to protect the million-dollar assets of his owners’ club.

Fernando Martinez made his MLB debut and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and an RBI. He looks good in the uniform and has some serious wheels.

Adam Dunn collected his 1000th career hit in the second inning, a line drive to left field.

Next Game

The series finale begins at 7:10 PM on Wednesday. Johan Santana faces Jordan Zimmerman. I’ll be at the game, so send me an email if you’re there as well and I’ll buy you a domestic non-specialty beverage.

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Mets Game 40: Loss to Dodgers

Dodgers 2 Mets 1

Apparently, the Mets made like Tony Bennett and left their heart in San Francisco … because they had none in LA.

Livan Hernandez pitched a gem of a ballgame, giving the Mets seven strong innings of one-run ball and allowing just six hits and a walk. But it was all for naught, as the Dodgers squeezed one out of Livan in the first frame, and a second in the eighth off J.J. Putz, while the Mets offense remained anemic.

The Mets managed to stroke seven hits, but unfortunately they weren’t in a row. Carlos Beltran collected two of them, and drove in the Mets’ lone run.

Not much else to describe about this game, so on to the notes.

Notes

This was the most boring close game I’ve watched in a long time. You would think it could be described as a pitcher’s duel, but if you saw it, you would agree that descriptor is inappropriate. Just a lot of lazy ground balls. But then, I may be mistaking boredom for fatigue — these late-night West Coast games are wearing on me.

According to Gary Cohen (I was too tired to check), the Mets have gone 307 plate appearances without a homerun. Even Rey Ordonez popped one every 284 at-bats (I looked up that one).

Danny Murphy was spectacular in his debut at first base. Other than some trouble with his footing on the Mets’ first defensive play of the game, he handled everything that came to him, made NO game-deciding errors, and even jumped up really high once — an absolute natural. I think the Mets have found their first baseman of the present AND future. Hang up the phone, Omar, we’ve got our man!

Oh wait … Omar, get back on the phone. We need a shortstop. Jose Reyes left the game after attempting to beat out a grounder to second, reinjuring his calf. The big question, of course, is, will the Mets take their typical course of action, and play a 24-man roster for a week and a half, or will they do the sensible thing and place him in the DL immediately? Time to inquire on the availability of Bobby Crosby. Billy Beane might be willing to take a pair of nondescript A-ballers, who knows?

Next Game

Good news: the Mets will make like Snake Pliskin and Escape from L.A. The bad news: they’re on their way to Beantown. The weekend series opens at 7:10 PM on Friday in Boston. Johan Santana squares off against Daisuke Matsuzaka. Tomorrow we rest and reflect.

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Mets Game 35: Win Over Giants

Mets 8 Giants 6

Good to see that Johan Santana is not the only elite pitcher in baseball who has trouble collecting victories.

Following the script, the Mets jumped ahead in the first frame, but by the time they batted again, a win seemed a distinct impossibility.

After all, Livan Hernandez immediately gave up the one run lead, and four runs total, and San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum was hurling hellacious stuff.

The Giants extended the lead to 5-1 by the time the second inning ended, and Lincecum was looking downright nasty, so the picture grew bleaker.

However, Hernandez managed to keep the San Francisco bats at bay for three innings, and the Mets chipped away with a two spot in the top of the sixth. Reliever Sean Green gave one of them back in the bottom of the inning, but the Mets came charging back in the top of the seventh, rallying against a suddenly tired Lincecum. They put two runners on and Merkin Valdez (who?) was trotted in from the bullpen to put out the fire. A poor choice by SF manager Bruce Bochy, since the red-hot David Wright blasted a double to clear the bases and the game. Bochy came to his senses and immediately replaced Valdez with lefty Jeremy Affeldt, who struck out three of the next four batters to stop the bleeding.

The game remained tied until the top of the ninth, when “closer” Brian Wilson entered the game for the Giants and proceeded to melt down. He allowed back-to-back singles to Gary Sheffield and David Wright to start the inning, bringing up Ryan Church. Despite the fact that Church already had two hits, was swinging the bat well, and two RH hitters from the bottom of the order were up next, Church was asked to bunt. The ball was bunted hard right back to Wilson, and Sheffield would’ve been out at third by ten feet — but Wilson threw the ball into left field, allowing Sheff to score the go-ahead run and Wright to move to third. Omir Santos followed with his trademark sacrifice fly to make it 8-6 Mets. Wilson gave up a double to Fernando Tatis before he was finally, and mercifully, removed from the game.

Francisco Rodriguez came on in the ninth and notched his 11th save, completing a 1-2-3 inning for the first time since little league.

Notes

Pretty cool to see Lincecum not only drive in a run with an opposite-field base hit, but to also see him try to stretch it into a double (he was thrown out by Gary Sheffield). How often do you see a pitcher — much less a franchise ace — try to do that?

Keith Hernandez was a little silly during this broadcast. At one point, he referred to Ryan Church as “fleet of foot”.

Though several regular sticks in the Mets’ lineup were absent, the upside of the situation was that Jerry Manuel had several bullets to choose from in the late innings. Danny Murphy came through with a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth, but Jose Reyes failed in his pinch-hitting appearance in the seventh.

Bruce Bochy was tossed from the game after Pablo Sandoval was called out on strikes in the bottom of the seventh. Sandoval made a check swing on a full-count pitch from Pedro Feliciano, and the pitch hit him. Originally, the home plate umpire Doug Eddings clearly made the signal for Sandoval to take first base, then asked first base umpire Hunter Wendelstadt for help on the swing call. Wendelstadt called swing and Eddings reversed his original call. Very poor execution by the umpires — not only was it a bad move to ask for help AFTER sending the batter to first, but Wendelstadt also got the call wrong; Sandoval definitely didn’t swing.

Not to be outdone, Mets manager Jerry Manuel got himself tossed by Eddings less than ten minutes later, arguing a strike three call on Carlos Beltran.

David Wright had three hits. Ryan Church, Gary Sheffield, and Jeremy Reed all collected two hits apiece. Reed started at first base for the first time in his MLB career, and the first time since college.

Bengie Molina threw out Church attempting to steal second in the ninth. It was the Mets’ first failure a dozen attempts in the series.

Seeing the lack of offense and dearth of skill in their bullpen, it’s amazing the Giants won 18 times this year. I’m beginning to think the entire National League is awful. It’s either time to contract the league by a few teams or end PEDs testing, because the talent pool we’ve been seeing lately is below “Major League”.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Giants lock horns again at 4:10 PM EST on Saturday afternoon. Johan Santana faces Randy Johnson, though we’re learning that the starting pitchers really don’t matter so much.

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