Tag: ian snell

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 30: Win Over Pirates

Mets 8 Pirates 4

For the seventh consecutive game, the Mets were the victor.

Livan Hernandez had a rough start to the game, but eventually settled down to pitch six strong innings, allowing just two runs on four walks and seven hits. However, Pirates starter Ian Snell was unusually efficient, and held the Mets scoreless in five of the six innings he threw. In that one inning (the fourth), though, the Mets plated three, and tacked on five more against the Bucs bullpen. As with the first two games of this series, the Pirates were simply overwhelmed, and Mets completed the sweep.

Notes

Livan Hernandez has now pitched into the sixth inning four times in six starts. You can’t ask much more from a #5 starter.

Jose Reyes has 7 hits in his last 13 at-bats, and is finally heating up after a lengthy slump that saw his average drop to a woeful .246. Just as important, his OBP is back over .350 and climbing.

Luis Castillo’s mini-slump also appears to be over, as he’s 4-for-9 in his last two games. His OPB, by the way, is .402. Add Castillo and Reyes to Beltran’s .467 OBP and it’s a near guarantee that the Mets have a baserunner in the initial inning.

J.J. Putz and Sean Green combined for 45 pitches in the final two frames, and Green threw more balls (13) than strikes (12).

Strangely enough — especially with Livan on the hill — there was not one double play, for either side, the entire game. At least, I didn’t see one (?).

From Kevin Burkhardt’s description of her playing catch with her son until he was 15 years old, it sounds like Danny Murphy’s mom means business.

Next Mets Game

The Mets host the Braves on Monday evening at 7:10 PM to start a three-game series. Johan Santana goes against Derek Lowe. I’m liking the Mets chances to extend their winning streak to eight. The TV broadcast will be carried by ESPN.

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Mets – Pirates Quick Preview

pirates-logoThe Pirates shove into Flushing for a three-game set with the Metropolitans … though I doubt they’ll arrive by ship. They do, however, come battle-scarred.

After a surprising 11-7 start, the Bucs have lost their sixth consecutive game and nine out of their last ten, and now sit just above the lowly Astros in second-to-last place in the NL Central with a 12-16 record. In those last ten contests, they’re hitting .188 with three home runs, averaging just a hair above three runs a game. Their pitching hasn’t been much better — they’ve allowed 56 runs over the last ten.

As if all that weren’t enough stacked against the Pirates, their closer Matt Capps is battling a sore right elbow and likely won’t be able to pitch until Sunday. Backup closer Craig Hansen is stuck on the DL.

Bottom line? This is a gift for the Mets, who should feast this weekend. Pittsburgh is a bad team going through a tough time — an ideal opportunity for the Mets to take control of their destiny.

Game One: Jonathan Niese (0-0) vs. Jeff Karstens (1-1, 5.85 ERA)
Niese had an unsightly 7+ ERA through his first four starts in Buffalo, but put together six shutout innings last Friday against Louisville, earning him a spot start this evening. (Louisville is second in the league in HRs and has a .255 team batting average, for what it’s worth.) Karstens has made it to the 6th inning only once in four starts this year. He has walked 13 and struck out 9.

Game Two: John Maine (2-2, 5.20 ERA ) vs. Paul Maholm (3-0, 2.97 ERA)
After two straight losses and a no-decision to start the season, Maine has won his last two starts. However, he’s walked 18 batters in 27 innings and his command has been nonexistent. Against the free-swinging Bucs, though, he should be fine. Maholm is the Pirates’ ace and could give the Mets problems, particularly the lefties, who are hitting .133 against him this year.

Game Three: Livan Hernandez vs. Ian Snell (1-4, 4.50 ERA)
This will be an educational game to watch in that we should experience a stark constrast in efficiencies. Livan, if he’s on, will pitch to contact, induce ground balls, and get through innings with ten pitches or less. Snell, regardless of whether he’s on or not, will expend pitches like there’s no tomorrow in an effort to strike out every hitter he faces. It’s entirely possible that Snell will throw more pitches in one inning than Livan throws through four. Snell has walked 23 and struck out 22 in 34 innings.

Closing Thoughts

If the Mets batters are willing to take a strike in games 1 and 3, they are virtually guaranteed a series win. The Pirates’ lineup is slumping, young, undisciplined, and missing the bats of Jack Wilson and Ryan Doumit, and are ideal fodder for Maine and Hernandez. Friday night’s opener is something of a crapshoot, but I like Niese’s chances against Pittsburgh’s lefty-heavy lineup. A sweep is not out of the question, and could catapult the Mets into first place with the Braves and Phillies locking horns this weekend.

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