Tag: livan hernandez

Mets Game 79: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 2 Mets 1

There is this idea — supported to a degree by Beaneheads — that a manager has very little to no influence on the won-loss record of a team.

A game like this would beg one to differ.

Game Notes

As usual, Johan Santana didn’t have his “best stuff”, but it was somewhat better than most of his outings in 2010. Kind of. His fastball velocity was a whopping 90-91, which was up from his usual 88-89. His command was somewhat better than its been, and his efficiency was good. Though, his low pitch count could have been more of a function of the ridiculously aggressive and planless Nationals hitters. Outside of Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham, that lineup is full of clueless Joes.

But, Santana was stellar through seven innings, allowing one run on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. Unfortunately for Johan, the Mets offense could not give him ample support to win the game. Which was surprising, considering the big bats Jerry Manuel packed into the lineup — such as Alex Cora, Jesus Feliciano, Henry Blanco, and Ruben Tejada. Granted, it wasn’t all Jerry’s fault, since Jose Reyes was suffering from back spasms, and Rod Barajas has been having some back problems himself, and Angel Pagan (who did eventually get into the game) was just getting off a torso issue. Despite the unavailability of these three regulars, Manuel saw it fit to rest Jason Bay. Go figure.

In fairness, Blanco and Feliciano combined to go 4-for-7 with a run scored in the ballgame. But, that only makes the decision correct after the fact. I contend it is the overall process that matters more than the result — and in this case, both the process and the result were bad, even if those two players happened to have good days. You can argue this all you want, but my point is that when you make MANY bad decisions, eventually they catch up to you and in the end you get burned. It follows with the strategy of throwing many cans of paint at the wall to see what sticks — yes, you will get a few paints to stick to make you look brilliant, but at the expense of how many cans that drip to the floor? At some point, smart decisions have to be made, or you are relying completely on luck.

And yes, I’m one of the people who has been wondering why Chris Carter hasn’t been given more chances, and he was playing in Bay’s place, but … hmm … this wasn’t the spot where I’d be giving Carter that opportunity. Bay needs to be in the lineup with so many others out.

You may be wondering why Carter played in Bay’s spot instead of Jeff Francoeur’s. Well, Francoeur had a .438 career average vs. Livan Hernandez — so give props to Jerry if that’s why he left Frenchy in the lineup.

After the game started, Manuel’s in-game strategy also was open to criticism — particularly in his decision to pull Johan Santana after 97 pitches. On the one hand, it wasn’t a terrible decision, since Santana had looked brilliant up until his last inning, when the Nats finally “broke the seal”. But Manuel replaced Santana with Elmer Dessens, and then followed Dessens with Pedro Feliciano — who pitched a full inning — and then followed up Feliciano with Ryota Igarashi.

Dessens has pitched way over his head, so I get that part. And Feliciano has been the closest thing to a “setup man” thus far, so I sort of get why Manuel left him in for a full three outs. Though, as you know, I’ve questioned the (over)use of Feliciano for some time now. What was troubling to me was why Manuel left Dessens in until there was a crisis before bringing in Feliciano — who perhaps could have faced Adam Dunn in the 8th. Then, with the game on the line, Ryota Igarashi was the pitcher who was ready, rather than Francisco Rodriguez — because it was not a save situation, and it was a game on the road. OK, if you must go by “the book”, I guess that’s the right move. Except, other than against a few batters in Puerto Rico, Igarashi has been less than good for the past month, and this was an effort by Santana you do not want to waste — especially considering that you have your worst three starters finishing this series.

By the time Feliciano loaded the bases with one out, it probably didn’t matter who came in relief. But you have to wonder why a game would end this way with your top relief pitcher sitting idly in the bullpen. Can he ONLY pitch if it’s a save situation, or a tie game in the ninth at home?

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nationals do it again at 7:05 PM on Friday in DC. Jon Niese goes against Luis Atilano.


Mets Game 6: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 5 Mets 2

New York Mets fans, welcome to the basement.

The game ended nearly as quickly as it began. With the bases loaded in the first inning, Josh Willingham blasted a drive off the wall above the centerfield fence that was eventually ruled a grand slam homerun after video review. Willingham doubled in another run in the third and the Mets never got anything going against Livan Hernandez.

For the second consecutive game, the Nationals beat the Mets with one player driving in all their runs.

And for the next 48 hours at least, the Mets will be in the NL East cellar.

Game Notes

Johan Santana struggled mightily in the first few innings, unable to locate his changeup and barely able to reach 90 MPH on his fastball. Compounding the problem was that the usually over-aggressive Nats were taking pitches and getting good swings on fat pitches.

Mike Jacobs’ second hit of the season was a two-run homer in the 8th inning. It was the 100th homerun of his career, though I doubt many Mets fans celebrated it.

Jeff Francoeur threw a 289 1/2 -foot strike to nail Adam Dunn at home plate on a potential sac fly in the top of the third. Dunn didn’t slide, and on-deck hitter Wil Nieves was not in position to give Dunn direction.

Rod Barajas didn’t do anything special with the bat, but you have to give him props for getting steamrolled by Adam Dunn, but instantly recovering to tag out Josh Willingham at home plate in a bang-bang play that eventually was ruled moot. In cases like that it’s good to have some extra flesh.

Raul Valdes made his MLB debut and handled the 6th and 7th innings without incident. The 32-year-old lefty was added to the roster when Sean Green was placed on the DL. Valdes kind of looks like a high school pitcher who just tries to wing it.

David Wright did not get a hit, but walked and stole a base. He now has 8 walks in the first 6 games of the year, and on pace to walk 215 times for the season.

Garry Mathews Jr. came to the plate four times with runners in scoring position. He was retired all four times.

Livan Hernandez had as good a day as he’s likely to have all year, shutting out the Mets through seven strong innings, allowing only 5 hits and 3 walks, expending a fairly efficient 88 pitches. He also went 1-for-2 with a single.

Francisco Rodriguez hit Willie Harris with a pitch in the ninth inning. Harris didn’t make much of an effort to get out of the way, and reacted with an expletive — probably as much out of pain as anger. K-Rod immediately responded with expletives of his own, and F-bombs went flying back and forth as Harris jogged down to first base. Both benches emptied onto the field, but no punches thrown, and the game eventually resumed without anyone getting tossed from the game. I think both players overreacted, but it made for some excitement on an otherwise lazy Sunday afternoon.

Matt Capps earned his second save in as many days with a 7-pitch ninth.

Next Mets Game

Monday is a travel day as the Mets move westward to face two of the better teams in the National League. They play again on Tuesday in Colorado against the Rockies, with John Maine facing Greg Smith. Game time is 8:40 PM EST.


Mets Release Livan Hernandez

According to MetsBlog, the Mets have released Livan Hernandez and activated Billy Wagner from the DL.

Though Livan has struggled mightily in his last three starts, I’m mildly surprised if only because I don’t know who is going to take his spot in the rotation. Nelson Figueroa? Tim Redding? After seeing two three-inning starts by Bobby Parnell, and getting lucky to get 5 innings out of Ollie Perez, you’d think the Mets would reserve those two for long duty.

Hopefully this clears the way for the Mets to promote Lance Broadway or Tobi Stoner to get a look-see. Today happens to be Broadway’s 26th birthday, and though he’s been awful in AAA, you’d have to think he has a better shot at making the 2010 roster than Tim Redding.

Looking forward to seeing Billy Wagner in action … if he can crank it up to 95 MPH, the Mets will have a nice trading piece — or setup man for next year.


Mets Game 118: Loss to Giants

Giants 10 Mets 1

Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get worse …

It wasn’t enough that David Wright was put on the DL with post-concussion syndrome– the last of the “core” to switch from the dugout to the infirmary. And it wasn’t enough that the team lost yet another player for the season — Alex Cora, who had surgery on BOTH of his thumbs. And it wasn’t enough that despite winning three out of their last four, the Mets were moving closer to the cellar-dwelling Nationals than the NL-East leading Phillies.

No, that couldn’t be the end of the gloominess. In addition to all the bad news, the Mets also were spanked by San Francisco, losing a laugher in front of the hometown crowd. It was another ugly outing by Livan Hernandez — one that makes you wonder who will be taking the ball five days from now. So not only are many Mets inactive, but some that were previously reliable are becoming increasingly incompetent. It’s suddenly clear that the last 44 games of this season will be a depressing, hopeless struggle we haven’t seen in Flushing since the Art Howe years — and it could be even worse.

Livan allowed 6 runs on 11 hits and a walk in 5 1/3. The line didn’t look that bad (though not good) until the sixth, when the Giants scored three runs to put the game away. They scored another trio in the eighth off Tim Redding to make it embarrassing, and added another off Nelson Figueroa in the ninth for good measure.


Dan Murphy had two hits and is 4-for-10 since MetsToday decided he didn’t hit enough to play 1B. No homeruns in that time, though.

Cory Sullivan also had two hits and a walk from the leadoff spot. People are getting really excited about his recent production, which says a lot about where the Mets stand right now. Not to take anything away from Sullivan — it’s great to see — but it also needs to be put in perspective. Let’s not forget how great Angel Pagan was looking over a longer period of time, before falling back to Earth. But right now, Sully is a bright spot on an otherwise dark time of the year.

I suppose Livan Hernandez will get another start. What else are the Mets to do? Give Nelson Figueroa another shot? As much as I’d like to see Figgy get a few starts in a row, how well would he have to do for the Mets consider the 35-year-old as part of their plans for 2010? No one in the minors is ready for an audition, and the Mets probably don’t want to start the arbitration clock nor burn an option on anyone who they may use in 2010/2011, such as Brad Holt or Tobi Stoner.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a three-game series against the Braves in Flushing at 7:10 PM on Tuesday night. In a fitting episode of “As the Knife Turns”, Oliver Perez faces Derek Lowe in a matchup of last winter’s top two free agents on the Mets’ shopping list.


Mets Game 113: Loss to Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks 6 Mets 2

So hard to come up with something clever now that the season has been phoned in.

Livan Hernandez chose a poor strategy of giving the D’backs an early lead, then giving back a run every time the Mets scored (not that it happened so often). With that, Livan left the game after only four frames, yielding to Tim Redding.

The offense collected eight hits off Arizona starter Max Scherzer, but that’s all they did — collected. Not much was actually DONE with those safeties.


This team is playing poorly enough to make me wonder if they’ll keep the Nationals in the cellar. Seriously.

Cory Sullivan led off the game with a double, and Luis Castillo — who was 4 for his last 9 — sacrificed him to third. Right there I knew the game was over … it didn’t matter that Sullivan was stranded.

Australian-born Trent Oeltjen went 4-for-4 for Arizona and was a homerun shy of the cycle. He’s hitting .500 in his first 5 big-league games, has hustled around the bases, and been spectacular in left field. Talk about a man at work! At what point is it just overkill?

With this season resembling a Rutt’s Hut Ripper, it takes some creativity to provide entertaining text. The best I could come up with: should Tim Redding’s nickname be “Mr. Rochester”? It would be for his hometown and also for the plain-faced character of Jane Eyre. The only thing is, I’m not sure he qualifies as a “Byronic Hero“.

Today’s Baseball Lesson

Ron Darling spoke about long tossing, and said that players 20-25 years old should throw around 200-225 feet, and little leaguers should stay around 60 feet — and that the key was to throw as far as you can “without your mechanics breaking down”.

This was fairly decent advice, but allow me to elaborate, as I don’t like limits and I refuse to use negative images (I’d replace “mechanics breaking down” with a positive image). First of all, no matter what your age, you can and should be throwing as far as you can without putting an arc on the throw, and just short of your max effort. Throw the ball on a straight line, or with a little bit of sink, as far as possible, without straining. Extend yourself a few feet every five throws until you get to the point where you can’t reach your partner without a bounce. Once you get there, shorten the distance 5-10 feet and throw nice and easy for another 10-15 throws. If you do this every day, you will build your distance and arm strength.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series will be played at 3:40 PM on Wednesday afternoon. Oliver Perez faces Jon Garland.


Mets Game 108: Loss to Padres

Padres 8 Mets 3

Ho-hum. Good thing this one was happening on the Left Coast, so most Mets fans were asleep while it was occurring.

Except, even the Mets fans who stayed awake to witness this depressing contest were fighting to keep their eyes open beyond the third inning.

Livan Hernandez did not pitch well. One would expect that a San Diego lineup full of youngsters would be easy prey for the wily veteran. However, these kiddies were clearly equipped with a game plan: make Livan throw the ball in the strike zone. Their collective discipline was devastating to Livan’s roundabout strategy from frame one, as the Friars worked him over for two runs and then another four in the third. Remarkably, Jerry Manuel left Livan in the game through the madness, and he gave up one more in the fifth before finally leaving.

Tim Redding got back to his usual routine, allowing the eighth Padre run in the seventh inning.

Meantime, the offense could do nothing against rookie lefthander Clayton Richard, who mowed down the Mets with ease before running out of gas in the sixth. The Mets mounted a mildly inspiring rally to chase Richard from the game, but Danny Murphy stifled it with a double-play grounder.


Aside from that rally-killing grounder, Murphy had two hits in four at-bats, as did Fernando Tatis. Tatis drove in a run and had the Mets’ only extra-base hit of the evening.

After watching Hernandez allow four runs in the third inning, and seeing him return to pitch the fourth, the fate of the Mets’ season became crystal-clear. The season is over, done, finished. Livan was left out there to dry, to save the bullpen. In other words, the game had been conceded. From here on it’s an early version of spring training, as the Mets will be holding auditions for the 2010 season. But hang in there, folks, and buy tickets — the Carloses are returning any week now!

Speaking of 2010, San Diego has some intriguing youngsters to build on for the future. Clayton Richard reminds me a bit of Cole Hamels, and they have some potent bats in Chase Headley and Will Venable. Everth Cabrera looks like a young Jose Reyes with his speed and fielding ability — though I’d like to see him dive for more balls. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team compete again within 2-3 years.

Next Mets Game

The second game of the series will be played at 10:05 PM on Friday night. Oliver Perez hurls against his old team while Kevin Correia pitches for the Padres.