Another rubber game, another loss as the Mets dropped it in the ninth when light hitting outfielder Roger Bernadina stroked his second home run of the game, season, and career against K-Rod to break a 4-4 tie.
-Mike Pelfrey’s line today: 5.2 IP giving up 4 ER, on 7 hits striking out 6 while walking 3, giving up a homerun on 119 pitches (74 for strikes- 62%). By the way while those 6 K’s look good, he struck out the side in the first and in my mind didn’t make an adjustment when the line up came the second time around and ran into trouble in the second. In the first he looked flat out dominant. He struck out Nyjer Morgan on 3 pitches, Adam Kennedy on 4 pitches and Ryan Zimmerman on 5 pitches. That was as efficient an inning as I’ve seen from a Met pitcher this season. The second inning was led off by a double from Will Ferrell, i mean Adam Dunn, , a single by Cristian Guzman and then Willie Harris* walked to make the bases loaded. Then he goes out and strikes out Roger Bernadina, strikes out Will Nieves and then comes the pitcher. Gets a two strike count but Craig Stammen poked it past David Wright for a two out bases loaded single plating two. Again, another Met pitcher unable to get his counterpart out in a big spot, with the bases loaded, and two outs. He also gave up Roger Bernadina’s first home run of the year. By the way Roger Bernadina is NOT a home run hitter. Oye. Over the next few innings he labored getting into deep pitch counts and unable to get that split finger over to finish off hitters as he did in the first two innings. Craig Stammen came in the fourth and got another RBI this time after Will Nieves (former Met catcher of the future) hit a double after Bernadina’s homer. Pelf dug himself too many holes and couldn’t go deeper than 2 outs into the sixth.
– The Met bullpen came in after Pelf issued his 3rd walk of the game with two outs in the sixth and Takahashi gave up a hit, then struck out Ryan Zimmerman to strand two runners.* Pedro Feliciano, Fernando Nieve (who, let’s face it needs to have Dr. James Andrews on speed dial at some point in the season.) pitched 2.1 IP of scoreless relief. Then came K-Rod and out goes the ball. He gives up a go-ahead two run home run to Roger Bernadinha who’d never had a home run up until today’s game and he hit two, count em two home runs to help win the game for the Nats. I’m not going to go too hard on the Mets but as far as sure things the Mets had coming into the season:
1. there’s Jason Bay adding power (out of his 32 hits, 11 are for extra base hits and only one of them is a home run) which has been a fail thus far.
2. K-Rod being a consistent closer. Clearly the Mets didn’t get the young guy the Angels had when he was coming up. I want that guy.
3. David Wright getting his power back. Well something’s still there and its the strikeouts and its from last year.
4. Johan Santana. I dont even need to bring up the Philly game do I?
As we know there are no sure things in life and thus let’s put those to rest.
*= Gosh I love this guy. I need to learn some Japanese before I decide to come back to the stadium in hopes of getting his attention. You know…from the second row in the upper deck.
*= ugh..Willie Harris…insert mean face.
– What I love a lot about the Mets are whenever Ralph Kiner comes to the broadcast booth and shares his wisdom, knowledge, and turns it into story hour with Ralph Kiner. The guy is a natural story teller and with baseball losing a voice like Ernie Harwell, its becoming clear that these voices most closely associated with specific teams are becoming more and more rare. Kiner takes you back to an older era. I was able to visit the Met hall of fame earlier this year and see the old broadcasting names and I’m priveleged to have been able to hear a guy like Ralph Kiner growing up and still hear him whenever he pays a visit to the guys in the booth. His most important point was that of the discussion of whether Reyes is a 3 hitter. Kiner didn’t hold back and said “no” without even a moment’s hesitation. I’m personally on the fence about it. Frankly, there’s no one on the Met roster that’s hitting the tar out of the ball that you would logically think to promote. You could talk yourself into Ike Davis but that’s only if your absolutely convinced that he’s a great hitter because like Ralph Kiner said “the 3 hole is for your BEST hitter.” I’m not sure that Ike Davis is the best hitter. David Wright could be that guy.
During the beginning of the year I was absolutely convinced that putting Reyes there would be the best option given that Beltran was out and the top of the line up would feature speed of Pagan, Castillo, and Reyes. I also agreed with Mike Francesa when he said that it didn’t matter where a guy hit in the line up but as we’ve heard over and over again, Jose Reyes is the prototypical lead off hitter. He’s been trained to get on base anyway, any how. Now he’s put in a spot in the line up where RBI’s need to be had. He’s not used to that and I now think that if Beltran comes back and takes the 3 spot in the line up, Reyes changes his approach back to lead off and begins to regress again and it never gives him the consistency that we absolutely need from Jose Reyes. Its no secret that the Mets go where Reyes takes them so shifting him up and down the line up isn’t looking so good now that we know he isn’t that great of a 3 hitter.
By the way a funny moment when Reyes got thrown out trying to advance on a ball hit to his side. Both Keith Hernandez and Ralph Kiner were jumping at the chance to groan and then go over the basic rule of baseball where “you never advance on a ball hit to your side with less than two outs.” Its simple and yet Reyes does this every single time. I don’t think that Reyes is as fast as we’re used to seeing him and so I’m always weary of where he thinks he is in terms of speed. Maybe before his leg problems he would’ve been safe but its just not a smart play. A few days ago he ran on the same play but the short stop never went to third with the throw. Sucks that it had to be on a Met out, but a funny play no less.
– Subway Pre-Game Live was excellent today. I usually fast forward through it but today seeing a few highlights I stopped. Watching Chris Carter talk, it looked like he was nervous and was about to grind his bottom row of teeth from how nervous/excited he was. Great to see the energy from the Animal and the fact that his intro-song* is “Real American Hero” (the Hulk Hogan theme for you non 80’s folk), just completes the image of a guy who was described by Josh Thole as a guy who “never sits down, not even to eat.” Speaking of Mr. Thole, boy was he nervous. I know it will take some time to get used to the whole t.v. experience for young Josh but its exciting to see some green faces just upbeat and smiling. Like I talked about in yesterday’s game, the fact that these guys come from a different clubhouse and different culture where last year’s stench isnt there on them, it makes it all the sense in the world that they come in and contribute and can be impervious to the negativity that’s been surrounding this team. Their general youth and excitement over being called up is so refreshing and something I love. By the way, Thole wasn’t kidding, everytime an SNY camera caught Chris Carter, the guy was pacing around the dug out, stretching, getting some water. Something. Never sitting down.
– Bernadina didn’t just hit home runs, his diving catch to rob Francouer in the 5th inning saved the game for the Nats as that hit would’ve plated 3 for sure and broken the game open for the Mets who had rallied back from their second two run deficit to tie the game. Of course their final two run deficit the Mets just couldn’t come back from and from there Matt Capps came and closed the door. That’s 0-6 in the finale of a tied series. Doesn’t bode well that the Mets can’t seem to win that rubber game. Ever. It doesn’t bode well that right now, the Mets have nobody that you can confidently say will go out and give you 7 or 8 strong innings. You pray a starter goes 6 without giving up too much damage and hope that the Mets can chase the starter out and go to work on the other’s team’s relievers since the Met middle relief will go a long way towards keeping it competitive. A tough pill to swallow but let’s look at the positive side and I promise you there is. On a day when Pelf didn’t have his best stuff. When the Mets went down twice they kept fighting and tied it twice. They played with passion, enthusiasm and they have this new vibe about them that does well in one very important respect. The major league season is a marathon and not a sprint. This kind of confidence that they are building up will bode well come September when they are trying to summon the ghost of rallies past to help them in crucial games where a Wild Card berth or, dare I say it, a division could be on the line. This is definitely not the team that they put out there last year and though they lost this game if they keep this kind of fight they won’t run into too many light hitting outfielders busting out the home run trot too many times. The law of averages says so. Though at this point I’m not too high on anything Jerry Manuel is saying, I do think that the Mets are on the right track in terms of mentality and overall effectiveness. It was a cold, rainy, disgusting day and the Mets fought. Its May and the team is fighting with a line up that’s only starting to get their big boppers going.
– I know what’s on everyone’s mind but I think Jerry waits a few days before making, yet another switch in the line up. People are clamoring to have Barajas hit higher up in the line up, which I agree with Jerry Manuel (What’s wrong with me?!?!) is not a good idea. The guy swings at everything and he’d be exposed batting higher. People want Ike Davis up there, which might not be so bad of an idea but I think Jerry waits to press that button. That’s a little bit of pressure on such a young guy but I think with everything I’ve seen from him, he’ll be up to the task.
– Finally, a moment of trepidation and joy. Shoutouts to Matt Cerrone, founder of Metsblog- known place you can find me everytime I need to get my head out of the books in school, who linked the blog to his page. Now time to find a tech savvy person to make this blog a bit more appealing.
Mets start a series against the Marlins in Florida starting tomorrow at 7 with Johan going up against Josh Johnson. The Mets start a crucial road trip where they on the road against the Marlins for four, to Atlanta for two, then Washington for two. How do I have them faring in this road trip? I got them going 3-5. Let’s hope I’m an idiot and don’t have a clue about anything.
MY PREDICTION: 21-13