Isn’t it just like the Mets? When they go on a slide they lose one game by not hitting enough, they lose the next by not pitching well enough.
On a day where one of the Mets not named Beltran, Wright, or Sheffield goes yard, the Mets pitchers can’t stop the bleeding vs the Rays. The Mets lose their third consecutive series, and third consecutive rubber game of a series. The Mets are now 2-8 in rubber games.
Mike Pelfrey looked dominant for 4 innings, but once again hit the wall in the 5th. He gave up 4 runs on 5 hits in that inning. He also was saved by his teammate and his opponents. The Rays, for some unthinkable reason, decided that they should bunt Carlos Pena, one of the AL’s leading home run hitters, when Pelfrey was wild. There are times to play small ball, and that wasn’t it. Maybe John Madden wanted to get the inning over quick so he can take some BOOM! Tough Actin’ Tinactin for his itchy foot. (Huh? His name is Joe Madden? Really? Could’ve sworn it was John.)
Brian Schneider also helped Pelf by throwing out Carl Crawford stealing third. I’m so amazed by that I’m going to repeat it. Brian Schneider threw out Carl “Possibly Faster than Jose Reyes without the Hamstring Problems” Crawford stealing third with one out.
By the way, for those who think only the Mets make stupid plays on the basepaths, consider the above Exhibit A. With a struggling pitcher on the mound and the heart of the lineup still at bat YOU DON’T MAKE AN OUT AT THIRD. It didn’t hurt the Rays in the end, but those two plays could have.
Brian Schneider had a whale of a game. He hit a monster 3 run home run off the Pepsi Porch to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. (Yes, THAT Brian Schneider. No, I don’t think he took PEDs before the game. No, I don’t think the bat was corked. No, he didn’t get a sign from the runners. Look, he just hit a mistake pitch. If Rey Ordonez can homer, anyone can.)
Then (sigh) Parnell came in. Tell me if you heard this one before lately: Parnell came in, didn’t retire a batter, gave up 4 runs during a long 7th inning that was interrupted by the 2nd rain delay in Citifield in as many days. (Keith moaned, Gary Cohen was overjoyed.)
By the way, I know praising a reliever who lets an inherited runner to score is not done, but I gotta give props to Takahashi for keeping the Mets in it. With two runners on and nobody out, Takahashi allowed only one of Parnell’s inherited runners to score. That was also in large part to Carlos Beltran, who made a great run and slide catch in center field after the rain delay to keep the Mets close at 8-5.
The Mets tried to bounce back in the bottom of the inning, but the lack of depth and power in the lineup did them in again. Cora singled, Murphy grounded into a fielder’s choice, Beltran and Wright singled. Sheffield then grounded into a fielder’s choice scoring Murphy, but Church struck out with 2 men on base.
The Rays would then tack on two runs off Green and Feliciano, and the Mets bats were held in check by Balfour and Howell. Rays win.
If you’re a glass half-full person, you can take solace in the fact that the Phillies are struggling even more than the Mets, losing sixth straight and getting swept by the Orioles. The Phillies are struggling to win at home, and that bears watching.
However, one cannot be criticized by being frustrated that the Mets have been unable to take advantage of the Phillies malaise, and are just, to quote Jerry Manuel the last few days, “hanging in there and staying above .500 until the calvary arrives.”
A few quick notes and thoughts:
1) A big difference between Jerry Manuel and Willie Randolph is that Jerry is far more ready to own up to mistakes. He may not do anything to change them, but at least he doesn’t try to give off an air of infallibility. During the post-game, he took responsibility for Parnell’s struggles, and says he’s overworked him and several other members of the pen (you think he means Pedro Feliciano?). He says Parnell will probably get three days off.
I’d like to Brian Stokes, who pitched an inning of scoreless relief today, an opportunity for some late game duty. You can argue he was one of the few bright spots in the pen last September, and I see little reason why he shouldn’t get another chance to be a difference maker in this pen. You do wonder if the Mets may be forced to look for an arm if Parnell, Green or Stokes cannot step up in that 8th inning role until Wagner and/or Putz returns.
2) Manuel mentioned during the post game that Maine could be back Saturday vs the Yankees. He also said he wants to keep Nieve in the rotation since he’s hot right now, so Redding will be moved to the Pen apparently. Look for Jon Switzer to be sent back down.
3) Manuel also mentioned he may use Perez as a reliever when he comes back. I’m choosing to ignore this. Manuel made this claim once before earlier in the year. It didn’t make sense then, it still doesn’t now. Perez is too inconsistent to be asked to come in from the pen, and there’s no way Omar is or should let his $12m investment go to the pen.
Count me among those who hasn’t given up on Perez. As a Met he’s been inconsistent, but he has never been as bad as he was the first few weeks. I do believe there was trouble with the knee. One may think that’s naiive, but the velocity was down, and it’s now back up. His setback kept getting pushed back because of it. I just don’t see much reason to believe it was a complete farce.
If the Mets want to be real players in October, they need Perez to pitch like Perez of the last few years, a 15 game winner. A guy who will give you a great game, 2 ok games, and a crummy one every 4 games. I am not looking at what the Mets and everyone HOPE he will be. He’s not going to be the ace everyone thought he’d be in Pittsburgh and when he was hot last year. But he can be a very good #3 starter. Maybe a #2.
Can Fernando Nieve or Tim Redding? Maybe. Possibly for Nieve. But my money goes on Perez. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt based on his long term Mets history, not what happened in April.
4) For those fans who want to always see the kids come up, thinking that’ll make the club more exciting and better, Mike Pelfrey is why I preach caution. I love Pelf, and I think he’s going to be a solid MLB pitcher. But he’s in the midst of a learning curve. He’s got to learn how to get out of innings when he’s behind the count, and he’s got to learn how to pitch through the 5th. We know he can do it, he knows he can do it, cause he’s done it. But this is what young pitchers go through, these stretches where they have to re-learn how to pitch through adversity.
Unfortunately, he’s got to do it in a year the Mets desperately need to get to the postseason. So he’s gotta develop quick. The Mets need Big Pelf to come up Big. It’s not going to get easier with the Yanks up next Friday.
5) Last One, no foolin’.
The Mets may have scored 6 runs today, but they can’t expect 3 run homers from Schneider. I am not one of those who is going to call for Omar’s head for not having a new big bat in uniform by gametime tomorrow. The Mets unfortunately got the injuries at a time when most teams aren’t selling and aren’t making deals. The Nate McClouth trade is an exception, not a rule this time of year. But unless Johan gets hurt, Omar needs to get somebody by the deadline, and preferably before the All-star break.
Reyes may come back soon, but a hamstring is not something that heals easily. He’s going to have to be very careful with it, and there is a good possibility that it will be reinjured. It is the nature of the injury. And while Delgado’s injury is not exactly like A-rod’s, and they’re not the same type of hitter, who is to say Delgado won’t go through a slump like the Yankees Sultan of Steroids? Granted, he went through Spring Training and A-roid didn’t, and they’re not the same hitter, but it’d be foolish to expect greatness. You have to expect something in between.
Omar’s got his work cut out for him. You gotta pray Beltran’s MRI comes back negative tomorrow. If he goes down, Omar will be forced to make a move, and a GM who is forced usually makes a bad one.
Happy Father’s Day Everyone. Tomorrow Mets face the classic rivals, St Louis. Albert Pujols is coming to town. Oh…………crap.
Posted by Robert Z