The Mets reverted to having no offense and providing no support for Johan Santana today as they failed to finish off the Pirates in a sweep. Santana threw a complete game only giving up two solo homers including one to former Met Lastings Milledge.
The Mets offense only had 6 hits and 3 walks. Jose Reyes and Ike Davis had two hits apiece. The Mets put up one run in the first on a sac fly by Carlos Beltran and it looked like this was going to be a cake walk over the Pirates. Davis singled in the ninth but the Mets couldn’t do anything to move him along. It was odd that Jerry Manuel didn’t pull Davis for Luis Castillo to get a little more speed on the bases. But it didn’t matter as the Mets couldn’t get anything going behind Davis.
The Mets take two of three in Pittsburgh and have an off day tomorrow before facing the Marlins and Astros at home.
John Maine had another great game tonight going six strong innings and giving up two runs on two hits. One of those hits was a home run by Ryan Zimmerman. The other highlight for the Nats was an outstanding catch by Lastings Milledge on a deep fly to center by Carlos Delgado. Milledge made a running catch on the warning track and hit the wall but managed to hang onto the ball.
I know that this sounds like a broken record but Ryan Church had another big game offensively. He was 2 for 4 with 4 RBI’s and his eighth home run. This guy is making a contribution every night.
Maine hit Felipe Lopez with the first pitch of the game sending a clear message about last nights game. Apparently Maine didn’t like the Nationals dugout antics last night. I’m surprised that there wasn’t any retaliation from Nationals pitcher John Lannan. He may have to answer to his teammates for that.
I have to admit that when the New York Mets traded top prospect Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider I was unhappy. I thought this was another one of Omar Minaya’s misguided trades like Heath Bell to the Padres for nothing, or Brian Bannister to the Royals for Ambiorix Burgos. Wow… Have I been wrong!
Ryan Church, and to a lesser degree Brian Schneider, has been much more than the nondescript outfielder that I was expecting. Schneider has been hitting pretty well but without any semblance of power, and he does seem to provide some sense of comfort to the pitching staff. However, the catcher’s influence on a pitching staff is vastly overrated in my opinion.
Church has been a revelation, both in the field and at the plate, for the Mets. He’s currently hitting 34 points above his highest season average in 2005. His OBP is 18 points higher than his career high in 2006. His OPS is 13 points higher than his career high in 2006 as well. Without a doubt, he’s been the most consistent offensive performer for the Mets this season. He’s hit well in every spot in the order that Willie Randolph has put him in. He’s seemingly unaffected by changes that Randolph makes to the lineup. Continue reading
The biggest story with the New York Mets over the last week has been closer Billy Wagner ripping Oliver Perez after Perez’ dreadful start against the Pirates on Wednesday. It’s raised many questions about the Mets as a team.
Do the Mets need a team captain?– They could probably use a team captain but I don’t know who would be the logical candidate. They would want someone that’s going to be around for several years like Jose Reyes, David Wright, Johan Santana, or Carlos Beltran. I doubt that it would be Santana. Typically, captains are position players. Wright and Reyes are pretty young to captain a team of veterans. Beltran is usually so quiet that it’s hard to picture him as the team leader. I don’t think that Billy Wagner would even enter the discussion on this topic. Continue reading
Adam Rubin from the Daily News is reporting that Billy Wagner had some tough comments for the Mets and Oliver Perez, in particular, after his poor start today.
“You’ve got to have that willpower and that desire to go back out there and fight,” Wagner said about responding to the Mets’ early deficit. “This guy (Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny), he wasn’t throwing the ball that well to shut down our offense. Perez has honestly got to step up and know that we’ve just used every guy in our bullpen the night before. He can’t come out there and decide that gee, he hasn’t got it today, and so be it.”
Wagner added: “When you have games like this, it’s very easy to say, ‘Hey, yeah, you’re going to have these games.’ And you will have these games. But when there’s not a lot of effort and desire, that’s when you worry. You definitely want to play a little bit better than we did, but I know everybody is out there doing what they can. As a pitching staff, we have to show up. We can’t go out there and get beat 13-1 by Pittsburgh.”
Wagner is easily one of the best closers in the game, if not of all time. But sometimes he’s a little too “old school” for me. Oliver Perez is an easy target for analysts both professional and amateur because he’s erratic. I don’t think Perez wasn’t giving a full effort today. He just is what he is, sometimes wild and completely without control.
I don’t like that Wagner is calling Perez out after a rough loss like that. It smacks of piling on. Likewise, I thought that Wagner was too tough on Lastings Milledge when he was here. Wagner needs to concern himself more with his own game than with anyone else. Let the coaches deal with the other pitchers. No good can come of alienating teammates, much less this early in the season.
Oliver Perez didn’t pitch well but it certainly wasn’t as bad as his line shows. He went 5.2 innings and gave up three runs but left two on for Aaron Heilman in the sixth. Heilman promptly walked Lastings Milledge and then gave up another grand slam to Felipe Lopez, and the game was over.
The Mets bullpen has given up three grand slams now. The entire National League has only had four grand slams.
Jorge Sosa got knocked around again in the seventh inning giving up three runs but only one was earned. Jose Reyes made an error and then Carlos Delgado let one go right past his glove on the ground in what should’ve been scored an error too.
Delgado went 0 for 4 again and his average is down to .198 now. There have been so many columns and blog posts about what the Mets can do with him. This is now his second season of not hitting. I think he may be “done”.
Jack Curry of the New York Times wrote a good article for the New York Times today about the working relationship between Johan Santana and Brian Schneider. It looks to me like Schneider’s working well with all of the Mets pitchers.
I have to admit that I didn’t like the Milledge for Church/Schneider trade but it’s working out pretty well so far. We won’t know the full implications of the trade for a few years when Lastings Milledge gets into his prime playing years. He just turned 23 last week.
Paul LoDuca has been dreadful for the Nationals and I was really never a fan of his anyway. Read a Nationals blog post here. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that my opinion of him is that his mouth is bigger than his bat or glove.
If Brian Schneider can keep up a little bit of hitting, and he’s over.300 right now, he’ll have made the trade much more palatable.
Jackie Robinson Day – Washington Nationals (4-9) at New York Mets (5-6) 7:10pm TV: SNY Radio: WFAN
Odalis Perez (0-2) vs. Mike Pelfrey (1-0)
What to watch: The entire Mets team will be wearing Jackie’s number 42. Mike Pelfrey gets his second start and chance to prove that he belongs on the major league roster. Paul LoDuca and Lastings Milledge make their return to Shea Stadium. Brian Schneider and Ryan Church get to see some old friends on the Nationals.
Image details: Jackie Robinson served by picapp.com