Thursday, August 16, 2007

Unhappy Recap: Pirates 10 Mets 7

A horrible, terrible, deflating loss. Although it comes off a 3-game winning streak the Mets really need to start pounding these horrible teams, .500 is not enough. But they cannot seem to do the things they need to do to build a long winning streak and put the Braves and Phillies away.

Even more troubling is that now the offense is finally starting to click but the starting pitching has been awful, the bullpen has been awful and overworked and the defense and baserunning has sucked.

The Mets got off to another good start with a home run by Beltran in the first inning for a 2-0 lead. In the second Reyes singled, stole second and scored on a hit by Castillo, all with two outs.

In the third inning they loaded the bases with no one out but Anderson grounded out (force at home), DiFelice popped up but Lawrence helped himself by driving a run home. That was followed by a Reyes walk which forced in another run and the Mets had a 5-0 lead again.

But it didn't last long as Lawrence's first hit allowed was a 2-run homer to Adam LaRoche.

Lawrence got another big hit in the 5th to give the Mets a 7-3 lead, and put him in position for another win.

But Lawrence allowed another run then turned it over to Mota who gave up a run for the second straight night thanks to some horrible outfield defense, this time it was Marlon Anderson who butchered a flyball, which cut the lead to two.

And then everything went to shit. Willie made a mistake here. He should have given one inning each to Mota, Feliciano, Heilman and Wagner. Instead he tried to stretch Mota who gave up a walk to start the 7th. Then Willie took him out and brought Feliciano to face the Pirates' only lefty. LaRoche singled and then Willie went to Heilman. Without Sosa that meant Heilman had to pitch two innings. Either Willie should have use Schoeneweis to try to get the lefty, or stayed with Feliciano, his best pitcher.

But really you can't blame Willie for what happened next because so many plays were just complete fuckups, and a manager has no control over that. After Heilman gave up a hit to cut the lead to one he fielded a sac bunt and for some unknown reason looked towards third base, he had no play, and by the time he looked to first it was too late and the bases were loaded with nobody out. The next batter got a hit to tie the game but amazingly Heilman got a strikeout and double play to keep the game tied. For now.

And it's hard to blame Heilman for what happened next. He had two outs and two chances to get out of the inning unscathed. First Wright made a horrible throw to first on a slow grounder. It was a tough play to get the out, but his errant throw put the runner on second. Then Heilman allowed a single to right and Anderson made a great throw home and had Freddy Sanchez dead at home, but Mike DiFelice dropped the ball.

DiFelice makes a costly error at home

Heilman allowed two more hits to make it 10-7. Heilman pitched 2 innings, allowed 6 hits, 5 runners scored while he was in the game but none were charged to his ERA, two were inherited and three were unearned.

Very tough loss, but to put it in perspective, it's not a disaster. The Mets did get 2 of 3 on the road. Brian Lawrence started this game and you can't expect to win his starts. And the bats have come alive. If the Mets take 2 of 3 in Washington this will have been a very successful road trip.

And I still feel a little confident about the bullpen should the Mets make it to the playoffs because Mota won't be there and Heilman will be the 5th reliever after Wagner, Feliciano, Sosa and El Duque.

One interesting side note, the Mets had won 133 consecutive games in which they had a 5 run lead, the longest active streak in the majors. The last time they lost a game in which they had a 5 run lead was April 30, 2004, against the Padres who used Brian Lawrence as their starting pitcher that night.

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