Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Recap: Mets 5 Pirates 4

In every close game, especially one-run games that go to 11 innings, there are several key plays and the team that makes one more of them wins.

The first key play was the error on Freddy Sanchez on what should have been an inning ending double play in the 5th. At first I thought the Mets got a break because usually they at least call the guy out at second and say the ball was dropped on the transfer (even if it wasn't) but that didn't matter because Church struck out with the bases loaded and Delgado left them full.

The next big play, the key play in the whole game perhaps came when Schoeneweis cleaned up Heilman's mess by making a great play to get Bautista on a very close play at home after the ball got away from Casanova. Casanova also made a great throw.

Then things started to work against the Mets, their two best relief pitchers, Sanchez and Wagner gave it up. I thought it was a good idea for Sanchez to walk Nady to face LaRoche because Nady was batting .320 and LaRoche was batting .160. Little did I know Sanchez would walk them both. That was just terrible. Walking in a run is bad enough, walking the worst hitter in the majors with the bases loaded is even worse. Thankfully he got out of it.

Billy Wagner wasn't quite as lucky. But this was not his fault. A nonchalant play by Reyes and a bad throw cost him the run here. Reyes did not charge the ball then had to rush his throw and he bounced it over there. Just a terrible play. And unfortunately for Wagner he gave up another hit (his second all year) and it might have been caught had Beltran been playing a little shallower. So Wagner got his first blown save of the year but it was really Reyes's fault.

Wagner did bounce back to pitch another good inning which was encouraging because he often struggles in his second inning of work.

Then in the bottom of the 11th Endy came through with a hit and moved to second on a balk. The balk becoming another one of those huge plays in this game because everything that came it after it was drastically different. Anderson's sac bunt, instead of becoming a waste of an out became a key strategical advantage. Then they had to walk Reyes to face Castillo who is probably incapable of hitting a ball deep enough to be a sacrifice fly. Somehow Van Benschoten walked him, setting the stage for Wright.

Wright, despite his hot start has had his troubles with men on base but all he needed here was solid contact and he got it to win the game.

Santana gives up entirely too many home runs. Especially at Shea Stadium which is a pitchers' park. Some say the wind has been blowing out, some say the ball will fly even farther once it gets hot, we'll see. He's given up 5 homers in 12 1/3 innings at home and 2 in 28 innings on the road. If he keeps up this pace over 200 innings he'll allow 35 homers, a little more than what he gave up last year.

Carlos Delgado carried the momentum from his huge 2-home run game...and went 0 for 5. There is no momentum, there is no breakthrough, he's a bad player but he's still good enough to have the occassional good game. He did get mildly booed by some idiots before his first at bat, but most people cheered. But as he kept making outs, more boo birds came out.

Jose Reyes was on base 6 times (3 hits, 3 walks) raising his on-base 40 points to .312. If you told me Reyes would be on base 6 times I would say the Mets would win by 11, not in 11. But the guys behind him keep failing to come through.

Except Church, he's been awesome. Although he did strike out with the bases loaded in this game.

Aaron Heilman is digging himself a hole he may never come out of. Sosa pitched well in this game and the Mets other relievers, while they've all blown games, for the most part have been good. Heilman is clearly the worst the Mets have.

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