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Opportunity Lost

Mike SteffanosThursday, May 25, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


Phillies 5 - Mets 3

To start this without admitting in advance that I would have signed up for 2 of 3 in a second at the start of this series would be foolish. Having said that, the Mets had an opportunity to send a powerful message to the Phillies by pulling off a sweep, and, as in 2 previous chances to sweep the Braves, the Mets were found wanting. Philadelphia gets to leave town feeling a little better about themselves, despite the fact this was an extremely winnable game.

Jeremi Gonzalez survived a terrible first inning featuring home runs by Abreu and Ryan Howard that staked Philadelphia to a 3-0 lead. The Mets came back in the second on a Reyes 3-run homer to tie the game. Meanwhile, Gonzalez was keeping the Phillies off the board. He was fortunate in the third when Abreu lined very hard to Matsui, who turned it into a double play. He survived a hit and a walk in the fourth, and again in the fifth. In his sixth and last inning he had a 1-2-3 frame, only his second of the game.

Unfortunately, the Mets were unable to capitalize on Brett Myers' wildness. He struggled with his control for much of the game, but the Mets kept letting him off the hook. Cliff Floyd allowing himself to picked off 2B by the catcher to end the inning in the third was particularly irksome, but the Mets also swung at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone.

Pedro Feliciano took over in the seventh, and walked Shane Victorino right off the bat. He got ahead of Utley 1-2, but then left a pitch too fat that Utley was able to lace down the right field line for a double. Kaz Matsui elected to try to throw out the speedy Victorino at home; all that accomplished was allowing Utley to get to third on the throw. Feliciano finally got an out when he K'ed Bobby Abreu looking, and Heath Bell came in to pitch to Burrell. He walked him on 5 pitches, then allowed Ryan Howard to single home Utley to put the Phillies up 2. Rollins hit into a double play with the infield in on a nice play by Matsui to Reyes to Delgado.

The Mets went down meekly to Myers in the seventh, although he was at 119 pitches by the end of the inning. Heath Bell stayed in and gave up a leadoff walk to David Bell. After catcher Carlos Ruiz bunted him to second, Bell struck out pinch hitter David Dellucci and got Victorino to ground out to Delgado at first.

Still within striking distance, the Mets faced lefty Arthur Rhodes in their half of the eighth. He got Delgado to ground out, and struck out Wright looking. But then Floyd walked, and the Phillies brought in Tom Gordon. Gordon walked Nady on 4 pitches, but Willie allowed Matsui to bat against Gordon, and Matsui grounded out to end that threat.

Bell, who already pitched 1-2/3 innings, came out again for the ninth to save the bullpen. He walked Abreu with one out, but them struck out Pat Burrell and Lo Duca gunned down Bobby Abreu trying to steal second. The Mets had one more chance against Gordon, who still looked a little shaky. Endy Chavez, batting for Bell, walked on 4 pitches. Reyes forced Chavez at second, then made it to second a wild pitch. He died there when Lo Duca grounded out and Beltran struck out.

Thoughts on the game

Again, maybe I sound a little ungrateful, but this game was eminently winnable. The Mets played a little sloppy and lost. They looked like they were playing a day game after a night game, while the Phillies (understandably) looked the team that really wanted it.

Despite his bonehead baserunning play, Cliff Floyd was 2-3 and has his average over .220.

Matsui is really scuffling at the plate now, and really needs to start hitting. As good as he's been in the field, Hernandez has more range, so if the bat doesn't differentiate between the two, advantage to the kid.

Jeremi Gonzalez gave the Mets 6 innings, but didn't pitch that great. He had a lot of luck. Barring the Mets making a deal for a reliever, I'd send Gonzalez down and keep Bell in that Jorge Julio innings eater/mop-up role.

The Mets will be in Miami tomorrow night to face the Marlins at 7:25 PM. Pedro pitches for the Mets, Josh Johnson for Florida

Box Score

AP: Mets acquire LHP Dave Williams from the Reds
The Mets acquired another starting pitcher, picking up struggling left-hander Dave Williams from Cincinnati for a minor-league pitcher. Williams was 2-3 with a 7.20 ERA in eight starts with the Reds, and had been designated for assignment Saturday.

Can't Stop The Bleeding: The Radio Fiasco
I couldn't have said it better myself:

Tom McCarthy and Howie Rose have formed a solid partnership in the wake of Gary Cohen's departure to the TV booth. To suggest that Russo and Francesca can turn up and match that level of expertise is insulting to broadcasters and fans alike.

I know some thought this was a cool idea, but it really, really bugs me. "Erik" left this comment on my site earlier:

I heard some garbage coming out of my MLB internet radio and found my way here. I don't care if these two gentlemen hate the Mets, hate America, or hate me, but I'm not paying to hear a Mets game that I can't understand. God knows how these jokers got jobs in radio, or maybe spitting venom is easier than calling a game, but I cannot understand what is going on from their disgusting speech. Thank god MLB internet radio lets me pick my feed, because after an inning with those creeps, I've switched to the lovely cadence of the Philadelphia announcers.

Many have commented on how this had the feel of a minor-league promotion, and that says it all, and I felt it was a breach of trust to Mets fans:

So why do I have a problem with this event? The Mets have decided to turn over an entire radio broadcast to 2 unskilled announcers for a publicity stunt. Repeat: an entire broadcast. And it's a game against the Phillies, who are shaping up to be the biggest competition for the Mets in the division.

It's a unique bond of trust that fans form with their team's announcers, especially on the radio where you are completely dependent on Howie Rose and Tom McCarthy to bring you the game. For those that have no option but the radio for this important game, this is a large breach of trust on the part of publicity hungry Mets management. Could you ever picture the Yankees pulling this on their fans?

I don't harbor any sort of hatred towards MATMD. I just don't care for their act and the cynical way they constantly bait Mets fans. Their gloating performance from opening day last year, when Looper blew Pedro's first game as a Met, still sticks in the craw of many Mets fans. Yet again, the team has elected to turn an entire game over to them. This whole thing just makes me shake my head with wonder. Does the Mets hierarchy really get the Mets fan?

Doing something for charity is wonderful, but there had to be a better way of doing this...

Update 6:45 PM WFAN is reporting that Jeremi Gonzalez has been designated for assignment and newly acquired LHP Dave Williams has been sent directly to Norfolk.

Comments (2)

Just checkin in:

1. I am harping; I was one (if you remember) to tout Soler in Spring. I am glad he backed me up. Given what Fran called 'the thimble sized' strikezone. But he found his stride and ...the drum role is he knows El Duque and pairing them (ala Contreras/El duque) will help him/them settle in.

2. The Williams trade was also intriguing/(brilliant?)...a quality lefty who could relieve, but also could replace Traxx in the rotation. If indeed he is assigned to AAA, it maybe to iron out mechanics...or untill a trade is made taking Traxx away.

3. I agree that el duque's road stat may be closer to his real value to the Mets plus the BIG thing in both trades was the amt of times we were getting 5.0 IP out of starters and then coming from behind.

4. on Soler....I wanted to point out the ball that Woody misplayed, per Fran should have been a DP. and then Soler only allows one run.

5. ON TODAYS GM. Beltran, Feliciano and Wright should have been rested. Beltran has had a huge week and needed the rest. NOT to mention playing the 16 inning game. Feliciano also had nothing. This was a 'put them away' game (willie-speak) and the high of having a solid #3 El Duque join the team and a solid starter/reliver should have picked us up.


6. KUDOS again to Soler...the man of the hour: What he did was to show he can strikeout a solid ML hitter in a big spot. Something NEITHER Gonzo nor Lima could do. To come back from 0-3 down (32 pitches) in a ML debut after no significant minor league time, no knowledge of your opposing team, and with a letter sized strike zone hold the Phillies...(Howard/Utley/Abreu/Bell/ Burrell/Rollins) to NO runs for 5 innings was huge.

You were on Soler early, and John Maine, too, who may yet play a role given El Duque's injury history.

I'm surprised Cincinatti was so hot to get rid of a 27-year-old lefty who some success, and all they had to show for Casey. Weird, but we'll take it.

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