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The Big Hits Prove Elusive

Mike SteffanosSaturday, April 11, 2009
By Mike Steffanos


Game 4: Marlins 5 - Mets 4

Tough one tonight. I guess some will harp on the fact that Maine allowed those two solo home runs, but I came away from his 5-inning stint fairly satisfied.

Hopefully it's something he could build on. If Maine returns to his form from two seasons ago the starting rotation falls into place much better.

The story tonight was the lack of the big hit again. Jerry Manuel did the right thing by putting so much emphasis on situational hitting this spring, but some of the lessons haven't quite taken hold.

The bullpen was only fair. Sean Green wasn't very good, although I was somewhat impressed that he only allowed one run. Bobby Parnell was fairly unlucky in his inning, where only one ball was hit well. Pedro Feliciano can't seem to get anyone out in the early going.

Darren O'Day allowed Feliciano's run to score after coming in and walking Hanley Ramirez and then giving up the game-winning single to Cantu. In 2 appearances, O'Day has pitched 2/3 of an inning and allowed 2 hits, a walk and hit a batter. He hasn't been charged with a run, but has allowed 3 of 3 inherited runners to score. He could pitch himself back to Anaheim quickly at this rate.

All right, those were the dark clouds. Here's a couple of silver linings:

Both Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church continue to hit. Church was 3-4 and Murphy went 3-5 with a double. Beltran contributed a 3-5 that featured his first home run. Of 11 Mets hits on the night, 9 went to the 3 outfielders.

Jeremy Reed had one of the other two -- and it was a big, 2-out game tying single in the ninth. Too bad it didn't lead to a "W".

It's up to Livan Hernandez to break the first losing streak of the season. He'll have to beat Ricky Nolasco to do it.

View John Maine's Full Season Stats

Box Score

Comments (8)

I'm already tired of the bottom of the order for the Mets. Schneider and Castillo are eating up space that should belong to someone else who can actually hit. Sigh.


Tough game. Good game, actually, except for the outcome.

Feeling pretty good about my prediction for John Maine this year, though. Big year.

DD, every team has a schneider and castillo at the bottom order.well maybe not a castillo..

If it wasn't for the Maddoff scandal's effect on the Wilpon's bottom line and the economy tanking, would Castillo still be on the Mets right now?

I like Schneider's defensive capabilities, but his bat impresses no one over the long haul. Anyone want to take flyers on when the Mets look to trade for Victor Martinez?

I do agree that John Maine looked pretty good out there, and he easily chould have gone 6 innings and maybe into the 7th inning had they not pulled him out for a PH. I think the Vaccaro naysayers are going to have problems badmouthing the Mets 1-2-3 of the rotation.

Btw, is it just me, or does the Mets defense look really suspect right now? Remember, a significant number of position players were in the WBC- Wright, Reyes, Delgado, and Beltran. No wonder why they haven't looked sharp out there.

I agree about Feliciano and O'Day so far. They haven't looked good, and I'm waiting for the day that Tim Redding comes back so that they can use Stokes and Parnell in different forms.

Agreed, the defense hasn't looked as good as we expected so far. Remember it was tres cold in Cincy.

Listened to some clown on ESPN radio bad-mouthing various things Mets, including the notion you will hear occasionally, that the Mets suffer from not having a balanced batting order.

Hey: I would like to get more than we have from our second baseman, too. But the belief that a balanced hitting attack improves things is just that, a belief, with no foundation.

Think about it: all runs scored except solo home runs are the result of sequential offense, of more than one player making a contribution.
Second premise: all offense occurs in three-out increments; every out made brings the end of any scoring opportunity closer, until you reach the third out, from which point you have to start over.

Now, from those two unarguable facts, isn't it obvious that the best chance a team has to score runs is to bunch their best offensive players together? Which of course is the opposite of a balanced offense; balance would occur if you mixed in your weaker guys among the real hitters, which is a sure formula for wasting your real hitters' contributions.

If by balanced the guy meant "better," then, sure; we would all like a little more. But the Mets were 2nd in runs scored in the National League last year; this year DelGato seems back, plus Murphy is here for a full year. There SHOULD be enough offense to go around.

I think what the guy really meant was, how can I fill these empty hours of dead air, until my next paycheck?

Agreed, the defense hasn't looked as good as we expected so far. Remember it was tres cold in Cincy.

Listened to some clown on ESPN radio bad-mouthing various things Mets, including the notion you will hear occasionally, that the Mets suffer from not having a balanced batting order.

Hey: I would like to get more than we have from our second baseman, too. But the belief that a balanced hitting attack improves things is just that, a belief, with no foundation.

Think about it: all runs scored except solo home runs are the result of sequential offense, of more than one player making a contribution.
Second premise: all offense occurs in three-out increments; every out made brings the end of any scoring opportunity closer, until you reach the third out, from which point you have to start over.

Now, from those two unarguable facts, isn't it obvious that the best chance a team has to score runs is to bunch their best offensive players together? Which of course is the opposite of a balanced offense; balance would occur if you mixed in your weaker guys among the real hitters, which is a sure formula for wasting your real hitters' contributions.

If by balanced the guy meant "better," then, sure; we would all like a little more. But the Mets were 2nd in runs scored in the National League last year; this year DelGato seems back, plus Murphy is here for a full year. There SHOULD be enough offense to go around.

I think what the guy really meant was, how can I fill these empty hours of dead air, until my next paycheck?

Yea DD, I forgot that it was cold in Cincy! That being said, Bonifacio's getting lucky in this series because the Mets D just isn't sharp yet. Sigh.

And I agree with the lineup in and of itself; I just wish that they had a bit more ability at the bottom of the order to hit the field. Granted, Castillo had a 4/4 day this Saturday, which was great, but he just can't drive in runs from the 4-5-6 portion of the lineup. That's why the Mets had Valentin in 2006 at the bottom of the order; he definitely could do that.

At least the good thing about Schneider and Castillo is that they both don't strike out alot, and split their K/BB ratio pretty well down the middle. As a result, they at least force the opposing pitcher to "waste" alot of pitches on getting them out , which ultimately compounds the opposing pitcher's pitch count.

Now, what I wanted was for the Mets to be able to move Murphy to 2nd Base (and him not suck at it), or get Orlando Hudson in the offseason for 2B. I wasn't looking for the Mets to hide their weaker bats in the lineup- just find ways to get better bats, if they need to.


At least the good thing about Schneider and Castillo is that they both don't strike out alot, and split their K/BB ratio pretty well down the middle. As a result, they at least force the opposing pitcher to "waste" alot of pitches on getting them out , which ultimately compounds the opposing pitcher's pitch count.

>

Good point.

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