Betty's No Good Clothes Shop And Pancake House
Saturday, September 17, 2005
  The National League 7, Mets 2

Since I last posted here, the Mets have played nine baseball games. They won just two of them, despite being outscored just 37-29. They were swept by the Washington Nationals. The only victories were a 7-2 defeat of the Cardinals and a 4-0 shutout of the Braves. The winning pitcher in both of those games was Pedro Martinez, who pitched his first complete game shutout of the season last night to win his fifteenth game.

Breaking down the Mets' individual statistics over the course of these nine games would seemingly require calculating them myself, as no website I can find allows you to split stats up from one specific date to another as you please. The best I can do is to look at the team's stats for September, not including today's 7-4 loss to the Braves. Steve Trachsel gave up five runs in six innings, though only two of them were earned, and Cliff Floyd, Mike Piazza and Mike Jacobs each homered.

Thus far in September, the Mets' hottest hitter has been Kazuo Matsui, who is hitting .367/.396/.551 in a mad dash to earn himself a job next year. He's got three doubles and three triples in forty-nine at bats. In the "too little, too late" category we have Carlos Beltran, hitting .310/.394/.414 with one home run. David Wright has cooled off quite a bit from his otherworldly August, hitting just .298/.365/.386. The twenty-two year old's season stats are still a terrific .312/.392/.513 with twenty-one home runs, forty doubles, sixty-five walks and sixteen stolen bases in twenty-three tries. Mike Jacobs has hit decently in limited action, going .292/.320/.542 in twenty-four at bats.

Martinez has been the Mets best pitcher this month, just as he was in every other month aside from August. He's put up a 1.96 ERA and struck out nineteen batters in twenty-three innings while walking just six and he has not allowed a home run. Also having a good month is Tom Glavine, who has a 2.53 ERA in twenty-one and one-third innings, striking out fourteen and walking seven. That quality pitching has been enough to earn Glavine an 0-2 record this month, which gives you some idea which half of the Mets' team might be responsible for their demise. Jae Seo has faltered a bit in September, posting a 3.60 ERA in twenty innings. He's struck out sixteen and walked just three, but he's also allowed twenty-three hits, two of which were home runs. No other pitcher who's started a game for the Mets this month has an ERA lower than Victor Zambrano's 4.50, and no other pitcher who didn't get booted to the bullpen has an ERA lower than Steve Trachsel's 5.84. It has not been a good month for Kris Benson (0-2, 6.00, 7:8 K:BB).

So the Mets stand at 72-76, the consequence of which is that they still have to play fourteen more games. After tomorrow's series finale with the Braves--Glavine (10-13, 3.88) vs. John Thomson (3-4, 4.76)--they'll play three each against the Marlins, Nationals and Phillies before finishing the season with four at home against the Colorado Rockies. They've already won one more game than they did last year, but finishing anywhere but last place might be a struggle at this point.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
  Braves 3, Mets 1
Braves 4, Mets 3 (10)

Well that was a fun season, wasn't it? Pedro Martinez and his near no-hitters. Jose Reyes and his speed. And David Wright...ahh, David Wright. Yes, the 2005 season provided some memorable moments for Met fans and some reason to be hopeful about the future. And now that it's over, we can look back on those moments and smile without feeling all stressed out about the games to come. But first, let's look back on the series that ended the Mets' season.

Game two of the series had basically the same story as game one, and the same as most recent Met losses, for that matter: decent pitching, indecent hitting. Pedro didn't blow the Braves away on Tuesday, but he pitched pretty well, and his line could have looked even better if not for his defense failing to turn some double plays behind him. In the end, he lasted six innings and gave up three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out two.

The Met offense managed just one run on eight hits. They did have four doubles among those, but still were unable to put together much of an offensive assault. Kazuo Matsui led the way with two hits including a double and Wright, Cliff Floyd and Doug Mientkiewicz also made it to second base all by themselves. Carlos Beltran had a single and drew the Mets' only walk.

Wednesday was a new twist on the old formula, as the Mets' crappy hitting and good hitting added up to a lead after eight and one half innings. Tom Glavine actually tamed his former franchise, going seven and one-third and allowing just one run on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts. And Roberto Hernandez finished off the eighth with ease, retiring both batters he faced.

The Mets had put two runs on the board in the first inning and that had been enough. Overall, they had twelve hits on the night, though eleven of those were singles. Victor Diaz had the lone double. Matsui, Beltran and Wright each had two hits and Wright added a walk. Floyd had a hit and two walks.

So after eight innings, all the Mets needed was for the man they call their closer to do his job. Instead, Braden Looper gave up doubles to two of the first three batters he faced. He escaped the ninth with the game still tied, having allowed two hits and one walk and thrown thirty-four pitches.

Miraculously, the Mets didn't give up. With one out in the top of the tenth, four straight Mets reached base, three with singles, one via the base on balls. Sadly, the Mets got the bare minimum of runs out of this situation as Ramon Castro ended things by lining into a double play.

Then, as you can probably guess, Looper went back to work. He gave up a single to Larry. He plunked Andruw. And he walked Julio Franco. It was at this point that the Mets' manager sprung into action. Yes, he brought in Shingo Takatsu. Guess how that worked out!

After teasing everyone by getting two outs, Takatsu gave up a single to Ryan Langerhans, which drove in two runs and ended the game. Willie Randolph was probably surprised by this. Aaron Heilman probably had a really comfortable chair to watch it from, as did all the other Met relievers who might conceivably strike somebody out.

The Mets (70-69) are now five games out of the Wild Card. And they get to celebrate with a relaxing trip to St. Louis, Missouri, "The Gateway To The West." St. Louis's local baseball franchise, the Cardinals (88-51), will introduce the Mets to local landmarks like the "Gateway Arch" and the "Underside of .500", the latter of which was the longtime home of the city's NFL franchise before they moved to Arizona. The starting pitchers in game one will be Chris Carpenter (20-4, 2.28) on the winning end and Kris Benson (9-6, 3.99) on the losing end. Happy football season everybody! Go Big Blue!
Monday, September 05, 2005
  Braves 4, Mets 2

It's just not fair. The Mets are third in the division in runs scored. Second in runs allowed. Baseball Prospectus' adjusted standings are just depressing. The Mets are, at worst, the third best team in the National League East and should be within striking distance of a playoff spot. Instead, their finishing in last place seems assured. And to top it all off, Fucking Larry Jones.

Steve Trachsel pitched pretty well in this game. He got into the eighth inning having allowed just two runs. That was enough to keep the slumbering Mets offense in the game to the point where they could come back and tie the game in the top of the eighth. Jose Reyes and Victor Diaz each had two hits and Reyes stole a base. David Wright and Carlos Beltran each had a double and a walk. Kazuo Matsui had a hit, a walk, a stolen base and a pretty fine day with the glove. And yet, just two runs. Maybe it just feels like this is happening all the time, but as much as this team seems to suck out loud some days, other days it seems like they might just be the unluckiest team in the majors.

Trachsel allowed just seven hits and two walks in seven and one third innings. He struck out just one batter, but, aside from allowing a home run to Andruw Jones in the fourth inning, seemed to be in control of the game along the way. And then came Larry. Just after the Mets had come back to tie the game in the top of the eighth, the Braves third baseman, stupid nickname and all, came up and smacked a two-run home run over the center field wall.

The Mets are still just three games out of the Wild Card, so I guess I should keep on believing they can make the playoffs. Tomorrow will be our semiweekly dose of false hope as Pedro Martinez (13-6, 2.90) takes the mound. He will probably lose in agonizing fashion to John Smoltz (13-6, 3.02).
Sunday, September 04, 2005
  Marlins 4, Mets 2
Marlins 5, Mets 4
Mets 7, Marlins 1

Well, they're not dead yet. The Mets maintained their lead in the race to get eliminated from playoff contention, but they weren't able to extend it. The competition kept on sucking right behind them and so the Mets remain in danger of falling into the playoffs. The next week will probably take care of that, but this weekend wasn't quite awful enough.

The Mets' offense had another inept evening on Friday, thought they at least had a good opposing pitcher to blame in on this time. The Mets managed seven hits against Dontrelle Willis, and added one more against the Florida bullpen. But a double by Ramon Castro was the only one that went for extra bases and the Mets drew just one walk all night. Victor Diaz had was the only Met with multiple hits with two singles. Carlos Beltran had a single and the walk.

The Mets' pitching could have been a lot worse, I suppose, but Victor Zambrano did get pretty well knocked around. He lasted just five innings and allowed four runs on twelve hits. He only allowed one walk and struck out three, but it was another in a string of unimpressive performances. He's now allowed at least four runs in four out of his last six outings and seen his ERA rise from its low point of 3.51 on July 16th to 4.17. The Mets haven't officially dumped him from the rotation yet, but he supposedly only got this start due to his impressive career stats against the Marlins. He's now pitched twenty-seven innings with a 3.00 ERA against them. Given who is scheduled to start on Monday, Zambrano may not be long for the starting rotation.

Speaking of starting pitchers acquired last July who've had a crappy second half of the summer, Kris Benson got the start on Saturday and was not exactly to blame in the Mets' loss. He was removed after just six and two-thirds innings with two runners on base, but at that point in time, he had allowed just two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out one. But that would not complete his line.

The offense had sprung to life somewhat to give Benson a bit of a cushion. The Mets scored four runs on nine hits including a double from Beltran, who also drew a walk, and Cliff Floyd's twenty-eight home run of the season. David Wright had a couple of singles and Castro had a single and two of the Mets' five walks. Jose Reyes had a single, a walk and a stolen base. Even Miguel Cairo somehow got a hit.

So when Benson was removed with two on and one out in the seventh, the Mets had a 4-2 lead. Juan Padilla came in and got an out before walking a batter to load the bases. So with two outs, the bases loaded and Miguel Cabrera coming to the plate, Willie Randolph went to his bullpen. Anyone with half a brain could guess that he'd bring in Roberto Hernandez, who has been the Mets' most frequently used and most effective reliever this season. One would have to be under the influence of some strong illicit substances to guess that he'd bring in a guy who'd been released by the White Sox after posting an ERA near six to make his Mets debut in this situation. But that is what Randolph did, calling on Shingo Takatsu, who gave up a base-clearing, game-losing double to Cabrera. Figuring out the logic behind Randolph's bullpen management is a lot like shooting laser beams out of my eyes in that, no matter how hard I try, it is something I will never be able to do, so it's not worth even trying.

So, faced with the opportunity to finally put this season out of its misery with a sweep on Sunday, the Mets went out and screwed it all up by playing well for nine innings. Of course, at the heart of this unusual turn of events was Jae Seo. The next best thing to Kazuhisa Ishii lasted seven innings and somehow tricked the Marlins into scoring just one run on five hits and two walks. He struck out six batters, but two of those were Carlos Delgado, so that hardly even counts. Roberto Hernandez, fresh from a relaxing Saturday off, pitched a perfect inning of relief, as did Braden Looper.

The Mets offense, meanwhile, had a big day, and their second baseman was at the heart of it. That's right, Cairo...had the day off. Kazuo Matsui got the start and had three hits including a triple which led to the him scoring the Mets' first run in the top of the first inning. Beltran, Wright and Diaz each had two hits. Wright, Diaz and Doug Mientkiewicz each hit a double. Floyd hit his twenty-ninth home run. Reyes had another single and another walk.

Thanks to the top three teams in the division losing on Sunday, the Mets (70-66) remain just 2.5 games behind the Wild Card leading Phillies. The Mets will head to Atlanta to take on the Braves (78-59), whom they trail by 7.5 games. Steve Trachsel (1-0, 0.00) will make his return to the starting rotation and try to get that job-saving no hitter than eluded him last time out. Former Met John Thomson (3-4, 4.80) will go for Atlanta.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
  Phillies 3, Mets 1

So now the Mets can't hit. Terrific. Losing this series didn't doom the Mets' playoff chances, but it certainly put them in a precarious position. The Mets now head off on a tough ten-game road trip with their postseason hopes dwindling. If they don't play a lot better over the next week and a half than they have over the last week, their games will cease to be meaningful rather quickly.

Tom Glavine pitched another good game, though his own defense contributed significantly to his downfall. With runners on first and second and one out in the first inning, an easy double play ball was hit right at Glavine, but he bobbled it and was only able to record one out. A walk and a single followed, putting two runs on the board. Glavine didn't give up anything else over seven innings, but that was enough. He allowed three hits and four walks while striking out six, though five of those six were lefty Ryan Howard and opposing pitcher Jon Lieber. Braden Looper gave up a solo home run to Howard in relief.

Meanwhile, the Mets' offense was so pathetic that Kazuo Matsui qualified as one of the heroes of the day. He drove in the only run with a ground out following a triple by Jose Reyes, and he drew a leadoff walk in the ninth inning as the Mets tried to rally from two runs down. Of course, the Mets squandered that walk, as they did three of the four hits they had on the day. Even David Wright couldn't get anything done against Billy Wagner, as he struck out to end the game. Wright did have a single earlier in the game as did Cliff Floyd. Reyes had the other two hits with the triple and a single. Matsui's walk was the only one the Mets drew all day. Like any other day, Miguel Cairo didn't get a hit, though this time it was because he didn't play.

Tomorrow the Mets (69-64) will find themselves in Florida facing a Marlins (70-63) team they trail by one game in the standings. The pitching matchup is ugly. Victor Zambrano (7-10, 4.07) will take on Dontrelle Willis (18-8, 2.61). Willis has pitched even better against the Mets in his career than he has against the whole league this year, going 6-1 with a 2.04 ERA in nine starts.
Disseminating descriptions and accounts of New York Mets games without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball or the New York Mets since 2003.

Location: Hatboro, Pennsylvania, United States
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