The Mets wasted a brilliant start from Johan Santana and lost to the Marlins 2-1 on a wild pitch by Fernando Nieve in the bottom of the ninth that scored Cody Ross with the winning run. It was a classic pitchers duel that featured two of the division’s top pitchers in Josh Johnson and Santana.
Johan Santana rebounded nicely from his disastrous start last week against the Phillies when he gave up a career worst ten earned runs. This time out he held the Marlins to no earned runs in seven innings pitched. He allowed six hits, walked one and struck out five. He did not figure into the decision. It’s just another one of those games that Johan deserved to win, but instead got nothing to show for it. Sorry Johan, you deserved a better fate.
Quite simply, the Mets didn’t get it done offensively. They had just four hits in the game, with the only run scoring when Rod Barajas lined a clutch single to drive home Jason Bay who has singled a few batters earlier. That was it.
The Mets had a chance to win the game in the top of the ninth, but once again the middle of the order failed to come up with a clutch hit to drive home Luis Castillo who started the inning with a single and then advanced to second on a throwing error. Castillo would end up stuck at second base as the Mets 3-4-5 hitters failed to advance him; Reyes flied out to leftfield, Bay followed with a weak grounder to third base, and then David Wright struck out swinging to end the inning. BIG TIME FAIL!
Fernando Nieve relieved Johan making his major-league leading 22nd appearance, however he would immediately get himself into trouble in the bottom of the ninth, allowing the decisive run to score on a wild pitch allowing Cody Ross to come home from third. Game over the Mets go down 2-1, another one-run loss. <Insert expletive>
Jerry Manuel said he was going to adjust the lineup and to expect some changes tomorrow. I hope that signals the end of Jose Reyes in the third spot. At some point a manager has to realize when something isn’t working, and he’s been riding out this Jose Reyes situation for far too long. Incidentally, for the second night in a row, Jose Reyes failed to execute a critical bunt despite working on laying down a bunt during batting practice.
On another note, it looks like Francoeur hating is back en vogue. My questions is why is everyone piling on the guy who makes $5 million, yet nobody has hushed a word about our $66 million dollar man Jason Bay. Francoeur has 4 HR and 19 RBI batting mostly seventh in the order, while Bay has just 1 HR and 15 RBI while batting cleanup. Bay also has 38 strikeouts compared to just 22 for Francoeur.
Also, here’s an article in the NY Tiimes that says after 22 home games, attendance at Citi Field is down 6,852 fans a game, the largest decline in Major League Baseball. That translates to an average of 31,892 fans at games this season compared with 38,744 last season.
The game ball goes to Johan Santana for his tremendous effort. He pitched a great game and deserved the win, but the Mets bats just never came alive for Johan.
The Mets match up against the Marlins Friday night at 7:10pm for Game 2 of a four game series. Oliver Perez (0-2) will face Anibal Sanchez (1-2) in what looks to be a pretty even matchup.