You are going to see me complain about walks, but it was a rough start for Jon Niese that put us on the path to a 6-3 defeat to the Astros.
You all know I like pitching, right? Right. You all know I hate walks, right? Right.
So you can imagine how much I screamed at my television when I saw the Mets walk a ridiculous eight players in the eight innings pitched Tuesday evening. One only needs to look at the sixth inning where four walks and a base knock by the pitcher led to a run scoring. Three of those walks were consecutive. I guess this is the part where I tell you what happened in the rest of the game. Rest assured and read on, there were some positive parts.
Jon Niese started tonight and got a streak of quality starts snapped with a rough go-around, allowing 5 ER in a mere 3.0 IP off two HRs. I think Niese could have gone longer, but Collins pulled him for a pinch hitting opportunity for Duda in the fourth with the Mets threatening, but it went for naught. 6 H and 2 BB allowed for Niese who only managed to strike out one. Minute Maid is a tough ballpark for a lefty to pitch in with that ridiculously short LF box, so chalk it up to Niese just not having it today. The big blow was a three-run bomb by Chris Snyder, who crushed a fastball right down the plate.
Miguel Batista took over after and really did not have it tonight either, allowing seven baserunners (4 BB, 3 H) in 2.2 IP. The only ER charged to him was walked home by Ramon Ramirez in the sixth, which would be the sixth and final run for the Astros on the day. The Astros probably could have done some more damage to Batista, but a horrible decision to steal and a great throw by Thole gave Miguel a huge out in the fourth – and Thole gunned down his second runner of the game in the fifth. Ramirez pitched after, walking 2 and allowing no hits, looking rather erratic. Rauch pitched the eighth, scoreless, without too much trouble.
On a lighter note, the offense was somewhat alive today. It had a pulse… I think. All three runs scored with 2 out, which puts the Mets at the top of the league in runs scored with 2 outs. Could be worse, right? They scored all three runs off J.A. Happ, the opposing starter for Houston, who pitched 6 and a third and K’d 7. The Houston bullpen combined for 2 and a third scoreless innings, allowing only a David Wright single.
Torres, Thole, and Hairston were the men who came through with 2-out RBIs. Kudos to Josh, who is really starting to impress me – average dropped to .313 today but a hit, an rbi, and two great throws on pitches that were not easy to handle deserve a least a tip of my invisible hat. Turner picked up SB number 1 in this one. Wright was the only man with multiple hits – while the top of the order, Kirk and Tejada, went a combined 0-8 with 4 Ks.
Goat Of The Game
I hate to do it – but I have to say Jon Niese, who got rocked.
If you had not heard, there is a flu bug circling the Mets dugout. Lucas Duda and Mike Nickeas are currently the worst of the bunch. Mike Baxter is the certified emergency catcher.
Dickey flirted with ANOTHER no – hitter last night. Just saying…
Frank Francisco is dealing with a random assortment of injuries, the latest one a hamstring issue, but he claims to be ok.
Mike Pelfrey had successful TJ surgery.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis led all Major League rookies with a .325 batting average and 26 hits in April. He was also second with 11 runs scored, tied for third with two homers, and fourth with eight RBIs. Third-best rookie average in Mets April history, too.
The schwingman pitcher, Chris Schwinden, takes the mound against Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros tomorrow in the final game of the series. Mets will seek to avoid the sweep starting at 2:05 pm.