About Last Night …. Typical

For those of you fortunate enough to have missed the 2009 Mets season, it was neatly wrapped up in last night’s 6-5 loss at Atlanta in another example of creative losing. Yes, the game was the season in one capsule.

Maybe the only thing that didn’t happen was an injury, which brings us to the bottom line: Injuries are part of the game, but you still have to play the game.

And, for a long time now, the Mets have not played the game the right way.

There was lousy starting pitching, with Bobby Parnell giving up four runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. For all the talk about the Mets leading the NL in hitting with runners in scoring position, they still blow too many opportunities. Last night, they went 4-12 and left 14 runners.

There was Francisco Rodriguez’s sixth blown save in another adventuresome outing. No, Rodriguez didn’t get much help, and threw Daniel Murphy under the bus when he said “that play has to be made.” Then again, if you’re going to make the money K-Rod does, then pitch better. Of the seven hitters he faced, he only threw two first-pitch strikes. He was behind all the time. Couldn’t the results have been different if he were ahead in the count?

Cody Ross scores the winning run on Murphy's error.

Cody Ross scores the winning run on Murphy's error.

And, there was poor fielding, with Murphy making three bad plays in the ninth inning, including the game-winning blunder when he botched Ryan Church’s grounder to enable Cody Ross to score. He should’ve been given two errors on the play.

“I’ve got to make that play,” Murphy said. “I make it 100 times. I booted it and tonight we lost the ballgame.”

Yes, he did, but as often as been the case this year it shouldn’t have come down to one play. Had Murphy come up with a double to lead off the inning, and he was guarding the line, the horror never would have unfolded.

Then again, if the Mets didn’t leave all those runners, it wouldn’t have mattered.

“We had our chances,” manager Jerry Manuel said of the missed scoring opportunities.

The Mets’ league-leading average with RISP is a misnomer because they are 11th in runs scored. Unbelievably, they’ve had 21 runners thrown out at the plate. Razor Shines needs to be evaluated at the end of the season, too. There’s no telling how many games that cost them.

In addition to guys getting nailed, I can’t remember when I’ve seen so many runners unable to score because the hit with a runner on second was an infield hit or a slap job to left where he had to hold. I’m sure there’s a stat somewhere. Then again, I could go through the play-by-play of every game, but I don’t want to get sick. So, that BA with RISP can be a bogus stat, because if you’re not scoring, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.

Let’s go over some of them.

In addition to last night, there was Murphy’s dropped fly in Florida; Sean Green’s WP to score the game-winner in Philly; the Luis Castillo pop-up at Yankee Stadium; blowing a five-run lead in a loss to Pittsburgh; Church’s failure to touch third in LA; losing two games in one week on grand slams; the triple play to end a loss to Philly; the Mike Pelfrey three-balk game.

There are others.

Parnell should have been left in.

Parnell should have been left in.

However, as bad as the Mets played last night, what aggravated me most was taking out Parnell and not giving him a chance to work out of trouble and develop his presence. Look, I’ve accepted a long time ago the Mets weren’t going to do win this season. It was some time in early August when I wrote the remainder of the season should go toward finding answers for 2010.

One of those questions is Parnell. He HAS NOT shown he can handle starting on this level for several reasons. He gets behind in the count too frequently. He had only nine first pitch strikes out of 20 hitters. But, all that’s part of the learning curve. He also doesn’t have command of his secondary pitches.

I don’t like how Parnell has been yanked around. He went into spring training not knowing his role (reliever in the majors or starter in the minors). After being decided he would be a middle-inning guy, out of necessity he was thrown into the eighth-inning role, where he had problems. Then, it was decided he would start.

The Mets were already cooked when the decision was made to put him in the rotation because of injuries to Johan Santana and Oliver Perez. OK, he has to learn on the fly. That’s hard. But, don’t make it more difficult by threatening to remove him after a bad start.

What Manuel is doing is unfair and hurts his confidence more than getting beat. Give him the chance to pitch out of the fourth. It is the only way he’s going to learn. And, speaking of learning, despite his shortcomings as a hitter, Brian Schneider does call a good game, and maybe he should be the one to work with the rookie instead of Josh Thole. Don’t get me wrong, I like Thole, but he’s learning, too.

The point is, Parnell has been forced to learn on the fly, and when that happens, mistakes will be made. The same goes for Murphy, who failed in left and only went to first with the injury to Carlos Delgado. When you have players out of position, this stuff happens.

Of course, this leads us to another point. When all the players went down, the Mets didn’t have the resources on the minor league level to bring up or to trade for help. The cupboard is bare, and that responsibility is on management.

Things aren’t going to get any better soon, and they won’t until the Mets decide what direction they are heading. If it’s rebuilding and evaluating, they are going to take their lumps. If it is to win, well, that’s not going to happen soon, either.

Of all the things that happened last night, what irked me most was Manuel throwing his gum after the Murphy error. Yeah, he’s frustrated, but he just sent the message he’s disgusted with his team and that doesn’t help anybody.

11 thoughts on “About Last Night …. Typical

  1. How did Cody Ross end up on the Braves? Dont the Mets need a LF with power? Omar asleep at the switch again.

  2. They are not going to rebuild for at least 2 years when theyve cleared most of thier big contracts and star players. You have a point, John. They need to decide the window closes soon and go for it. Thole had a passed ball last night too. You are not going to win a lot of games with so many inexperienced players mixed in.

  3. Ray: Do yourself a favor and focus on 2011. Next year is hopeless. There are too many holes to fill, not enough bodies to fill them, not enough talent available in Free Agency either. The rotation has 4 holes after Santana. On the offensive side there are holes at 1st, Left, and Catcher. And I doubt Castillo will have a good year next year, so that leaves a hole at 2nd. Not to mention we have a rudderless ship in Manuel and Omar.

  4. JD: I fail to see why Manuel throwing his gum would “irk” you. He has every right to be frustrated and upset with his team who always fall over their own feet. I think he is a terrible manager, but Murphy has got to field that ball. My 10 year old son would have fielded that ball. He’s plays against kids in little league who hit the ball harder than Church did last night.

  5. 4. Steve I agree. If were Jerry last night I would have thrown a lot more than gum. Frankie let out a little frustration too. He thought he was coming to a contender. Instead he came to a team of boneheaded players who make the bad news bears look competent.

  6. 4/5… Disagree on the Manuel part. He can do whatever he wants in his office. Beat the daylights out of the guys. But going to the press every freakin night with another threat to another player, hasn’t worked, ansd won’t work. Compare him to the Manuel with a ring. He won’t even throw Lidge to the press despite his horrid season. “He’s my closer” “We’re gonna get him straight again by the playoffs” Even when he benched Rollins for laziness, he wouldn’t make a negative comment about the guy to the press. Compare to the clown we have who is always lying about what he’s gonna do with guys, always threatening in public. He gets giggles but look at how nobody plays hard for him. Even the poor guy in Baltimore won’t knock his guys in the post game. No matter how bad his starter was that night, he finds a positive to say. Jerry looks to belittle his players.

  7. Harry, I hear your point. But I don’t agree with it because I have no problem with the manager doing that to his players. They should be able to take it, IMO.

  8. Harry: It’s also nice to see the Mets play a team that actually can develop young pitchers and trade for them too in Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens. What do we get? Mike Pelfrey? Parnell? Figueroa? Misch? A bunch of crappola is what the Met fans get to see.

  9. Manuel has done a lot of things wrong this year, but I didnt see anything in the papers about him knocking his players this morning. He threw a piece of gum. so what? He has Pagan back in Lf and Murphy is hitting cleanup today. I know you dont like the guy but today you are accusing him of something he didnt do. If I am defending him more these days, its because I feel sorry for him having to run out these terrible lineups and lousy pitchers every day. Its easy to blame it all on one person, but its not quite that simple.

  10. 9/8. I don’t see anything wrong with a manager knockling his players. But it takes a big chickedn to run to the press to do it, instead of facing them man to man. I think he is a total jerk for his actions. Its not once, its a regular thing. But we will never convince each other to change their mind so … whatever…. Jerry the jerk is not worth fighting over.

  11. John

    there is a lot emotion in this piece. Thanks for reminding me in one piece how bad the mets have been.

    i agree on bobbu, and it seems they have taken him out of the rotation because well they have so many great options that are better than wasting it on a talented young pitcher who needs the work.

    bobby o very nicely echo’s your views. both parnell and pelfrey need to lean that pitching is not fast, faster, fastest. he says you need 3 pitches which neither have.

    as you say. the season is done. they need to pitch.

    and yes. jerry should be fired. i would like someone to ask what his plans are on bobby. how yanking him helps his development.

    i listened at the clips and he was not raked these guys the way he did church. so i cant fault him for that. but he has not coached this team well.

    as you say. the team needs to figure out a plan and stick with it. not emulate isiah thomas and go out every day and change your mind 10 times a day about what direction you want to go.