Game 89 - Mets
Reds 8, Mets 4
And on the seventh day he ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And on the eighth day he was way, way too rested.
Just as I praised the All-Star Break for being a nice diversion from the at-time monotonous routine, it comes back to bite me in the posterior. John Maine took the hill last night on eight days' rest, while Reds starter Aaron Harang took his normal spot in the rotation on the 5th day. That difference might've been subtle, but the result was not. Maine took just five batters to get back to his 1st-half self; after four batters, though, the score was 4-0.
Sometimes "the routine" is what keeps players in their groove, and based on innings 2, 3, & 4, John Maine should quickly resume his steady progress next time out. On this night, however, Brandon Phillips' grand slam and the defensive debacle that was the 5th inning were enough to topple the Mets.
In the aforementioned frame, Ruben Gotay tried to undo all of the recent good that's been emanating from his bat with some shoddy glovework. The first batter's routine grounder became anything but when Gotay bobbled the transfer. The next hit was would have been a challenging but manageable 4-6-3, except that Ruben delivered what we on the rugby pitch used to call a "hospital pass" to Jose Reyes. Indeed, Reyes dropped the throw, was plowed through by Ryan Freel, got dinged up on the play, and was charged with the error. (The scorer ultimately gave the E to Gotay, much to Gary Cohen's satisfaction.) Maine's allowance of a couple of hits later in the inning spelled the end of his night, but with proper fielding behind him, at least a couple of the three runs that took the game out of reach would likely have been erased.
Mike Pelfrey made his first big-league relief appearance, looking better than his line does. Lastings Milledge homered, and the HoJo-led bats (with Rickey at 1B) rapped out eight hits and took four walks. That's the good.
Paulie LoDuca & Carlos Beltran look absolutely lost at the plate these days. There were a ton of opportunities squandered that could've kept the Mets closer. And the defense, as I mentioned, had some ugly moments. That's the bad.
With Tom Glavine going against the eminently beatable Matt Belisle tonight, it's time for the Mets to remember what they are, what the Reds are, and let good beat bad once and for all. If we want an underdog story, we'll watch Major League. Again.