Game 31 - Mets
Braves 8, Mets 3
It still works. I can still talk about the Mets' strengths, only to see them fade away instantaneously. Last night was a Bob Lanier-sized punt in the crotch, Atlanta Braves-style. I was sure that the unearned run Atlanta scratched across in the top of the first would hold up. I almost wish it had.
Instead, we aren't (merely) lamenting Fernando Tatis's inexperience at 1B and how Derek Lowe is just so much better than Oliver Perez. Both of those things are reasons for concern, don't get me wrong. It's just that last night we have a handful of other culprits.
Culprit #1: Jerry "I Misplaced My Manager's Instruction" Manuel
The skipper pulled Santana after 108 pitches. 6 1/3 IP, one on, one out. Not egregious, but it was a 1-1 barn-burner and the 7th inning options aren't as sure as 8 & 9, especially when you stick to formulaic bullpen usage. Long-term, I get it. I was still irritated.
Culprit #2: Bobby "Sub" Parnell
Parns let his first batter reach on a single, then got an out. Also not egregious, but part of the miserable equation.
Culprit #3: Me
"Even Pedro Feliciano has been not-terrible." 5/11/09
What in Sam Hill was I thinking? Just moronic. Hear me now and believe me later, this will never happen again. Ever. He is wretched refuse. And the lesson, as always, is that I am an idiot.
Culprit #4: Jose "Nothing's Unbootable" Reyes
Jose could have ended the inning when the first batter that Pedro Feliciano (who is terrible, by the way) threw to, against all odds, did not hit a home run or a line drive down the line but instead dribbled one up the middle. I'm not kidding you, if this ball had been rolling any more slowly, it would have been sitting still. Jose, obviously befuddled by the fact that a guy hitting off Feliciano didn't walk or crush one off the right-field wall, somehow, someway misplayed it. This was egregious. Playmakers make plays. Hell, even A-ball shortstops make these plays.
Culprit #5: Jerry Manuel, Redux
What do we all know about Pedro Feliciano? Other than that he is horrible and bad for a bullpen, he's a lefty specialist. Not that special, I realize, but the point is that he's worse against righties. What do we know about Matt Diaz? He sucks against righties to the point where he's platoon-only. So why let him bat against Feliciano? Because Jerry doesn't believe in platoon advantage!!
Culprit #6: Pedro Feliciano
You had to know this was coming, right? Just because Reyes inexpicably kept the inning alive and your manager & pitching coach leave you out there in a tough spot doesn't entirely let you off the hook. The 2-run single to Diaz was utterly predictable and foreseen by everyone from Gary Cohen to Gary Coleman. But the subsequent 2-run single to Casey "Kick In the" Kotchman was just more fuel to the eternal flame that shall forever burn for you, Pedro. I shall never extol your virtues as a big-league reliever ever again. You are forever entrenched in the . . . uh, trench . . . where Armando Benitz, Dan Wheeler, and a host of others wallow. Enjoy.
Culprit #7: The hitters
Yeah, I know, Derek Lowe is awesome. His sinker is a rally-killer. He'd induced all of one GIDP in 30 innings of work coming into last night. The Mets did it three times. Boys, if you expect to contend, you're going to have to eventually win a game in which you trail after seven innings. Otherwise, just rest everybody after the 7th and let Pedro Feliciano mop up 8 and 9 every game. Granted, last night wasn't egregious, what with the 'pen leaking more runs away late and the Mets managing 3 runs in a Santana start (actually quite a big number, relatively speaking). Just come on.
Culprit #8: Me, again
17-13 isn't so comfortable, and even a seven-game winning streak isn't impressive enough to forget about the 10-13 start. My optimism . . . it's annoying.
So there was plenty of blame to go around. But let's just blame Feliciano and move on.