Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mets, Rain, Squelch Pirates Again

The game started late because of some showers, but the Pirates were in mid-game form. Jose Reyes doubled, and a bunt base hit by Angel Pagan put runners on the corners. It was an easy hit; J-Mac never covered first. Carlos Beltran flew out to center, and while Reyes stayed put, Pagan went to second on the throw home.

J-Mac struck out Chris Carter on a curve in the dirt; Reyes scored on the throw to first to complete the out. This is the major leagues? And if Pagan was still on first, there would have been no need for the throw, not that he should have been there to start with.

McCutch started with a double, and Jose Tabata bunted him to third. A bunt after a leadoff double in the first? JT was probably copying Pagan's move; maybe if Pagan hadn't just pulled it off the Mets might have been caught napping. You can guess the rest: Neil Walker K'ed, Garrett Jones bounced out, and so much for that small ball tidbit.

McDonald got the first two guys in the second, and then walked Jon Niese, his mound opponent. The Pirates have already broken about a half-dozen fundamental tenets, and it's only the second inning.

Dewey drew a one-out walk in the second, and Ronny Cedeno followed with a swinging bunt single. Snyder struck out, and J-Mac K'ed without taking the bat off his shoulders, not offering so much as a hack to help his cause with two on and two out. And if you're keeping count, Niese has four whiffs in two frames; McDonald has three.

In the third, J-Mac got the first two outs and then again walked a guy, but it didn't hurt him.

McCutch banged another double to start the Buccos off in their half of the third. Tabata sacrificed him to third. We give up. At least this time it resulted in a run when Walker banged a single into left to tie the game.

At the end of three, both pitchers were nearing the 50 pitch mark; home plate ump Adrian Johnson was calling a tight strike zone, and it was making them work.

Ike Davis started the fourth with a double into deep center, and an offering later he was wild-pitched to third. He got Josh Thole to pop out, but the eight hitter, Ruben Tejeda, hit a sac fly to left. With two away, he walked Niese again after being ahead 1-2 in the count, but got Reyes to line out to Dewey.

The Bucs whacked a couple of the balls on the nose in their half, but got a roped line out and long fly out for their effort. 2-1 Mets after four innings.

More trouble in the fifth for J-Mac; a leadoff double and walk put him in a jam. With one out, he fed David Wright a fastball down the middle, and he took it over the center field wall. Pirate games are becoming so predictable. Give up a couple of gift runs, followed by a three-run homer, and wait for the fat lady.

J-Mac then walked Davis. After a strikeout, Pedro let a ball through him to put runners at second and third. This time he got Niese with two away on a bouncer to short, though it was on a 3-2 pitch.

That was it for J-Mac. He went five innings, giving up five runs on six hits with five walks and four K's. When he can get one of his curve and change over with any regularity, he's dominating. But when he can't, like tonight, he's not enough of a power pitcher to depend on his heater to carry him; it needs set up by his off speed stuff.

After two ground outs, Tabata was finally allowed to swing away; he doubled to left. Walker hit one ticketed up the middle, but Tejeda made the play and saved the run.

Poor Daniel McCutchen came on when the rains returned, and it was pretty heavy this time. He gave up a single to Reyes and was behind 3-1 to Pagan. D-Mac finally caved and asked for a towel to dry off his hands, and the umps decided it was time to call for the tarps as the infield quickly turned into a marsh.

And that's how it ended. With threatening weather forecast all evening and five innings in, the umps called it and the Mets got the win 5-1.

Zach Duke goes against Johann Santana tomorrow afternoon, weather permitting.

-- Dewey's getting the start in right over Thrilledge tonight, even with a lefty on the hill. So much for platooning. In about the same number of at-bats this season, Doumit is hitting .187/2/9 against lefties, Milledge .315/3/16. And it's not like he's "been swinging a hot bat" as JR said - Doumit was 2 for 22 in his past six games. It's like the ghost of Ryan Church is still haunting right field.

-- New York had not won a NL road series all season until tonight.

-- A while back, everyone was talking about Garrett Jones' solo home runs; well, add McCutch to the list. He's hit a dozen, and every one has been with the bases empty.

-- The Bucs held a closed door meeting before tonight's game. Geez, wonder what they have to talk about? There are so many topics to choose from. Maybe the weather?

--- Tonight was a throw-back game. The Pirates were dressed in the uniforms of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, and the Mets in the outfits of the New York Cubans, two fabled Negro League clubs.

-- Brad Lincoln is suffering from neck soreness; he was put on the minor league DL and is expected to miss a start (Indy's DL's start at a week, not 15 days). Bad timing; just before that, Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review tweeted that the Bucs might consider 6-man rotation if Lincoln was recalled in September.

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