Pesky Marlins Expose Mets Old Flaws

April 11, 2009

Mets Carlos Beltran, who was batting left-handed, was caught by surprise as home plate umpire Mark Carlson punched him out on a pitch that came across the plate a tad bit inside and, in my opinion, should have been called a ball. Beltran then turned to Carlson and gave him a piece of his mind as he made sure his discontent was heard loud and clear on his way back to the Mets dugout.

At this point in last night’s 5-4 defeat in the hands of the Florida Marlins, the Mets were losing by a score of 2-0. Florida was able to tack on those two runs by doing what comes natural to them: hitting homeruns. Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla each connected on solo shots, both landing inside a section of the stands that is beyond the left field wall and incidentally, devoid of any spectators. With that in mind, a Mets hitter could probably have sent a blast hurtling towards the same spot, without fear that a disgruntled fan might toss the ball back out onto the field.

Beltran must’ve been aware of this because in the top of the sixth while batting right-handed, he took matters into his own hands and produced a solo shot that gave the Mets their first run of the game. Sweet revenge for the last time he was up. The Mets center fielder ended up going 3 for 5, finishing the night with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Starting pitcher John Maine also gave the Mets a solid performance by completing five efficient innings in which he surrendered two earned runs and struck out five batters. However, some might say that that amount of strikeouts could be considered a given against a free-swinging Marlins ball club.

In only their fourth game of the season, certain similarities that took place in 2008 have begun to rear their ugly heads. First, there is the obvious one: that dreaded four letter word, RISP. Last night, the team as a whole went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Granted, that lonely hit came at a very opportune time when pinch hitter Jeremy Reed delivered an RBI single that tied up the score at four. Ultimately, the Mets would go on to lose the game in the bottom half of the ninth inning.

Secondly, Marlins reliever Dan Meyer was having problems locating the strike zone as he had just walked pinch hitter Gary Sheffield on four pitches. So what does Jose Reyes do with a runner who is now at second base and a 1-0 count? He swings at the second pitch and produces a soft fly ball to right, ending the inning. Hojo, could you please develop a drill specifically for Reyes that teaches him that it’s okay to take a couple of pitches especially when the pitcher is unable to find the plate??

Lastly, how many more at-bats by Luis Castillo must we endure in which he is caught looking at a perfect pitch right down the middle?

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