May 15, 2008
Daily Mets Recap: May 15th, 2008
by: Milo Taibi, Howard Megdal and Eric Simon on May 15, 2008 9:58 AM | Filed under: Game Recaps

The Game

Claudio Vargas was tremendous in his Mets debut, but his effort was all for naught as Aaron Heilman and the Mets offense gave away this game to the Washington Nationals by a score of 5-3.

Tuesday afternoon, the Mets had announced that Angel Pagan was going on the DL, and Jorge Sosa and Nelson Figueroa were going to pack their bags and head to waivers. Three players were brought up to the big club; Matt Wise (who had been on the 15 day DL), pinch hitter Fernando Tatis and insurance policy Claudio Vargas. Mets fans can be sure that the less they see of Vargas this year the better; as the more time he spends with the Mets, the more time Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez aren’t going to be healthy and ready to pitch. But tonight he stood out from the crowd of replacement starting pitchers (Jose Lima and Jeremi Gonzalez unfortunately come to mind), and pitched a gem. Vargas went 6 1/3 innings, allowing merely three hits, two earned runs and four walks. Claudio also struck out six batters, remaining consistent with his career strike out per nine innings ratio (six k’s per nine innings). In the 6th inning Vargas allowed a mammoth home run off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman, but he kept the Mets in the game throughout the night. He’d leave the game in the 7th inning with one out, and one man on base.

Unfortunately, the entrance of Aaron Heilman in this situation turned into an all too familiar course of events. After a Wily Mo Pena groundout, Heilman was set to face catching prospect Jesus Flores. Heilman quickly blew two fastballs right by Flores, putting Heilman in the driver’s seat. Heilman then proceeded to throw three off-speed pitches off the plate, drawing the count full. With his 3-2 delivery, Flores lined a single into left field to put the Nats ahead. This would hardly be the worst Heilman would endure last night. Speedy pinch hitter Willie Harris came to the plate, and mind-numbingly drew a walk. Later on in that frame Felipe Lopez and Christian Guzman would get RBI singles, but the walk to Harris was the turning point of the inning by far. I don’t mind Flores beating Heilman when Aaron was in the strike zone and giving the at-bat all he had. But to walk a light hitting pinch hitter in that spot was simply unforgivable. My philosophy remains that the Mets should ride Heilman until he gets on a hot streak and then sell him high, but its really difficult to keep watching him implode in key spots.

The Mets offense was nothing to write home about last night. They didn’t score until the 5th inning off of Tim Redding, when Brian Schneider hit a line drive home run. Schneider would be accountable for the Mets next run as well, when he hit a frozen rope to first baseman Aaron Boone to knock in Endy Chavez (who entered the game after Moises Alou was ejected for arguing balls and strikes). In the start of the 8th inning, the Mets were down 5-2. Their momentum got started immediately when pinch hitting extraordinaire Marlon Anderson hit a single into left field. Joser Reyes would then fly out, and Ryan Church would draw a free pass. After Luis Ayala entered the game, David Wright was set to hit in a situation that could have not only tied the game, but completely change the momentum in the ballgame. Unfortunately he’d shatter his bat in a fly out to center field. Carlos Beltran would single in a run, but Endy Chavez would prove to be no match for Jon Rauch, and he’d fly out to end the threat.

This a very tough loss for the Mets, simply because the Nationals are a team that contending teams must beat. We now have to rely on Mike Pelfrey tomorrow for a split in this series against a team that had scored just seven runs in their last three games prior to their series in New York. I’m sick of pitchers like Tim Redding, Bronson Arroyo and Odalis Perez having great games at out expense. I understand that no team’s perfect, but to watch a clearly talented ballclub continue such a poor level of play against such mediocre teams is frustrating. The Mets will have to rely on a victory this afternoon at 1:10 when Pelfrey takes on recently recalled Jason Bergmann.


The Haiku

Vargas is superb
Heilman digs the Mets a hole
Too steep to climb out


The Boxscore

Lopez, 2B 2 1 2 1 2 0 0 .273
Guzman, SS 4 0 1 2 0 0 4 .297
Zimmerman, 3B 4 1 1 1 0 2 4 .240
Boone, 1B 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 .314
Kearns, RF 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 .196
Dukes, CF 3 1 0 0 1 2 1 .056
Pena, LF 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 .211
  Rivera, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  Ayala, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  Rauch, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Flores, C 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 .348
Redding, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .143
  a-Harris, PH-LF 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 .191
Totals 31 5 6 5 5 10 13  

a-Walked for Redding in the 7th.

2B: Lopez (5, Vargas).
HR: Zimmerman (7, 6th inning off Vargas, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Lopez 3; Guzman; Zimmerman 4; Boone; Flores.
RBI: Zimmerman (21), Flores (6), Lopez (14), Guzman 2 (18).
2-out RBI: Zimmerman; Flores; Lopez; Guzman 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Boone; Zimmerman.
GIDP: Dukes; Guzman.
Team LOB: 4.

DP: (Zimmerman-Lopez).

Reyes, SS 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 .258
Church, RF 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 .317
Wright, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 .276
Beltran, CF 4 0 1 1 0 0 2 .246
Alou, LF 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .343
  Chavez, LF 2 1 1 0 0 0 2 .178
Delgado, 1B 4 0 1 0 0 2 0 .229
Schneider, C 4 1 1 2 0 0 1 .318
Easley, 2B 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 .237
Vargas, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 .000
  Heilman, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  Smith, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
  a-Anderson, PH 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 .235
  Feliciano, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 32 3 6 3 3 6 11  

a-Singled for Smith in the 8th.

HR: Schneider (2, 5th inning off Redding, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Wright; Beltran; Chavez; Delgado; Schneider 4; Anderson.
RBI: Schneider 2 (12), Beltran (23).
2-out RBI: Schneider; Beltran.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Easley; Chavez.
Team LOB: 5.

DP: 2 (Reyes-Easley-Delgado, Easley-Reyes-Delgado).

Washington IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Redding (W, 5-3) 6.0 2 1 1 2 4 1 3.55
Rivera 1.1 3 2 2 1 0 0 4.56
Ayala (H, 10) 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.87
Rauch (S, 8) 1.1 1 0 0 0 2 0 2.75
Vargas (L, 0-1) 6.1 3 2 2 4 6 1 2.84
Heilman 0.1 3 3 3 1 0 0 5.82
Smith 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 0 2.60
Feliciano 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.98

WP: Vargas.
Pitches-strikes: Redding 88-53, Rivera 32-20, Ayala 2-1, Rauch 18-13, Vargas 97-56, Heilman 25-14, Smith 14-9, Feliciano 16-11.
Ground outs-fly outs: Redding 6-7, Rivera 2-2, Ayala 0-1, Rauch 0-2, Vargas 8-5, Heilman 1-0, Smith 2-0, Feliciano 1-0.
Batters faced: Redding 21, Rivera 8, Ayala 1, Rauch 5, Vargas 24, Heilman 5, Smith 4, Feliciano 3.
Inherited runners-scored: Ayala 2-0, Rauch 2-1, Heilman 1-1, Smith 1-0.
EjectionsNew York Mets left fielder Moises Alou ejected by HP umpire Dana DeMuth. (5th).
Umpires: HP: Dana DeMuth. 1B: Lance Barksdale. 2B: Doug Eddings. 3B: Ted Barrett.
Weather: 59 degrees, cloudy.
Wind: 11 mph, In from RF.
T: 3:04.
Att: 48,529.

Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner

The Win Probability Added Graph

The Credits

Recap by Milo Taibi
Haiku by Howard Megdal

4 Responses to “Daily Mets Recap: May 15th, 2008”

  1. Comment posted by riveraro on May 15, 2008 at 10:20 am (#693543)

    I think perhaps our talent is somewhat overrated…..they’ve been losing like this since the end of august

    with 2 outs and men in scoring position = mets hitting a weak grounder to 2nd or a weak pop up to shallow left. No resilience and zero guts.

    Our bullpen likes to make it tough on our offense and vice versa. Frustrating team to watch

  2. Comment posted by Wally Dykstra on May 15, 2008 at 10:34 am (#693560)

    I don’t think these bad pitchers just happen to hurl gems at the Mets’ expense. I think it’s a product of the Mets offense. Because they lack power, the Mets are not good at making the most of lousy pitchers’ mistakes, and said pitchers who usually pitch with fear, knowing the batters will pummel them if they come to close to the middle of the plate (and therefore walk a lot of guys and run up big pitch counts), are able to pitch more aggressively, knowing the worst that will happen is that a Met will line a single.

    Heilman has pretty much demonstrated that he is not emotionally capable of handling misfortune. When something bad happens to him, he seems to fall to pieces. Willie Harris’ walk (I believe Aaron started him off by going 3-0, when he just should have been throwing fastballs over the plate to a light hitter) was a direct result of Flores’ single. Another thing about Heilman is he just seems to lack a strikeout pitch. I know everybody loves his changeup, but how many times does he get 2 strikes on a guy and then we proceed to watch the batter foul off pitch after pitch until he either walks or pokes a hit. He’s sorely deficient in the “put guys away” category.

    It was Vargas’ first outing and who knows how much gas he had left, so it’s hard to rip on Willie too much here, but Willie’s rule of automatically pulling any starter not named Santana after the 6th inning if he let’s anybody get on base backfired last night. Somehow I get the feeling Vargas would have gotten out of the 7th without giving up 4 runs. So the pitcher change leads directly to the loss, and we get to use more pitchers in the losing effort than if we had just left Vargas in. Our pen is now in a better position to cough up more runs tonight. Willie needs to challenge his starters to give him 7 innings at least when they’re pitching well.

  3. Comment posted by griffyusc on May 15, 2008 at 12:07 pm (#693692)

    With Joe Smith pitching so well and Heilman struggling why does Slick Willie continue to put Heilman into close games. Heilman nearly needs an EXTENDED-extended Spring Training. Call up Muniz let him work his magic and then lets wait for Mr. Kunz

  4. Comment posted by bgygi on May 15, 2008 at 12:50 pm (#693732)

    Overrated – perhaps. Clearly Delgado is going down, but Wright and Beltran are performing nowhere near their career levels. And what is with Jose Reyes?

    The Mets have many problems in terms of talent, but sadly none of them are really fixable (other than benching Castillo and getting someone who can actually hit and play defense). The problem they can fix is getting rid of Randolph, who has mismanaged the bullpen dreadfully, devalued young talent in favor of washed up veterans and spread a cult of indifference through the clubhouse. Maybe the Mets have to have a whole subpar season for it to sink. That would be unfortunate because the team is getting older with little to no help coming up so next year’s team will likely be even worse