Monday, April 11, 2005

Agonizing loss today. I watched from the 4th inning on, and the Astros led 1-0 on a Biggio walk and Ensberg RBI double. Pettitte was pitching GREAT, mixing in a high 80's fastball and some nasty breaking pitches. In the 6th, Glavine got 2 quick outs, then walked Pettitte, and allowed singles to Everett and Biggio to load the bases. He went to 3-2 to Bagwell, then threw a pitch that crossed the plate a good six inches inside. Strike three, according to Mark Wegener, and Bagwell nearly got thrown out of the game arguing the call. In the top of the 6th, Pettitte didn't allow a single hard-hit ball. Instead, he allowed a broken-bat single, a bloop single to right, a sac bunt, another bloop single to right, and a bloop single to center, and he was done, down 3-1. Don't be fooled by his overall line (5.1 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 5 K), I don't think I've seen Pettitte this good in a long time.

Dan Wheeler came in and got out of the inning. An Orlando Palmeiro triple (good hustle play) and an Everett single got it to 3-2 , but Wheeler looked solid in the bottom of the 7th. In the top of the 8th, Ensberg works the count to 3-2 and rips a double to the LF gap. Lane hits a sinking liner to RF that Diaz misplays into a triple. 3-3, Astros. Vizcaino crushes a double over Cliff Floyd on the 1st pitch. 4-3, Astros. Brad Ausmus comes up needing to get Viz over to 3rd so a sac fly can drive him out. He fails to get a bunt down in his first 2 pitches, then K's looking on the 3rd pitch. An absolutely terrible at-bat when an insurance run would have been huge. Taveras and Palmeiro don't get anything done, although Palmeiro lines out hard to 1B.

Then...the bottom of the 8th. Russ Springer relieves, and gets Minky to fly out to RF. Then he walks Diaz on 4 pitches nowere near the zone. Then he gets ahead of Marlon Anderson 0-2 and inexplicably leaves a hittable breaking pitch over the middle of plate. Anderson pulls it though the right side, on a play that Chris Burke might have been able to make. This brings up Jose Reyes. Again, Springer gets ahead 0-2, and again leaves a hittable pitch out...but this time, Reyes grounds right back to Springer. At this point Springer HAS to get Diaz in a rundown off 3rd - he was halfway down the line. Instead he tries to get the impossible double play (Reyes is uber-fast), and Everett throws it away trying to rush the throw. 4-4. Matsui comes up and singles up the middle on a hanging breaking ball. 5-4, Mets. We intentionally walk Beltran, bringing up Ramon Castro. He pops out weakly to RF, except Biggio forgets he's not an OF anymore and it's Lane's play - they collide, ball falls in. 6-4 Mets. Garner brings in Franco to face Cliff Floyd. Single up the middle. 8-4 Mets, and that's the final. It was an excruciating inning to watch. Springer didn't pitch terribly, except for the 4-pitch walk to Diaz, but he has to finish guys off after getting up 0-2. I'm sure people were calling for Qualls and Lidge to come in, but they've both pitched a lot already - I like leaving Springer in, particularly facing Minky / Diaz / Anderson - that's not really a dangerous part of the lineup. It just didn't work out today. It's a shame, wasting a great start by Pettitte and a big day by Morgan Ensberg.

1 comment:

Andres said...

Yeah, tough loss. The Lane-Biggio collision was terrible (Biggio said he couldn't hear Lane because of the crowd) and it was all over SportsCenter. But we had some other defensive lapses earlier in the game as well. It was Pettitte's last inning — the sixth I think. First Lane completely misplays an easy pop up to right. He took a few steps back, then couldn't catch up to it as it fell in front of him. Then Everett stumbled when he could have made a play on a bloop single to center. Finally Wheeler gets a slow start to first on Kaz Matsui's perfect drag bunt and gets beat in a foot race. These errors (although none of them were actually recorded as errors) affected the game in a big way. It's these little things — particularly mental errors on the road —that can cost a team a chance at the postseason.