It's really pretty hard to justify staying up so late to watch the Mets play these west coast games when they insist on playing like utter dogshit. The crown jewel of the night was Orlando Hernandez issuing two walks to Juan "sub-.300 OBP" Pierre, who came into the night with just nine walks all season. What was even more amazing is that Pierre showed up home plate umpire Larry Poncino on 3-1 pitches in both at-bats, almost throwing the bat away each time before Poncino called them both strikes to run the count to 3-2. After identical douchebag displays by Pierre, all Duque had to do was throw the ball remotely close to the plate and Poncino would have been more than happy to oblige him with a punchout. Yet, Hernandez threw both payoff pitches too high: the first a curve and the second a fastball.
Duque wasn't the only transgressor. In the sixth, Paul Lo Duca tagged out James loney trying to score on a squib by Tony Abreu, but then proceeded to throw the ball in the general vicinity of nobody in particular, allowing Abreu to scamper all the way to third and scored on a bloop single by pinch hitter Wilson Betemit. That run increased the Dodgers' lead to 5-3, effective putting the game out of reach against a Mets' offense that hasn't been able to come up with the big hit of late. For the season, here is what the Mets' regulars have done overall, with runners in scoring position (RISP) and with runners in scoring position and two men out (RISP2):
OPS RISP RISP2 ------------------ Reyes .848 .994 .829 Wright .885 .787 .667 Beltran .857 .635 .515 Delgado .711 .631 .582 Green .858 .822 .995 Lo Duca .740 .558 .479 Valentin .785 .963 .619 Gomez .550 .700 1.000 Alou .819 .489 .384 Chavez .743 .841 .753 Easley .814 .824 .452Wright, Beltran, Delgado and Lo Duca have all been considerably worse with runners in scoring position than in all situations, with Lo Duca performing almost .200 OPS points lower. The rumors of his clutchiness have been exaggerated, at least for this season it would seem. Reyes, Valentin and Chavez have all been substantially better in these "clutch" situation than in all situations, though Valentin and Chavez have both done so in extremely limited plate appearances.
I almost didn't even include RISP2, since some of these guys have only a dozen or so at-bats with runners in scoring position and two outs. Regardless, they are there for reference, small sample size caveats notwithstanding.
If you asked me four months ago for one of the least likely statements that I might utter at this point in the season, "I'm really glad to see Shawn Green back in the lineup" would certainly rank among them. With offensive black holes like Ben Johnson and Carlos Gomez taking up outfield space during Green's first career stint on the disabled list, Shawn's early season success with the bat is a welcome sight indeed.
Ugh. With tonight's loss the Mets watch their lead over the Braves trimmed to just two games, and they certainly haven't been playing well enough recently to instill much confidence that said lead will get bigger before it gets smaller. They have now lost seven of their last eight games, and I'm not going to degenerate into the "sky is falling" mentality that is adopted by so many drama queens out there, but I'll admit that it is very difficult to be inspired by the way the team is playing right now.