Catch the wind see us spin,
Sail away leave the day,
Way up high in the sky.
But the wind won’t blow,
You really shouldn’t go,
It only goes to show.
New York Mets starter Oliver Perez threw his best game since 2008.Â 6 1/3 innings, 97 pitches into his best game in 2 seasons, his Mets held a 1-0 lead.Â With 1 out and a runner on 2nd base, right handed hitting Brendan Ryan whom the Mets had already intentionally walked once in the game, was coming up.Â Mets manager Jerry Manuel, faced with the prospect of having the lefty Perez pitch to the righty Ryan with the tying run in scoring position, not likely to intentionally walk him again as he would be the go-ahead run, chose to remove Perez from the game.Â He could have made the choice because he wanted to get Perez out on a high note, in a situation in which he could not receive a loss.Â Or he could have made the choice because he has statistically one of the best bullpens in the major leagues so far this season.Â Perhaps he’ll reveal the reason for his choice in his post game press conference.Â But whatever the reason, it didn’t work out.
The right handed reliever Fernando Nieve (0-1) came on, and St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa sent up a pinch hitter for Ryan, the lefty swinging Skip Schumaker, who Nieve hit on the foot with a breaking ball thus putting the go-ahead run on base.Â Slugging left fielder Matt Holliday, who had this game off due to illness, was then sent up to pinch hit for Cards starter Chris Carpenter (2-0) and Nieve walked him to load the bases.Â Next up was Felipe Lopez, a switch hitter who is more highly regarded as a left handed hitter, so Manuel called on lefty reliever Raul Valdes (not Pedro Feliciano) to turn Lopez around.Â His curveball to Lopez caught the wind. I got to see Valdes spin and watch Lopez’ ball sail away leave the day, way up high in the sky as it fell just over the outfield fence for a grand slam and a 4-1 Cardinals lead.Â It only goes to show that Ollie should’ve stayed in the game.Â He was in control.Â He hadn’t eclipsed 100 pitches.Â He was handling the Cardinals.Â But Manuel chose to relieve him, and I’m sure the Cardinals were themselves relieved.Â What Is And What Should Never Be.
The Mets made a valiant effort in the top of the 9th.Â Jeff Francoeur led off with a single against Cardinal closer Ryan Franklin.Â One out later Gary Matthews Jr. doubled to the right field corner putting runners on 2nd and 3rd.Â Pinch hitter Frank Catalanotto, 0 for 8 thus far this season, then singled to left driving in Francoeur making it 4-2.Â Matthews then scored on a Jose Reyes ground out bringing the Mets within 1 run, but Luis Castillo grounded out to short and the Mets had come up 1 run short.Â Some would say the Mets shouldn’t even have been that close.Â Their 1st run of the game came when their horrible baserunning was outdone by horrible Cardinal defense.Â In the 2nd inning Francoeur inexplicably ran past 3rd base on a Perez sacrifice bunt and stopped halfway between 3rd and home.Â But the great Albert Pujols handled the situation poorly, and instead of running directly at Francoeur forcing him to go one way or the other, Pujols threw to Ryan covering 3rd as Francoeur dashed homeward.Â Ryan then made a terrible throw home and was charged with an error as Francoeur scored to make it 1-0 Mets.Â The final score was 4-3 Cardinals.
UPDATE 11:30pm – Jerry Manuel in the post game press conference says the reason Pedro Feliciano was not used as the left handed reliever in the situation that Raul Valdes was is due to the fact that Feliciano has a stomach issue and had received an IV during the game.