0-2 Jon Niese took the mound tonight to try to extend the Met win streak to two and he was opposed by Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros. Justine Turner would make his Mets debut at second tonight and go 1 for 4.
Niese came out strong, hitting 93 on the gun but he labored, just missing his spots with his curve and cutter. He threw a lot pitches to hitters and gave up 4 walks. It was a good thing the Mets were honoring the 1986 Mets/Astros League Championship series because the Mets couldn’t hit and the game looked a lot like the games of last year….boring and flat.
The Astros scored the first run of the game in the top of the first and never looked back, Niese was throwing as hard as 93 but he gave up hits in every inning. The Astros were hitting Niese all over, every inning the Astros had someone on base and threatened to break the game open. It took some on field heroics to keep the game close.
David Wright played the hero in the third inning off of a Justine Turner error. With a man on via base hit from Carlos Lee, Niese got Chris Johnson to hit into a double play ball that Turner ran down and threw past Reyes. Luckiely, David Wright was in position to back him up and prevent the ball from going into the outfield, however, Lee, seeing that no one was covering Third Base, made a break for it. David Wright beat him to the bag. It was a nice heads up play from Wright.
Niese would give up another run in the top of the fourth while the Met offense basically was asleep for 6 innings. It would be a light of hope in the bottom of the fourth when Rodriguez would walk both Thole and Davis bringing up Pagan with 2 outs, Pagan literally hit the ball 8 inches in front of the plate and be thrown out at First. Niese went 6 innings and even though he didn’t have his best stuff, battled and had the Mets in the game. It was the offense that let him down tonight and it wouldn’t even appear until the seventh when Beltran went yard and the Mets would put two men on base and again, looking for the big two hit, failed to get them home.
The worst part of the night was when Bobbly Parnell came into the game with the bases loaded to get on out in the eighth and balked a runner home because he bobbled the ball in his glove and then gave up a 2 run single putting the Astros up 6-1. At this point the game was out of reach and the Mets would drop the opener.
Side note: This was a real disappointing game to me. The Mets real needed to come out and win tonight and just fell flat on their face. I know Wandy Rodriguez is a good pitcher but the Mets did something tonight that they did a lot of last year, make a good pitcher look great. David Wright still looks lost at the plate, and even though the fielding was outstanding, the offense, save for Beltran’s dinger, sputtered for only 4 hits. Can you remember the last 2 out hit with men scoring position? I’ll say this, if the Mets drop 4 out of 6 at home, Citi Field is going to be real empty real soon.
R.A. Dickey will take the mound tomorrow and try to draw the Mets even in the three game series.