Coming into tonight's game the Mets were 18-2 (.900) when leading after the 1st inning. Jesus Feliciano
led off the top of the 1st with a single then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Ruben Tejada
. June NL Player of the Month (?) David Wright
succumbed to the turn of the calendar page and struck out but Ike Davis
singled to drive in Feliciano and the Mets had a 1-0 lead. Mets starter Johan Santana
, who also noticed the change on the calendar, showed hints of his usual second-half uptick in form by holding the Nationals scoreless in the bottom of the 1st so the win was in the bag.
Both Wright and Santana demonstrated for the rest of the game that it was indeed July now. Wright went 0 for 4 and Santana threw 98 pitches over 7 strong innings, maintaining the tenuous 1-run lead until the bottom of the 7th when Ian Desmond
led off with a single then moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Wil Nieves
. Pinch-hitter Alberto Gonzalez
struck out but Desmond advanced to third base on Santana's first wild pitch of the season. Nyjer Morgan
then hit a single to drive in Desmond and tie the game at 1.
Then in the bottom of the 9th Pedro Feliciano
(2-4), who had come on with runners on first and second with 1 out in the 8th and wriggled out of it to keep it tied, started the inning by getting Nieves to ground out. But then he walked Met killer Willie Harris
. Morgan came up next and reached on a bunt single. Cristian Guzman
singled to right to load the bases with 1 out and Ryota Igarashi
came on in relief of P. Feliciano while the Mets brought LF J. Feliciano in from left as a 5th infielder. But Ryan Zimmerman
hit a fly ball to right and the throw from Jeff Francoeur
was late as the Met killer Harris scored the winning run. 2-1 Nats, the Mets 9th walk-off loss of the season.
The same day I spent the morning calmly expressing my opinion that managerial moves are difficult to judge because there are no statistics kept on rates of success or failure related to going with or against "the book" and because I wasn't even sure who wrote "the book" even I have to scratch my bald head after that one. There is no need for me to join the loud and plentiful ranks of people calling for your head Jerry Manuel but I can no longer attempt to defend you when you give me so little ammunition. Peter Gammons may have tweeted
today that American poet Bob Dylan referred to second guessers of managers and general managers as "back seat drivers don't know the feel of the wheel but they sure know how to make a fuss" and there is a lot of truth to that but I think I could tell that maybe a particular driver was driving incredibly unsafely even if I'd never driven before. Someone much less famous than Dylan once told me "don't beat your head against the wall, the wall doesn't move and your head gets bloody."Also Jerry you should really stop lamenting the lack of a true "8th inning guy" because I just looked it up
and the Mets have allowed fewer runs in the 8th inning this season than any other inning 1-9. The only thing I can possibly say in the manager's defense after this game is he could really use a 7th reliever in the bullpen. Otherwise, good luck Jerry, you're going to need it. The group in your corner just got a little smaller.Box score