Mets continue to struggle, so does Ike as Reds sweep series

With Matt Harvey on the mound Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, there was every opportunity for the New York Mets to get a win. But with the team struggling to score runs, Harvey had to be at his best and sometimes in baseball that is hard to do.

Harvey allowed a career high nine hits and left with the fifth no decision in his last six starts. Ike Davis continued to struggle at the plate, and on the field as the Cincinnati Reds completed their second consecutive three-sweep over the Mets at Citi Field with a 7-4 win.

New York scored four runs which snapped a nine-game string at home with three runs or less, but Davis remained hitless in his last 25 at bats with runners in scoring position, with an 0-for-2 day at the plate. That extended his drought to one hit in his last 38 –at-bats.

Adding to the struggles at the plate for Davis was a play at first base in the ninth inning that appeared to be a double-play ball. That resulted in the Reds scoring and breaking a tie, and a three-run inning.

Overall, it seems the Mets can’t get out of a losing pattern when at home. What appears to be going their way turns out different, even the play at first that involved Davis, one that is epitomizing the first few months of his season.

“I could not get the out at home plus I was trying to get off the bag to get in the hole because it was a right hand hitter,” said Davis about the play to first on a ball hit by Brandon Phillips.

He added, “Right before the bounce I thought it bounced foul.  In my head when I thought I saw it bounce foul I put my glove back. I still can’t tell if it was foul or fair on replays. Everything could go wrong for me now, could go wrong.”

To his defense, it was a difficult play to get two outs. But, with the way things have been going for Davis at the plate, the question is, are mental lapses now hindering Davis on the field?

“If it is a chopper, you got to get it,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “The way things are going that typifies everything that has been happening. He has to try and get the play at the plate. You are not going to get a double play on that. The ball took a tough hop and Ike thought it would go foul.”

“I don’t,” commented Collins regarding Davis possibly taking his struggles from the plate to the field.  “I discussed it with him. Don’t ever take your offense to the field. You’re struggling, make them struggle.”

Davis did reach base twice with base on balls, and in the sixth inning made good contact hitting a ball deep to center that was caught. That renewed some optimism that he could be slowly coming out of a tailspin which hindered him the first part of last season.

“I thought that ball to center might go out, maybe that will get him started,” said Collins, who also added Davis’ walks off Reds starter Mat Latos were a good sign.

Harvey would allow a season high four runs, the second time he has allowed more than three runs in his young career. His start snapped a string of 16 consecutive starts allowing three runs or less. The Mets staked him to a rare lead, a first inning run on consecutive doubles from Daniel Murphy and Rick Ankiel.

“Obviously it wasn’t a good start,” said Harvey. “I had to battle through a couple of things. “I’ll take my 24- hours and move on and get ready for my next start. I wasn’t locating, throwing as many strikes as I wanted to.”

He threw 116-pitches in 6.1 innings, and his next start will come at home against the New York Yankees Tuesday night at Citi Field. The velocity on his fastball was not where he wanted it to be, and Joey Votto reached Harvey for a two-run homer in the third to left field that gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.

Said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who saw his team win their eight of their last nine against the Mets, “  Harvey has god stuff and power pitches. “He pitches a lot older than his experience.

Baker compared Harvey’s [itches to Nolan Ryan, Jon Matlack, Tom Seaver and Gary Gentry, past pitching greats in franchise history of the Mets. “ He’s in that mode,” he said.

In the end it was the Davis play at first and Bobby Parnell out of the pen in the ninth who gave up the deciding runs. Parnell (4-1) got the loss, allowing three runs in an inning pitched. It was the third time in 20 appearances he has been scored upon.

And as the Mets manager said, the record of 17-27, is not the focus of a season quickly going down the drain.

“We got to get caught up on playing the game right and not the record,” said Collins. With one of the better teams in the National League, the Atlanta Braves coming to Citi Field Friday night for three, and four more with the Yankees home-and home, the record is not as important.

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Ring786@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

Posted under Baseball, Bats, Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds, Citi, Double Play, Game, Mental Lapses, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Play Ball, Replays, Rich Mancuso, Runners, Score, Top Story, Wednesday Afternoon

Mancuso: Santana Comes Up Aces In Mets Win

New York – Joey Votto swung, missed and struck out off a Johan Santana fastball in the first inning.  The Cincinatti Reds would strand Brandon Phillips at third who led off the game with a double. Santana would only get better as the game went along, because his fastball was that good and it allowed his other pitches to work Tuesday evening at steamy Citi Field.

Santana, (6-5) who has been struggling got the Reds to swing and miss, also getting them to hit the ball to center.  In the end it was a complete game shutout thrown by Santana, a 3-0 win, and in the process the Mets discovered that he also can contribute to the lineup.

The Mets pitching ace hit his first career home run in the third inning off Reds rookie pitcher Matt Maloney That got cheers from the crowd and also a coronation of sorts from his teammates in the dugout. “I hit it and started running,” Santana said about the home run. “I’m on the board. At least I hit one.”

It was a 12- pitch at bat for Santana. The home run ball banged off the foul pole and Santana gave his team a 1-0 lead they would never relinquish. Santana had the fastball, as well as the changeup and breaking ball working to perfection.

“I felt better throwing my fastball and it makes my other pitches better,” said Santana who won one game in his last seven starts. After the Phillips hit in the first, he would not allow another until Orlando Cabrera singled in the sixth.

The key was the fastball. It has always been a vintage pitch that has lost some velocity. But this night, Santana was throwing hard and had the command. He would allow three hits, walked three, and struck out five in throwing the Mets’ second complete- game shutout of the season.

And it wasn’t until the ninth inning before Mets manager Jerry Manuel contemplated taking Santana out of the game. But he let him finish off the Reds after a brief visit to the mound. Scott Rolen singled with one out, and then left fielder Jason Bay dropped a Jay Bruce fly ball for an error.

Bay snapped a personnel string of 263 games of errorless ball and also drove in two of the Mets runs as he continues his resurgence at the plate. As to what was said at the mound, Santana said to Manuel, “I’ll finish it, simple.”

And finish it he did. Jonny Gomes lined out and Drew Stubbs ended the game on a ground out force. “I wanted him to hear him tell me that he wanted to finish it,” explained Manuel about his visit that got some boos from the remaining 27,473 fans that braved the game time temperature of 96 degrees.

“I hate to remove a guy because of a defensive mistake,” added Manuel who said he expects big things from Santana in the second half of the season. “You see a little more in the fastball. You saw it challenging Brandon Phillips,” he said about Santana retiring the Reds .307 leadoff hitter to fly out three times to center and right.

Ready in the pen was Frankie Rodriguez the Mets stopper with 20 saves, but, as of late, having trouble closing the door. In the end, he wasn’t needed. “Of course I know what type of competitor he is and it paid off,” said Rodriguez about Santana completing the game.

Santana got his home run ball for keeps and is undefeated in four career starts against the Reds. A win for the Mets also that kept them two games in back of first place Atlanta. For Santana, even without great stuff he proves to be a competitor.

Now that the stuff is back, he also has the bat to go with it.

NOTES FROM CITI FIELD:  It was the 45th home run by a Mets pitcher in their history and first since John Maine did it against Pittsburgh on July 24, 2007 at Shea Stadium…  The three hits tied the fewest Santana has allowed in a complete game, his seventh career complete-game shutout, and the second Mets pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout and hit a home run in the same game. The last to do that, Pete Falcone on September 29, 1981 over the Phillies 7-0 also at Shea…

Jose Reyes returned to the lineup after missing six games with a sore right oblique, finishing 2-for-4 with a run scored. The Mets improved to 30-9 when Reyes scores a run… It was the Mets 12th shutout of the season which tied San Diego for most in baseball…

Oliver Perez threw 5.2 innings, allowing two runs, two hits and three walks and striking out seven in his second rehabilitation start for St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League… Final game of the series is this evening with Bronson Arroyo (8-4) on the mound for the Reds opposing lefthander Jonathan Niese (6-2) for New York.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Brandon Phillips, Breaking Ball, Changeup, Cincinatti Reds, Complete Game, Dugout, Fastball, Foul Pole, Jason Bay, Joey Votto, Johan Santana, Left Fielder, Mancuso, Matt Maloney, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Orlando Cabrera, Pitches, Rich Mancuso, Rookie Pitcher, Scott Rolen, Top Story, Tuesday Evening

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on July 7, 2010

Fortunate Fifth leads Reds to 8-6 Victory over Mets

New York – A fortunate fifth inning led to six runs as the Cincinnati Reds (48-36) defeated the New York Mets (46-37) by the score of 8-6 at Citi Field on Friday Night. As the umpires reversed a foul tip strikeout of Scott Rolen to a hit by a pitch, which plated one of the crucial runs in that fortunate top of the fifth inning.

The Reds continued their hot hitting tonight as first baseman Joey Votto, who is making a bid to get into the 2010 All-Star game as a part of the Final Vote process happening now, hit two home runs, and one double while also working a walk to help his cause in the voting process. Extra base hits by Corky Miller and tonight’s starting pitcher Travis Wood were all a part of the Reds victory in Queens. The Reds did all of this against starter Mike Pelfrey (10-3) tonight is going to be a part of the maturation process, as he will have to learn from tonight’s tough loss as he went four and two-thirds innings, gave up nine hits and seven runs.

“He will grow and become a better pitcher because of tonight’s game and the lessons that he will learn,” Manuel said of his starter. “We ran into a hot team offensively tonight and Mike probably didn’t have some of the pitches he had early. I think he is pitching very well and in the end I think he will be fine.”

On pyrotechnics night it didn’t take Votto long to provide Cincinnati with his own display as in the first inning he lifted a ball into the home run apple well to score the first run for the Reds. The Mets fought back in the bottom of the inning as singles by David Wright, Ike Davis and Jason Bay tied the score at one.

The two teams would remain tied until the fifth inning as back-to-back singles by Brandon Phillips and Orlando Cabrera would set the stage for Votto, who would work the walk and pass the baton to Rolen. This was when fortune smiled down on the Reds as it had seemed that Rolen struck out on a foul tip. The All-Star third baseman protested to the umpire that he was hit in the arm, as well as Reds manager Dusty Baker. The umpires gathered near the pitching mound after the strike out call was made to get the call correct, and actually reversed the call to a hit by a pitch which plated the first run in that inning.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel speed out of the dugout to protest the call passionately and was ejected by second base umpire Dan Iassogna. It had seemed that after Manuel’s pyrotechnic display that Pelfrey had calmed down and proceeded to get the next two outs. Pelfrey was not out of trouble as the bases were loaded still for Drew Stubbs who laced a single to center field which would plate two more runs. Corky Miller ripped a double (2) to right field, which would plate two more runs giving the Reds the 6-1 lead. Pitcher Travis Wood scorched a triple (1) to center field and gave Cincinnati the 7-1 lead. Relief pitcher Raul Valdez came in and got a ground ball to end the inning.

“The second base umpire admitted that he saw the ball hit the batter, which from the angel that I had I refuse to believe. I believe what he saw was a reaction to the batter-not what really happened which was wrong.” He continued by saying, “maybe the home plate umpire missed the call and that is part of the game, but I don’t know if you can make it right by saying you saw something you didn’t see. I know that the powers that control the team will write letters from whoever is in charge for an explanation. Essentially we would like to make sure things like this don’t happen on a regular basis. Everyone is going to make mistakes. These guys are good umpires and you want them to do the right thing, and in the end I just think that they just got caught up in the emotion of it all.”

Angel Pagan would provide pyrotechnics of his own as the Mets responded back in the bottom of the fifth inning, as the center fielder hit a home run (5) to left field to start cutting into the lead. David Wright lifted a ball to the center field wall for a triple (2) to set the stage for Ike Davis. Davis would lay down a bunt that could not be handled by Wood. That error would not only plate another run but continue the offensive momentum for the Mets. Later in the inning Jeff Francoeur would work a walk to place runners on first and second for Rod Barajas who hit a single to left field, which scored the fourth Met run. Alex Cora would plate two more runs by hitting a double (5) to center field, while also cutting the Reds lead to 7-6.

“It was good to see the team fight like that,” Manuel said of the way his team responded. “That is one of the characteristics we talk about is how we want the team tonight and tonight they did just that.”

Relief pitcher Fernando Nieve was called in to keep the game close things started out well as Orlando Cabrera lifted a fly ball out to center field. Joey Votto struck for his second home run (21) on a 1-0 pitch to make the score 8-6 for the Reds.  Votto who reached the 20 home run plateau in the first inning became the second player in the National League to accomplish the feat this season. Nieve got into a good groove for the rest of the evening getting two more fly ball outs, while striking out three batters in the top of the eighth inning.

For the 36.764 the top of the ninth inning started out rocky as Votto laced a double (14) to left field. But Jeff Francoeur lifted everyone up after catching a Scott Rolen fly ball, the right fielder was able to gun down Votto, who was thrown out at third base by the strong throw. A ground ball by the Reds ended that inning and set the stage for the Mets in the bottom half. Reds closer Francisco Cordero (S, 23) came in and shut down any hopes the fans may have had and secured the victory for the Reds.

These two teams will square off again tomorrow as Johan Santana (5-5, 3.41 ERA) takes the mound for the Mets. The Reds have not decided who will take the hill but it should be an interesting game two as these two teams will go at it again with a 7:10 p.m. start time.

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Injury update: Utility man Fernando Tatis was placed on the disabled list today with a right shoulder AC joint sprain. The return of Jose Reyes can come as soon as tomorrow. “Reyes is ready but can only bat right handed.” Manuel said both before and after today’s game.

This story originally posted on www.latinosports.com

Posted under Bottom Of The Inning, Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds, Corky Miller, David Wright, Fifth Inning, First Baseman, Foul Tip, Hot Team, Jason Bay, Joey Votto, Maturation Process, Mets New York, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Orlando Cabrera, Scott Rolen, Seven Runs, Star Third Baseman, Top Story, Travis Wood

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on July 6, 2010