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

Jerry’s Last (Home) Stand?

FLUSHING, NY – There really wasn’t any surprises in last night’s 2-1 Yankee win to open the 2010 Subway Series.

The Mets didn’t hit, making Javier Vazquez look like a star, while the Yankees were baffled by Hisanori Takahashi, a pitcher they never saw before.

Of course, the game was decided on an error on the Mets second baseman. This time it wasn’t Luis Castillo, but Alex Cora who threw away a tailored made double play ball, which set up Kevin Russo’s game winning double.

And when the Mets did rally against Mariano Rivera, struggling David Wright meekly grounded to second on the first pitch he saw with the tying run on second base.

“He’s a guy that you don’t want to try to work the count against because he’s got great stuff,” Wright said, but the fact remains, the Mets wasted a golden opportunity to silence some of their detractors by beating a Yankees on their own turf.

Instead the Mets decided to emulate the 2000 Mets who were honored before the game by losing this heartbreaker to third cross town rivals.

“If you’ve seen the ballgames we’ve lost, they have all been close,” said center fielder Angel Pagan, one of the few Mets who hasn’t struggled this season. “That has given us the confidence to keep fighting.”

The fight, though, may be over soon for manager Jerry Manuel. Although unfair, the writing is starting to show on the wall. Say a 1-5 home stand against the Yankees and Phillies may be enough to jettison the Mets embattled leader. Although unfair, because not even John McGraw could win with this cast of characters, the signs are there.

First you have John Maine, who started a public war with his manager for being taken out after five pitches on Thursday. Although it was the correct move, and with his track record over the last few years, Maine should be thankful he’s still wearing a major league uniform, Manuel status has been taken into question.

The night before, David Wright wondered why he was benched against Livan Hernandez, a pitcher he’s owned in the past and last Monday Jeff Francoeur had to take a seat with his parents in attendance down in Atlanta.

Sure, both Wright and Francoeur could have used the rest, but you have to wonder about the timing. Did it have to be in Atlanta for Francoeur? Could Wright have another day off?

All of this comes back to Manuel. Omar Minaya went on record yesterday saying the Yankee series won’t determine his manager’s fate, but a winless or even a 1-5 home stand with a griping clubhouse will make it tough for Manuel to keep his job.

Yet, if it is time for Manuel to go, then you have to wonder how the Mets will handle the situation. Firings are not the Mets strong point, just look at Tony Bernazard last year and Willie Randolph back in 2008.

Yet, after this home stand, it will be a Friday and the Mets will be on the road – two factors the Mets look for when they relieve their manager – but it will also put the team in Milwaukee where Randolph will be sitting in the opposing dugout, so it never comes easy.

But something will need to be done soon or 2010 will go down as another lost season.

Posted under Alex Cora, Ballgames, Center Fielder, Correct Move, Cross Town, David Wright, Double Play, Golden Opportunity, Great Stuff, Heartbreaker, Javier Vazquez, Joe Mcdonald, John Mcgraw, Look Like A Star, Luis Castillo, Mariano Rivera, New York Mets, Play Ball, Public War, Second Baseman, Subway Series, Top Story, Town Rivals