The New York Mets have been playing decent baseball of late, winning seven of their last 11 games. But one thing is painfully clear after Monday night: Their pitching really must suck.
The Mets entered Petco Park Monday night to face a San Diego team that ranked no better than 14th in the National League in any major offensive category. The Padres proceeded to make the Mets pitching staff look like rejects from the New York Knights pre-Roy Hobbs. The Friars dropped 18 runs on the Amazins in an 18-6 win. I had to check twice to make sure Casey Stengel wasn’t in the dugout.
How does any team give up 18 runs against the Padres? And at Petco Park, the place offense goes to die?
The Padres hit just two home runs, a grand slam from Jerry Hairston Jr. and a solo shot from Chase Headley. They only tallied two other extra base hits (doubles by Nick Hundley and Chris Denorfia). The Mets also only made one error. So the New York gave up 18 runs on just four extra base hits and 15 singles. That is an incredible statistic. They also walked eight Padres.
The Mets used five pitchers Monday night. First up was Hisanori Takahashi. He had a 1-0 lead after an inning and a half and promptly loaded the bases before getting two outs. Then he challenged Hairston with a fastball and will live to regret that decision for years to come. Hairston deposited a room service fastball into the second level of the Western Metal Supply building seats in left field for a grand slam.
Takahashi didn’t get much better. He finished the evening going 4.0 innings, while allowing eight hits, six runs (all earned) walking two and striking out one. His ERA climbed from 2.13 to 3.21, and his WHIP went from 1.24 to 1.36 by the end of his four innings.
Next up for the Mets was Raul Valdes. Valdes allowed two hits, three walks and four runs (all earned) while not recording a single out. He allowed two singles before walking three straight batters. His ERA climbed from 2.86 to 4.13, and his WHIP went from 1.31 to 1.48 in the span of five batters.
Valdes was relieved by Jenrry Mejia. Mejia allowed two runs (that were charged to Valdes) by giving up a single to Luis Durango, the first man he faced. Then Mejia calmed down and got three straight outs to escape the inning. In his 1.0 inning of work, Mejia only gave up a single. Yet the Mets didn’t keep him in the game.
Mejia was relieved by Ryota Igarashi, who proceeded to throw gasoline on the fire. In just 1/3 of an inning, Igarashi gave up four hits, two walks and six runs. His ERA went from 5.79 to 11.17 and his WHIP climbed from 1.50 to 2.07 in 1/3 of an inning.
He was replaced by Oliver Perez. When you’re replaced by a guy as hated by his team as Oliver Perez, you know you’re having a bad night. In 2.2 innings, Perez gave up four hits, a walk and two runs, including Headley’s home run. His ERA was already so bad that it only jumped from 6.25 to 6.28, while his WHIP remained the same, 1.97.
The crazy part about the Padres’ offensive explosion is that the one thing they’re good at this season – stolen bases – didn’t factor in at all. They didn’t add to their league leading total of 54. Instead they just hit. And scored. A lot.
The Mets entered the game with the NL’s fifth-best ERA (not for long) at 3.69. Maybe they just had a bad night or didn’t sleep well on the beds at their hotel. I’m not sure. What I do know is that that was a terrifically horrible performance against a team that has no business scoring runs at that rate.
Six Padres had multi-hit games. Nine players had hits and nine drove in runs. Denorfia, not exactly an offensive powerhouse, went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, three runs and a walk. Headley went 4-for-5 with four runs scored and Hundley’s average went from .272 to .292 with his 3-for-4 performance.
The Padres racked up 27 total bases as a team and struck out only three times. The team with the third-most strikeouts in major league baseball (415) only struck out three times in 48 plate appearances.
It was the most runs ever scored at Petco Park and I’m pretty sure it will be a long time before we see that number broken.
So pity the New York Mets, their pitching has to be pretty damn awful to lost a game like this.