Last night the Mets almost gave away another close one as the bullpen gave up the lead in the bottom of the 8th inning, but thanks to Rod Barajas in the top of the ninth, the Mets were able to come away with a win.
John Maine pitched six innings, but unlike some would report, I wouldn't call it a strong outing. It's sad to see how we have lowered our expectations with our starting pitching that if they survive through five that's good enough. Grant it, the Reds didn't really do any damage to Maine, but I wouldn't credit that to Maine's pitching, but rather the Reds inability to produce. When you look at Maine while he's pitching, it's like he has low self-esteem, he wears his emotions on his sleeve. It's ok to show emotion on your sleeve when you're pumped, but when you are not pitching well and you are showing the opposition that you're discouraged, a good team will smell blood and put a hurting on him. He needs to learn how to compose himself and stop beating himself up so much when he doesn't perform as well. Beating yourself up emotionally doesn't help you produce more.
Despite the homeruns by David Wright and Rod Barajas, the Mets offense looks like they have lost their spirit almost and it could be due to poor pitching. In the series against the Phillies, they scored enough runs in the first and last game and got enough hits that should have won them the series, but poor pitching will drain life out of a team, especially when the offense keeps fighting and gives you the lead only to have the pitching give it right back.
Starting pitching is the foundation of winning, you can have an amazing lineup, but if you don't have the starting pitching, you will not win. You can also have an amazing bullpen and they can do well, but if you keep having your starters only going five or six innings, you're going to overuse your bullpen and they are going to wear out. I think we saw a little of that last night with Nieve who has been pitching masterfully, but he's being overused and that's why I think he gave up back to back homeruns. Now pitchers are allowed to have bad outings, so I will try not to jump to conclusion, but it's obvious that the bullpen is being overused because of the starting pitching. If the bullpen goes down hill, they will blame Jerry Manuel and the bullpen for their failures and that isn't fair because the starting pitching needs to produce more and go deeper in the games.
With last nights win, hopefully that will lift the spirits of the Mets and they can get on a little roll. They better get on a roll fast because they have the Giants coming in to town this weekend and will be facing their amazing pitching staff and ace Lincecum. Mets need to win this series or things will get more and more ugly.