Good, Bad & Ugly: Mets Get Two in Tenth; Beat Nats 3-1

Dave Nichols@@DaveNicholsDSPSenior Analyst IJune 6, 2009

ATLANTA - APRIL 11: Pitcher Joel Hanrahan #38 of the Washington Nationals throws in relief against the Atlanta Braves on April 11, 2009 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

"[Hanrahan] continued to have so much more confidence in that slider than that 95 mph fastball. Perhaps he doesn't have as much confidence as we have in it." -—Manny Acta, June 5, 2009.

THE RESULT:  David Wright hit a two-run double off Washington Nationals "closer" Joel Hanrahan in the top of the 10th inning, leading the New York Mets to a 3-1 extra-innings victory before 20,353 fans, many of which were rooting for the road team.

The Nats have dropped nine of 10 and are 0-7 in extra innings this season. Washington is 14-39 for the season.

Hanrahan pitched a perfect ninth inning but lost it in the tenth. Luis Castillo led off with a single on a slider that just about was scraping the dirt in front of home plate. Hanrahan then lost focus and walked Carlos Beltran, bringing up the Nats-killer, Wright.

Wright lined a 2-2 fastball into the gap in right-center to score both runners. Hanrahan (L, 0-3, 6.84) gave up two runs on three hits and a walk with one strikeout in two innings.

The Mets third baseman was 4-for-5 on the night but was throw out twice on the bases, once trying to turn an errant pick-off throw into two bases, the other when he tried to steal third.

The Mets heroics put a damper on a well-pitched ballgame on both sides. Nats starter Shairon Martis allowed just one run on three hits and four walks in five innings. Martis showed what type of pitcher he can become in the fifth inning, his last of the night.

Martis walked Fernando Martinez, and the next batter, Brian Schneider, laced a line drive right at left fielder Adam Dunn. Dunn froze on the ball and thought he was in position to catch the sinking liner, but the ball went under his glove and went all the way to the wall. Only a heads-up backup by Elijah Dukes kept the runners at second and third.

Martis (ND, 5-1, 5.31) then got Mets starter Tim Redding to bounce out to short, Alex Cora to roll out to first, and Luis Castillo to pop out--freezing the runners on the bases, keeping the game tied at one.

Mets starter Tim Redding had his best outing of the season. He went six innings and gave up one earned run on six hits and two walks, striking out two. Sean Green got the win in relief (W, 1-2, 5.70), and Francisco Rodriguez earned his 15th save with a perfect 10th inning—although the called strike three against Nick Johnson to end the game was four inches outside.

THE TAKEAWAY:  Let me put this very succinctly: Hanrahan stinks right now. Here's his quote, referring to the slider that Castillo picked off the top of his shoes to start the rally:

"I was trying to get a strikeout and that's kind of been my strikeout pitch," Hanrahan said. "It was a situation where I probably could have thrown him a fastball and he could have put the ball in play, because he doesn't strike out a lot. I just tried to throw one in the dirt there, and it didn't get quite to where it needed to be."

For Hanrahan to be effective, he needs to pump his tailing, 96 mph fastball past people until they prove they cant hit it. He had several good outings where he had gotten back to that, and he looked good getting a flyout and two ground balls in the ninth. But he got away from it in the 10th, and he paid for it.

He's now given up six earned runs on 10 hits in his last three appearances, covering three innings of work.

THE GOOD:  Pitchers NOT named Hanrahan. Martis' numbers are above average, and relievers Jason Bergmann, Ron Villone, Mike MacDougal, and Joe Beimel combined for three scoreless innings.

THE BAD:  Middle of the order, which went 2-for-18 with two walks.

THE UGLY:  Hanrahan. He has to regain confidence in his fastball, or he's worthless.

NEXT GAME:  Saturday at 7:05 p.m. against the Mets. John Lannan (2-5, 4.21) faces John Maine (5-3, 3.75).


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