Good evening Mets fans! Welcome to a Monday night of Mets baseball!
I'm Chris Mascaro and I'll be bringing you all of tonight's live game action, as the Mets (34-33), two games behind Philadelphia in the NL East, take on the NL Central-leading Cardinals (39-31) in the first match of a four-game set at Citi Field.
The big news today for the Mets is that Carlos Beltran (pictured) has been placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a bone bruise on his right knee. An MRI done earlier today showed the bruise had gotten worse, and so Beltran could be out longer than 15 days. As you all know, the Mets are already with Jose Reyes (hamstring), Carlos Delgado (hip), John Maine (right shoulder fatigue) and Oliver Perez (right patellar tendinitis).
Beltran is batting .336 with a team-leading eight home runs and 40 RBIs, and is currently third in All Star voting among outfielders. Jeremy Reed will take Beltran's spot in CF.
Clearly this is not good news for the Mets, which have lost eight of their last 11 games and are 6-12 in June. The Mets, who don't have a day off until July 6, are already starved for power in their lineup — their 43 home runs coming into tonight trumps only Pittsburgh and San Francisco (each has 42) in all of baseball — and Beltran is a Gold Glove talent in center.
That puts even more pressure on the pitching staff, and for tonight, that means starter Tim Redding (0-2, 6.27 ERA).
Redding has been decent in June. He hasn't received a decision in any of his three starts this month, but he's only given up eight runs in 18 1/3 innings (3.93 ERA). His worst start during that stretch was his last, as he gave up four runs on seven hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings in a 6-4 loss at Baltimore last Wednesday. Redding is 2-5 with a 5.69 ERA in 12 career starts against St. Louis, and hasn't defeated the Cards since May of 2004.
This is Redding's seventh start of the season — the Mets are 1-5 in his first six. Here are his numbers against the Cardinals; Albert Pujols is 11-for-27 with a homer and two RBIs against Redding.
Speaking of Pujols, who leads the majors in homers (28) and RBIs (68), the 29-year old first baseman is on fire. Yesterday against Kansas City, he belted two homers (including a grand slam) and drove in six runs. For the series (which St. Louis swept), Pujols was 6-for-12 with three homers and 10 RBIs — he has eight homers in his last 10 games.
Said Pujols: "It's nothing special. I'm just seeing good pitches and hitting them."
Yeah, right Albert. Pujols hit .545 with two homers and seven RBIs when the Cards swept the Mets back on Apr. 21-23 in St. Louis.
The Cardinals have won eight of their last 11 after losing seven of their first nine to start the month. Tonight they'll give the ball to 30-year old righty Todd Wellemeyer (6-6, 5.36), who won his last start Wednesday in Detroit (4-3), after allowing two runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. It was his first win since May 27. This month he is 1-2 with a 6.17 ERA, with 16 earned runs given up in 23 1/3 IP. He's given up two home runs in each of his last three starts, and a total of 10 this season.
Here are the Mets' career numbers against Wellemeyer; David Wright is 7-for-10 with two walks and two RBIs off him. The Mets scored four runs on 10 hits and two walks against him in five innings back on Apr. 21.
Finally, here are tonight's starting lineups:
1. Cora, SS
2. Murphy, 1B
3. Wright, 3B
4. Tatis, LF
5. Church, RF
6. Santos, C
7. Reed, CF
8. Castillo, 2B
9. Redding, RHP
1. Schumaker, 2B
2. Rasmus, CF
3. Pujols, 1B
4. Ludwick, RF
5. Ankiel, LF
6. Molina, C
7. Greene, 3B
8. Wellemeyer, RHP
9. Ryan, SS
*Note: The Mets have called up Elmer Dessens and Pat Misch to give the bullpen some more depth.
Okay, that's all for now. But let's get the conversation going in the chat box above! And be sure to vote on the poll questions.
I'll be back after each half-inning with updates.
We're about 10 minutes from baseball on SNY!
Top of the 1st: A 1-2-3 inning for Redding, as Schumaker popped out in foul ground to Wright, Rasmus lined out softly to Wright and Pujols popped out to first.
Redding threw nine pitches in the inning, all were strikes.
Bottom of the 1st: Cora flew out to left before three straight singles by Murphy (to center), Wright and Tatis (both to left) loaded the bases for Church, who hit a sacrifice fly to the wall in dead center to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. It was Church's 16th RBI of the year.
Then Santos dunked a single to shallow left that scored Wright to make it 2-0. But Tatis was caught up between second and third on the play, and was tagged out to end the inning. Santos has 23 RBIs on the season.
Top of the 2nd: Another 1-2-3 inning for Redding, as Ludwick grounded out to third, Ankiel struck out swinging and Molina flew out to right.
Bottom of the 2nd: Reed struck out swinging (Wellemeyer's first K of the night) before Castillo reached on a bunt single. Redding sacrificed him to second and then Cora walked to put runners on first and second for Murphy, who flew out to left for the third out.
Top of the 3rd: After Khalil Greene singled to left (the first batter to reach off Redding tonight), Wellemeyer bunted him to second. Ryan struck out swinging on a curve (Redding's second K), but Schumaker singled up the middle to scored Greene and make it 2-1 Mets.
Schumaker, who now has 21 RBIs on the year, moved to second on a wild pitch, but Rasmus struck out swinging (Redding's third K) on a low changeup to end the inning.
Bottom of the 3rd: Wright walked to lead off the inning, but Tatis grounded into a 5-4-3 double play and then Church grounded out to second for the third out.
Top of the 4th: Pujols flew out to center (he's 0-for-2 tonight) and Ludwick popped out to Murphy in foul ground off first before Ankiel earned a two-out walk (Redding's first of the night). But Molina flew out to right to end the inning.
Bottom of the 4th: Santos lined a single to center right over Wellemeyer's head to lead off the inning, and then Reed flew out to center. But Castillo doubled to left on a 2-and-0 pitch to score Santos and give the Mets a 3-1 lead. Castillo has seven doubles and 15 RBIs on the year.
Razor Shines sent Santos home, and he would have been out had Molina been able to handle Brendan Ryan's poor relay throw (Castillo moved to third on the throw).
Ryan made a nice diving stop with the infield in on Redding's grounder and threw to first for the second out, and Cora flew out to left to end the inning.
Top of the 5th: Another 1-2-3 inning for Redding (his third of the night), as Greene grounded out to short, Wellemeyer lined out to second and Ryan grounded out to second.
Bottom of the 5th: On the eighth pitch of his at-bat, Murphy hit a changeup over the wall just to the left of the 378 sign in right-center for his fifth homer of the season (he has 23 RBIs). The solo shot gave the Mets a 4-1 lead.
Then Wright walked for the second time tonight (he's reached base on all three of his at-bats tonight), but Tatis grounded into a 5-4-3 double play for the second time this evening and Church struck out swinging (Wellemeyer's second K) for the third out.
Top of the 6th: Schumaker flew out to deep left and Rasmus struck out on a foul tip (Redding's fourth K) before Pujols ripped his 16th double of the season on a 2-and-0 pitch down the left-field line.
Then Ludwick made Redding pay, as he homered to left on a 1-and-2 slider to cut the Mets lead to 4-3. Ludwick has 11 homers and 38 RBIs on the year.
Ankiel grounded out to short to end the inning.
Bottom of the 6th: Santos lined a single a few feet over Ryan's head (his third single of the night) and then moved to second on Reed's dribbler in front of the plate. Castillo was then intentionally walked in front of Redding, who bunted in front of the plate. Molina fielded it and fired to third to throw out Santos on the force.
Then Cora came up with runners on first and second, and dropped a single to left to score Castillo and give the Mets a 5-3 lead. It was Cora's 10th RBI of the year.
That prompted Tony La Russa to lift Wellemeyer in favor of lefty Trever Miller (2-0, 2.95), who got Murphy to ground out to short to end the inning (Ryan made a nice stop deep in the hole and fired a one-hop throw to first).
In 5 2/3 innings of work, Wellemeyer allowed five runs on 10 hits and four walks (one intentional) with two K's. He threw 101 pitches.
Top of the 7th: Redding tossed his fourth 1-2-3 inning of the night. Castillo made a nice diving stop on Molina's grounder up the middle and retired him on a two-hop throw to first for the first out. Then Greene grounded out to short and pinch-hitter Joe Thurston flew out right above the plate for the third out.
Bottom of the 7th: Righty Kyle McClellan (2-2, 3.34) came on for the Cards and got Wright to fly out to right on a 3-and-2 slider and Tatis to ground out to short before Church singled to right and Santos did the same to left (he's 4-for-4 with four singles on the night). But Reed struck out swinging on the ninth pitch of his at-bat to end the inning.
Top of the 8th: Brendan Ryan hit a solo homer to left on a 2-and-0 slider to cut the Mets' lead to 5-4. It was Ryan's first homer of the year, fifth of his career, and first since 2007.
That was all for Redding (his line: 7+ IP, four runs, five hits, two homers allowed, one walk, four K's, 95 pitches). He was replaced by lefty Jon Switzer (0-0, 9.00), who struck out Schumaker swinging before Tyler Greene (pinch-hitting for Rasmus) singled to left.
Then Brian Stokes (1-2, 3.46) came on to face Pujols, and he got the slugger to ground into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Bottom of the 8th: Righty Jason Motte (2-2, 5.00) came on in relief of McClellan, who threw a scoreless seventh. Castillo hit an infield single off Motte to lead off the inning, and then Dennys Reyes (0-1, 4.66) came in to face pinch-hitter Fernando Martinez.
F-Mart dropped a bunt, which Reyes fielded. But the large lefthander inexplicably lost his grip on the ball, and both runners were safe. Then Cora singled on a line drive to center to score Castillo (Ankiel had a nice throw, but replays showed Molina just missed on the tag) and give the Mets a 6-4 lead. It was Cora's second RBI single of the night; he has 11 RBIs on the year. Cora bunted foul on the first pitch of his at-bat, but apparently the bunt sign was taken off, as he singled on the second pitch.
Then Murphy flew out to center after an unsuccessful bunt attempt.
La Russa then brought in righty Josh Kinney to face Wright, who grounded out to third. The runners advanced to second and third on the play. Tatis flew out to left for the third out.
Top of the 9th: K-Rod (18-of-20 save opps.) tossed a 1-2-3 ninth, as Ludwick flew out to right, Ankiel did the same to center and Molina grounded out to short.
That's the ballgame folks, Mets win 6-4.
Mets: 35-33 (just 1.5 games behind the Phillies)
HR: Mets 1 (Murphy, his 5th); Cardinals 2 (Ludwick, his 11th; Ryan, his 1st)
Here are your three stars for tonight's game:
1. Santos: 4-for-4 (all singles; the first four-hit game of his career) with an RBI and a run.
2. Redding: 7+ IP, four runs on five hits (two homers) and a walk with four strikeouts in 95 pitches for his first win as a Met.
3. Stokes: Came on to face Pujols with one out and one on in the eighth and got the league leader in homers and RBIs to ground into a 1-6-3 double play.
And a bonus fourth star: Castillo, who was 3-for-3 with a walk, RBI and two runs. Also, Murphy was 2-for-5 with a homer and two runs.
Okay, that's all for today's game. Thanks to all for coming out. As always, it was my honor and pleasure to bring everyone all of today's live game action.
We'll see ya'll back here tomorrow, as the Mets take on the Cardinals at Citi Field in the second game of a four-game set at 7:10 p.m.
See ya'll then. Goodnight!
(Newsday photo by Audrey C. Tiernan / June 11, 2009)