Tonight is big for Metropolitans

Posted: June 28, 2009 in Mets

Put Daniel Murphy in the 2-hole and keep him there, Jerry! (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Put Daniel Murphy in the 2-hole and keep him there, Jerry! (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

If nothing more than to save face and a little bit of dignity, tonight’s game is huge for the Mets.
They’ve been bludgeoned by the Yankees the last three times they’ve played, barely amassing an offensive threat while the Yanks pound Mets pitching into submission.
The Yankees send Chien-Ming Wang (0-6, 11.20) to the mound against Livan Hernandez (5-2, 4.09). Those numbers aren’t a misprint on Wang, the two-time 19-game winner has been that bad. However, he’s taken a few baby steps in the right direction in his last two starts, allowing three runs on six hits in five-inning stints against the Braves and Nationals. No, those aren’t great numbers, but when your ERA was over 30 after three starts, you’ll take what you can get.
Wang goes up against a Mets lineup that has been beyond anemic, mustering up just one run on five hits through the first two games of the series. Granted, they were facing ace-caliber pitching in Sabathia and Burnett, but their early spring training lineup isn’t helping matters. Against Wang tonight, this is the lineup I’d go with:
Cora, SS; Murphy, 1B, Wright, 3B; Sheffield, LF; Church, RF; Santos, C; Martinez, CF; Castillo, 2B; Livan, P.
I know F-Mart has looked overmatched (.164 with no homers thus far) but he’s supposed to be a power prospect and this team needs pop right now. Send him up there against Wang (whom batters are hitting .392). If Chien-Ming dominates him, then it’s time to send him back to Buffalo for an extended time to get everyday ABs. Murphy, despite his 0-fer last night, could have easily had three hits as he was robbed by Melky Cabrera twice and shortstop Ramiro Pena on a brilliant diving stab of a hot grounder in the hole (Jeter doesn’t make that play). Put him in front of Wright and give him some pitches to hit.
Tonight’s game is also important because it comes ahead of a key stretch of games against the Brewers and Phillies, two teams ahead of the Mets in the NL playoff chase. A win would give them some needed momentum, and would keep them above .500. The way they’re playing, I’m expecting another Yankees win with Wang posting his much-awaited first win, but it’s OK to surprise me, guys!
UPDATE: Phillies beat Jays 5-4, with Brad Lidge escaping a first-and-second, no out jam with the help of a pickoff at second base. Marlins get swept by Rays, falling 5-2. Phillies currently lead Mets by 2, pending the results of tonight’s game, of course.

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