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Mets (24-26) vs. Marlins (30-21)


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- Aaron Heilman stood in front of his locker on Monday night, with his shirt soaked from remnants of melted ice on his pitching arm, as he spoke barely above a whisper about yet another scoreless relief outing.

 

In his sixth outing of scoreless ball in his last 10 appearances on Monday, Heilman said he felt as if he has been locating his pitches better recently. The ball continued to move at almost his every whim. It's almost no different from his other appearances -- even when the statistics don't quite favor him.

 

It was not much unlike, say, May 20, when he threw a mistake to Braves catcher Brian McCann for a two-run homer. Or three days later, when Rockies All-Star Matt Holliday found a hole to drive in the winning run in the 13th inning.

 

"The results weren't there," Heilman said of his performance on the Mets' recent road trip. "But I certainly felt better that I was locating the ball better. I just had good action on it, so just keep going out there with the same mentality."

 

In contrast to a road trip where Heilman had a 10.11 ERA in 2 2/3 innings of work, the Marlins batters cooperated Monday in giving him another outing of scoreless relief in a game where the Florida bats had success against his Mets counterparts. He pitched two innings of extended relief, allowing only one hit and striking out three.

 

And even in a loss, in the Mets' mellowed clubhouse, Heilman could at least speak softly about his progress toward once again becoming a reliable arm in the Mets bullpen.

 

"You try to get better and you try to improve. We never stop doing that," Heilman said. "Sometimes you get some bumps in the road. You just continue to press on and continue to be aggressive."

Pitching matchup

NYM: LHP Johan Santana (5-3, 3.36 ERA)

The Braves swung at pitches early in the count when they beat Santana in Atlanta on Thursday. That kept his pitch count down -- 90 in six innings -- but Santana allowed a career-high 12 hits in those six innings. His winning streak ended at four games. The Mets had won his previous six starts.

 

FLA: LHP Andrew Miller (4-3, 5.33 ERA)

One day after turning 23, Miller turned in the start of his life. En route to the Marlins' fourth sweep of the season, the 6-foot-6 lefty turned in seven full innings of shutout ball while striking out a career-high nine hitters. Miller allowed just one runner to get in scoring position and dropped his ERA .85 points to help the Marlins sweep the Diamondbacks, who came into the series with the National League's best record.

 

Tidbits

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez weighed in on the Willie Randolph situation on Monday: "When you are put in this position, sooner or later, something has got to go. I feel for him. I hope they give him the opportunity to right the ship. This guy a couple of years ago was one game from the World Series. He didn't turn dumb overnight."

This date in Mets history -- May 27:

The 1986 Mets fought their way to the division championship, literally. Their first skirmish was with the Dodgers at Shea on this date. The Mets took exception to a pitch from reliever Tom Niedenfuer in the sixth inning. It struck Ray Knight, the batter who followed George Foster's grand slam. A genuine fight, not the typical baseball dance, ensued. Niedenfuer emerged with conspicuous scratches across his rather conspicuous forehead, the work, he said, of Darryl Strawberry. The Mets won the game, 8-1. The fight was a split decision in the Mets' favor. ... On May 27, 1969, the Mets lost to the expansion Padres, 3-2, at Shea Stadium. Their fifth straight loss put their record at 18-23. They were in fourth place in the National League East, nine games from first place. But they didn't lose for two weeks -- 11 straight victories. When the streak ended, they were in second place, seven games out and starting to become legitimate contenders in the division. ... On this date in 2000, Todd Zeile hit two home runs, including a grand slam. The Mets hit two other home runs and beat the Cardinals, 12-8, in St. Louis. ... Jeromy Burnitz had three hits, one a two-run home run, in the Mets' 4-2 victory against the Phillies on May 27, 2003. ... Two years later, Pedro Martinez allowed four hits and no walks in eight innings, and the Mets defeated the Marlins, 1-0, in Miami. Consecutive two-out doubles by Mike Cameron and Cliff Floyd in the fourth inning produced the run against Brian Moehler.

 

 

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Bases loaded 1 out..... lets see the mets come away with 0 runs. Then I break out the whiskey

 

Mets score 3. Now it's bases loaded for the Marlins, 1 out. If Santana gives the runs back, I'm breaking out the whiskey!

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Easley Castro and Tatis were our main producers tonight. Who woulda thunk it.

 

Randolph.

 

Good job Willie. :TU:

 

If he's gonna be on the hot seat, you gotta credit him when he makes the right moves.

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that play castillo made was HUGE in the 7th. That couldve been 2nd and third no outs with their 3-4-5 coming up and Santana slowly wearing down with his pitch count up.

 

he's still the equivalent of a 9 year old batting from the left side but that was a great play.

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As if he was rocking back for another high-90s fastball, just like he did to sit down Jorge Cantu and seal his 368th career save on Tuesday night, Billy Wagner is quick to answer the importance of records.

 

While that save did move him past Jeff Reardon for sixth all-time in that category, a mark that is only 22 behind Dennis Eckersley for fifth all-time, the first thing that came out of his mouth was the phrase Wagner repeated the most after the game.

 

Winning is everything for this team -- himself included.

 

"To be able to go out there and do my job, to get three outs, that's all you are thinking about," Wagner said. "I am not thinking about what happened the last time I was on the mound. Even when I get a save, I am still anxious and nervous any time I get out there, so I don't really think about the other 300 and some odd ones I've gotten and the 70 some odd I've blown."

 

So instead of embracing the limelight, the closer gave the credit to those who set the stage for his big ninth inning. He thanked Johan Santana for being the ace everyone had anointed in seven innings of three-run ball. Relief pitcher Duaner Sanchez also got his due for an inning of scoreless relief.

 

But really, doesn't it mean something to be in the company of a Hall of Famer, Billy?

 

"Not until I pass him," Wagner said of being less than two-dozen saves behind Eckersley's 390. "Doesn't mean a thing. I had a lot of good teammates behind me to make a lot of good plays so I look good."

 

Pitching matchup

NYM: LHP Oliver Perez (4-3, 4.53 ERA)

Perez struggled through five innings plus two batters in the Mets' loss to the Rockies at Coors Field Friday night, allowing six hits, including a two-run home run, walking a career-high eight and yielding four runs. The home run, the fifth he has surrendered in his four most recent starts, came in the first inning. Perez did keep the Mets in the game, leaving with the score tied. The no-decision was his third, the first in seven starts. His home numbers are 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA in four starts. He shut out the Marlins for six innings on April 2 in his first start.

 

FLA: LHP Scott Olsen (4-2, 3.38 ERA)

Olsen comes off his worst outing of the season against the Giants on Friday night. He was removed after 3 1/3 innings and 81 pitches. He had pitched at least five innings in each of his nine previous starts. His fastball velocity reached 89 on a few occasions. That was the hardest he'd thrown in recent outings. He has a 1-2 record and a 3.94 ERA in eight career appearances against the Mets.

 

Tidbits

Santana doubled in the fourth inning. It was his eighth hit and fourth double of the season. Rick Reed had five doubles in 1997 and Ron Darling had five in 1987, the most by a Mets pitcher in a season. ... The Mets have played 162 games, the equivalent of a season, since May 29 last season, when they first pushed their record to 16 games over .500. That came in their 50th game. They won 55 and lost 57 from that point to the end of the season. And now they have lost 26 of 50 games this season. So their record in the 162 games is 79-83, the eighth best in the National League.

This date in Mets history -- May 28:

Held without an extra base hit and scoring an unearned run on a double-play ground ball, the Mets lost to the Dodgers and Sandy Koufax in Los Angeles on this date in 1966. They managed three hits and two walks and struck out 10 times. ... The '69 Mets catapulted themselves into contention with an 11-game winning streak that began on this date with a 1-0, 11-inning victory against the Padres at Shea Stadium. A single by Buddy Harrelson drove in the run. Jerry Koosman set a then-club record with 15 strikeouts in 10 innings. ... In a matchup of opposites, Nolan Ryan started against Randy Jones at Shea on this date in 1982 -- the world's foremost right-handed power pitcher for the Astros and the left-handed pitcher known for modest velocity for the Mets. Power prevailed: Ryan struck out 11 in 5 2/3 scoreless innings; Jones was gone after 1 1/3, having allowed five runs. The Astros won, 8-3. ... May 28, 1997, was a benchmark day in the history of the Mets. They finally beat Pedro Martinez. With Carlos Baerga driving in four runs with three hits, including a two-run home run in the fifth inning, and Bobby Jones pitching a four-hitter, the Mets beat the Expos, 7-0, in Montreal. Martinez had won his first 10 decisions against them. Six days later, the Mets -- and Jones -- beat him again. Matt Franco led off the eighth inning with a pinch-hit home run, and Baerga produced a run-scoring double. Jones allowed one run in the first eight innings of the 2-1 victory.

 

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