Renyel Pinto was one unhappy dude following Wedneday's bullpen meltdown -- unhappy with himself. The lefty reliever said he was so upset with the bullpen's dismal performance that he sat in bed -- unable to sleep -- thinking of everything that went wrong.
"Last night, it was a bad day for me," said Pinto, one of three Marlins relievers who struggled to throw strikes, failed to record outs, and nearly allowed a 6-2 lead to dissolve into an embarassing loss. "It was just a bad day for the bullpen. We're better. Just last night we had a rough night. The seventh inning we walked like nine guys. Unbelievable. I can't even believe that. I go to my room and I was thinking the whole night, I can't believe it."
Collectively, the trio of Pinto, Jose Veras and Leo Nunez walked six batters -- two with the bases loaded -- hit a batter and balked in a run. The Marlins won the game in the 10th, and Tim Wood, who is on the team only because Brian Sanches is on the disabled list, came out of the pen to preserve the win with a 1-2-3 10th.
Pinto said home plate umpire Laz Diaz's strike zone was "a little tight, but that's not an excuse."
Pinto took over for Ricky Nolasco with two outs in the seventh, a runner on first, and a 6-2 lead. He faced three batters, giving up a single to Fernando Tatis, hit Alex Cora with a pitch on a 1-2 count, and walked Luis Castillo with the bases loaded. The Mets tied the score with three runs in the eighth off the combination of Veras and Nunez.
"Like I told Veras -- he was a little upset, too -- I told him just forget about that game," Pinto said. "And Leo, too. Leo throws a lot of strikes. He's a strike machine. And last night he was bad, too. It was a bad day for the bullpen. Last night, only 'Woody' did OK. When I came out, I was so pissed I kicked something in the dugout. And then when I saw how he pitched, everything calmed down. It was his first save, and I got excited. He made the bullpen better right away -- a little bit.
"It's only one game. We got 160 more games. We just got to forget about that game."
Manager Fredi Gonzalez, though not pleased with the failure of his relievers to throw strikes, said he remains confident that the bullpen can do the job.
"You've got to forget all that," Gonzalez said. "They're here. I have confidence in them. We'll use 'em."
However, Gonzalez joked that he might consider alternate methods to drive home the message that he demands strikes. He said he might head to Home Depot, buy a shock collar, and wrap it around each pitcher's neck. Everytime they get to two balls in the count, he'll push the shock button.
There's still some confusion about whether or not Nunez did anything wrong when he was called for a balk in the eighth inning, allowing the tying run to score.
Umpire "Wally (Bell) said he started and stopped," Gonzalez said. "I've looked at the tape from 40 different angles, every angle we have, and he didn't do anything crazy. I've seen (Nunez) do it the same way a million times. I've looked at the video. I didn't see anything. I didn't see anything crazy."
Gonzalez said he planned to discuss the call with umpires before tonight's game to gain a better understanding of what went wrong.
When Gonzalez used Ronny Paulino to pinch-hit in the 10th (Paulino drove in the deciding run), he was left with only Mike Lamb as an emergency backup catcher in case something happened to John Baker.
Lamb has not caught in a major league game since 2002 when he was with the Texas Rangers, and he said he did such a bad job in emergency relief of Ivan Rodriguez, with balls going in the dirt and getting by him, that fans in Arlington booed the heck out of him.
Gonzalez has annointed first baseman Gaby Sanchez as the first backup to Paulino and Baker, but Sanchez was already out of the game Wednesday when Paulino went in to hit.
"At that point in the game, you got to roll the dice a little bit," Gonzalez said of his decision to send up Paulino. "I may take it a step further, and see if Paulino can play first. Then you can leave Paulino in the game at first, move Cantu back to third, and you've got two catchers in the game if something happens."
Wes Helms, who scored the go-ahead run in the 10th on Paulino's hit, said he beat the tag at home plate by less than an inch.
"But I was definitely safe," he said.
Chris Coghlan made a throw to the plate that was so bad he was able to laugh about it later. Coghlan caught a routine fly in left in the eighth, but then uncorked a rainbow throw that was caught by Veras near the backstop.
"I was just trying to throw it as hard as I could and see how far I could throw it," Coghlan said, joking. "I thought if I could throw in the press box, I thought I'd give somebody a souvenir. When I went to stretch to throw, I stretched too far and my heel slipped. And when my heel slipped, my arm released at a lot different angle."
The runner didn't tag from third, so the muffed throw didn't cause any harm.
"I was glad nobody went," Coghlan said. "And when nobody went, you could kind of laugh about it and go, 'That's pretty bad.'"
NOTES: The Oakland A's claimed outfielder Jai Miller off waivers from the Marlins. Miller had been designated for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Veras and Lamb. The A's immediately optioned Miller to Triple A Sacramento. Miller struck out in his only at bat as a Marlin -- in Oakland during the 2008 season.....Wednesday's game recorded a 4.1 average rating, the highest since 2006 for a Marlins game on FS Florida or Sun Sports in a season opening series. It was the most-watched cable program in the market.
Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Cameron Maybin, cf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 3b; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. Ronny Paulino, c; 7. Cody Ross, rf; 8. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 9. Nate Robertson, p.
Mets: 1. Angel Pagan, cf; 2. Luis Castillo, 2b; 3. David Wright, 3b; 4. Jason Bay, lf; 5. Jeff Francoeur, rf; 6. Fernando Tatis, 1b; 7. Rod Barajas, c; 8. Ruben Tejada, ss; 9. Jonathon Niese, p.