Mets Game 103: Win Over Brewers
Mets 3 Brewers 2
So much for my theory that Lucas Duda doesn’t hit big homeruns. But glad to see he reads MetsToday, and that it inspires him. Glad something finally does.
Mets Game Notes
Zack Wheeler struggled a bit in the initial frame, partially due to uncontrollable circumstances, but also, he simply looked — to me — like he was having a hard time getting comfortable. I was surprised that he was able to get out of the first without allowing a run, and thought for sure he was going to have a rough night. Everything changed in the second, and he proceeded to absolutely dominate the Milwaukee hitters through the sixth inning.
As soon as I saw Murphy dunk that double down the line in left, I also saw the David Wright single and Lucas Duda blast. I’m sure you did, too. Not because we’re psychic, but because we know Francisco Rodriguez all too well, and we’ve seen that body language before. Had he retired Murphy, things may have turned out differently, but once Murphy reached, K-Rod’s face and body changed. It has nothing to do with stuff, previous success, or anything else — it’s what happens to some people, at some times, in the moment.
If you’re a Mets fan, I bet you were especially happy to see K-Rod blow the game (personally, I’m always happy to see a parasite/social leper/despicable human being fail). But I doubt it’s possible you were as happy as Gary Cohen. Does he bring a change of shorts to the broadcast booth for situations like that, I wonder? I mean because it sounded like he spilled his cup of coffee on himself in the excitement — what the heck were you thinking? This is a family-friendly blog, for goodness sakes!
Although he had three hits, including the big leadoff double in the top of the ninth, it was not a great game in the field for Daniel Murphy. To the Murphy apologists out there, may I please comment? First off, the two errors on the scoreboard were only the tip of the iceberg. He nearly threw another ball away that could’ve resulted in more trouble, he was too slow in turning two “coulda-been” double plays, and he was lucky to be bailed out of just about all of his miscues. Mainly, though, I want to point out the sixth-inning routine double-play grounder that went through the wickets, as it offers a teaching moment. As you probably know, I am a catcher, and on the rare occasions a coach put me in an infield position, I would not be confused with Mark Belanger. However, from what I know from colleagues who are former professional infielders, one action an infielder should NEVER do is back up on a ball. In other words, when a ground ball is coming directly your way, you either hold your feet or charge in a few steps. Backpedaling is a bad idea. I’m not entirely sure why, but I believe it goes hand in hand with “play the ball / don’t let the ball play you,” and I imagine it has to do with being on your heels and therefore in a nonathletic, unbalanced position. From what I understand this is a very basic fundamental that I’ve heard over and over again. (If you are someone who played or coached at a high level, and/or know why backing up on a grounder is bad, please explain in the comments.) On that sharply hit grounder to Murphy, he backed up, and I’m guessing it’s because the ball was hit so hard (and it WAS scorched), he felt he was going to be handcuffed and/or didn’t have enough time to charge. So what should he have done, and what should YOU do, if put in a similar position? My limited knowledge suggests that you hold your ground, stay balanced on the middle of your feet, and therefore have a strong foundation underneath you, which will allow you to better react with your hands. You can’t be quick with your upper body unless the lower body is planted, no matter what sport or athletic movement you’re making. Even race car drivers need to firmly plant their left foot against the floor so that their hands are supple and quick to steer.
The Mets won, though, so we can glaze over Murphy’s miscues, right?
I was absolutely astonished to see Logan Schafer bunting with two strikes in the ninth, in part because it was clear he was uncomfortable bunting against Jenrry Mejia, and also because he’s pretty fast and unlikely to hit into a double play. Oh, and also because it’s always a bad move unless you have a bad-hitting pitcher at the plate. I do understand attempting a sacrifice in that situation, and would have made the same call. But regardless of how accomplished a bunter Shafer has been in the past, it was crystal-clear he wasn’t going to get one down against Mejia, so let him swing away. A team cannot be giving away an out when down one in the bottom of the ninth.
Is anyone else wondering why Bobby Abreu (and Chris Young, for that matter) are still getting Major League at-bats while Kirk Nieuwenhuis is back in Las Vegas? If the Mets are serious about winning games in 2014, then Nieuwenhuis should be on the roster instead of either of those two veterans. If the Mets are serious about building a winning club in future years, then Nieuwenhuis should be on the roster instead of either of those two veterans. So, again, why? Only The Shadow knows …
Carlos Gomez doesn’t kiss his bat before at-bats any more, does he?
During a random discussion about the Phillies, Gary Cohen described Ryan Howard‘s performance over the past two years as “below replacement level.” I thought that was cute.
By the way, would you trade Lucas Duda for Ryan Howard right now, straight up? I might, and I don’t think that’s crazy, especially if the Phillies were willing to eat some of Howard’s contract. Check the numbers and be careful to check your emotions before answering. Sure, right now Duda has the better AVG, OPS, and OBP, but Howard has more RBI and runs scored (granted, Howard also has about 60 more plate appearances) on a team that has more difficulty scoring than the Mets (believe it or not). Howard very well could be at the “Mo Vaughn as a Met” point in his career, but then again, he could be a half-year away from “Justin Morneau as a Rockie.” Much depends on whether you believe Duda is for real, and will keep it up over the next 2-3 years. But if you think there’s ANY chance that Howard can return to the beast he was prior to his achilles injury, you might think twice. Food for thought.
Hey, another one-run game won by the Mets. Channeling Mel Allen …
Was it really a “huge win” by the Mets? Because it saved Terry Collins‘ job for another day? Because it may help them move toward being “buyers” at the trade deadline? Because it may spark another big winning streak that may lead toward “meaningful games in September”? Or just because it was entertaining for Mets fans, and the Mets need to be entertaining in order to generate more revenue and keep the current ownership in place? Choose carefully before answering.
Mets Game Notes
The Mets and Brewers do it again on Saturday night at 7:10 PM ET. Jonathon Niese takes the mound against Wily Peralta.