Mets Game 113: Win Over Nationals

Mets 6 Nationals 1

A good win at a good time for the Mets.

Mets Game Notes

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Very quickly … I didn’t watch the game as hawk-eyed as I would’ve liked, but came away with a few things.

First, every time I looked at the screen, the Nationals had two or three runners on base. Somehow, though, they scored only one run. I’m not sure how that happened, though I did see a few double plays and runners thrown out at home plate. In the end, Zack Wheeler earned a win and allowed just one run in 6 2/3 IP, which is very good, but it “felt” like he didn’t pitch as well as the linescore suggests. Comments?

Second, I saw in the seventh that Nats manager Matt Williams removed Gio Gonzalez from the game with men on first and second and Wheeler at the plate in a very obvious bunting situation. That made zero sense to me. Certainly, it was time for Gio to go. However, with the opposing pitcher at the plate and more or less guaranteed to be laying down a bunt, I want as many athletic lefthanders in the infield as possible — and Gio Gonzalez is both athletic and lefthanded. Why? Because no matter where the bunt is placed, it’s easier and quicker for a lefthander to pick up the ball and throw it to third base to get the lead runner. So because of that reason alone, Gio stays in the game. Secondly, Wheeler’s a lefthanded hitter, and Gonzalez throws a good curveball, which can be difficult to bunt. In my opinion, it was ideal for Gonzalez to throw curveballs to Wheeler, hope he either had a problem putting a bunt in fair play, or hoping he’d bunt the ball back toward the pitcher and give Gonzalez a chance to get the lead runner. After the Wheeler at-bat, Gonzalez would be removed. But that’s me.

Speaking of Gonzalez, he is definitely not the same pitcher we saw in 2012 or even 2013. In addition to what seems to be a drop in velocity, he doesn’t have the bulldog mental toughness to get out of tough situations. I’m sure it’s just an absolute coincidence that his dropoff in performance came immediately after his “father” was found to be a frequent client of Biogenesis. Surely, that situation is still weighing on Gio’s mind.

Yes, I saw Juan Lagares make an amazing, leaping catch of a liner late in the game. I also gasped and feared he either broke his collarbone or separated his shoulder. Thankfully, neither were the case.

Next Mets Game

Mets and Nats do it again at 7:05 PM on Wednesday night (tonight). Jonathon Niese faces Doug Fister.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. david August 6, 2014 at 6:00 pm
    Joe, a question for you – Niese is on the hill tonight. He has not won, to my recollection, since coming off the DL. Are you seeing anything different? Seems to me he’s not making the pitches in tight spots but I know you’ve been worried about his mechanics for some time. If it s all mental, then I want to see him get a win tonight and revert to the bulldog he’s been for 5 years or so.

    Lagares’ catch was nice but awkward. On the replay I thought he may have also hurt his left leg which landed awkwardly before he dove for the ball. I think we need to expect Lagares will miss 20% of the games each year b/c of the toll on his body, which is ok so long as the manager is smart about giving him rest.

    Speaking of rest, I think D Wright could use more of it. Regularly. For the rest of his contract. Campbell can get a game, and so can Flores. I admit I was wrong about Campbell in LF and my compo with Hundley off the mark. Infielders are more athletic than catchers (no offense, I too have donned the tools of ignorance on many occasions) and if it helps the team to play him in LF so be it. But not all the time, please.

    • Yeats August 6, 2014 at 6:45 pm
      I’ve thought for years that David Wright would be just as productive playing 150 games as he would playing 162.
      • Dan42 August 6, 2014 at 7:21 pm
        I’d wager he’d be more productive with regular rest.
    • Joe Janish August 6, 2014 at 11:02 pm
      David, re: Niese, I’ve been concerned about his mechanics since last year. I’m convinced he’s shredded his shoulder, and was surprised he was able to put up the numbers he did in the first half when I’m sure he’s in pain and his velocity has been down.

      My best theory: he was effective in the first half because opposing teams were seeing a different Niese from previous years — someone who was throwing slower, and changing speeds more often. So it was a surprise. Now that the league and the scouting reports have caught up to the “new Niese,” combined with his arm continuing to fatigue and shred, his performance is going down.

      I’m not seeing anything “different” per se — if anything, I was shocked by how well he was able to perform in the first three months of the season.