Mets Game 128: Win Over Athletics

Mets 8 Athletics 5

Where did that come from?

Mets Game Notes

After a long drought, the Mets bats came alive. Maybe it was being in an Adulterated League park that inspired them. Maybe it was having an extra hitter in the lineup — a “designated pinch hitter” in place of the pitcher. Maybe it was familiarity with the pitcher whose last name is hard to spell. Maybe the Mets are simply a “daytime” team (they’re now 25-19 in day games this year).

Whatever the case, the Mets beat Cespedless A’s, and scored a whopping 8 runs in the process (and did it with more than four hits!).

Zack Wheeler won again, and his line looks OK, and maybe it could’ve looked better had it not been for sloppy play behind him. Then again, he didn’t appear to be so dominant, either. Not that he has to be every time out. What made me curious was Terry Collins saying after the game that he and Dan Warthen had arbitrarily decided, prior to the contest, that Wheeler would be capped at about 100 pitches, because he threw 120 in his previous outing. Why? Is there an injury? Do they know that the way to take care of Wheeler was to keep him off a mound for four days after the start? No, they don’t, and neither does anyone in MLB. I’ll keep harping on this until you are sick and tired of it and until someone, somewhere in pro ball considers the wild-eyed notion of applying science instead of mythology toward keeping pitchers healthy. Evidence-based fact: the mature, human arm needs four days’ rest after throwing 89 or more pitches. “Rest” means “stay off the mound.” In MLB, starting pitchers go on a mound to throw a bullpen within 48 hours after a start, which means they are disrupting the recovery process. This is not theory, it is science. The healing process — which involves tissue and cells — takes time. Why MLBers think their cells are different from other humans is not known; it could be that they believe throwing 90+ MPH makes their body chemistry different from others. Most were born on Planet Krypton, right?

I’ll be nice and say nothing about the Mets errors in this game.

Big stat: Mets were 4-for-7 with RISP.

Big bomb: by Lucas Duda, his 23rd tater of the year. That’s 15 more than Ike Davis — just sayin’.

Eric Campbell also hit one out, his third of the year. That’s 20 less than Marlon Byrd — though, Campbell’s only had 161 plate appearances to Byrd’s 524. Why do I bring this up? Not to pick on Campbell, by any stretch. Rather, to bring attention to the absence of Byrd, whose 2014 salary is $500,000 more than the Mets are paying Chris Young to take an early vacation.

Curtis Granderson swatted two hits and drove in a run. His OPS is now up to .698.

Jeurys Familia threw 29 pitches in 1 2/3 innings to notch his fourth save. He’ll need one day of rest, and he’ll get it, as the Mets are off on Thursday.

The A’s are 8-11 since trading Yoenis Cespedes, for what it’s worth. Small sample size. They were 66-41 with the slugger.

Next Mets Game

Mets get a day off before returning to NL competition to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Game one on Friday night begins at 10:10 PM Right Coast time. Jonathon Niese is scheduled to face Dan Haren.

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. Dan B August 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm
    When teams had four men rotations, did the pitchers throw between starts?
  2. Joe Janish August 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm
    I have no idea.

    It’s very difficult and mostly unhelpful to use what was done in the past, because it’s undocumented, memories are not reliable, and there are variables and conditions that don’t apply today. Three full days off a mound is probably better than doing a bullpen two days after a start, though, it still wasn’t enough rest. Yes, there were pitchers who threw 300+ innings year after year during those times, but there were also pitchers who blew out their arms before their early 30s — and truly, pitchers should be able to maintain their performance or improve it through their mid-30s and possibly into their 40s, if they have clean mechanics, follow the rest and recovery rules, and keep themselves in top condition.

    Something also to note: the 4-man rotation was more in name than reality; most teams worked with 5-man rotations since 1930, even if they didn’t admit it. Remember, also, that pitchers in those “four-man rotations” OFTEN received 4 days of rest or more, thanks to schedules that included one day off nearly every week as well as the magic of doubleheaders (when “spot starters” often took their turn). Going from an “official” 4-man to 5-man rotation began with the ’69 Mets, when Gil Hodges thought the extra day might be helpful in preventing pitchers from “burning out” (what a concept!).

    For example, the ’69 Orioles supposedly had a 4-man rotation of Cuellar, McNally, Palmer, and “some other guy” — that “some other guy” was a combination of Tom Phoebus and Jim Hardin, who started 65 games between them. In that year, McNally made 41 starts — 17 of which came on 4 or more days’ rest. In that magical 1971 season when the O’s had four starters with 20 or more wins, Cuellar, McNally, and Pat Dobson all made 16 starts each on 4 days’ rest or more; Palmer had 21 starts came on 4 days’ or more rest.

    As long as starters are doing bullpens two days after a start, there’s really no reason not to go back to 4-man rotations — once the recovery window is disrupted, it’s disrupted, and once that happens, there isn’t much difference in waiting to pitch on that fifth day as opposed to the fourth, because the damage has already been done.

    But what the heck do I know? I’m just going by what science has figured out, based on tissue / cell testing on cadavers and through the testing of thousands of still-living examples.

  3. david August 22, 2014 at 9:05 am
    They play better during the day because Terry is more alert. We all know older people need to go to be early and get tired. Haven’t you ever seen your grandfather fall asleep on the couch?

    Seriously though, I cannot believe Sandy came out and defended Terry on the basis the manager’s job is not just about wins and losses. I have been willing to give Sandy the benefit of the doubt most of the time, but that is just a bridge too far.

    You cannot sell the same line year after year – that this is a development year, next year is going to be better, and then put up the same record 4 years in a row. I hope the NY radio and print media are going to town on that. Steinbrenner would have been on his 3rd manager by now. I’m not saying I’m a Yankees fan, but let’s stop trying to defend poor job performance. Be a stand up guy Sandy, instead of looking like a stand up comedian – “Hey, did you hear the one about the Mets team that was going to win 90 games?”

    Bottom line is the manager is supposed to get the most out of the talent he has, and no one can tell me Terry does that. Guys don’t know their roles, guys end up frozen out and just disappear for weeks, he flip flops the lineup like a short order cook at Denny’s (although this year he has been a little better, until mid August rolled around and he dusted off his white towel and gave it a good wave), and we all know his bullpen handling is poor.

    I find myself envying the Marlins these days, and who can blame me?

    • Joe Janish August 22, 2014 at 11:02 am
      What choice does Alderson have but to defend Collins? Alderson is the mouthpiece for the Wilpons, and the executives decided to extend Collins after three straight losing seasons. Collins does exactly what upper management needs him to do – babysit, handle the press, pretend to be happy with his job, and take a cut-rate paycheck (for New York). If they fire Collins, they’ll bring in a similar puppet to take his place.

      It’s not about winning, and hasn’t been, for a long time.

      • Chris B August 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm
        How was Terry more alert yesterday than in normal night games? That sound so absurd. What did he do differently yesterday that allowed the Mets to win, that he didn’t do in other games they lost?

        Call me crazy, but I pin the majority of wins and losses on player performance. When they perform better, it makes the manager’s job easy.

        • Joe Janish August 22, 2014 at 11:14 pm
          There is a theory in all business that suggests a manager can affect personnel performance — negatively or positively.

          There are very good managers — in all industries, including pro sports — who are more adept than others at motivating their underlings and putting them in position to succeed.

          Some people are of the opinion that TC is either ineffectual or ordinary. On a club that is so cash-strapped and has such slim margin for error, they’d be better off with one of those very good managers — if, in fact, they make winning a priority (which the Mets don’t).

          Tony LaRussa had only 5 seasons of losing records in 33 years. Earl Weaver had 17 consecutive winning records before a losing season, after which he retired. Bobby Cox was a winner 20 years out of 29. Billy Martin had 13 winning seasons in his 16 years as a manager, heading several teams of various talent levels, and one of those losing-season stints was only 23 games. Jack McKeon managed some not-so-great teams yet still led 10 winning seasons out of 16. Were all of those managers lucky enough to have great personnel under them? At times, sure. All the time? No.

          Not everyone is a great leader and manager. Some can do more with less. Some do less with more. Terry Collins has had a very questionable history as a manager. At best, he neither hurts nor helps. Would the Mets have a better record if their manager was one of those few game-changers? I think so. Would they be in first place? No way. Would they be at least be at .500? I think so. But, there’s no stat to prove it so it’s all subjective. Thank goodness for that, because with all the advanced stats overwhelming the conversation, baseball has become less interesting to argue about — in my subjective opinion, anyway.

  4. david August 23, 2014 at 1:30 am
    Well put Joe and endorsed 100%.

    Chris B, I was joking about Terry being alert for day games, apologies for not being funnier.

    Terry was pretty awake today in the 8th inning when Grandy got punched out on Ball 4, so perhaps not all geriatrics tire after 9.00 pm. Unless he popped some red devils or something, which is fine since no one is testing managers these days. He was even alert enough to pull Montero in the bottom of the 8th which made no sense to me if its about developing players and not, as I have heretofore misunderstood, about winning baseball games.

    Pulling for the Marlins for the Wild Card. Look what they have done this year, without their Ace. Sandy, are you taking notes?