Mets Game 130: Loss To Dodgers
Dodgers 7 Mets 4
Mets swallowed by Chavez Ravine as they drop to ten games below .500.
Mets Game Notes
Once again, Zack Greinke did not have his “A-game” against the Mets, and the Mets again made him pay. Unfortunately, Jacob deGrom didn’t have his “A-game,” either, and the Dodgers made him pay a little more. While deGrom flashed great velocity — he hit 97 MPH a few times — he left a few too many pitches up in the zone and over the middle of the plate. He also didn’t get any help from the gloves behind him. He did, though, help himself with the bat, swatting a double and a single in his first two at-bats. Interestingly, deGrom’s worst at-bat came when he was asked to sacrifice bunt, and instead bunted into a fielder’s choice that did not advance the runner. I would’ve let him swing the bat in that situation — he was one of the best-looking Mets hitters of the night.
One of the worst-looking Mets hitters of the night? David Wright. Wright failed every time he came to the plate, and he came up in big spots with runners in scoring position. He was one of the main reasons the Mets were 2-for-12 with RISP and left 8 runners on base.
Juan Lagares has been one of the bright spots of a dismal Mets season, and I enjoy watching him play center field. I also find his hitting progress encouraging — he may not one day be a batting or home run champion, but he looks like he’ll be a positive offensive contributor with more experience. And again: I enjoy watching him in the field. However, unlike those in the SNY booth, I don’t think Lagares is a shoo-in for a Gold Glove this year, nor do I think he’s “head and shoulders above all other center fielders” in the big leagues. He’s really, really good — better than most. Is he the best? Maybe, but I think watching him every day makes us appreciate him more than outfielders we don’t get to see every day, and it influences our perception. Someone in the SNY booth talks about Lagares like he’s on another planet all by himself, and that’s simply not the case — he’s elite, for sure, but others are “in his league,” so to speak. Carlos Gomez, for one. Peter Bourjos — who in many ways is very similar to Lagares. Denard Span. Ben Revere is up there. Billy Hamilton has been damn impressive, especially for someone who has never been in the outfield before. Yasiel Puig may not look as polished, but his raw tools put him in the conversation. And when he’s paying attention, B.J. Upton makes it easy getting to the long flies in the same way as Lagares. When and if A.J. Pollock gets back to the big leagues, he’s in that same elite class. If you extend the discussion to the Adulterated League, there’s Jacoby Ellsbury, Leonys Martin, Lorenzo Cain, and Austin Jackson. Look, I’m not trying to belittle Lagares’ skills, and I absolutely, positively believe he is among the elite. Rather, I’m trying to make clear that it’s not THAT unusual to be a fantastic-fielding center fielder in the big leagues right now. Will he get the Gold Glove this year? It would be nice, but I doubt it, mainly because he’s going to finish the year with somewhere around 120-130 games played, while others in his defensive class will likely play 150+. Yes, Juan Lagares is an outstanding fielder. Assuming he keeps up his pace and stays in the lineup, he should win a Gold Glove some day. But to say that there’s no one better, and to suggest that it will be “a crime” if he doesn’t get a Gold Gloe this year, is being both ignorant and disrespectful to some of the other elite fly chasers in the league. There’s an entire universe playing baseball outside of Planet Mets.
Lagares, by the way, not only played his usual outstanding defense, but also went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer.
Nice to see Matt den Dekker finally break out of his slump with hustling double. I was beginning to worry that his first week back in MLB was a mirage.
There was an ironic discussion by Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez regarding Jenrry Mejia‘s initial displeasure with pitching out of the bullpen. Mejia felt that he became injured because he pitched in a relief role, rather than considering the possibility that his mechanics were dangerous (they are). Here’s the irony: as a starting pitcher, Mejia would be more likely to find himself back on a surgeon’s table at an earlier point, in part because of the volume of pitches but mainly because of the illogical MLB habit of starters throwing bullpen sessions on the second day after a start. Mejia likely will still injure his arm again, but, an injury would probably happen a bit quicker if he remained in the rotation. I’m glad Keith mentioned the risk of Mejia’s “herky jerky” motion.
Also nice to hear Keith say about Don Mattingly, “he’s got my vote for the Hall of Fame.” If you’re old enough to remember, there was something of a fan-induced rivalry between Keith and Don when both played in New York. Many a heated debate occurred on bar stools around the NY-Metro area between Mets and Yankees fans over who was the better all-around first baseman, and who was the better fielder. I’m sure Keith and Don never considered themselves rivals — they never played against each other in those pre-interleague-play days — yet it still seemed awkward to hear Keith hold Donnie Baseball in such high regard. Oh, and as far as I’m concerned, Donnie in the HoF is a no-brainer — as is Dale Murphy. Keith? I’m not sure, but he’s closer than the voters have judged him. And for the record, neither Keith nor Don was the best first baseman I ever saw — that would be Mike Squires. No kidding.