Mets Game 133: Loss To Braves

Braves 3 Mets 2

Same score, but teams turned around.

One positive: it was entertaining to the very last pitch of the ballgame.

Mets Game Notes

Zack Wheeler pitched well — just not as well as Julio Teheran. Wheeler held the Bravos to 4 hits and 3 walks in 7 innings, and only 2 earned runs. But, there was an unearned run that made the difference between winning and losing. Or, you could say the leadoff homerun by Jason Heyward was the difference. Pick your poison.

Teheran struggled mightily with his command. He couldn’t find his curveball at all, missing drastically with it 4 times out of 5, yet, it seemed like that one time it worked was the time he needed it to in ending an at-bat. Most of the time he found a way to get ahead using the slider or a running fastball. I have to wonder if his command issues are related to a physical issue, such as a fatigued forearm. His mechanics are less than efficient. Gary Cohen pointed out that Teheran was among the NL leaders in innings pitched, and would likely go far over 200 IP for the season, and it was an unusual total in this day and age for a pitcher so young (23). I agree that it’s unusual, but am on the fence on whether the innings total can be dangerous. As has been pointed out here many times in the past, it’s not necessarily the volume that hurts MLB pitchers, but rather their lack of proper rest in between starts combined with flawed mechanics.

During the SNY postgame, Bobby Ojeda said that Teheran and Wheeler were very similar pitchers, and tried to support that with an argument that didn’t hold water. Bobby, I love you and agree with you about 80% of the time, but not in this case. They’re completely different pitchers, to my eyes. Teheran is more of a crafty guy with average fastball velocity who relies on the batter not knowing which pitch is coming, while Wheeler is a power pitcher with a hard sinker who, if not for his velocity, would struggle mightily. To me, Wheeler is the power-sinkerball pitcher that Mike Pelfrey was supposed to become, but never did, because he couldn’t maintain the high velocity and never developed a somewhat reliable off-speed pitch.

Remember what I said in the game 132 post about winning ballgames with defense in 2014, citing Juan Lagares? Yeah, that statement again, but this time put “Andrelton Simmons” into the blank.

Speaking of, I’m sorry, but again, I’m not on board with the unbelievable gushing over Lagares’ defense as if it is unusual — particularly when B.J. Upton made at least one outstanding catch of a long fly ball over his head. As mentioned the last time, I do love watching Lagares, and he IS among the elite. But there are others on his planet. I don’t know that he’s “the best” because I’ve seen other center fielders make similarly fantastic plays and haven’t had the luxury of watching some of them play every day. Watching Lagares every day, yes, I appreciate him greatly and believe he is a special fielder. But he’s not the only special fielder. I suppose if you are a Mets fan you don’t mind hearing all the uber-hype but as a general fan of baseball, again, I find it disrespectful to some of the other outstanding center fielders in MLB to repeatedly identify Lagares as the very best in the game. It would be much more acceptable if the SNY crew would say something like “that’s why he’s among the best there is in the outfield.”

Similarly, there are other shortstops in baseball who would’ve made that outstanding play to save a run that Simmons made in the bottom of the 8th on Travis d’Arnaud. It was amazing, it was clutch, and not EVERY shortstop makes that play. Like Lagares, Simmons is among the elite, but he’s not necessarily alone.

Oh, and not for nuthin’, but kudos also to Freddie Freeman, who made two outstanding Simmons plays hold up with outstanding scoops. I doubt the highlight reels will mention Freeman’s ability to dig, but without it, Simmons doesn’t make the highlights. #littlethings

Big cohones move by Fredi Gonzalez to bring the infield in with one out, men on second and third, and Ruben Tejada at the plate. But then again, it was Craig Kimbrel vs. Ruben Tejada, and I think Gonzalez had to like his chances in that situation, figuring that Tejada should have trouble making solid contact against Kimbrel, even when Kimbrel is having an off-night. And with both David Wright and Daniel Murphy out of action, Terry Collins didn’t have much choice but to let Tejada bat in that situation — his hands were tied by the roster situation. Though, I suppose he had Jacob deGrom available — who might be a better hitter than Tejada and who played two years of shortstop at Stetson. Hmm … tempting … but I doubt we’d see that, except possibly in a very long extra-inning game.

Gary and Ron Darling briefly discussed a pertinent topic to Mets fans: the Braves’ decision to trade away Randall Delgado as part of the package for Justin Upton. At the time, Delgado and Julio Teheran were the Braves’ top two young pitching prospects, and, in order to get a player of Upton’s caliber, it was necessary to part with at least one of them (if not both). As it’s turned out — so far — the Braves “guessed right” in keeping Teheran, but that’s not necessarily the point. Sure, it worked out well and the Braves look like geniuses now, but the point is that you have to give up something to get something, and the Braves were comfortable parting with someone who might’ve been their #1 prospect in order to get an elite and established, still relatively young, position player. Similarly, the Mets will have a decision to make this winter: whether or not to part with one of their top young pitching prospects toward getting an established, impact position player. Gary and Ron also touched on the fact that teams need to scout themselves as much as they scout opponents, and it pays to know your own talent better than anyone. Again, I can’t say for sure that the Braves knew that Teheran would work out better than Delgado, but maybe that was part of their decision. It could’ve just been lucky; remember that in the past, the Braves traded away Adam Wainwright and Jason Marquis to get J.D. Drew — though, that was over ten years ago.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series begins at 7:10 PM on Thursday night. Jonathon Niese faces Mike Minor.

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. DaveSchneck August 28, 2014 at 12:05 am
    Joe,
    I was at the game Tuesday night when Lagares put on a clinic. He is the real deal out there. I know the gushing gets old, and it stands out more when the team stinks and there is nothing else to get excited about, but his defense is clearly elite and that is at least one positive for the Mets. Regarding the Simmons robbery tonight, I’m not sure how many others make that play, it was filthy. Lastly, regarding the Mets’ inept 9th inning against a struggling Kimbrel, I would have let Flores swing away. Either way, Tejada had to be pinch hit for, and this comes down to the availability of David Wright. Now, they said DW hit and fielded today and felt fine, and would play tomorrow barring a setback. If that is true, I can’t see any reason why he couldn’t pinch hit with the game on the line. Frankly, the $20 million dollar team captain face of the franchise that is healthy enough to play tomorrow not being used there is lame, and the result is yet another loss.
    • crozier August 28, 2014 at 9:33 am
      David Wright would make sense in that scenario in RBI Baseball (or Strat-O-Matic, if you want to be old school about it). But the dismal truth is that Wright, in his current state, and Tejada had about an even chance to do damage in that situation. Wright has nothing offensive to offer at the moment.

      Can’t argue about the Flores at bat, though. Why give up an out when Kimbrel wasn’t throwing strikes?

      It was the Mets’ 6th close loss in August – a month in which Granderson and Wright have combined for three extra-base hits. Which leads one to the conclusion that unless Duda’s producing, the Mets don’t win. It would have been beyond credibility to say such a thing before June of this year. Just imagine their record without his contributions.

      • DaveSchneck August 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm
        Crozier,
        I do agree that Wright has looked downright dismal, and has been flinching on inside pitches. The matchup with Kimbrel, given his current hitting state, would likely ended up in a K. However, even in his slump/decline, I think DW has a better chance of getting a ball deeper into the OF than Tejada, and when you add to the mix that he is their captain and highest paid player, and hit and fielded yesterday without any issue, it is inconceivable that the team cares about winning when they pass on his bat. Yes, I know they are out of it, and why risk DW, but then put him on the DL and get another body in there. Last night they were playing with 21 players and bunting in the 9th to give up and out and leave it up to the weakest hitter on the team. They shouldn’t charge for tickets if that is the approach they are taking to the game.
  2. norme August 28, 2014 at 12:34 am
    When Flores sacrificed in the 9th inning I felt sure that either Wright or Murphy would pinch hit for Tejada. If TC knew that they weren’t available he should have let Flores hit away. Sounds like I’m second guessing but I don’t have much faith in Tejada vs. Kimbrel.
  3. david August 28, 2014 at 2:16 am
    Matt Reynolds gets that run in, every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    I heard a rumor that Sandy extended Terry’s contract after the game, since it is not about wins and losses it is about how painfully you can make it for the Mets fans to watch their team lose the game. And because Terry’s comment about not having many options when questioned about his lineup was inspiring to the troops and THAT has to count for something.

    Give Kirk or EY a start. Maybe rest Grandy?

  4. Gabriel August 28, 2014 at 8:40 am
    Hey Joe. I found this article on AmazinAvenue about d´Arnaud´s catching issues and his “ability to frame pitches”:

    http://www.amazinavenue.com/2014/8/27/6044493/mets-travis-darnaud-pitch-blocking-framing

    • Joe Janish August 28, 2014 at 12:40 pm
      Gabriel, thanks very much, it’s an intriguing article.

      And, wow, a LOT of research, data, and effort put into supporting something I stated last week that was based entirely on my eyes. Does that mean I might know what I’m talking about? Haha …

      Seriously though, glad to see that I’m not out of my mind. I thought for sure people would get on me for criticizing d’Arnaud’s “framing” skills.

      I’m not entirely in agreement with this, though: “What’s troubling about this is that unlike throwing, blocking pitches is a problem almost entirely inherent to the catcher. In this case there’s no one to blame but d’Arnaud himself.”

      I think at least some of the passed balls are related to Mets pitchers either throwing to the wrong location or crossing him up.

      Finally, I found this very interesting: “Perhaps most noticeable has been his poor record preventing the stolen base. At just 20 percent this season, he rates in the bottom tier in baseball in throwing out baserunners.”

      Why? Because during game 133’s telecast, the SNY booth commented that the Braves wouldn’t be trying to steal because d’Arnaud and the Mets have done such a fine job of preventing the stolen base this year. I guess they don’t have access to the same stats as the public. 😉

  5. DanB August 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm
    Looks like Colon isn’t getting traded this season. I read reports that the Mets will look to trade him in the off season for prospects and salary relief. When you haven’t won 78 games in six years and your payroll in under $85 million, is trading your #2 starter for prospects and salary relief your top priority? Sounds more like a move for a team that doesn’t expect to compete in 2015. Get ready for “2016 is our year” campaign.
    • crozier August 29, 2014 at 12:11 am
      There won’t be room for Colon in 2015.
      • DanB August 29, 2014 at 3:29 am
        I don’t have a problem trading Colon or anyone else (though the Mets will still need a veteran when all the youngsters have pitch counts). It is the idea that a NY team with a $85 million payroll needs to trade away a player who is contributing because they can’t afford him. It is a sign that the Mets will continue to be financially crippled and winning is not a high priority. Also, why not trade Colon for someone who can contribute to the MLB roster? When will the Mets stop trading productive major league players to get prospects? It is another sign that next year is not “the” year.
      • Joe Janish August 29, 2014 at 10:40 am
        There will be room for Colon in 2015 — there is always room for a starting pitcher on a MLB team. Figure on one or more of Niese, Harvey, Gee, deGrom, Wheeler, and Syndegaard going down with some kind of serious injury (as well as Colon) before Opening Day. Combine that with one or two of those pitchers getting traded for a bat in the offseason, and there will be room.