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.
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.