Mets Game 137: Win Over Phillies

Mets 6 Phillies 5

Mets win ballgame and lose the battle for the basement — for now.

Mets Game Notes

Not sure why, but this game reminded me of watching a AAA game. Maybe it was the multitude of mistakes, lack of execution, and general mediocrity of talent competing.

Dillon Gee did what he needed to do, keeping the Mets in the ballgame through six innings. He allowed 10 baserunners but the Phillies could only plate 3 of them, before scoring another pair against the back end of the Mets bullpen.

In the first few innings, A.J. Burnett looked a heckuva lot better than he had in previous starts against the Mets. But then in the fifth, he lost all bite on his curveball, and his sinker wasn’t sinking, but rather hanging around waist-high, over the middle of the plate — pretty much what we’d seen from him all year. His ineffectiveness was most obvious while pitching to Dilson Herrera in the bottom of the sixth. With a runner on second base, Burnett bizarrely appeared to be pitching around Herrera, or, possibly, trying to find a feel for his curve against the 20-year-old rookie. As a result, he walked Herrera on four pitches. His next pitch was deposited into the left field seats courtesy of Anthony Recker.

Burnett has reportedly been considering retirement this year, mainly because his performance has been horrendous. I think it’s a really good idea for him to hang ’em up.

Not sure what was going on with Chase Utley in the 7th, with none out, score 5-3 Mets, and men on second and third. He took two weak swings off so-so offerings by Dana Eveland and popped out to the infield. Not at all the kind of at-bat you’d expect to see from Utley; maybe he was guessing and guessed horribly wrong.

Speaking of Eveland, it’s interesting that Terry Collins seems to be using him as the lefty specialist, particularly when lefthanded hitters bat about 40 points higher against him than righthanded hitters. In hindsight, of course, Collins made the right move, because after getting into a bit of trouble in the seventh, Eveland retired three straight lefthanded Phillies hitters — Utley, Ryan Howard, and Grady Sizemore. So it worked out, right? Sure, but I wouldn’t expect that kind of result every time. I’m still not sure how he got out of that inning, but he did.

Justin De Fratus didn’t have to worry about any inherited runners in this ballgame. However, he still gave up a run. I think the Phillies would be smart to shop De Fratus’ shiny ERA and peripheral numbers this winter and get something of value in return, because his stats belie what he looks like on the mound. Remember when the Mets thought they were getting a valuable asset in Jon Adkins, when they sent Heath Bell and Royce Ring to San Diego? Kind of like that.

Dilson Herrera looks pretty smooth in the field, and so far, doing a nice job with the bat. It was his single up the middle against a drawn-in infield that scored the Mets final run — at the time, an insurance run, but what wound up being the difference in the ballgame.

Wilmer Flores made a diving play to end the Phillies’ 8th. He also turned a key double-play in the top of the ninth to squash a rally. Do not think this means he might be a capable MLB shortstop. Though the SNY booth made hay out of Flores’ ability to turn the double play, it wasn’t THAT big a deal. If anything, I credit Herrera for getting rid of the ball quickly and making a perfect throw to Flores. Both Keith Hernandez and Jim Duquette during the postgame mentioned it was a great play because Flores had “the runner bearing down on him.” Hmm … really? I guess if people keep repeating the same thing, eventually, people start to believe it — regardless if there’s any truth behind it (see: “Change” as the keyword for the 2008 POTUS campaign). First off, Flores had the tremendous advantage of elephant-footed Ryan Howard being the batter-runner; I think it took Howard about five seconds to reach first base. Second, Utley (the runner “bearing down” on Flores) was originally taking a route to second that would allow him to round the base — kind of a banana route. He looked behind his shoulder to see that Herrera was fielding the ball cleanly and intended to throw to second, and at that point, Utley tried to change his route to more of a direct line to the bag. Had Utley run straight for Flores to break up the DP from the get-go, I don’t know if Flores gets that throw off, because even with Utley’s initial hesitation and banana route, he still got a piece of Flores’ leg just as Flores released the ball. Again, credit goes to Herrera for reading that play perfectly — he saw that Utley wasn’t running directly to the bag, and therefore Herrera felt he had enough time to force him out. Herrera showed good arm strength there, in addition to the quickness and accuracy. I’m surprised GKR/SNY wasn’t making more hay out of Herrera, but I guess the current directive is to hype up Flores.

How did the Mets ultimately win this game? Anthony Recker’s big fly was a main reason, as was the Mets hitting .500 (4-for-8) with RISP. The Phillies, in contrast, had 13 RISP during the game, and plated only 4.

Next Mets Game

The Mets move on to Miami to play the Marlins on Monday afternoon. Game time is 1:10 PM and pits Zack Wheeler vs. Henderson Alvarez.

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 31, 2014 at 7:49 pm
    Joe,
    I think it was 6-5 Mets. I know the 11 hit outburst must have stunned you as much as me.
    • Joe Janish August 31, 2014 at 11:33 pm
      Oops … thanks Dave! I plugged in the score prematurely, and never updated it. Hope you’re enjoying the long weekend.
      • DaveSchneck September 1, 2014 at 7:07 pm
        Joe,
        Good weekend si long as I ignore the Mets. My only contribution at this ooint is score checking. Any other Met comment sound like Groundhog Day.
  2. Jon C September 1, 2014 at 8:54 am
    nothing to do with this ballgame, but thought you might find this news story interesting (if you google you can find it on various sites) as it touches on some themes you discuss often such as pitch counts, rest, japan, etc.:

    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/sports/AJ201408310020

    quote from losing pitcher:

    “Though I was beaten in the end, it was a good experience for me to pitch until the last. I had fatigue not only today (Aug. 31) but also yesterday and the day before yesterday. But I asked our coach to use me as a starter today.”

    • Joe Janish September 1, 2014 at 10:44 pm
      Jon, thanks for that. Wow, that’s … hmmm … disturbing.