Mets Game 151: Loss To Marlins

Marlins 6 Mets 5

The game couldn’t have started out better for the Mets, and couldn’t have finished much worse.

Mets Game Notes

Jacob deGrom tied a modern record by striking out the first 8 batters of the ballgame, and the Mets jumped out to a 2-zip lead in the initial lead. With deGrom cruising through six frames, it seemed the game was in the bag for the Mets. Certainly, no one would have predicted the eventual final score based on what was seen in the first six frames. But, that’s the beauty of baseball, right? Anything can happen, and things can change in an instant.

Of course Jordany Valdespin hit the two-run single to tie the ballgame in the 7th. Of course Reed Johnson hit the sac fly to untie the game a few minutes later.

Credit the Mets for fighting back after the Fish took over the lead in the 7th, though, much of their success was due to a rare off-night for A.J. Ramos. Unfortunately for the Mets, Jeurys Familia also had a rare off-night. Though, it’s not like the Marlins were crushing Familia; rather, they poked a bunch of Daniel Murphy-like hits against him. They merely stuck out their bats and made contact, and the ball found spots to fall safely. It happens.

Are the Mets the only team in MLB who are shorthanded in the bullpen right now? How is that possible? Rosters can expand to the full 40, yet the Mets don’t have any extra arms. Is this because they are nickel-and-diming and not calling minor leaguers up to avoid paying them a MLB salary? Is that really possible? Can’t be.

Josh Satin still thinks he has a better view of the strike zone than the home plate umpire. Does he realize it’s embarrassing to strike out looking on a pitch over the middle of the plate, and then bark at the umpire?

Can we all agree that the camouflage Mets uniforms are not just ugly, but downright FUGLY? For the kids, what I mean is “Frankenstein ugly.” For the adults, you know what I really mean.

Next Mets Game

Mets and Marlins do it again at 7:10 PM on Tuesday night. Bartolo Colon faces Nathan Eovaldi. For what it’s worth, the Fish have lost Eovaldi’s last six straight starts.

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. argonbunnies September 16, 2014 at 2:02 am
    Minor mistakes by the Mets which might or might not have cost them the game:

    1) Bour’s shot off deGrom’s heel stayed in the air for a while, yet Flores was barely at a jog when it got past him. Did he give up on the play off the bat, or is he just that slow?

    2) On Valdespin’s bloop hit, den Dekker made a strong throw a little bit up the 3B line. It hit the runner. If it had hit the runner while in d’Arnaud’s glove, Hechavarria would have been out. But d’Arnaud backed up into foul territory to field the ball on a hop, giving up any chance of tagging out the runner. I assume he misread the throw and didn’t realize it would get to the runner on the fly. It was a costly mistake on two fronts, allowing the run to score AND allowing Valdespin to take second.

    3) Den Dekker had his momentum going toward home on Johnson’s sac fly, but Lagares cut in front and caught the ball with his momentum going toward the LF line. Yes, Lagares has the better arm, but den Dekker was in much better position to make the throw, and Lagares should have let him take it.

    4) Ozuna’s chopper in the 8th looked like a sure double play off the bat. Then the camera angle cut to show Murphy standing a few feet from the 3rd base line, unable to get to the ball. Guarding the line is fine, but that was a little extreme, especially given a pitcher who throws 98.

    5) Hechavarria’s single in the 8th was fielded in shallow RF, where Nieuwenhuis could have easily gotten the ball home on the fly, for a good shot at Ozuna. Unfortunately, Collins didn’t bring Kirk in until two batters later, after the lead was already blown. You could practically hear the Marlins’ 3B coach laughing as Granderson’s weak toss trickled into home plate and Ozuna scored the tying run.

    DeGrom was awesome, though. Fun game to watch, just to see him. Reminded me a lot of Harvey last year — some straight fastballs in perfect spots, some moving fastballs upstairs, great velocity out of the gate. Lost a little velocity and precision in the 7th, but still would have been scoreless with a little luck on Valdespin’s blooper.

    • Joe Janish September 16, 2014 at 10:05 am
      I don’t think there was one hard-hit ball in the 7th, was there? Bloops and bleeders / seeing-eye 55-bouncers. But that’s what can happen when the bat is put on the ball, and why for 100 years baseball hitters were told to guard the plate and try to make contact / put the ball in play with two strikes. Then it was up to the defense to execute, and that’s why there were .210-hitting shortstops, second basemen, and catchers in MLB back in the day — because maybe they didn’t hit well, but they had good hands, accurate arms, smart minds, and executed.

      We may not see .210-hitting middle infielders proliferating the game again, but baseball is definitely going back to where it was pre-PEDs — little things win and lose ballgames more often than the long ball. It will be interesting to see how many teams understand what’s happening and adjust their philosophies (some already have, such as the Orioles). In particular I’m curious to see when/if anyone is going to change their two-strike approach — MLB hitters are again striking out at a record-setting, historical rates, yet not hitting homeruns. How long can teams be OK with guys striking out 100+ times and hitting less than 10 HRs? Anyway, that’s for another day during the long winter …

      • argonbunnies September 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm
        More soft contact and fewer Ks has always been a tough call. Pre-steroids (pre-PEDs would have to be, like, 1940) there were a lot fewer Ks but also a lot lower BABIP because of all the slap-hitting out there. As much as guys who only ever take a vicious cut are frustrating, guys who only ever take a soft contact swing would be frustrating too. We’d have fewer Ks but a lot more routine grounders and flies. If we’re going back to the ’80s, then hitters have to choose between aiming for Mike Schmidt and risking Rob Deer versus aiming for Tony Gwynn and risking Tim Foli.

        The best of both worlds would seem to be, as you say, a refined two-strike approach. Aim to hit the ball hard until 2 strikes, but then after 2 strikes, change your swing to put it in play. But that may be a tall order. Do we know anyone successfully teaching or learning that skill today? We’ve all seen Murphy vary his swing, but he’s just as likely to take a big rip on 1-2 and a defensive cut on 3-1 as vice versa. Maybe only the best of the best hitters can maintain two swings? And with so few able to do it, no one bothers trying to teach it, for fear of messing up the guys who can’t do it?

        I do miss watching intelligent situational hitting, but we do still have SOME sluggers who will go for an opposite-field single with a man in scoring position. Ryan Howard is interesting — he does nothing to avoid Ks in general… but with RISP, he does hit more singles, fewer homers, and strike out less.

        Or, wait, has the long winter not started yet?

        • DanB September 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm
          What is the difference between a strikeout and a soft groundout if there is no one on base? An out is an out, take the swing that gives you the best chance to get on. However, with someone in scoring position, make contact as an out can score a run. I feel like a generation ago players understood situational hitting better. I blame managers who tell players what exactly to do and do not let players think. Stop thinking and you stop observing. Of course now GMs don’t even want managers thinking. Ugh.
        • Joe Janish September 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm
          I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I had been taught and practiced a two-strike approach from the time I was in little league through my senior year of D-1 college ball. I still teach it today to kids.

          The thing is, you don’t NECESSARILY have to have two different swings — though, it is possible and it’s not that hard to do if you practice it all the time. At the very least, the approach needs to change with two strikes. You change from “zoning” on one or two areas to covering the entire strike zone, and possibly expanding just slightly outside the strike zone (because the umpire might call a close one strike three). And you wait longer / let the ball get deeper before committing to swing. And you don’t look to demolish the ball, you’re just looking to make contact — that’s not a different swing, it’s actually a bit more relaxed. Additionally, you can move a few inches closer to the plate to protect against those lousy sliders (while also making a HBP more possible), and choke up an inch or two so you have more bat control. The two-strike approach is not so different from the hit-and-run approach, except with hit-and-run you’re swinging at anything, but with two strikes you’re letting a ball go by. MLBers still attempt to execute hit-and-run, so I’d imagine it’s part of their BP routine (at least, it should be).

          At some point in the late 80s/early 90s, batting coaches started preaching to keep holding the bat at the end and swinging from the heels regardless of count. I guess it was part of the numbers-crunchers convincing everyone that strikeouts weren’t so bad. But until then, two-strike approach and a shortened swing were simply a part of ballplayer’s game and his practice routine.

          Think about pro golfers — they have different swings based on where the ball is / distance from the hole, right?

  2. david September 18, 2014 at 3:36 am
    Little things like a passed ball that makes the difference in today’s loss.

    Winning teams find a way to win baseball games, and losing teams find ways to lose them. Terry Collins has not managed in the postseason, ever, as a manager.

    The Adelaide Crows of the Australian Football League fired their coach today, even though he had a winning record and they made the finals, aka the playoffs, only 3 years ago. They will pay him $1M for the 2 years left on his contract, since they decided they needed to make a change.

    The Wilpons are too cheap to eat $1M and bring in a new Manager, since they need to save money for the lawyers defending Jeff and ofor all those glossy brochures of what Flushing will look like in 2017!

    It is a pity the Einhorn deal fell over. That, more than CY or Torres / Ramirez for Pagan, will do down as the biggest blow to this franchise in recent history.

    • argonbunnies September 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm
      Sure, losing teams find ways to lose, and the Mets qualify, but I don’t think any manager could instill a winner’s confidence in a team with 73-win talent. Lying to oneself only goes so far.

      Agreed that it’s a tragedy no one could wrest control from the Wilpons while the Picard suit was looming.

    • Joe Janish September 19, 2014 at 5:21 pm
      Funny, I was chatting today with a SF Giants fan. She said the BEST trade the Giants have made in the past few years was the one for Pagan. They love him out there.
  3. Joe Janish September 19, 2014 at 5:23 pm
    DanB – an out is an out, for sure, but there’s almost no chance of getting on base via strikeout (of course, the ball can get by the catcher), whereas putting the ball in play, somewhere, anything can happen — especially against teams with less-than-stellar fundies.