Game 74: Loss

Blue Jays 7 Mets 4

It was an off-day for El Duque, and something we’ve learned quickly is that when Orlando Hernandez is off, he’s really off. Like, LimaTime off. However, we’ll deal with the off days, because he will mix in some great days to balance things. Moreover, we can deal with these bad days, because in the end El Duque’s true value to the team will come in the postseason. Like the special amps employed by Spinal Tap, El Duque’s dial goes to eleven; he just doesn’t turn it up that high till it really matters.

The game was over early, by the second inning. A shame, really, as Darren Oliver did a bang-up job in long relief and another remarkable hitting display by Jose Reyes was wasted. Just a couple days after hitting for the cycle, Reyes had another four hits. More importantly, he’s taking a LOT of pitches, and getting deep into counts. Jays’ ace Roy Halladay walks few people, yet he went to three balls against Reyes twice in the game before giving up a hit. Hopefully, Reyes is understanding that his patience and his current steaming hot streak are not a coincidence.

Notes

Is it me, or is David Wright swinging at a lot of first pitches lately? Not that I care, as he hit a homerun the other day on a first pitch. Seems like he might be doing the “keep ’em honest” trick that Mike Piazza employed so well in his good days.

The Mets did have once chance to make it a game, in the eighth, with the bases loaded and one out. Halladay was chased from the game, and a single would have made it a one-run game. However, after semi-intentionally walking Wright, reliever Justin Speier got Jose Valentin to pop up on a first-pitch fastball, and struck out Xavier Nady on four pitches.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad game, considering the Mets were facing one of the toughest pitchers in MLB. Chalk it up.

Trax vs. Josh Towers. Towers is 1-8 with an 8.76 ERA this year. Normally, you’d think that would be a good thing, except that it was less than a week ago that the Mets made Joe Mays look like Bob Feller.

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. Mets Today » Blog Archive » Game 130: Win August 30, 2006 at 9:11 am
    […] Although David Wright went 3-4, he’s still slumping. Watching him in each at-bat, you can see that he is swinging at a lot of bad pitches, and the proficient two-strike hitting of the first half has come back to bite him in the butt. I mentioned David Wright swinging at first pitches back in late June; at the time, it didn’t seem so bad, because he had hit at least one home run with that strategy. However, when Wright has shown consistency, his approach has been to take a few pitches before clubbing away. You can say what you want about being aggressive, but it all depends on the hitter. Certainly Jose Reyes is a better hitter when he tones down his aggressiveness, and David Wright has proven to be a much more productive batter when he takes a few pitches. That’s not to say he should never swing at a first pitch, as he has been successful on occasion with that strategy. However, his approach was very similar to Mike Piazza’s: take a few pitches, especially early in the game, and get good looks so you are better prepared later in the at-bat and later in the game to handle anything the pitcher throws to you. Every once in a while, you take a hack at a first offering to keep the pitcher honest. However, David has been swinging at a lot of first pitches in the last month and a half — much more often than occasionally. As a result, he’s falling behind in counts and going directly to his protective inside-out swing. That’s a great approach, until pitchers start jamming you inside — which is another thing happening lately. D-Wright needs to get back to that taking pitches early routine, get ahead on counts, and give himself a chance to pull an inside pitch every once in a while. […]