Mets Game 99: Win Over Dodgers


Mets 3, Dodgers 2

They call it the “Commentator’s Curse.” It’s when a commentator raves about a player and unwittingly sets them up for disaster. As soon as Gary said “The Dodgers have failed to get a hit EVER against Familia,” I knew there would be trouble. The Dodgers had gone 0-19 against Jeurys Familia up until that moment. Sadly, with a Kirk Nieuwenhuis-like bid for a respectable batting average, Adrian Gonzalez promptly smacked a long double. Gonzalez then scored on Justin Turner’s double to left center. Then Turner scored on Yasmani Grandal’s single just inside the third base bag. Well, the Dodgers were now 3 for 22 vs. Familia and the game was tied at 2. Urgh.

I’m not blaming Gary, of course. It was a strange outing for Familia. He couldn’t spot any pitches inside and when he reared back for 98-100mph heaters he was spiking them way down. When he fell behind in counts, he threw safer cutters they sat unhappily in the middle of the zone. Against the middle of the Dodgers order, that’s bad news. It could have been even worse, too, had Juan Uribe not flashed his underrated glove to make a sweet barehanded play on Kendrick to get the first out.

But, heck, these are the Newish New York Mets and not the old Mets who lost 4-3 to the Nats on Wednesday. In the bottom of the tenth, Curtis Granderson scampered a double, and following some farting around from Juan Nicasio (who makes Mike Pelfrey look fast to the plate) the Mets had one out and runners at first and second. Hello Kenley Jansen and hello my favourite of the new players, Juan Uribe. Juan dutifully crushed an 0-2 pitch off the left-center field wall, just falling short of matching Robin Ventura’s longest RBI single ever.

Leading up to that, it was hard not to sigh throughout a lazy bottom of the ninth and a typical Jenrry Mejia outing in the tenth. One of the kinda-newish players, hopefully on caffeine rather than anything stronger, Mejia is still a sucker for living on the edge. He walked Rollins, who stole second, then was bunted to third. Cue some extended misery watching Joc Pederson foul off pitches, including one nasty slider that just grazed his bat on 2-2. Next pitch? A 95mph fastball that Pederson swung under to strike out for the 119th time. A lazy fly ball later and Meija was out of it.

It’s hard to paint a player as talented as Pederson as the goat, but this wasn’t his best game. Aside from his 0 for 5, he botched fielding Plawecki’s spinning bloop in the third, which moved Kirk to third. Luckily, next up the Mets had the one position that leads its area in RBIs… pitcher. Jakob deGrom delivered again with a dribbler to first and Nieuwenhuis beat the throw home. Poor Zack Greinke lost his lengthy scoreless streak, and deGrom flashed his surfer boy smile.

Greinke and deGrom are first and second in ERA for good reason, but their stuff is nasty in different ways. Greinke throws a heavy ball, with late sink, pounding lefties and righties inside. Until the seventh, when the new dad started to tire, he repeatedly got lazy grounders with the batters shaking their hands from getting jammed. My favourite AB, though, was when he threw a bizarre pitch in the first to get the wildly flailing Daniel Murphy. It looked like a circle change, but it was at 90mph and moved like a hard slider. Forget the gyroball, I christen this the unhittoball.

Meanwhile, Jacob deGrom was plying his own trade of brilliant pitching. DeGrom doesn’t have the same sink on his slider, although he threw a great one moving outside to strike out Yasiel Puig in the seventh. DeGrom was predominantly just spotting his fastball. Inside, outside, and slightly above the strike zone. Constantly. Resulting in a huge amount of swing and misses. No wonder Kevin Plawecki forgot there was one out in the third and was doubled off on Ruben’s fly-out. His hand must have been hurting like crazy from catching all those laser guided 96-99mph strikes.

Watching these two pitchers go head to head was a hell of a lot of fun. I loved it. And for the Mets to salvage a split in the series is something for the Newish New York Mets to build from. Trade Murphy (I know they won’t…), move Uribe to third, keep platooning Flores/Johnson at second and Nieu-ish-huis/Lagares at center and then the Mets could average, oooh… 3.8 runs a game? That 0.3 extra still counts, and would make the Mets’s offense less eye-wateringly lousy.

The 4-6 run against the three top placed NL teams may not look like much. But it was better than many of us feared. And at least there’s the carrot of contending leading into the trade deadline. Are the Mets three guys away from the wild-card game? d’Arnaud (in a week or so?), Matz (in a month or so?) and a decent right-handed outfielder (Friday?). Or is it four? Five? You tell me. I definitely think the Mets need to sign that great Angels fan with the handmade Trout Net to encourage more homers. Prepare for the Grandy Grabber.

There will bumps in the road, of course, and it’s worrying that Michael Confonto seems hellbent on catching the Mets’ injury bug. In the past two games he’s clattered into both Ruben Tejada and Kirk Nieuwenhuis at high speed. Michael, there are thousands of innocuous ways you can injured as a Met. Don’t bring it on yourself, son.

Comment below on the Newish New York Mets, (sane) suggestions for trades and whatever else you fancy. The soon-to-be fire-selling Padres are next up for the Mets’ 100th game of 2015. There are 63 games left. 36-27 should leave them as the fifth best team in the league and faced with the Pirates. Well… maybe. Share your thoughts and we’ll let the final Mets-o-Meter judge us.

Steve Hussy has been a Mets fan since 1984. An insomniac as a kid, he watched baseball highlights at 4 AM on British TV. He credits Darryl Strawberry's long homers as the first cause of his obsession with the Mets. Now he gets to watch Mets games that finish at 3 AM and teach bleary-eyed lessons to his film students the next day. He also gets to shell out hundreds of pounds to fly over to New York and watch the Mets occasionally win. Steve Hussy's other job is as a writer and editor for Murder Slim Press, which specialises in confessional and crime literature. You can find out more about him on Just no threats, please.
  1. Jon C July 27, 2015 at 11:11 am
    One thing I truly enjoy about sports is watching players break through mental barriers.

    I’m not sure what we just witnessed on saturday. Yes, those two dodger pitchers didn’t belong in the big leagues. But, we’ve faced plenty of similar pitchers before with terrible results.

    And while some of the new players provided some help, it was clear that while the entire team had been slumping for what seems like months now, this one trade suddenly lit a fire in them. Maybe it was terry’s words of wisdom. I’m not a big believer that the coach makes a huge difference in the outcome of games, but I think you have to give him some credit here for putting the players on notice that whoever produces plays (if youre going to bash him the last 4 years). But we’ll see if he really keeps to his word on that…

    So yea this was exciting. A whole bunch of guys suddenly breaking through whatever mental junk was clogging their brains. I’m a sucker for that kind of story.

    And then sunday going out and beating one of the top pitchers in the league, overcoming a blown save, getting a clutch hit (thats no cheapie swing on an 0-2 pitch).

    Give the commentators all the credit for saying how great it would be for Uribe to beat his old team (the commentator’s blessing).

    These are the moments you need to enjoy in the long grind of the season, regardless of where the mets finish.

  2. Jon C July 27, 2015 at 11:24 am
    should add that I’d love to see terry yank someone from the game the next time there is a big mental blunder (duda picked off first the another night???)

    I’m not sure if the plawecki play qualified though, seemed more like he misread the ball then forgot how many outs there were, you can see him watching the outfield on the replay. Not that its good either, but you have to pick your spot to pull someone from the game and I don’t think that was it.

    Who am I kidding, terry will never do that!

    • Extragooey July 27, 2015 at 11:36 am
      You also can’t pull a catcher voluntarily, especially that early in the game. But I see what you’re saying. Mental errors are inexcusable, even physical lazy ones like Pederson’s.
  3. Extragooey July 27, 2015 at 11:25 am
    I think in hindsight, acquiring Uribe and Johnson are really good moves. The Mets didn’t give up much, took on only 2.5 million in salary, and make 2nd and 3rd into much needed platoons. I may even just play Kelly Johnson full time over Flores. Flores now has almost 700 at bats of .645 OPS in the majors. He actually has worse numbers against lefties in his career.

    It’s not that they won’t trade Murphy, it’s that they can’t. Murphy ranks bottom 5 in the majors in WAR among 3rd baseman. Not exactly an inviting trade target.

    At this point, it may look like the NL East is the path to the playoffs, not the wildcard. Although this can change quickly when the Nationals get healthy. If they do that is.

    Padres next and they’re playing well. 6-3 since the break for them and Kemp is starting to hit again. What’s with Kemp and only hitting in the 2nd half the last 2 years?

    • Steve Hussy July 27, 2015 at 7:22 pm
      True… they’d have to throw in a lot of cash to trade Murph for the pack of peanuts he’d return. Clippard was a nice get, though. I should have said the Mets needed another bullpen arm (is this bye to Alex Torres?) and they got one.
      I still see the Nats going on a burst. The team I rate underneath the Nats are the Giants… and the Giants’ games for a month after August 6th are nasty with a capital N. But recently they’re doing an excellent job of proving me wrong.
      • Extragooey July 27, 2015 at 11:48 pm
        The Giants seem like the most streaky team. They’ve been up and down many times it seems this year. I don’t know what to make of them.
  4. argonbunnies July 27, 2015 at 9:33 pm
    The Clippard deal is very interesting. Trading one of our top 3 low minors guys (in A ball, Meisner ranked behind only Rosario and Dom Smith as a prospect) for 20 innings of pitching (Clippard’s likely remaining workload before free agency) seems steep, as Law said on ESPN. On the other hand, an attempt to worry about now instead of 2018 is a nice change of pace from the last 5 years.

    Meisner is 6’7″, 20 years old, above 90 mph and still adding velocity, and has a promising curve, so he’s about as projectable as they get. At the same time, a guy with a mediocre K rate in A ball hasn’t proven anything yet. His ERA is stellar, but is helped by extreme pitchers’ parks — I wonder if Oakland factored that in, or simply saw 2.35 and jumped?

    Regardless, Meisner probably isn’t a factor in the Mets’ Harvey-deGrom-Thor-Matz window of contention, and even if Wright-Grandy-Cuddyer weigh that group down, I’ve been patient long enough already. No excuses. Get it done, and do it soon. So I feel comfortable with losing the kid. I’d like it a lot more if we were getting Clippard for 2016 too, though.

    As for Clippard himself, it seems that almost every year he goes through a stretch where he’s missing up and down and gets torched, and outside of that stretch he’s one of the very best relievers in baseball. So let’s hope we didn’t get him at the wrong time. And let’s also hope his decreased Ks and doubled BBs are just a small sample fluke and not signs of age.

    I think Clippard can really help the Mets in the late innings if Terry realizes that he’s our go-to guy vs lefties. If he just wants Clippard to face whoever bats in the 8th inning, though, and continues to bring in Alex Torres vs key lefties in the 7th, then Clippard’s addition won’t really help the team on most nights.

    • DaveSchneck July 27, 2015 at 11:10 pm
      Not much to add..agree with most everything you wrote. Yes, the lower level wave of prospects takes a hit here, but of the 3 players you mentioned I’d rather keep the two that are still in the system. Also, hopefully they’ll get more innings from Clippard in the playoffs. I like the move.

      It wil be interesting to see what the other Met competition – the Nats, Cubs, Giants, and Dodgers – does. Nats are getting healthy and looking to add a big arm to the pen. Should they pull the trigger on Kimbrel or Chapman the Mets will have a big uphill climb. It is essential to not lose any ground playing the Pads while the Nats play the Marlins, and winning the weekend series is as close to a must as it gets.

      In any event, after many years, it is fun to follow a MLB ballclub that acts like a MLB ballclub.

    • Extragooey July 27, 2015 at 11:44 pm
      From Oakland’s perspective, it’s a high ceiling, really young prospect for someone who’s gonna walk after this year. I think it’s a no brainer on their part. From the Mets perspective, this cost more than the Uribe-Johnson deal and shows that the organization may be preparing for the playoffs. So it bodes well that perhaps talks for an impact bat may be going well. Let’s see if this is the case.
  5. Colin July 28, 2015 at 5:00 pm
    I read a piece in the Post about how the Mets have perhaps the best looking schedule from here on out. They’re all big leaguers and things like Philly sweeping the Cubs at home can happen. But still… we’re looking good from a scheduling perspective. New arms in the pen can keep our whole staff fresh. August is going to be an interesting month.

    Does anyone think kirk has turned the corner? I always loved him and was sad to see him get traded for a bag of balls to the Angles. Kid is lights out since he came back. I only hope Conforto doesn’t try and tackle him (or anyone else) in the outfield again.

    • argonbunnies July 30, 2015 at 4:50 am
      Kirk’s swing is really ugly. If scouted properly, he’s easy to pitch to. He’ll probably remain a high-K, low-average guy unless he changes his swing again. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean he can’t be a useful player. Power, speed, solid arm, decent eye. A respectable platoon candidate.

      As for the schedule, I think there are two big keys:

      1) How the Mets play against the Nats. The Pirates are likely out of reach, the Giants are on fire, and the Cubs are solid — that’s a tough road to a wild card. Playing up to beat a restocked Washington head to head will be vital.

      2) Not playing down to the competition. I mention this only because it’s plagued several Mets teams in recent years. We’ve all seen the tight battle against a division rival followed by some listless play against the Rockies or whoever.