Mets Game 111: Loss To Rays


Rays 4 Mets 3

For me, the Rays are like the Nationals. I look at their records and then double-take. How did they end up this way? Just take Logan Forsythe. He looked very much an All-Star at second as he made a nice play up the middle on Daniel Murphy in the fourth. Kudos to the Rays scouts for picking this guy out after four nothing seasons. Kudos for pulling together a whole team on their budget.

The Rays and Nationals look very good to me but their records suggest otherwise. When you follow one team, you miss the details that help you figure out the rest. Who knew Forsythe has a 4+ WAR? For all our grousing about the Mets’ offense, other teams are facing injuries, screw-ups, hopes and dreams fading away. I thought the Pirates would turn it around. They did. But time is running out for these guys. The Rays are basically gone. And the Nats should repeatedly hit their heads against a wall if they lose this division. And yet they could… might… will… lose it? You throw away a 10 K outing from Max Scherzer and you sorta deserve it.

The Rays sent out their best pitcher for this game. Chris Archer looks about 12 but throws – mostly fastballs up and in – with teenage anger. He struck out 10 but also walked 4. If the Mets laid off the high fastballs, you could have flipped that number and the Mets would have won 10-4. Archer pulled a tantrum in the second when the umpire called yet another walk on him. Archer is a “Renaissance Man,” according to Ron and Keith. He reads a book about religion and then one about atheism. You have to be a contrarian to be a Mets fan so I like this guy straight away… but Murph took out some anger of his own by clunking this guy for a couple of RBIs in the second.

Daniel Murphy’s hot streak – he has three of these every year – hasn’t improved his temperament. Please watch his at-bat in the second. After the usual debate with the umpire on a first pitch strike, we then had the usual bunch of foul balls and Murph shouting at himself. Or was it the umpire? Or was it God? I have no clue. He clunked the next pitch between first and second for the RBIs. On first base, he then kept shouting at someone. Who? Someone in the crowd? The dugout? Maybe it’s some expression of joy? Or a warning sign that he needs therapy? Still dunno.

Archer’s own histrionics are even harder for me to judge. It’s the first time I’ve seen a full game from the kid. Ron and Keith said he’s usually quick to deliver his pitches, but he was slow and wild in this game. A bad day, I guess. He sprayed a wild fastball way above Duda’s head in the first. He kept spiking his breaking stuff and he flounced around. Look, if I had hair as good as his, I’d want to take my hat off and shake it around. But it felt like he was doing his best Daniel Murphy impersonation, griping about things to fire himself up. I thought the home plate umpire called a good game… his pitches WERE inside.

Archer ploughed through six LONG innings and ended up not losing the game. Bartolo Colon lasted longer but ended up with the loss. I guess life conspires against us older guys. I’ll spin Bartolo’s platelets myself if it means they’ll continue to be a pitcher in MLB who’s older than me.

The game lolloped along, with the funky stance of John Jaso getting attention and three RBIs. Another kid – he looked about 14 – ended up hitting a go-ahead home run off Colon in the seventh.

Colon’s problem is he’s leaving his pitches too high. Early in the season he was throwing 95% fastballs but could spot them low. In this game, he threw a few more sliders than usual and mixed up his fastball even more. He got an out from Evan Longoria on an 85mph fastball. Is Colon injured? You tell me. His matador routine means he could be missing an arm and still come across as strong. When Steven Matz returns, it seems the Mets will revert to a six man rotation. To save innings for the young guys and all that. But doesn’t the old man deserve a little rest in the bullpen?

After Curtis Granderson grounded into the second base shift in the ninth, the Mets lost. But then so did the Nats. Hmm… NL Least? I’d take it. I don’t care. You win against what it put against you. Put Bryce Harper in a playpen and tell him Murph is joining him. Watch the tears. You never win against crazy.

Over the next few days, I fancy the Mets against the Rockies more than the Nats against the Dodgers. Just make Carlos Gonzalez think that it’s still April or May. Why doesn’t Citi Field have temperature control? Never mind… chuck some spring blossom on the field and the Mets will win.

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. argonbunnies August 10, 2015 at 5:06 pm
    Y’know, when I watch Gio Gonzalez pitch, it seems like he gets flustered and that’s when we see him hyperventilating and jumping around and screaming, and it usually bodes ill for his performance. But Archer seemed kind of the opposite to me. It seemed like, whatever happened, he had to respond to in full unfiltered fashion, so he could get it out and move on unencumbered. After the second inning, he found his fastball command, but he was still just as demonstrative out there. I’m sure that old stick-in-the-mud guardians of the game hate Archer, but I thought seeing a player get into it just the way a fan does was fun. I hope he gives Brian McCann some chin music soon.

    I was impressed with the way the Rays hitters battled Syndergaard and seemed ready for every mistake deGrom made, but man did they hit a lot of harmless flies against Bart. When Colon is pitching well, it’s because he’s hitting the corners perfectly, and when he’s doing that, he gets some called third strikes. In this game, he had zero whiffs. In other words: he was lucky the Rays only scored 4. When Colon goes out there and pitches like he just did, he usually allows 6 or 7. Only 3 of his last 9 starts have been competitive — something needs to change. At this point, I’d rather see Verrett go twice through the lineup with his slider and change-up and then hand it off to the bullpen.

  2. Murder Slim August 10, 2015 at 7:56 pm
    I’m upset the Mets didn’t put the Spring Blossom on the field. Car-Go made the Mets pay for the basic error.
  3. crozier August 11, 2015 at 9:57 am
    I really don’t see the purpose of sporadic game recaps. Series recaps, perhaps.

    But if this site is going to post once or twice a week at most, and still aims to generate discussion, shouldn’t there be a greater focus on team analysis, broader topics, and questions for the commenters?

    It’s a shame to see this once-lively community dissipate.

    • JoeNYCPDX August 11, 2015 at 12:22 pm
      Yup. Where’s Joe?
    • argonbunnies August 12, 2015 at 2:33 am
      I think Joe’s on to other things, and took what he got as far as outside contributions. The recaps aren’t the lifeblood of fan discussion, but I enjoy them as a sort of bonus beyond that. I’ll take the hilarious wit of Met fans whenever I get it. Still chuckling over Steve’s “Murphy runs the bases like a startled squirrel” line.
      • Murder Slim August 12, 2015 at 11:50 am
        Don’t worry, the other guys are still around. I’d write more recaps but time is always the enemy… I’ve got a few other jobs too. And it’s hard to type while I’m clapping my hands as the Mets pitchers do their stuff.
  4. Colin August 12, 2015 at 9:28 am
    This just in: The Mets are a good baseball team. Lets go Dodgers.
    • Murder Slim August 12, 2015 at 11:55 am
      Schedules can be overstated as the Mets can play down to other team’s standards. But the Rockies, Phillies and Marlins are lousy. The more the Mets beat up on them, the merrier. Get to the postseason with this pitching staff and we’re in for a lot of fun. And with Matz and Wright eventually back too?
      • argonbunnies August 13, 2015 at 1:54 am
        The Phillies are mashing right now but can’t pitch. Haven’t faced a team like that in a while. Not sure how that’ll play out…
        • crozier August 13, 2015 at 9:28 pm
          It’s inconceivable that the Phillies can keep it up, and their last two games underscore this notion.

          I want to say I hope the Phillies have gone cold by the time the two teams meet up again, but in reality I don’t. If the Mets are going to win the division, they have to be able to beat teams at their best at least a decent percentage of the time – as they did in July, when they finished 13-12 against a bunch of good teams.

          The absolute shellacking of the Rockies was cool and all, but without some more road wins, it’s going to be tough run to the finish line.

  5. Sidd Finch August 13, 2015 at 10:37 pm
    This is a completely different team offensively thanks to the trades. The depth and flexibility that has developed really adds another dimension to a team that through mid-July pretty much flailed offensively. There’s not an easy out 1-8 or 9 (depending on who’s pitching or batting in the 9th hole). Eleven games over .500 and only needing to go 27-20 to win 90. I sure wouldn’t bet against it happening. I believe they’ll take 2 of 3 from the Bucs. What I liked about the Colorado series is that they didn’t just split or take 3 of 4 from but the Mets swept them. That’s what they need to do is dominate against these weaker teams.

    Question: Do you think the Mets are the best team in the NL right now? If not, who is and where would you rank the Mets in the NL?

    • argonbunnies August 14, 2015 at 1:28 am
      Best team in the NL is the Cardinals by a mile, despite an offense that isn’t anything special. After that, it’s hard to say. The hottest team is probably the Cubs. The Pirates and Giants have good lineups and bullpens but some rotation issues. This makes them the complete opposites of the Mets, but I’d put all three teams on pretty even footing.

      If I had to pick an order I’d go Cards-Cubs-Bucs-Mets-Giants-Dodgers-Nats. Over the remaining 50+ games, though, I’m sure the Cubs slide back a little.

      • crozier August 14, 2015 at 11:11 am
        Agreed. The Mets are playing their division exceptionally well, while the Cards/Pirates/Cubs are obviously destroying the other divisions – and have significantly better road records. If the Mets start to play well on the road, though, I think they run away with the division.

        The Cardinals, holy cow. Until the Rockies series, the Mets were the only team besides the Cards to allow fewer than 400 runs. Meanwhile, the Cards have allowed something like 330.

  6. DanB August 14, 2015 at 10:19 am
    Makes you wonder where the Mets would be if they had invested a little more at the beginning of the year. Better backups then Mayberry and Cambell and another bullpen piece from the beginning would of made a world of difference. Also makes me wonder if the Mets learned their lesson and will increase spending next year.
    • crozier August 14, 2015 at 11:00 am
      Alderson made the unpopular statement after last year that if the Mets fans wanted the team to spend more money, they needed to show up in greater volumes at the games. As if 37,000 would show up for a lineup sporting 4 batters hitting under the Mendoza Line.

      And yet without shelling out much money at all, the offense is now well above decent, and sure enough, there was a 37,000 paid attendance for Wednesday’s parakeet game (I was there, and I had a blast).

      Point being, revenue is finally being generated at the gate, and it had better translate to signing/acquiring talent during the off-season. Otherwise come next April, the offense will look unchanged from April of this year.

      Of course, this year’s April team was good for an 11-game streak, so it concerns me a little that Alderson could fall back on the misguided notion that he needn’t make a significant move.

      • DanB August 14, 2015 at 2:43 pm
        Do you think the Mets make those trades if they didn’t get out of Mejia’s and most of Wright’s contract? I am glad they did and didn’t pocket the savings but I wonder if Mayberry would still be in the outfield if the insurance didn’t kick in for Wright. Hopefully they learned you need to spend money to make money sometimes.
        • DaveSchneck August 14, 2015 at 10:08 pm
          We’ll learn within 6 months if addition attendance/revenue allows more spending for the 2016 squad. Alderson has positioned things so quite a bit of money is freed up, so they may need to spend just to get back to the 2015 pre-Mejia pre-DW insurance total.

          I will park that for now and focus on 2015. I’m not sure and we’ll never know whether more investment from the get go in the bench and bullpen would have driven them to a bigger lead at this point. Intangibles and unpredictable events can change a teams psyche, which in turn can change performance and outcome. The script is incomplete, but from the bottom-out lows of the Gomez deal gone awry and blown 6-1 lead vs the Padres, to the Cespedes acquisition and sweep of the Nats, the difference is like night and day, for fans, broadcasters, reporters, and likely players too. While most of it was accidental and in some ways a fluke, it’s provided a lift to the franchise that money can’t buy.

        • crozier August 15, 2015 at 9:45 am
          You make it sound like Alderson was spending large sums of money, when in reality the outlay was insignificant – and the uptick in attendance has gone a long way to paying for the expense if it hasn’t done so already.

          There’s a big difference between this team and those of the last 5 years. This year, the Mets needed only a small push in offense to make the difference between a .500 team and a contender – prior to the deadline they were playing .700 ball when they scored at least 3 runs.

          So, yes, I think Alderson would have made the moves regardless. This was really the first time during the mid-season that he had the opportunity to transform the club into a winner on the cheap. Uribe/Johnson/Céspedes would’ve been wasted money last year.

          It’s trure they could still be better, and they wouldn’t be so much in the race if Washington played to its potential, but I’m done with criticizing Alderson. The rotation is spectacular, the offense is good enough, and the Mets are projected to win the East. That’s not a bad thing.