Mets Game 118: Loss To Pirates

metsbucs

Pirates 8 Mets 1

It was all going so well… and I include the first couple of games in the series against the Pirates as part of that. Yeah, the Mets had lost but they were tight extra-innings games against a superb team.

I think the majority of Mets Today fans love pitching and defense and it’s been a treat to watch high quality games. We had Yoenis Cespedes’ laser beam to catch a runner a third. Curtis Granderson running down a long fly in right-center. Jung-ho Kang showing everyone who whined about his glove that he knows what he’s doing with a smooth double play.

Before that, there was a four-game sweep and a Rally Parakeet who’d been lured by the nesting sites in the Colorado Rockies’ bushy beards. Today, with Jonathan Niese on the bench and Matt Harvey sporting his Jason Statham stubble, the Mets were doomed.

The Mets got swept, yeah. But it doesn’t hurt that Citi Field was packed and that the Nationals are imploding at a staggering rate. The NL East standings remain fine and I think the Pirates are the second best team in the NL.

Pedro Alvarez – more Yogi Bear than Yogi Berra – put the Pirates ahead after he smacked a long home run off Matt Harvey in the second. Harvey pitched around trouble through six innings but showed plenty of class. Most innings got to two outs with someone on third and he coaxed an out.

Harvey is pitching to contact and seldom misses way wide. It looks less showy than strikeouts but he’s doing his job. He’s missing up and down, and he’s rarely grooving pitches. His curve was loopy in this game but the slider was on… helped by a generous call (on a pitch off the plate) to get Marte in the fifth. With all the talk about innings count, I think a guy as smart as him knows what he’s doing. Matt Harvey is maturing. It’s easy to think ball-players are full adults but they’re still getting there, and that’s where a manager as strong as Clint Hurdle comes in. Uncle Terry has matured too, like a 1949 Bordeaux. But he used to be a 1949 Port and he can still confound a little.

Take Travis d’Arnaud. He hit a long homer to left in the bottom of the second to even things up. Tell me why d’Arnaud is batting seventh in the order? He’d been on a 0-5 stretch, I suppose, but Juan Uribe is hot with home runs and little else. The likeable Michael Cuddyer is succumbing to rigor mortis and the humanoid Daniel Murphy has a .568 OBP against lefties. Why bat them above d’Arnaud? d’Arnaud hit a double inside third base in the fourth too, so that might get Extra Terrestrial Collins to add another improved crimp to his line-up.

Sunday felt like a usual Mets game with the game tied at 1-1 and then the storm hit. Given how poor his stick as been recently, Cuddy wisely kicked a ball off his toe for a HBP. I thought the boom of thunder was a stunned response to him getting on base. Sadly, it was bigger than that. Clearly a bunch of Mets’ fans had gone against the advice in Cappy’s last article and had called down wrath.

Playoff teams aren’t flawless, and the rare goof by the Mets (Murph) was matched by the Pirates (Ramirez) in the first couple of games. But today’s seventh inning was an abject mess.

I take notes for games I report on and here’s what I got:
– Parnell throwing 97. Overthrowing up and spiking down. Nervous. Recent issues. Spraying walks.
– Botch at second. Extra outs. Murph thought Tejada was somewhere in center field. Passed ball.
– Cespedes flings throw way left past home plate. Walker tries to score and gets caught. Messy.
– O’Flaherty can’t pitch any more. Almost same surname as an ex-girlfriend. Curse him.
– Lousy inning all around in what had been a great series.

There are worries with the Mets. They limped out with six of the last eight batters striking out. The Mets continue to struggle against anything slow and away, so it’s lucky Greg Maddux has retired.

As Terry Collins stormed to the clubhouse after the final out, there must have been new holes being ripped. But, and I really will make this my last criticism about DM, will he rip into his adopted son?

Question: Was Daniel Murphy’s throw to third on Saturday and throw to second on Sunday:
a. Over-enthusiastic?
b. Misplayed by someone else?
c. Stupid?

Answer:
a. General thoughts on SNY’s commentary
b. Terry Collins
c. The truth

It’s no embarrassment to lose to the Pirates. The Orioles are solid but that series should be a 1-1 split and then the Mets will be back on Easy Street against the Rockies and the soon-to-be-Utley-less Phillies.

Getting over the hump of the games in July was key for the Mets. They made it but the Nationals aren’t. Put that in your tobacco and chew it, Bryce (sorry again, Cappy, I won’t do that again).

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 MurderSlim.com. Just no threats, please.
  1. Steve S. August 18, 2015 at 10:38 am
    Great to read your report, Joe! Scary that we may be stuck with Collins for another 2-3 years though…..
    • Joe Janish August 19, 2015 at 10:18 pm
      Steve, sorry for the confusion, that wasn’t me, it was Steve Hussy, our MetsToday correspondent abroad.
  2. crozier August 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm
    Joe? Is that you?

    I was surprised to see Parnell’s velocity back up to pre-TJS levels. It’s worth noting that Harvey, though he hasn’t had control problems that translated to higher BB/9 levels, did go through a stretch where his fastball wasn’t locating so well in the zone, and he was getting thrashed. Maybe Parnell could work it out as Harvey apparently has, but (1) do you give him the chance, and (2) if you do, can he find himself before he gives away too many games?

    I think we’ve seen enough of Granderson against lefties to know anyone would provide better leadoff services in those circumstances. Yet there he remains at the top of the order (moving him to second here and there doesn’t count). Given Collins utter lack of stability with his lineup, as well as his proclamation that he’s going to play those who give him the best opportunity to win, why hasn’t Curtis seen time off against lefties? I’d rather see Tejada up there (limited sample size, but still: .254/.333 beats the heck out of CG’s .150/.196 in a much larger sample).

    Most rhetorical Janish question of this post: Was Daniel Murphy’s throw to third on Saturday and throw to second on Sunday stupid? Come on, Joe, everyone knows where you stand on Murph’s intelligence.

    • Joe Janish August 19, 2015 at 10:23 pm
      Crozier, my sincere apologies, no, it was not me, it was Steve Hussy, who with Dan Capwell have done a yeoman’s job of keeping the site going and to whom I am greatly indebted — they are truly great men and tremendous givers. I mistakenly published the post with my byline instead of Steve’s. Thanks very much for your continued loyalty and contribution to the conversation here. I regretfully have not had the time to participate this season, due to an unforeseen increase in attention to my job (gotta pay the bills!) and personal issues (all good things, I swear!). This site has always been about the conversation and I’m happy that the loyalists continue to convene and share thoughts here. When and if things calm down a bit I hope to be more involved. Hope you’re doing well.
      • crozier August 25, 2015 at 9:47 am
        I should’ve factored in the lack of trademark curmudgeon and drawn that conclusion, but Steve had just the right amount of Murph-as-blockhead to steer me down another path.

        I’m glad things are going well for you, but I can’t say I don’t miss your analysis – and occasionally sparring with you. 😉

        Work your way into the conversation when you can. It’s not the same MetsToday without you.

  3. DanS August 18, 2015 at 5:55 pm
    Whatever else Daniel Murphy is, he’s a player with zero baseball instincts, whether it’s throwing to the wrong base or making a base running gaffe. Some guys see the game as it’s developing, some don’t. Murph is in the second category. Period.
  4. DaveSchneck August 19, 2015 at 11:43 pm
    Murphy is winding down his tenure with the Met. While he is an easy guy to root for, there is absolutely no excuse for his repeated juvenile plays, and there is no room for this type of play on a winning team. We are all human, and everyone makes mistakes, including those at the top of their profession. However, the pattern of behavior is well established and very unlikely to change. The combination of meaningful late season baseball and Murphy in the field is scary to me as a Met fan, and of more importance is very likely scary to his teammates as well.
    • Steve Hussy August 20, 2015 at 9:24 am
      I agree, and what continues to annoy me is how blase Murphy is. I didn’t like him posing for the home run last night, I don’t like how he doesn’t bust for first base as soon as he hits the ball, and I don’t like how he seems to go for highlight reel throws despite his lowlight reel arm. I also didn’t like the loopy throw to first to get the final out for Familia a couple of games ago. I get the strong feeling through his body language that he’s peeved at the Mets. That’s fair enough, but don’t keep putting him in the line-up if he feels like that. He might realise his market value will drop if he’s keeping the bench warm. Uribe is a far superior fielder to him and Wilmer/Johnson can match his hitting if they platoon.