Mets Game 43: Loss to Braves

Braves 6 Mets 2

At least the Mets showed some improvement by scoring two runs in this game, while still holding the Braves to six.

And boy, those Braves have some AWESOME pitching!

Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain and an hour’s worth of rain held the Mets to three measly hits and no walks through the first seven innings of play, following up a Cy Young-like performance by Tom Glavine in the afternoon contest. The Mets finally drew a walk in the eighth, and scored two runs, but it was too little, too late.

That teeny attempt at a comeback was squashed immediately in the bottom of the eighth, when Mark Kotsay blasted a two-run homer off Matt Wise. Apparently, Wise has spent a lot of his time in the bullpen getting advice from Aaron Heilman.

Should we go into any more detail? If you missed it, the game went something like this: Braves pitchers throw strikes, their fielders make the plays, their hitters get on base and then following hitters drive them in. Mets do the exact opposite. Nothing extraordinary. Ho-hum. Ranting begins below.

Notes

Once again, Jose Reyes made an attempt at the first pitch of the game. It’s a fine idea to hack at the first pitch of a game ON OCCASION, but not as a rule. This is when Reyes should be hacking away on the first pitch of a game: 1. he’s on a hot streak; 2. he’s seen the pitcher many times before and knows his stuff well; 3. the pitcher is tipping his pitches, and he knows for sure a fastball is coming. So let’s see … Reyes on fire? No. Reyes seen Campillo before? No, never. Campillo tipping his pitches? Hmm … he retired the first nine batters he faced so, not likely.

You want to see the Mets win? Reyes must get on base. The easiest way for Reyes to get on base? A walk, hands down. How does one draw a walk? By taking pitches. This is very simple stuff.

When is manager Willie Randolph — one of the most patient batters in the game when he played — going to impart some of his knowledge on this young wild buck? Enough of the bullcrap from Willie that he doesn’t want to stunt his aggressiveness — Reyes is a young kid who has obviously never been taught the right way to play the game. Get teaching!

But Reyes was not the only man guilty of over-aggressiveness. For example, I witnessed Carlos Beltran swing at the first pitch he saw from reliever Jeff Bennett in the seventh inning, with two outs, nobody on. And it was, literally, the first pitch he saw from Bennett — he’d never faced him before. So why, #1, is he not at least getting a look at the kid — gauging his speed, finding his release point; and #2, is he not taking a strike because his team is down by four? Does Beltran have some special power to hit four-run homers with nobody on?

In the eighth, I watched Carlos Delgado take a big hack at a 2-0 pitch with two out and no one on. Again, is Delgado capable of hitting a four-run homer with the bases empty?

This is not my opinion — this is a simple baseball fundamental. You usually take a strike when you’re leading off a game, and you ALWAYS take a strike when you’re behind and there’s no one on base — particularly late in the game. This is taught in little league.

Oh, and by the way … in that 8th inning at-bat by Delgado, he eventually WALKED. And then Ramon Castro hit a double to score him. That’s how rallies start — with walks.

Speaking of Delgado, in the third, Mark Teixeira hit an average ground ball to the left of Delgado with the bases loaded. As usual, Carlos did a decent job of shuffling his cement shoes but wasn’t so great at the leaning-over part of the ground ball mechanics, and the ball just got by him. Question: why isn’t he getting dirty? Bases loaded. Ground ball. Hit the dirt. Please. Is it too much to ask? At least then we know you’re interested in stopping the ball and saving a run.

As if things weren’t bad enough, Ryan Church — the only man on the Mets hitting consistently — took a karate kick to his head from Yunel Escobar on the last play of the game. Escobar felt so bad about it he pretended he hurt his knee on the play. Church was helped off the field, but it looks like another concussion. Unbelievable.

Next Game

The Braves beat up on the Mets again tomorrow evening at 7 pm. Mike Pelfrey goes against the ghost of Christy Mathewson, who will be wearing Jair Jurrjens’ jersey.

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.