Mets Game 24: Win Over Braves

Mets 6 Braves 4

For once, the Mets displayed some “edge”, as well as some moxie, in coming back to beat the Braves in the later innings after falling behind early.

And David Wright, of all people, was the one to deliver the go-ahead bomb.

The Braves jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, and Javy Vazquez set down the Mets like bowling pins for the better part of five innings. In the sixth, however, things changed, as Danny Murphy led off with a single and scored on a two-run homer by Carlos Beltran. A few minutes later, Wright blasted his four-bagger, pushing Carlos Delgado home with him to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.

Beltran popped another 2-run dinger in 7th to put the game away, and the bullpen that leads the NL in ERA cashed in the win.

John Maine barely pitched well enough to win, and was the recipient of the victory. Frankie Rodriguez notched his sixth save of the year and second of the month.

Game Notes

Though Maine struck out 7 and gave up only 3 hits and 3 earned runs, his command was awful — he walked 6 and might have walked more if not for the free-swinging of rookies Jordan Schafer and Brandon Jones, among others. Maine was consistently high and away to lefties, the same symptom of a mechanical flaw we’ve been talking about for nearly a year. It’s stunning to me that he can continue to do the same wrong thing, every time out, and no one in the Mets organization can seem to figure it out. Did the Wilpons cut video equipment from the 2009 budget with everything else?

During the TV broadcast, and using SNY’s slow-motion technology, Keith Hernandez pointed out:

“watch his throwing arm come back, look how far it comes back, and he has to … behind his body on the first base side … whoa!”

As if on cue, Maine released the ball early and high, and sent the pitch way up and away from a left-handed batter — so far, in fact, it resembled Nuke LaLoosh hitting the bull.

A few minutes prior, Kevin Burkhardt reported that Maine said he hasn’t felt like himself since the last game before the All Star break in 2007.


The intelligent Mets fans — you, of course — know we identified Maine’s mechanical flaw last June. Remarkably enough, it is the exact same issue that Keith Hernandez began to illustrate during the broadcast. To quote Mel Allen: how about that?

After closer analysis, and comparison to that July 5, 2007 game, I found one or two other seemingly minor issues with Maine’s mechanics that can be easily corrected. If his agent doesn’t email me for the details, I’ll post them for all the world to see later in the week.

David Wright’s go-ahead homer drove in the 500th and 501st RBI of his career.

Jose Reyes blew another sacrifice bunt, for the second time in as many games. Shame on him, because a ballplayer should be able to put down a bunt when needed. However, I’m not sure I get it … you wouldn’t have Carlos Beltran or David Wright bunt, ever, because of their ability to drive in a runner from first with a double or HR. Likewise, why would you have Reyes bunt, a guy who can send a runner from first home with a double, HR, or triple? Mind you, I’m a big-time, old-school, small-ball guy. But at the same time I realize that the sac bunt should be reserved for players who generally have lower slugging percentages — i.e., the pitchers, Alex Coras, and Luis Castillos of the world.

What happened to the old Bobby Cox Braves teams with disciplined hitters, sure fielders, and players with perfect fundamentals — the ones that used to bore you into a loss? It appears they have several youngsters rushed to the bigs who need more seasoning in the minors. Not the “Braves’ Way”.

Hey, the Mets can’t lose this series!

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Braves lock horns for the series finale at 7:00 PM. Livan Hernandez faces Kenshin Kawakami. I like the Mets’ chances in this matchup.

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. Walnutz15 May 5, 2009 at 8:29 am
    Maine hasn’t felt like himself since that start vs. the ‘Stros in 2007?


    Tip o’ the cap to Double-J for picking Maine apart way back when — and really, are any of us actually surprised to hear Maine make that “revelation” by the results we’ve seen on the hill?

    Nice job of fighting through last night’s game…but 6 walks is going to come back to bite even the best of ’em.

    One-Fiver has been an absolute BEAST at the plate, thank God for that.

    WRT to Reyes:

    Sacrificing and bunting for a base-hit are two COMPLETELY different things…..

    Jose Reyes never gives himself up at the plate, or comes anything close to squaring. He has it in his mind that he’s going to get out of the box before the ball makes contact with the bat…….and that’s completely wrong.

    His lack of understanding (or flat-out refusal to get the runner over because he wants a hit) makes it easy to see why his sacrifice-attempts haven’t been panning out.

    As someone who led-off on just about every team I was on, until my senior year of college — hit clean-up on a weakened squad my final year, due to graduating seniors — I’ll say that Reyes suffers from a disease that would rather try to beat out a bunt for an infield hit, than move the runner over.

    This happened from time-to-time when you didn’t want to give yourself up at the plate….and knew you had good legs. Instead of focusing on moving the runner up, you got way too cute in trying to bunt for a base-hit and get a good jump out of the box.

    If you beat it out….notch another hit to the stat column — if not, then the sac doesn’t count as an AB.

    Win-win…..but the at-bat is heavily tilted in the “bunt for a hit” direction, instead of moving the runner up.

    Problem with bad bunters is….neither positive happens.

    If you’re asked to sac — you give yourself up and get the bunt down. Learn to live with what your coach is asking of you… we’ve seen in the past, Reyes has shown immaturity with that, no matter who’s asking.

  2. wohjr May 5, 2009 at 9:35 am

    How about Bobby Parnell? Stat line looks good, but the kid was all over the place last night as well.

  3. isuzudude May 5, 2009 at 9:47 am
    OK, I finally figured it out. I have Javy Vazquez, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran all on my fantasy team. However, last night I chose to bench both Wright and Beltran because of their poor career numbers against Vazquez. On cue, Wright and Beltran combine for 6 RBI and 3 HR, while Vazquez gets roughed up for the loss. Hence, the solution to the Mets’ problems is for me to start every opposing pitcher in my fantasy lineup, and always have Wright and Beltran on my bench. With this kind of luck, it’s hard not to believe that jinxes are bogus.

    Hey Joe, there’s a big to-do on Metsblog regarding your analysis of Maine and the Mets’ inactivity in correcting his obvious flaw. Matt pretty much calls it “presumptuous” to say that the Mets haven’t pinpointed Maine’s problem, and excuses players for being too “stubborn or forgetful” to take the advice of their coaches. This reeks of yet another cover for the love-affair of Jerry Manuel. Jose can’t get a bunt down, Maine and Perez can’t correct their mechanical flaws, Murphy can’t take better routes on fly balls, Beltran can’t slide into bases with consistency, etc, etc. But it’s not Jerry’s fault that his players possess poor fundamentals; no, it’s the players fault for being too stupid to take his advice, or too pig-headed to change their ways. Although, wouldn’t it be contradictory that Willie got canned because his team wouldn’t listen to him, yet now it’s the players who get the finger of blame for not opening their ears and heeding the gospel-esqe speech spewing from Jerry’s pulpit? Does Matt REALLY believe that Maine has been told to change his mechanics since June 2007 and has simply forgotten to implement his changes in every one of his starts since then?…or worse, ignored the advice of his coaches to the detriment of his health and performance, yet without facing any reprocussions from management? Give me a break, Cerrone. I hate to hammer Matt because lately he’s been stepping up his criticism of the team, including questioning decisions made by “the saviors” Omar and Jerry. But now I wonder if he’s just been jumping on the bandwagon. If all he wants to do his create excuses that direct blame away from the powers-that-be of his favorite team, then suddenly he loses major points in the credibility department.

    By the way, Joe, I agree with your assessment of the Braves losing their “way.” And I think it all comes down to the almighty dollar. Though with the offseason splurging on Lowe, Anderson, Kawakami, and Vazquez it’s an odd time to make this statement, but I believe the Braves got cheap. And that’s what’s led then down the path of mediocracy.

    Also, agree with you, Walnutz. Reyes may be a “leader” on this team, but many aspects of his game are lacking in the leadership department.

  4. wally May 5, 2009 at 10:10 am
    gimme 10 minutes with reyes and i’ll teach him how to lay down a bunt
  5. wally May 5, 2009 at 10:13 am
    btw joe knows more about pitching than warthen, niemann, bones, and peterson put together.
  6. joe May 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm
    Reyes bunting: my guess is that in BP, when he works on his bunting, he’s working on his drag/push bunts 99% of the time. So he probably is better at bunting for a hit than sacrificing, which means it makes more sense for him to use that form in the game. Ideally, of course, he should spend more time practicing squaring around.

    ‘dude: thanks for pointing out the MetsBlog commentary. The last time someone called me presumptuous, I was 22 years old and my pants were off.

    I find it fascinating that “a lot of fans and media” identified Maine’s mechanical flaw last June, prior to his injury. I must be living under a rock, because I missed that.

    I also find it fascinating, as you did, ‘dude, that a coach/manager is excused when a player can’t implement a mechanical fix. In my world of coaching/instructing, we call that “failure” — on the part of the coach. The whole concept of teaching is finding a way to get through to the student. Otherwise, you’re just “orating”.

    It’s also interesting that Maine did things differently under Rick Peterson for a period from late ’06 to mid ’07, and was successful. Does anyone else remember Maine admitting to not following “the program” Peterson prescribed over the ’07 All Star break?

    I smell a post brewing …

  7. mattytunks May 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm
    kudos, for your backseat driving. good thing for you it’s easy to point things out. i am sure you are the only one who knows this. if it was you on the pitcher’s mound we would all see the brilliance of execution.
    i think some people should stop imagining that just because you can see a problem with somoeone’s mechanics its easy to fix. sure we can all see it. fixing it is a whole other story.
    maybe we should stop coaching a sport we never professionally played and just enjoy it.
  8. joe May 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm
    Thanks for swinging by, mattytunks!

    First off, why does one have to actually PLAY professionally in order to coach? Did Bill Parcells play in the NFL? Did Lawrence Frank play in the NBA? Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach. I’m the first one to admit that I can’t pitch in the big leagues, but thank you for supporting my theory.

    And btw I’ve been seeing problems with pitchers’ mechanics — and fixing them — for over 15 years. Ask any of the 40 or so kids under my guidance (or their parents) who either signed pro contracts or earned D1 scholarships if I should “stop coaching a sport” I never professionally played.

    Seeing kids learn and move forward is something I ENJOY. Maybe you should stop telling people what they should be doing with their time.

    Oh and please direct me to “all” the people who saw Maine’s flaw a year ago, before his injury.

  9. 2009 Analysis: John Maine : Mets Today October 22, 2009 at 12:43 am
    […] Maine had going for him was a 96-MPH rising fastball that many undisciplined hitters could not lay off of. If that velocity doesn’t return, what does Maine have going for […]