Mets Game 112: Loss to Diamondbacks
Diamondbacks 7 Mets 4
I keep waiting for Casey Stengel to show up in the postgame interview and explain that Marv Throneberry lost a ground ball in the sun.
The Mets were awful in nearly every aspect of the game — pitching, offense, defense, and fundamentals. This particular evening they seemed to be writing a book on how NOT to play the game. We’ll chalk it up to jet lag and the dry heat.
New dad Mike Pelfrey struggled from inning one, and left the game after six innings. He allowed 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks, and received little help from the defense — which appeared to be made up of Barnum, Bailey, and the Ringling Brothers. Reliever Elmer Dessens wasn’t much better, and didn’t receive stellar defensive support, either.
Offensively, the Mets did little against Arizona starter Doug Davis, save for a two-run triple by Fernando Tatis in the fourth and a meaningless rally in the top of the ninth. The only reason the Mets threatened in the final frame was because Chad Qualls — pitching in a rare non-save situation — was toying with them.
After Tatis’ triple, I timed Davis’ windup with Fernando on third base. He ranged from 4.0 – 4.6 seconds from the beginning of his motion to the time the ball reached the catcher. That’s really, really slow, and I’m sure Tatis could have stolen home easily. An MLB-average runner can easily cover 26-28 yards (90 feet minus a decent lead) in four and a half seconds.
The two men who hit well and had good at-bats in this game? Luis Castillo and Anderson Hernandez, who had two hits apiece. Hernandez was 2-for-3 with a double, walk, a run, and an RBI. He’s now 4-for-6 as a 2009 Met.
Early in the game Ron Darling commented about little leaguers and curveballs. I agree with Ron — the recent report from the “experts” at the ASMI stating that curveballs put less stress on a kid’s arm is absolute hogwash. The major flaw in the findings — and nearly everything from that organization is flawed — is that most kids throw all pitches with poor mechanics, so all pitches will put stress on the arm, but the curve doesn’t put as much stress because it’s thrown with less force and velocity. The key is mechanics. If a kid is taught the proper (and safe) way to throw any pitch, he shouldn’t have any problems. But that’s a big if — particularly when it comes to the curve. There is a safe way to throw the curveball, but no one teaches it at any level.
Also, need to help the kids again with a translation of Ron Darling’s explanation. Ron erroneously described “pronation of the elbow” as the danger in throwing a curve. In fact, it is the opposite — supination is what makes a curveball dangerous (and it’s actually the hand/wrist, not really the elbow, that supinates). I would excuse this technicality, but the truth is, PRONATION is in fact the safest way to throw a curve (or any pitch, for that matter). It’s not the traditional way to throw it (90% of MLBers supinate their hand to throw a curve), and it seems awkward, but it is fairly safe when executed properly and combined with proper weight training and other exercises to strengthen the pronator teres. The pronated curve is one of the wacky ideas of Mike Marshall, but it’s the one that makes the most sense and can actually be applied to traditional pitching mechanics.
In the eighth inning, Anderson Hernandez was charged with an error when he threw to an unoccupied first base bag. On the play — a routine grounder back to the pitcher — Dan Murphy inexplicably charged toward the ball, and was practically standing on the mound when AHern was turning the front end of a potential double play. I know one of the SNY talking points is to chat up Murphy’s “slick fielding”, but it’s as much of a ruse as it was when they talked up his left field play this time last year. You see mistakes like that in little league, maybe in a Babe Ruth or Cal Ripken league, but not beyond high school. This is the Major Leagues. People pay good money to watch the best baseball on the planet. That was embarrassing, and another case of a player hanging around a position long enough to be exposed.
Speaking of exposure, in the second inning, Angel Pagan made the terrible decision of diving for a two-out bloop hit by Doug Davis that wound up scoring two runs and putting Davis on third base. He wasn’t playing shallow enough, he misread the ball, he got a late jump, and then made an ill-advised dive. The very next inning, with two outs, Pagan got another bad jump on a long fly ball off the bat of Miguel Montero, and compunded it by missing the cutoff man on the throw into the infield, allowing Montero to advance to third base. Moments later Montero scored on a sharp single to right field, and I’d bet dollars to donuts that Montero would not have challenged Jeff Francoeur’s arm on that hard hit ball had he been on second base. So right there, Pagan was responsible for three runs. Did you see the final score? Simple fundamentals can win and lose ballgames — this was merely a more glaring example than usual.
The Mets have won 15 out of their last 18 games in Arizona. Mike Pelfrey was tagged with all three losses. The last Mets pitcher to lose a game in Arizona was Al Leiter.
Next Mets Game
The Diamondbacks host the Mets again at 9:40 PM on Tuesday night. Livan Hernandez faces Max Scherzer.