Mets Game 157: Loss to Brewers

Brewers 8 Mets 7

For a while, it appeared that the Mets would pull out another exciting, come-from-behind win. But it was not to be.

The Brewers jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the third against starter Jonathon Niese, and the Mets clawed back with two in the bottom of the frame and then charged ahead with a five-run fourth. The score remained 7-6 in favor of the home team until the 8th, when the Mets bullpen broke down and gave the Brew Crew two runs — one of which was scored by former Met Carlos Gomez.

Game Notes

I think the Mets should shut down Jon Niese. Oh wait, the season will be over by Sunday, so what’s the difference?

He was underneath nearly all of his pitches; meaning, his hand / fingers were on the side of the ball at release and his elbow was dropping below the level of his shoulder. With overhand and three-quarter delivery pitchers, this is generally caused by fatigue — both physical and mental. The arm slows down slightly and can’t keep up with the body’s forward movement, so the arm compensates by trying to take a shortcut to the intended release point. The result is a drop in arm angle and what looks like “pushing” the ball. Why does the the arm angle drop? Because a good overhand delivery occurs on a higher plane, and thus goes against gravity. It takes more effort to keep the hand up and fight gravity over the distance of the desired arm arc, so when the body/arm gets tired it takes the path of least resistance — which is to allow gravity to force the hand and arm downward earlier. A pitcher might be able to stay at the proper height by concentrating on keeping the fingers on top of the ball at release. But physical fatigue often creates mental fatigue, and so the fingers will tend to slide down as a natural reaction to the arm angle dropping — thus, getting “under” the ball. This entire process is exacerbated by pitchers who practice a delivery that relies too much on “side to side” motion — i.e., over-rotation of the hips and shoulders.

When the pitcher is under the ball, all pitches are flat, the ball will tend to be higher in the strike zone, and command disappears. In other words, pitches look like what Jon Niese was unleashing in his 2 2/3 innings against the Brewers.

Beyond the fact that his ERA is hurt, Niese could also be endangering himself physically. Most injuries — in any sport, or any activity — occur when the body is fatigued, because another body part will try to compensate for the tired body part. Additionally, getting under the ball puts considerable strain on the elbow as well as the lower part of the shoulder — a section that usually won’t be used too much during a more overhand delivery and thus is likely weak. I’m not going to say that sending Niese out there for the past 2-3 weeks will result in injuring his arm — you have to push the body in order to strengthen it — but it is something that a team should be monitoring and be cautious about, particularly at the end of a meaningless season.

While we’re on the subject of overhand throwing, what is up with Chris Carter’s throws from the outfield? His first throw was just bad, but his second awful throw looked like it was the result of someone who was nervous about throwing and worried about hitting its target — such as what Chuck Knoblauch, Steve Sax, and Mackey Sasser went through. Carter needs to get over that quick before it becomes a mental issue.

Kind of sad that few people saw the Mets’ roaring comeback of 7 runs within two innings — according to various witnesses, there were only “a few hundred” people in the stands. Ouch.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Brewers are playing the nightcap of a doubleheader, with R.A. Dickey going against Dave Bush.

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.