Mets Game 7: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 6 Mets 2

What the heck happened? Here we thought the Mets would march over the Nationals with a possible weekend sweep, and instead, the home opener is spoiled by a frustrating loss.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey had trouble locating his knuckler all day, as he walked five in five frames and was continually behind hitters. Hey, once in a while that’s going to happen — but, after seeing Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese get rocked in consecutive starts, it’s unnerving to see our “sure thing” lose his magic touch.

While Dickey struggled, Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann pitched well, allowing two runs on 6 hits and no walks in 5 1/3. Not a tremendous outing, but good enough to get the win.

Speaking of Zimmermann, there’s something about his windup that reminds me of Roy Oswalt.

Rick Ankiel seemed very comfortable hitting against Dickey’s knuckler; he stroked two sharp singles through the right side on knucklers and added a third hit in the eighth off lefty Tim Byrdak.

Is it me, or does Ankiel look like a character actor who plays annoying, white trash bad guys in comedy movies?

Speaking of Ankiel … what could have been the biggest play of the game came in the top of the fifth, with the bases loaded and one out. Dickey had just walked Mike Morse to force in a run, and Ankiel rapped another sharp grounder off the flutterball that zipped up the middle and would have scored two more runs. But Jose Reyes made a diving, sparkling play to stop the ball, step on second, and fire to first to complete a “web gem” double play. That play was huge until the 8th, when the game got away from the Mets.

Why was this game so frustrating? One simple stat tells the story: the Mets were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. This time, there was no Roy Halladay on the mound. So what was the excuse?

If anything, the Nats had an excuse lined up had they lost this game: they arrived in NYC at 4 AM and had to be at the ballpark in time for a 4 PM ballgame. Yet it was the Mets who looked as though they were sleepwalking.

From the “little things” department: the Mets might’ve only scored one run had it not been for two bad decisions in the fourth inning — one by David Wright, and one by Ian Desmond. Wright was on second base with none out, and a ground ball was hit to shortstop. Wright took off for third (bad decision) and would have been thrown out by 20 feet had Desmond thrown to third. But Desmond chose instead to make the play at 1B (bad decision), allowing Wright to take 3B. A few pitches later, Ike Davis hit a fly ball to left field to score Wright with the Mets’ second run of the game. As it turned out, that run didn’t matter, but it was a big run up until the eighth inning.

Pudge Rodriguez was charged with a passed ball during the ballgame, and it was a great example of why the passed ball is a terrible stat. It happened because Pudge called a slider to be thrown on the outside corner of the plate; thus, he set up out there. As Pudge waited for the slider to break, it never did — it just spun, remained straight, and was a good three feet away from the intended target. By the time Pudge adjusted, he couldn’t get his glove on the ball and it went behind him, advancing the runner. In that case, a wild pitch should have been called, but official scorers almost never call a wild pitch that doesn’t hit the dirt. The pitcher messed up, but the catcher gets the blame. Dumb.

The Mets struck out looking five times; Ike Davis was guilty twice. Something I’ve noticed since Ike first came up: he complains often on called strikes, and in particular on called strike threes. Even if Davis is correct, it does him no good to whine about a call — in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has developed a reputation among umpires as a complainer, and as a result, could get less calls go his way. Not to mention that it is annoying, tiresome, unprofessional, and disrespectful to be constantly complaining about calls.

Otherwise, Davis continues to swing a hot bat. He has driven in a run in 6 of the Mets 7 games.

Todd Coffey finished the game for the Nats. I remember him being a little chubby in the past, but he is now a whale. He kind of reminds me of Bob Wickman now.

The Mets announced a sellout for this home opener. However, from the view provided by the SNY TV cameras, there looked to be a large number of empty seats. Maybe everyone was standing on line at the Shake Shack.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nats do it again at 7:10 PM on Saturday night. Chris Capuano goes to the hill against Tom Gorzelanny.

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. Seth April 9, 2011 at 8:32 am
    I can attest that there were indeed teeming throngs at the stadium yesterday, but it was so fricking cold that people gravitated toward places like the Caesar’s Club to watch, drink, and stay warm. I’d never been in there before (usually an upper deck dude) and found it sort of trashy, but it’s absolutely enormous, and when the cold and the frustrating baseball pushed me and my friend there to watch the 8th, it was packed.

    The coldest baseball game I’ve ever been to was opening day for the Tokyo Swallows in Japan last year, but this was right on its heels.

    And yeah, Ike’s whining is disappointing. I get excited about Jews in baseball (even half Jews that are totally non-practicing like Ike), and here’s one that can hit bombs, so he’s an automatic lock to be my new favorite Met. But stuff like that is hard to watch.

  2. gary s. April 9, 2011 at 8:38 am
    In the land of the wilpons, obviously a lot of met fans came disguised as empty seats.I heard that fool jef wilpon on the radio before the game saying how everybody who knows his daddy Fred, loves the guy.Clueless!!They have run the organization into the ground, the team is bankrupt abd all they are worried about is what people think of them??Fools.He also said the fans need to give the team 30-45 days before making any decisions.If they lose the next two to to the nationals, i don’t the fans will be that patient.
    • CatchDog April 9, 2011 at 8:57 am
      Gary; self preservation is a primal instinct. When nothing tangible is left, the last grasp from the Wilpons will be to convince themselves thru the media that they’re the good guys and the victims.

      We all know the truth brother.

      Hopefully, a fun season will overshadow the Wilp’s mess.

      • John April 9, 2011 at 9:19 am
        The Wilpons may be the nicest guys in the world, but they are terrible owners. And that is the bottom line.
        And I would love to hear what Nelson Doubleday thinks about the lovable Wilpons. Just saying
  3. gary s. April 9, 2011 at 8:43 am
    Seth, caesars club is a good way to get out of the cold.I have been in there a few times.There were huge sections on the upper deck empty as i watched the game on tv.Those ticket holders are not allowed to get in to caesars club, so it kind of defeats your arguement and like everything else the wilpons say, appears to be a fabrication about the declared sellout..
  4. Izzy April 9, 2011 at 9:18 am
    Davis is going to find that the more he whines, the more he is going to find he’s not going to get any close calls. Think any umps appreciate a kid showing him up every called strike? Collins needs to convoince him he isn’t Ted Williams.
    As for Coffey, I watched on MASN and Bob Carpenter was making fun of Coffey’s physique as well. He runs from the pen to the mound but Carpenter showed that he pooped out before he reached the infield dirt! Don’t matter, he still had the stiff to get the Mets out.
  5. xDanTanna April 9, 2011 at 9:40 am
    Yeah, I heard the Jeff Wilpon interview myself w/ Francesa prior to the game. I believe he was honest once when he said this stuff has impacted the team. If that game was sold out yesterday as Jeff said, then David Copperfield was somewhere in the building.

    I guess it could have been just people not showing up. But, I don’t buy it as there were a bunch of tix available yesterday morning. No way they sold them all in a couple hours like that. It would be one thing if this was a hot ticket item. I guess though if that were the case the game would have sold out the first day of Ticket sales like the good old days.

    As for the game I was surprised at the intensity of the booing, especially during the introductions. I am of the belief you have every right to boo if you buy a ticket. But, on the day of the home opener isn’t everything suppose to be good?

    We need 7 innings from Capuano tonight!

    Lets Go Mets!

    • Joe Janish April 9, 2011 at 9:58 am
      David Copperfield … nice.

      I have to agree 100% with one detail you mentioned and I didn’t in the post: the booing before the game even starts is disturbing and — for me — has no place during pregame ceremonies.

      I get that people are upset with the Wilpons, the team, etc. But if you are so angry, why are you buying a ticket to support them on Opening Day? Do people pay the ticket price just so they can boo? Hitting the team in the wallet, rather than sounding off, would have a much more effective impact.

      • xDanTanna April 9, 2011 at 10:14 am
        I agree Joe, even if it was seemingly just Pelf & K-Rod getting boos during the introductions it is just wrong. Opening Day is suppose to be the one guaranteed day of the year for you as a fan & the organization alike to show your appreciation for Mets Baseball. There is plenty of time to boo over the season if things go sour.
  6. Joe April 9, 2011 at 10:34 am
    A sweep was a fantasy.

    We saw Dickey struggle in the last game, so him struggling (but gutting it out, looking like Al Leiter out there at times) was no surprise. He pitched good enough to win. One aggravating thing is that for the second time in seven games (this happened repeatedly last year too), a pitcher on the other team got a key hit.

    This game fits a predictable pattern and it doesn’t bode well. We can predict game after game of nailbiters with the Marlins and Nats (as it was back to the days they were Expos) like this, some the Mets will win, some they will lose. Or, wait until some game breaker like the 8th inning. Slow water torture for this fan.

    Ditto when they don’t get clutch hits and I’m stuck with hearing Gary providing emphatic calls (he struck him out!) or Keith or Ron praise the pitching or hitting of the other team. They need not be homers. But, sometimes, they can tone that sort of thing down a tad.

    Their first losing streak. Well, that was fast.

  7. xDanTanna April 9, 2011 at 10:57 am
    Also the game situations runners on 3rd less than 2-outs. Is once again proving to be a predictable result. I have been saddened by all the negative comments I have read during the off season about HoJo. He gave the job all he could and then some in trying to help. Yet some fans mocked him as a clueless guy, who had no business being a hitting coach. Now Dave Hudgens seems like a cool cat that knows what he is doing. But the bottom line to me is; the hitting coach is one of the most meaningless coaching positions on the big league level. Where guys are set in there ways for the most part. Eventually you have to draw the conclusion it is the players that need to be changed. That is another reason why Reyes should not be back in my view.
  8. gary s. April 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm
    dantanna ,it seems to be a foregone conclusion that reyes is a goner.Has anyone thought of what it would cost to retain David Wright when his contract runs out?if he averages 25 dingers and 100 rbi’s the next 2 years he will be in line for a contract paying close to 20 mill a year.Given his problems with hitting with men in scoring position and his throwing problems, i find it hard to believe Alderson would pay him that kind of money.Also with the lack of contact the last few years, he will probably be a .350 oba guy versus .385 to ,400 a few years back.If he is traded this year, the team who gets him has him under control for all of next year.In a perfect world i’d like to keep both guys, but those days seem to be a fading memory with the club in dire money straits.I have a funny feeling that both of these guys are gone in 2012.. Just one more thing, terry collins, please put duda out there every day while bay is on the dl.Willie Harris is a journeyman .230 hitter and it would be nice to see if duda has a future
    • CatchDog April 10, 2011 at 10:54 am
      It will be very interesting to see if top prospects Wilmer Flores (current #3 prospect playing short for Lucie) and Aderlin Rodriguez (#8 prospect playing for Savannah) are moved to different positions. Rumors were that both would most likely be moved to a corner outfield position because Ike had first blocked and Wright was the Met’s career third baseman. However, if these young guns continue to play their current positions (and if you were going to change their positions, wouldn’t you do it now?), it could be a clue that the front office sees them as replacements for Reyes (Tejada) and Wright.

      Both of these guys project as plus plus bats and could be at Citi as early as late 2012. Although Wilmer is expected to profile as a below average defensive shortstop because of size and slower footing, he also has been compared with Miguel Cabrera’s bat. And Aderlin has 40 plus homerun power afixed next to his name.

      Perhaps we may see more than Beltran, Reyes and Frankie leaving the building. Next season may include Wright and perhaps even Bay. That would leave Johan as the last big ticket on the Met tree.

      Mets Opening Day Lineup 2013

      Puello RF
      Den Dekker or Ceciliani CF
      Flores SS
      Ike 1B
      Aderline Rod 3B
      FMart & Cory Vaughn LF
      Havens 2B
      Thole C

      Jenrry Mejia
      Jon Niese
      Matt Harvey
      Greg Peavey
      RAD (who will pitch for the next decade!)

      Goeddel – Closer
      J Familia – set up
      Kyle Allen 7th inning
      Robt Carson – Loogy
      Manny Alvarez
      Pedro Beato
      Jimmy Fuller

      Plenty of wishful thinking on my part but some of these kids we’re going to remember. Hope springs eternal, baby.