Mets Game 11: Loss to Rockies

Rockies 5 Mets 4

Close, but no cigar.

The illusion drawn by Terry Collins is that if only one pitch or one hit in each game went differently, the team could easily be 9-2. First, I’m not sure I agree, and second, that is exactly the difference between winning teams and losing teams. When a team consistently fails to execute the small things, they will consistently be on the wrong end of the final score — and vice-versa. See the Braves of 1991-2005.

In any case, it was another sad loss for the Mets. So close, yet so far.

Mets Game Notes

For the second straight outing, Jonathon Niese looked really good — borderline dominant — in the first few innings as he stayed on top of the ball and successfully repeated good mechanics. Then, he slowly lost that consistency, as his arm angle dropped ever so slightly, and his fingers slid to the side of the ball at release, which in turn caused all of his pitches to flatten out. In his previous start, that change occurred in the third inning; this time, it started in the fourth. So is it a matter of fatigue? I’m really not sure. I do feel it has something to do with him using the cutter — a pitch that requires the pitcher to turn his hand just a bit and release with the fingers slightly off to the side. My half-baked theory is that for whatever reason, repeated use of the cutter somehow sends a signal to his brain that makes his arm angle follow that off-kilter release grip. For Jon Niese to succeed, he must stay “on top” of the ball.

On one pitch, in the fourth inning against Todd Helton with a 2-2 count, Niese actually dropped down “laredo” (as Keith Hernandez likes to say) to deliver a slow curve that resulted in ball three. Um … huh? I thought the Mets released Oliver Perez? Please, Jonathon, if you want to fool around with a sidearm delivery to fool a hitter once in a while, stop, slap yourself, and change your mind. It’s really not that effective — as much as David Cone THOUGHT it was — and please, consider that only after you have developed absolute command of your main pitches.

Troy Tulowitzki is a beast. Why the Mets chose to pitch to him with first base open, men on second and third, two outs, and up by two boggles my mind. On the one hand, I rarely like to see intentional walks — particularly those that load the bases. Once in a while, though, they make sense. For example, when one of the top five hitters in all of baseball is up at the plate and is in the midst of a hot streak, and has Jose Lopez following him in the lineup. I’m guessing that the Mets wanted to unintentionally intentionally walk him — meaning, that Jon Niese would throw to targets a few inches off the plate and hope Tulo would be overaggressive, swing at something out of the zone, and either strike out or make weak enough contact to get an easy out. Unfortunately, Niese threw a chest-high fastball just a hair off the outside corner, and Tulo reached out and drove it over the right field fence.

I watched that homerun from the 12th row on the first-base line, and can tell you I and the people around me knew it was out the moment it was hit. But when I re-watched the game on the DVR, it seemed like Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez were surprised by the result. I guess the view from up top in the SNY booth provides a different perspective. Or maybe, Gary isn’t used to seeing homeruns at Citi Field.

During the postgame press conference, Terry Collinswas asked if he felt there was a “deflation” among the team after the Tulowitzki homerun; his answer was
“Yes.”. When asked what alarms he saw, or why exactly he felt that way, he explained: “There’s a sense in the dugout; there’s an air in the dugout.”


BTW, I was invited to attend this game by the Mets PR department, which meant I was able to see Terry Collins’ pregame press conference and watch batting practice on-field / from the dugout. I snapped a few pictures that will be posted shortly. Additionally, I was able to briefly interview former Mets catcher Jerry Grote, and I’ll post that conversation as well.

Next Mets Game

The single-admission doubleheader begins at 12:10 PM on Thursday afternoon. Game one pits R.A. Dickey against Greg Reynolds. Game Two follows with Chris Capuano vs. Jorge De La Rosa. I’m not 100% on the matchups, but those four pitchers are scheduled to pitch at some point during the day.

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. daxmontana April 14, 2011 at 12:14 am
    “theyre still sh*tty”

    nice to see murph looking serviceable though

  2. indahouse April 14, 2011 at 1:29 am
    QUESTION: What do Leo Nunez, Javier Vasquez, Cole Hamels and Jerry Hairston have in common?

    ANSWER: IF they each didn’t personally hand the Mets a victory, this team would be 0-11.

    SOLUTION: Time for Terry Collins to quit. Again.

  3. murph April 14, 2011 at 3:02 am
    it is easy to point fingers in this losing environment.
    (you just came up with 4 losers from the WINS.)

    Give the new guys a chance, its still April.
    What are you going to do? Fire Yogi after 16 games like Steinbrenner did in 1984?

  4. gary s. April 14, 2011 at 8:58 am
    Collins is trying to win with a bad hand of cards..We fired the manager and seem to be getting the same results.That means the culture of losing seems to be embedded on this roster and now its time to change the roster.One other thing, when will Dan Warthen start fining his pitchers for giving up homeruns and rbi basehits when his pitchers are ahead 0-2 and 1-2 on hitters.I’ve seen way too much of that and that is definitelt correctable.I’m going to the doubleheader and i predict the dimensions at citicavern will take awy at least 2 home runs from the home team.I counted 3 in the last 2 games.Both of reyes’s triples and pagan’s triple would have been homeruns in shea.And we lost both games by a run.Another nice job by the Wilpons..
  5. Joe April 14, 2011 at 9:48 am
    It’s nice that Murphy is working out — he seems to be a gamer and he’s easy to root for. Beato is also giving them something for the moment. The bullpen is full with arms that will give you stuff sometimes. Such is the bargain basement.

    The Tulowitzki homer from home looked like it might go foul. From home, also, I was with Gary — WALK HIM! They did in the 8th. Yeah. How useful. Too many moments like that. Too many “ifs.” Take away that homer, and Niese could have had a serviceable outing. Maybe he would have given up a hit anyway.

    But, walk him and prove me wrong then. For now, I am left with the feeling that a stupid decision could have cost them the game. Oh, will Hairston ever get a useful hit?

  6. Walnutz15 April 14, 2011 at 9:55 am
    2 outs, 2nd and 3rd — All-World SS at the plate.

    That’s 100% on Collins…as it would have been Manuel, or any other manager.

    He’s gotta make that call immediately to walk Tulowitzki…

    I’m of the belief that you never leave it up to your players to make that decision (especially with the mamby-pamby “philosophy” of unintentionally-intentionally walking a guy by “pitching around him” and hoping he “gets himself out” — remember Manuel doing that last year a few times with Dan Uggla — the results? A walk-off wild pitch, and another time where he jacked the ball to Timbuktu for a HR)…

    Pitchers will always think they can get a guy out on their own merit. Put him on, and worry about the rest later…it’s not like Tulo didn’t just lace a tit-job off Parnell the other night.

    I would never have blamed him for the decision to put him on, and set-up a potential force out with the immortal Jose Lopez on deck.

    11 games into the season and a “team meeting” is being written about.

    Jeez, what a joke.

    I commend Collins for trying to remain upbeat — but just call it the way we all see it. The pom-poms will not work, and the “we could just as well be (insert winning record here)” talk is shades of Art Howe’s “we battled”, and Willie’s “the champagne will be that much sweeter”-type talk.

    As Omar Minaya used to say, “If we won those 3 games, we’d be .500 — and you always like to be around .500″……..unfortunately, there looks to be way too many holes and deficiencies on this team to even be at that cross-road.

    Gonna be a long one.

  7. Joe April 14, 2011 at 10:20 am
    BTW, I have no desire to see Pat Misch on Friday. The last couple years, that sign of mediocrity didn’t come up until after the All Star Break. I can see not starting DJ, since he might come in handy today. If Gee can’t start because of his rotation spot in the minors, I rather see someone like Bonser. At least, he’s a different face. Tired of the mediocrity that is Misch.
  8. NormE April 14, 2011 at 10:51 am
    Love/fans blinds us to the truth. The inconsistency of the hitting and the pitching is the sign of a mediocre ballclub.
    The return of a productive (that me, the Mets fan speaking) Jason Bay will not turn this club in a contender. Reyes and Wright, for all their assets, are not good enough to carry this team very far. To draw comparisons between Collins and Manuel misses the point that the talent level is not good enough.
    We may love our Mets but………..
  9. Mic April 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm
    Actually, I am not soo gloomy. This team can go on a roll.

    1. RA., Young, Niese and Cap have had good showings. Jenry had 6 shut out innings last night at AAA, a day after Dillon Gee was very good. Tejada is hitting .3462.

    2. Given the above, I am not hesitant about trading Pel and Reyes. I like angel leading off, with Tejada 7th/8th. I like Gee/Jenry as 5th starter. The other 5th starter candidate is Beato.

    • Joe Janish April 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm
      A dinner roll, maybe.

      Hey, why not just swap the rosters in Flushing and Buffalo? Wouldn’t make much of a difference in the game outcomes, I’m sure, and it would be fun for media buzz for a few days.