Mets Game 57: Loss To Braves
Braves 6 Mets 3
Yet again, the Mets take a lead into the seventh inning, and wind up with a loss.
This time, it was a walk and a wild pitch by Jason Isringhausen combined with an error by Jose Reyes that tied the game, and a downright bad outing by Francisco Rodriguez to give it away.
Mets Game Notes
Shame that the Mets wasted an excellent outing by Jon Niese. Niese had the big curve working and was spotting the fastball in all quadrants of the strike zone. He allowed 2 earned runs on 8 hits and 1 walk, striking out 7, in 7 2/3.
I was mildly surprised to see Niese come to the plate in the bottom of the seventh; I thought for sure his night was done. As soon as he missed up and away to Chipper Jones on his first pitch of the 8th, I thought, “that’s it, he’s exhausted”. To me that high pitch was a symptom of fatigue — his arm was dragging a bit behind his body and his elbow was a tad lower than his shoulder. So to me it wasn’t a surprise to see Niese miss his low target a few moments later, leaving the ball over the heart of the plate and at belly-button height — and allowing Chipper to redirect the horsehide into the leftfield stands.
Speaking of fatigue, Jason Isringhausen also looks tired. The key symptom, in his case, is uncharacteristic lack of control. Usually I say “lack of command”, meaning, missing the intended target by 5-8 inches. But in Izzy’s case, he’s missing the catcher completely. That tells me there’s something wrong with his grip on the baseball at the release point. His arm is either lagging behind, and he’s letting go at a high spot, or he’s trying to rush the arm forward or make an adjustment that results in releasing too late.
Both Keith Hernandez and Bob Ojeda said of Jose Reyes’ error, “he makes that play 99 times out of 100”. But, didn’t we just see Reyes make a similar error on a routine grounder only a few days, maybe a week ago? My memory could be wrong, but I swear he just did — except, it didn’t occur at the tail end of a tight game. Let me know if you remember what I remember.
Though Reyes made that error at a most inopportune time, he also made a few sparkling plays earlier in the game — and he had another multi-hit game, including his 9th triple of the season. He has an outside shot to hit 30 triples this year.
Meanwhile, Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez was his usual spectacular self on defense, and make a fantastic snare of a sharp grounder by Justin Turner with the infield drawn in right after Reyes’ triple. It was a web gem and saved a run, but Reyes trotted home moments later on a clean single by Carlos Beltran.
Jonny Venters has some nasty stuff. His sinker is the nastiest I’ve ever seen; I thought it was a slider or a screwball until I saw the 95 MPH radar reading. And he complements that with an equally nasty 85-MPH slider that serves both as a perfect change-up and also a bat-misser — it reminds me of Sparky Lyle’s slider, and he had one of the best of all-time. That said, you have to give props to Justin Turner for taking a great, controlled, short, mechanically picture-perfect swing on one of Venters’ less-nasty sinkers and sending it up the middle for a base hit. I like Turner’s bat — a lot.
On the bright side, Francisco Rodriguez finished his 22nd game, so he needs only 33 more to receive the pot of gold waiting on the other side of Wilpons’ rainbow.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Braves go head to head again on Saturday evening. Game time is 7:10 and pits Jair Jurrjens vs. Dillon Gee.