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.

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. gary s. June 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm
    Just got home from game.Sat downstairs in sec 114.Aisles and aisles of empty seats.Maybe 18-20,000 in the park on a beautiful nite against the Braves,A couple of years ago at Shea, there would have been a minimum of 40,000 fans at the game.Same script as the last few losses, close game, get lead, bullpen blows game.Total funeral feel at game.Sad
  2. izzy June 4, 2011 at 7:13 am
    Collins said he was sick of the you know what and things were going to change. The only change seems to be he is managing just like Jerry Manuel. Bringing up the ice ice ice cold Harris as a PH and bringinhg in Isringhausen when he’sworn out and can’t perform well. If you’re gonna manage like Jerry, why are you here Collins?
    • Joe June 4, 2011 at 9:29 am
      Tejada has been hitting a bit lately. What is the logic there?

      I say leave Niese in for one more batter though he probably didn’t have a lot left (I thought Dickey should have been pulled earlier, so what do I know?), but anyway, the run was unearned.

  3. Mic June 4, 2011 at 8:13 am
    Agreed izzy. I think tc just cant learn from his own mistakes. Izzy is broke…rest him. Niese pitched a gem, 95 pitches thru 7 was astounding and enuff. Plus chipper up first in the 8th was a sure sign.

    Joe. You point to a stark contrast. Sans linebrink, the atl bullpen is all rookie not retread. I hope brad holt comes up as a reliever.

  4. gary s. June 4, 2011 at 8:34 am
    The problem with this team is they find ways to lose all the time instead of finding ways to win.If he leaves Niese in, he probably gives up a home run to Uggla.All the managers use the same script for the 8th and 9th.Your players have to do what they are paid to do or every manager is going to look bad.Izzy and K-thug both failed and the reyes error was a killer.That’s not the manager’s fault.They should have won the game 3-2 and nobody blames the manager
    • izzy June 4, 2011 at 9:55 am
      It is the manager’s fault when he extremely overuses an old injury battered guy like Izzy night after night. It is the manager’s fault when he brings in a guy like Harris a total bust in every regard this year for a kid who has been improving daily, it is the manager’s fault when he refuses to take Bay out of the clean up spot and let him re learn how to his in a less critical spot, and for a kid like Thole who is given a different story every day about his role, it is the manager’s fault when his game deteriorates rapidly for no apparent reason. Some guys need to be treated differently than others and all Terry can do is yell accountability and things are going to change. Not good for some guys. That’s why Thole isn’t a Marine.
      • gary s. June 4, 2011 at 11:06 am
        The manager is not responsible for the non performing players he is told to play by the gm on his roster.I defy any manager in mlb to make hay out of hairston, harris and hu.He doesn’t have a dependable lefty in the pen since the season started.I agree on Jason K, but with all the injuries he’s trying and praying to get Bay started.The Wilpons lack of money due to their complete incompetence created the need to sign bargain guys like Izzy, Buchholz and oconnor and they are either are bad or will break down.How do you blame the manager on that and if you do, who do you want to replace him with to “keep the game from deteriorating rapidly”? .