Mets Game 59: Win Over Braves

Mets 6 Braves 4

Mets take two out of three from the Braves despite unfavorable pitching matchups and second-stringers making up half the lineup.

Makes you wonder why they can’t win consistently at full strength.

Mets Game Notes

R.A. Dickey had a sparkling start, and for a change, earned a win as a result. He’s been a different, more effective pitcher since tearing his plantar fascia, which suggests to me that he’s changed something about his mechanics that has resulted in getting him on a straighter path toward home plate than he had before. Or, maybe he’s doing something with his front foot that for whatever reason forces him to be consistent with his landing and as a result consistent with his release point. Or maybe it’s just the fact that he’s concentrating on his mechanics more than anything else. Or, maybe it’s just a coincidence that he’s pitched better since suffering the injury.

Meanwhile, Braves starter Tim Hudson was not himself. Normally, he paints the corners with a running sinker that stays right around the knees. He also throws with a low three-quarter release that allows him to get good sideways movement. On this particular evening, it looked to me like that his arm was a little lower than it usually is as it moved toward the release point; his elbow looked a hair below his shoulder. As a result, his hand was often under the ball at release — almost like he was “pushing” — and the ball was staying between the belt and chest level. This also resulted in a lack of downward and sideways movement, so we saw a number of pitches that hung around the middle of the plate. Guess what? You throw waist-high pitches over the heart of the plate and MLBers are going to hit you — and that’s exactly what happened, as the Mets pounded him for 7 hits and 5 runs in only 4 innings.

Jose Reyes is carrying the team. He had another multiple-hit game, with two hits (including a double), two runs scored, and an RBI. He’s hitting .465 over his last ten games with 13 runs scored, four doubles, four triples and six RBI. He also has a 10-game hitting streak and has scored at least one run in nine straight.

Despite all that offense by Jose, the Mets are only 5-5 over that span. Makes you wonder where the Mets might be without him.

Carlos Beltran belted a run-scoring double in the first frame, but left the game after fouling a ball off his shin in his second at-bat. Luckily it’s only a bruise and the Mets have a day off, so hopefully it won’t keep him out of the lineup. The Mets really cannot afford to lose another bat.

Speaking of losing bats, Jason Bay sat out this one. Unfortunately, no one noticed. I’m feeling really bad for Bay, who is a better hitter than we’ve seen and hard-nosed, all-around ballplayer.

Leave it to Francisco Rodriguez to keep things interesting. The Mets entered the ninth inning with a 6-1 lead and Manny Acosta on the mound. Acosta walked the first batter he saw, got a flyout, then allowed a double to Freddie Freeman to put men on second and third. Strangely enough, Terry Collins saw fit to bring in K-Rod in that situation — up by five, with one out in the ninth. I guess that’s what desperate managers do, but I don’t get the idea that Collins is managing for his job right now. As it was, K-Rod threw gasoline on the fire, allowing a three-run blast to pinch-hitter Diory Hernandez before striking out the next two hitters to end the game. Yes, END the game, which means he earned his 23rd finish of the season. 32 more to go!

The gopher ball that K-Rod threw to Hernandez was clocked at 87 MPH. I think it was a fastball, though it may have been a hung slider. After the game in the locker room, he said that his issue was “location” and that he meant to put that pitch “low and away” but it went “middle-in”. Generally speaking, “low and away” is where he would usually spot his slider. Why am I making a big deal out of this? Because if he is throwing an 87-MPH fastball, then something is physically wrong. I know he doesn’t hit mid-90s anymore, but he is usually around 89-91.

Next Mets Game

The Mets get a day off on Monday as they travel to Milwaukee to start a three-game series with the Brewers. Game one is Tuesday night at 8:05 PM EST and pits Chris Capuano against Shaun Marcum.

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. Josh Burton June 5, 2011 at 11:50 pm
    Regardless of the games finished incentive for K-Rod, do you think it’s time for Terry Collins to move him into the setup role and move Isringhausen into the closer spot.
    I don’t know about you, but is he returning to the K-Rod in which he gives up a run or just blows the save in every opportunity he is granted?
    • Joe June 6, 2011 at 12:11 am
      I., the guy who looks like he is wearing down, should be moved into the closer role?

      Anyway, the path to the future is to clear away problems, even if it hurts, and start afresh. It is not to keep problem players on so they can linger on and on. After a year and a half, Bay is starting to look like one of those players.

      Seems like a nice guy and it’s hard to believe he really is done. If he is really a “better hitter,” is it the team he is on? If so, move him, eat some of his contract and get someone who will do better. You will have to pay the money either way, but one way might help you build a player that will actually not look lost out there.

      • Joe Janish June 6, 2011 at 12:24 am
        With Bay it’s probably a combination of many issues. A change of scenery probably won’t hurt him. Though many may disagree, I think Bay is tradeable if the Mets eat some of the contract. A move could be good for all parties.
    • Joe Janish June 6, 2011 at 12:21 am
      Josh, I think it’s a little early to pull the plug on K-Rod as closer. He did, after all, save 16 straight not so long ago. If you look around baseball, there aren’t that many “lights out” closers who are a near-guarantee to save games. In fact, even a sub-par K-Rod — which is what he is now — is still better than probably 75% of the closers in MLB today.

      Also I agree with Joe — Izzy is exhausted right now, and not in position to be moved into a closer role.