Mets Game 66: Loss to Pirates
Pirates 3 Mets 1
Generally speaking, you’ll take a split on the road. But, this seemed like a series the Mets could have taken, if not swept.
Mets Game Notes
For the second straight start, Mike Pelfrey pitched well, allowing only two runs on 4 hits and no walks, striking out 6 in an efficient, 81-pitch, seven-inning effort. But, Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm was better, shutting out the Mets through seven frames en route to his 50th career win. Maholm kept the Mets hitters in check by simply throwing strikes on the edges of the plate, mixing speeds, and offering enough breaking pitches to keep the hitters thinking.
Jose Reyes did not get any hits but he did drive in the Mets’ only run.
The Mets as a team managed only four hits, though they did walk three times. Dan Murphy led the way with two singles, which was impressive considering he collected both against the lefthanded Maholm.
Terry Collins’ first inning argument performance was disappointing. He was out there arguing about an obstruction call for almost ten minutes. If you’re going to be out there that long, be entertaining. Throw stuff around. Bump the umpire. Get the veins popping. Something. And get thrown out! I don’t understand what he was doing out there so long — he was loitering.
In regard to that play, I disagreed with Keith Hernandez’s assertion that there was no obstruction on the play. Jose Tabata clearly hesitated and changed his running course due to Jose Reyes’ presence near the baseline. I would say, though, that the call could’ve gone either way, because it was a subtle obstruction and Reyes might have been more than three feet out of the baseline. But it was close enough to get called.
Another beef with Keith: he pointed out that Pirates hitter Lyle Overbay swings with a locked front hip. I agree, but why hasn’t Keith ever addressed this issue with Dan Murphy? It’s not quite as obvious as Overbay, but Murphy certainly cuts off his swing and does not incorporate his lower half enough due to his inefficient hip action. Murphy tends to lean his front hip out and toward his back side rather than pivoting through; it’s almost as if he’s fighting against his hips, rather than using them. Yes, Murphy makes a lot of contact but he’d likely hit with more power if he did a better job of using his lower half — just like Overbay, who is a big guy who looks like a slugger but isn’t.
Dan Murphy got in a pickle between second and third in the fifth, disrupting what might have been a mild rally. It was disappointing that he got caught, but more disappointing from a baseball purist’s point-of-view was seeing another horrendous execution of rundown defense by the Bucs. Earlier in the series they nearly botched a rundown involving Josh Thole, and in this one, it took them four throws to retire Murphy when it should’ve taken two at most. I expect to see that kind of ineptitude at the high school JV level, not in MLB.
Also, Murphy really needs to keep hitting the way he’s hitting to make up for his shortcomings on the bases and in the field.
For the second time in as many days, a sac fly resulted in a double play. So much for my statement that it is a rare occasion. It happened in the top of the 8th on a fly ball by Jose Reyes that was converted into a sliding shoestring catch by Jose Tabata. Ruben Tejada properly tagged and scored but Lucas Duda thought the ball dropped safely and advanced to second base.
Speaking of, kudos to the umpire who made that “out” call. He made the call immediately and correctly, and it wasn’t that easy a call to make. All too often we get on umpires for making bad calls, so for once, allow me to point out a very good call.
The Bucs bullpen has shown to be no so good in this series. I don’t understand how Jose Veras can throw in the upper 90s and walk Ruben Tejada, who had no prayer of catching up to his fastball.
I was a little surprised to see lefthanded-hitting Xavier Paul bat against LOOGY Tim Byrdak with the bases loaded and one out in the 8th. There were a few reasons Matt Diaz wasn’t brought in to pinch-hit: a) Diaz is hitting only .214 vs. LHPs this year; b) Paul is a better defensive player; and c) Paul is faster and thus less likely to bounce into a double play. Despite the reasoning, if I were the manager I might have put Diaz in there with the hopes of breaking the game open. Yes he’s only hitting .214 vs. lefties this year but historically he destroys lefties and it is essentially his reason for being in MLB. In other words, I don’t expect him to continue to struggle so mightily against lefties, and would hedge my bet that he’d have a better chance of getting a base hit off of Byrdak than the youngster.
Next Mets Game
The Mets move on to Atlanta to face the Braves on Tuesday night. Game time is 7:10 PM and will feature starting pitchers Jonathon Niese and Jair Jurrjens.