Mets Game 67: Win Over Braves

Mets 4 Braves 3

The Mets beat the Braves in Atlanta? In a one-run game? I suppose Halley’s Comet will be appearing shortly as well.

Mets Game Notes

Jon Niese continues to use a consistent arm angle and release point, and as a result, continues to consistently command the baseball and get lots of outs. He had that great overhand curve working again, and set it up nicely with the two-seam fastball (a.k.a., sinker). I didn’t see many cutters, did you? Maybe a handful; one, I think, resulted in the RBI single by Joe Mather in the second frame. If you were visiting this blog last year you may remember my constant harping on Niese to give up the cutter and concentrate on the curve. Now you know why I was so adamant about that — his curve keeps him in that good mechanical “zone” and it gives him a more lethal repertoire over the long haul.

Jair Jurrjens is supposed to be a “Cy Young candidate”, but two of his three losses have been against the Mets. For the second time in ten days, he has looked unimpressive against the Mets, with poor command and body language that shows a lack of confidence. I’d like to say that the Mets are that awesome at drawing walks, but his five walks in five innings had more to do with Jurrnens missing wildly than the Mets hitters having great eyes at the plate. Something is not right with him, and I can’t tell for sure if it is an injury thing or a mechanical thing. It looks like he might be turning his front shoulder in early in his motion, causing it to fly out early. Part of the problem was that his catcher David Ross was reminding him to keep that shoulder closed, but like many pitchers, Jurrjens over-compensated by closing it too much and too early. Ideally, the shoulder remains pointed toward the target, and stays there as the front foot lands. But what most pitchers do is turn that shoulder inward during the leg lift, so that it is pointing somewhere between the batter’s back and the on-deck circle. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so the result is the front shoulder flying open when the front foot plants. This puts a strain on the throwing arm and affects command; the symptom is the baseball flying up and out toward the arm side.

Jose Reyes is showing no sign of slowing down. I wonder if he’s still warming up. Reyes went 3-for-5 with a double, two stolen bases, an RBI, and two runs scored.

On-base machine Willie Harris had a single and two walks while hitting second in the order. It was a little weird seeing a left fielder rather than a second baseman hitting in that spot.

Joe Mather had an RBI single, but man the Braves must be really hurting for outfielders if they keep putting him in the lineup. Mather makes Braves fans remember Jeff Francoeur fondly (though, Mather certainly sees more pitches; he just doesn’t hit many of them with any kind of authority).

There was no rain in Atlanta (as far as I know), yet the area around first base was very wet and slick — so much so that the grounds crew had to come out and apply some sand and speedy dry. Though they’d never admit it, the Braves likely did so to slow down Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, and other fleet-footed members of the Mets. And it is completely within the rules to do so. Though, if you make the field so wet it is deemed dangerous, then the umpires will make you dry it up, as they did in the first inning of this ballgame.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Braves do it again at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night. Dillon Gee looks to remain undefeated against Tim Hudson.

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. Chris from Freehold June 15, 2011 at 9:16 am
    Nice win. I saw only a handful of cutters from Niese as well – doesn’t seem like he gets enough movement on them to saw-off the RHBs, but I guess a “handful” is appropriate. One thing that is driving me crazy is the way Thole seems to backhand every ball – is it me or does he never even try and frame a pitch?
  2. Joe June 15, 2011 at 9:36 am
    A passed ball and possibly generous scoring decision (the guys figured the guy wouldn’t have scored w/o the PB) helped the one run score. Good to see a pitcher lay down a bunt. And, seriously, what is with Harris getting on base like that when inserted in the line-up?