Mets Game 102: Win Over Reds

Mets 4 Reds 2

An entertaining game from start to finish. And once again, the Mets reach that tantalizing .500 mark.

Mets Game Notes

R.A. Dickey kept the Reds befuddled through 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on 8 hits and a walk, striking out 7. I’m still not sure how Cincinnati scored against him. I mean, I know how — I saw how — but what I mean is, Dickey had the knuckler dancing, while also having command of it, and it was surprising that the Reds were able to do anything at all against it. They seemed to be defending themselves against the knuckler rather than attacking it.

In contrast, Reds starter Mike Leake struggled a bit with his command — his sinker was running wildly to the left and right — but he managed to work out of jams and keep the Mets from crossing the plate. It was kind of like Dillon Gee‘s performance on Sunday, except Leake had command of his stuff than Gee. Leake actually left the game with a 1-0 lead, but the Cincinnati bullpen threw gasoline on a small fire and allowed four runs to score in the seventh — two of them charged to Leake. Once Leake left, it was like a dam burst … as if there was, um, a leak …

Dan Murphy led off the second inning by lashing a double into the left-center gap. He then attempted to advance to third base on a ground ball back to the pitcher, and was retired easily. It’s things like this that happen consistently and make you shake your head, wondering if Murphy will ever “get it”. He thinks like Reyes but runs like Murphy.

Later in the game, Murphy cut off a throw from the outfield destined for home plate as a run crossed the plate. Had he allowed the ball to go through, it would have been a close play at the plate. I’m not sure if Josh Thole called for him to cut it off or if Murphy made the decision on his own, but either way, it was a strange decision.

But, we will glaze over Murphy’s questionable decisions because he is a doubles machine — he hit two more in this game and now has 26 on the season. Is anyone keeping track of the runs Murphy creates compared to the runs he allows in the field and loses on the basepaths? I gave up counting a long time ago.

Jason Bay hit his first extra-base hit in almost 200 at-bats, lashing an RBI double during that four-run 7th. It was his 31st RBI of the season. Ouch.

David Wright had two more hits. He’s now 8 for 19 since coming off the DL. Go David.

Brandon Phillips made several stellar plays at second base to rob the Mets of base hits. I know he is a Gold Glove Award winner but I never realized how good he was defensively. That’s one of the negative aspects of interleague play — we get to see some NL teams only a few times a year and therefore don’t always get the chance to fully appreciate many NL players. But hey, at least we get to experience rivalries like Mets vs. Athletics.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Reds do it again at 7:10 PM on Tuesday night. Jonathon Niese faces Johnny Cueto.

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. Midwestern Met July 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm
    Oh man was that close. These guys know how to scare the fans. But as long as they keep winning, it’s all good. LGM
  2. wohjr July 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm
    That Votto dude scares me, nice to miss him one game. He is looking out to left-center right before he hits, looking to go the other way I guess- love the approach. JBay still highest paid canadian athlete of all time though
  3. SiddFinch July 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm
    Three things Joe:

    Always enjoy your pitching insights, very detailed and accurate

    murph is what he is, which is why they should trade him now while he’s at peak value

    i have a feeling the Met’s will go 7-3 (including tonight’s game) and head into the braves series 3-4 games
    outta the WC lead. it’s that kind of team-every time you bury ’em they rise up and when you’re ready to believe in ’em they take a dive. plus i think the 2011 braves impressive as their pitching has been, is a mediocre bunch and due for a correction in their record.

  4. JoeBourgeois July 25, 2011 at 11:36 pm
    Hate to contradict you, but that was Bay’s first _double_ in 2 months. He hit a couple homers right before the break.
    • Joe Janish July 26, 2011 at 3:46 am
      I didn’t realize those homers counted! Thought they were part of the All Star Game or Homerun Derby or sumtin.
  5. Joe July 26, 2011 at 7:02 am
    Watching that 9th inning, it was like K-Rod never left.

    Murphy cutting off the ball was a “safe” decision — if it was going to be a close play at the plate, there was a chance that the runner would advance to second and the Reds still scoring. Up 4-1, it makes some sense to play it safe there. Not saying it was the right one; it just wasn’t “strange.”

    The baserunning thing, well, that was just stupid. He’s a fun player and more importantly hits, but that sort of thing is just ridiculous.

    • JoMama July 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm
      Replace “safe” with “stupid” – no need to cut that ball off at all. Thole was in position (for once) and the ball was up the line – he would have had a nice play on it. But again, Murp is a man w/out a position because his D blows. I mean it’s bad, great question about the net/net of Murp (RBI’s vs. runs he lets in) – can anyone find out?
      • Joe July 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm
        I’m responding to the commentary:

        “Had he allowed the ball to go through, it would have been a close play at the plate.”

        IOW, he could very well have not made the play and the runner might have advanced to second. This happens a lot. If Thole’s positioning is surprising to you, the “safe” thing to do again would be to assume that he wouldn’t make the play. Again, not saying it was the right one.

        As a regular viewer, Murphy looks like an adequate (this isn’t big praise) first baseman who now and then makes a boneheaded base running mistake. Meanwhile, he hits over .300. A good NL team very well might bear with him (good hitting players with verve but various bad instincts exist in the NL, they aren’t just DHs); a .500 team like the Mets very well can. What is the over/under of Bay, Pagan et. al. these days?

  6. Walnutz15 July 26, 2011 at 7:22 am
    RE: Murphy

    He almost broke his neck at 1st last night in the 9th inning (not to mention, almost killed Izzy in the process – take a look at how pissed he looked afterward…lol).

    One of the least fundamentally sound players in baseball……guess that’s bound to happen when your only discernable skill is that you can swing a bat. (A.L. written all over that guy, from Day 1.)

    Thankfully, he was able to come through in a big spot.

    Great job last night. Izzy has looked terrific [that inning never happens if Wright gets himself in front of a ball, in lieu of playing it off to the side, as always], and I do hope that they’re able to squeeze a younger player out of a contender in need of a proven late-inning arm.

    Believe me, I don’t have any delusions of grandeur with regard to trading Isringhausen. I’m just saying – you never know what a team desperate for an arm might be willing to give up in terms of a deadline deal.

    Not saying it happens with any glaring frequency, but I see these “reliever”-type deadline deals as the ones you reflect upon later on….when certain guys get called up to Major League rosters, saying “you believe they traded this kid for Jason Isringhausen?”.

    Given Izzy’s age and health concerns through the years, I wouldn’t be devastated if Alderson moved him to bring back anything of interest……another year of Isringhausen would be pushing it, big-time — provided he even makes it through the 2nd half unscathed – IMHO.

    Go get ’em, Sandy.

  7. Timo July 26, 2011 at 9:40 am
    I totally agree Walnutz. Murphy almost put Izzy on the DL and then we wouldn’t have been able to trade him. Murphy is what he is, a good bat and horrible fielder. SiddFinch said it right when we got to trade high. Too bad MLB didn’t adopt softball rules, then we could have Tejada play the field and Murphy could hit for him.
  8. gary s. July 26, 2011 at 10:11 am
    Murphy is a later day version of Marvelous Marv Throneberry.He is a diasaster with the glove and is clueless on the bases.Despite that, he was born to be a DH.Please trade him at the break to a AL team while his value is high for a prospect.One more thing, does anyone agree with me that if we didn’t have Ike Davis, that it’s time to move D Wright to first base.He is a mess at third base since he came back,Ironically, Davis’s height and soft hands at first, would make David look a lot better if he was playing first these days.
  9. Garett V. July 26, 2011 at 10:23 am
    Hovering around .500 ain’t gonna do it; we need to rattle off 10-12 wins in a row here; god how I hate wallowing in mediocrity
    • izzy July 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm
      10-12 in a row. Is the team improved with a bullpen minus KROS and will the offense and defense be improved without Beltran? Hardly…..
  10. Rob July 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm
    Joe: The first run that they scored against Dickey was that double by Phillips off a first pitch FASTBALL. I was watching the game on SNY and Cohen and Hernandez commented that Dickey made a mistake in his pitch selection, particularly considering how his knuckler was dancing.
    • Joe Janish July 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm
      Yeah Dickey has been using his fastball more frequently this year, I think partially because the knuckler has been inconsistent but also because he’s been fooling guys with it. The problem is that teams / scouts may be starting to catch on to the frequency he’s been throwing it, and batters might be starting to look for it. It has a little bit of run but not enough sink nor velocity, so it’s going to get crushed if guys wait for it.

      Agreed — poor pitch selection in this particular game. The way that knuckler was dancing he should have used it in all situations except 3-0 counts.

  11. Jerseymet July 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm
    Give Murphy a position and he will settle down. He does look best at third base. He may be the best value on the team.
    • izzy July 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm
      I think the only reason Murphy doesn’t seem so bad at third is because less plays involve 3rd basemen and also because he spent most of his time in the minors there so he has become a less than average but not atrocious guy there. He is a one tool player. bats. can’t run can’t field and has no baseball IQ. If someone would offer something for him do it.
      • Joe Janish July 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm
        Murphy has essentially become a less fundamentally sound version of Mark DeRosa, which is scary, because DeRosa isn’t necessarily fundamentally sound himself.
        • murph July 27, 2011 at 12:05 am
          That near 3-way collision at first base between Janish, Izzy & Murph reminded me of this blog.