Mets Game 113: Loss to Braves

Braves 6 Mets 5

The Mets lose the game, the series, and two of their starting infielders — all in one Sunday afternoon.

Mets Game Notes

Dillon Gee just didn’t have it. He struggled in every inning and eventually it caught up to him. In five innings he allowed nine baserunners and five runs. His command was very poor — his sinker was running too much horizontally and was usually below the strike zone. Generally you’d rather be too low than too high — especially with the sinker — but at some point, if the opposing hitters are being disciplined — you have to throw strikes. Gee might have pitched more effectively if he were facing a less disciplined, more aggressive team.

I’m also wondering: are teams finally figuring out Gee’s style and stuff? In other words, is there a complete and accurate scouting report on him now? If so, it’s time for Gee to make an adjustment to the adjustments being made to him. Crucial point in his career.

While Gee struggled, Mike Minor gave us a glimpse as to why the Braves refused to part with him in return for Carlos Beltran. Minor pitched well, mixing speeds and showing a live fastball with good command and movement. I was stunned when Fredi Gonzalez removed Minor with two outs in the sixth, up 5-2. Jose Constanza had just made an error to put runners on second and third, but the Mets were otherwise not doing much against Minor. I would bet that the Mets felt a collective sigh of relief when Minor was removed. As it was they feasted on reliever Eric O’Flaherty, who may have not been completely warmed up before he reached the mound. It always baffles me when managers replace pitchers who are cruising. I know the Braves have a strong bullpen but why try to fix something that isn’t broken? The other argument, I suppose, is that Minor was lined up for a win and Gonzalez wanted to make sure he got it, to boost his confidence. I never have been a big fan of that nonsense — particularly not in this day and age, where starting pitchers rarely have more than 20 decisions in a season. If a kid’s confidence is going to be shattered because he can’t get the third out of an inning, he doesn’t belong in the big leagues.

Jose Reyes left the game in the second inning with a stiff hamstring. Justin Turner replaced him at shortstop for the remainder of the game.

Dan Murphy entered the game at second base in the 7th and didn’t last five minutes. The first play that came his way was a steal by Jose Costanza, and Murphy had his leg positioned alongside the bag as he attempted to receive the throw from Ronny Paulino. Costanza made a feet-first pop-up slide, and when he came down, his foot dropped into the side of Murphy’s leg, twisting his knee. It was curious positioning and footwork by the inexperienced Murphy; I’m not sure why he had his lower leg lying partly down the way it was. I know some second basemen are taught to “drop a knee” but that wasn’t really what Murphy was doing; if it was, it wasn’t in such a way that would protect him — quite the opposite. If you remember, Murphy was also injured last year when his inexperience made him vulnerable to a runner breaking up a double play. Bottom line is this: second base can be dangerous if a player doesn’t know what he’s doing.

After Murphy left the game, he was replaced — briefly — by Scott Hairston. Though he hadn’t played the position since 2008, Hairston played most of his minor league career there and spent his first 85 MLB games there — so he’s more than familiar with the position. However, in the 8th inning, Terry Collins moved Hairston to the outfield, Lucas Duda to 1B, Justin Turner back to 2B, Nick Evans to 3B, and David Wright to shortstop. As you probably know, Wright has never played SS in his pro career. To me, putting Wright at shortstop was incredibly risky, and particularly curious after seeing what happened to Murphy at a position where he is not experienced nor comfortable. What would have happened if Wright was involved in a double play situation — for example — and a Braves runner went into Wright with an aggressive slide? (I know, that rarely happens in MLB these days, but you never know … every once in a while we see some vestige of aggressive, but clean, baseball play). I was stunned to see Wright put into that position of vulnerability, considering what happened to Murphy in the previous inning and also considering how important Wright is to the franchise.

Two pickoff attempts of Michael Bourn resulted in the ball getting away and Bourn going to second base. One was the fault of Nick Evans, the other the fault of D.J. Carrasco.

On a positive note, Jason Bay reached base five times, hitting three singles and walking twice.

Next Mets Game

The Mets stay home to host the Padres on Monday evening. Game time is 7:10 PM and pits Mike Pelfrey vs. Tim Stauffer.

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. SiddFinch August 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm
    Another Sunday, another Parnell Sunday meltdown. But this one with a twist-Reyes & Murphy leaving the game with what looks like DL type of injuries. As for Parnell he’s got the Sunday loss hat trick now! Maybe next Sunday he can keep his streak going-extend it to 4 in row at Arizona!
  2. Midwestern Met August 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm
    Reyes injures, Chipper kills. What else is new? And now it looks like Murph’s on the DL. Well, there goes the season…

  3. dave g August 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm
    It could be worse, we could be the Astros!
  4. gary s. August 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm
    Joe, my first thought was the same thing about Murphy getting injured.He was completely OUT OF POSITION.I don’t blame murphy.He is ok at first or third.He is not and never will be a 2nd baseman.Collins should be aware of that and i blame the manager for getting him injured.Your point about Wright being out of position and getting injured is very valid.All the air is coming out ot the team and the manager at the same time.Not a good thing. One more point, how bad did Reyes and his agent err by not signing an extension a month ago when Reyes was batting .350 plus and playing like a MVP?His value is going down daily and he is becoming an accident waiting to happen.This team needs to be totally retooled to be successful.I hope i am still alive when it happens
  5. Izzy August 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm
    Interesting comment about Wright. Don’t disagree but Collins was not in planning mode and was trying to win a game with everything stacked against him. It wasn’t his fault the GM, who is apparently untouchable no matter how little he does, gave him a roster with no back up who knew how to play short stop. Alderson the great just had to keep the useless Pridie on the roster even tho every backup but the catcher could play the outfield. So Collins was put in a horrible spot and went to Wright… But don’t blame Sandy. He is afterall, perfect. nobody blames Sandy.
    • Joe Janish August 7, 2011 at 9:53 pm
      I agree with you on all your points. However, Collins did have the middle infield set up with people who had middle infield experience — Turner and Hairston — before he lost his mind and moved Wright to SS. Winning one meaningless game was not worth the risk of damaging the only remaining marketable asset (particularly after Reyes and Murphy went down … I mean, who is going to buy a Pridie jersey?).
      • Joe August 8, 2011 at 7:03 am
        I don’t agree on “all points.” Pridie is not “useless,” for instance. He is a good defensive outfielder. He should have been out there — they needed at least one more real defensive player in the 8th and 9th. Nor, do I agree with the whining — it is — about Alderson. For ONE game, they had an emergency shortstop. Two players got hurt. Even then, they didn’t have to put Wright at SS.

        During the Yankee/Red Sox game, there was a crawl that said that reports are that Murphy is out for the season. Horrible result — even with his blundering, he has been a true bright spot this season and he’s hurt (again) for being put in a role he’s not fit for.

        The blame, if there should be any, goes to Collins for putting Murphy at second. The Braves in effect lost a game not thinking short term on Saturday. Hairston was at 2nd and should have staid there.

        That isn’t Alderson’s fault. Collins, including pitching Izzy that second game against the Marlins is starting to make some really bad managing calls. He has been a good pick-up but the stress or something is getting to him. This, not Sandy Alderson or Pridie is the problem. The team is seriously flawed this season because of past mistakes. Collins was chosen to deal with the issue in the short term just like Clint Hurdle had to deal with a flawed Pirates team etc. He did well with it so far; last night, the blame is on him, as you said.

        • Joe Janish August 8, 2011 at 9:11 am
          Alderson’s system is set up such that the manager is to execute the front office’s plan. Per Alderson, Collins is doing a “great job”. Ergo, Alderson’s at fault.
        • Izzy August 8, 2011 at 9:54 am
          After reading articles saying Collins had to a sk Hale and Wright if Wright could play short, I now agree with your analysis. If Collins had to ask, that should have given him his answer.
  6. gary s. August 8, 2011 at 8:09 am
    Collins managing like his teams play lately seems to be in freefall.Of course, with the players at his disposal, this was inevitable.As for Reyes, i’m starting to think his problem is more a schedule problem than an injury problem.He needs to play in a league that has a 90 game season.Chronic hamstring pulls for a player who’s whole game is based on speed is deadly.If i am Jose and his agent, i would sign with any team who offers a decent deal for 4-5 years.After watching yesterdays fiasco, i woukd want to get as far away as possible from this team
  7. Izzy August 8, 2011 at 9:52 am
    Gary; I don’t think his hammies have anything to do with the Met trainers. But who knows. But based on his problems, the agent should justtake the highest bid.
    Joe: You don’t have to blame Alderson for anything. that’s what the PR campaign has been all about since last October or November. However, to blame Collins for using Isringhausen 2 whole nights in a row is ridiculous. afterall, his choice was one of 6 rotten releivers minus whomever already pitched that night or Izzy. And of course you would have the uncanny ability to berate him for whatever choice blew that game that night; Buit of course having a lousy bullpen isn’t Alderson’s fault is it? Luckiest man on baseball universe…Sandy Alderson…. Perfect GM.
    • Joe August 8, 2011 at 10:56 am
      I don’t follow Joe’s comment above — I don’t see the “front office’s plan” requires Wright to be put at SS. I don’t even think it was the best way to win that game, all things considered. Alderson not saying Collins is a lousy manager doesn’t tell me anything either.

      Izzy, I don’t know what “PR campaign” you are talking about.

      As to the other Izzy, the guy obviously has a limit and so far this year w/i it, he has given the team quality innings. This limit includes not having back to back games after a long outing the night before. Their “rotten relievers” game after game have given them quality innings. They had other options to get those three outs. And, no, Alderson doing pretty decent with limited funds given to him isn’t to blame for having the funds to give them more than they have.

      I criticized Collins for a few moves. Your hyperbole is duly noted but it isn’t mine.

  8. Walnutz15 August 8, 2011 at 10:04 am
    In reading everything this morning, my main concern with Murphy from this point forward?

    Overall health; as he’s been run through the wringer in terms of ailments through the years.

    Kid hasn’t exactly been the picture of health, and can be spastic at points on the field. Not a good combo for long-term Major League careers; especially since yesterday involved the left knee.

    Don’t want the kid gimping around 2nd base with TWO bad knees, when he’s already had some tough luck involving “around the bag” injuries.

    Hopefully, he’s alright. But I’d say that defensive position is the last thing on anyone’s mind right now — he can’t play anywhere.

    Great points (RE: Wright playing SS) — and really, I have no idea what to think about offering Reyes the kind of money he’s going to want.

    As usual, no shortage of stories with these guys.

  9. SiddFinch August 8, 2011 at 10:07 am
    Sometimes you read these comments and could swear people are talking about the O’s, Astros or Mariners. The Mets in 2011 are a mediocre team that most expected to be disastrous. They’ve also played over their heads at times, teasing fans into thinking they’re playoff contenders. Which is a helluva lot better than many baseball pundits and Mets fans expected. It’s been fun to see a Mets team overachieve for once. Maybe the wheels fall off now or possibly once they leave their not so friendly home park the team will rebound with some wins or maybe not. For a team so little was expected of the Mets have done all right for themselves in 2011. But a lot of work needs to be done in the upcoming offseasons because the NL East is shaping up to be a very tough division for the next several years. But this season the Mets have not been the trainwreck so many expected and anticipated. In fact considering the injuries and under performances of some (Bay, Pagan, Pelfrey) they’ve been pretty good.
    • Walnutz15 August 8, 2011 at 10:10 am
      Not at all — and that’s why I think it’s interesting to see so many “there goes the season”-type posts across various Met message boards/blogs.

      Who actually thought we were still in contention?