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