Mets Game 134: Win Over Marlins

Mets 3 Marlins 2

It took most of the year, but the Mets finally figured out how to beat the Fish. And with this win, they just barely escaped finishing the month with wins in the single digits.

Mets Game Notes

Chris Capuano was nowhere near as stellar as he was in his last start, and in fact struggled through most of his outing. His command was off, and the only reason he went as many as five innings was because he was able to entice the young and aggressive Marlins hitters to chase change-ups in the dirt. Cappy went five frames, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out four.

Something I noticed about Capuano in this start was his imbalance at the leg lift. He appeared to have a little too much momentum / weight moving toward first base as his right leg came up in the motion, and I believe this caused him to lose just enough balance to mess with his release point and ultimately his command. It was a very tiny, almost imperceptible difference from his normal delivery, but it may have been enough to throw him off. My guess is it is either a bad habit or something that occurred due to fatigue. Most likely it is not a huge deal.

What didn’t seem like a big deal at the time but became a key moment came in the second inning, with two outs, and Chris Volstad standing on first base. Volstad was nearly picked off by Capuano, despite a lead of less than three feet. As a result, Volstad was pretty much anchored to the first base bag until the ball was nearing the catcher — he looked like he was playing by little league rules. Omar Infante blasted one high off the left field wall, but Volstad had no lead, was lumbering rather than running, and could not score on the double. It’s one thing to carry a piano on your back, but to be playing it as well … jeez Louise … In all honesty, I’m certain that Carlos Delgado could have scored on that drive by Infante — today. But Volstad didn’t, and was stranded at third base. See the final score?

The other three key plays in the game came toward the end. Lucas Duda fell behind 0-2 in the 8th with Jose Reyes on second, one out, and tough lefty Mike Dunn on the mound. Duda stayed away from sliders in the dir and spoiled a few “pitcher’s pitches” to work the count full, then dumped a pitch into center to drive in Reyes with what ultimately was the winning run. How did Duda do it? He SHORTENED UP. In other words, he cut down his swing, and just tried to make contact, rather than attempt to sky the ball into the stratosphere. This is what winning hitters do in a tie ballgame with a man on second and behind on the count.

The other two key plays came in the top of the ninth, with Alfredo Amezaga representing the tying run on second base. Bobby Parnell gave up two bullets that were snared by first David Wright and then Ruben Tejada; they were converted into outs two and three. Whew! Save #3 for Mr. Parnell.

Speaking of relievers, the Mets bullpen managed to pitch four scoreless frames — quite a rarity in August. Pedro Beato was especially sharp compared to his most recent outings, though he was facing the bottom of the lineup and throwing mostly curveballs and fastballs over the middle of the plate. We’ll see what happens when he needs to be more fine.

And while we’re on the subject of rarities, Jason Bay collected three hits, including his 12th double of the season. Twelfth? And it’s now September? Ouch.

The Mets were 3-for-13 with RISP. The Marlins were 2-for-12. See the final score?

There was some talk during the game by the SNY crew about catchers “framing” pitches, and in particular, Josh Thole “jerking” close pitches into the strike zone. If you’ve been reading here a while you know my take on “framing”; if you don’t know my stance or need a refresher, go here. Why is this an issue? Because some (many?) umpires do not respond well to catchers who try to “frame” every other pitch. In this game, I sincerely believe that home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth was getting annoyed with Thole’s “framing” — and as a result, Thole lost at least 2 or 3, maybe as many as a half-dozen strikes. I can’t get all over Thole, though, because I’m sure that someone in the Mets organization taught him to “frame” at some point. Further, at least 50-60% — maybe more — MLB catchers are similarly guilty. The problem is that catchers are rewarded with “framing” at the lower levels, where the umpires are not as skilled and often call strikes where they’re caught instead of where they pass over the plate. As a result, the catchers continue “framing” to the point where it becomes a habit when they get to the pro levels. It’s a bad idea, and I stand by my feeling that a catcher who catches the ball where it’s pitched, catches the proper side of the ball, beats the ball to the spot, and “sticks” each pitch, will get more close calls than the catcher who “frames”. But what do I know? I’ve only been doing this for 30+ years …

Next Mets Game

Believe it or not, the Mets and Marlins face each other AGAIN on Thursday night. Game time is 7:10 PM and pits newly promoted Miguel Batista and Clay Hensley.

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. Joe September 1, 2011 at 6:02 am
    It didn’t matter in the end but Bay being tagged out after missing home plate could have been a key play if the defense wasn’t as stellar as it was in the 9th.
    • Steve S. September 1, 2011 at 8:36 am
      Why are these guys going head first into home?
  2. MikeT September 1, 2011 at 10:36 am
    Joe it wasn’t terribly long ago that you did not think Duda was a legit prospect or Major League hitter. In fact it was just a year ago when he got his first cup of coffee. And I threw his name around prior to that as well. It is understandable given his less than inspiring minor league power numbers, and the team’s general inability to develop talent, but I wonder what you think of him now. Do you feel that the Mets should take a chance on him in RF next year? Do you think he has a decent career in front of him?

    Please don’t misinterpret this as proof I think Duda is an All-Star. I’m simply pleased he is doing well and I’ve always thought he had potential. His ceiling might be that of .270/25 HRs, but his approach seems sustainable so I try to not get hung up in projected numbers.

  3. cdubbs September 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm
    good call on batista