Mets Game 140: Win Over Marlins

Mets 7 Marlins 4

For much of the game, I wasn’t sure whether I was watching two teams that were trying to win, or two teams that were trying to lose.

Mets Game Notes

Elder statesman Miguel Batista was stellar in his second start as a Met, allowing one run while scattering five hits and four walks through six innings. You can’t really ask much more of a fill-in. The only question is, what does it matter, when the Mets’ season is effectively over, will be rebuilding again in 2012, and Batista is over 40?

This should have been a 4-2 Mets victory, but Bobby Parnell shat the bed in the ninth. I know that you have to give Parnell at least a few weeks as the closer to see if he can do it, because jerking him in and out of the role will only destroy his confidence. But so far the flamethrower is looking like a fireman — in the Fahrenheit 451 sense of the word.

The lead went back and forth several times, but this game was mostly a yawner until the ninth; and then it got boring again. Even when the Mets went ahead in the 12th, it wasn’t terribly exciting –or maybe at 12:40 AM, I was just too damn tired to care. So-so pitching overwhelmed disinterested hitting for most of the contest. I will blame the rain delay and ban on greenies for that.

The Mets collected 16 hits to the Marlins’ 9; both teams left 16 on base.

The Fish intentionally walked Willie Harris twice to face Nick Evans, who made them pay by hitting a RBI single one of those times. Even with first base open, I just don’t for the life of me understand the logic behind walking Willie Harris intentionally to face the red-hot Evans. Call me crazy.

Speaking of Evans, he had three hits, drove in three runs (all of which gave the Mets the lead), and made several sparkling plays on defense. I cannot stop talking about how pleased I am to see him succeeding now that he’s finally been given a legitimate opportunity to play regularly. Those of you who have been reading this blog for several years know I’ve been pining to see this happen for Nick for a long time.

Justin Turner was 3-for-4 with two walks and an RBI. Jose Reyes was hitless in his first three at-bats but finished 3-for-6, as did Angel Pagan and Nick Evans.

Josh Stinson earned his first Major League save.

Greg Dobbs looked better at the plate than Keith Hernandez had ever seen him. Dobbs had three hits, including two doubles, and two RBI.

On three separate occasions, the Fish had the bases loaded with one out yet did not score.

After watching Jose Ceda for the third time, he seems to me to be a combination of Armando Benitez and Jorge Julio (one tweeter suggested that he ate them both; she may be right) — an overweight, power pitcher whose second pitch is a split/forkball, and who can alternately look overpowering and completely inept while facing the same batter. Ceda struck out 53 AAA batters in 39 innings, so I guess it’s merely a matter of confidence. I use the term “merely” loosely.

There was an absurd three-minute period in the 11th inning when pitcher / former catcher Chris Hatcher pinch-ran for Mike Cameron, and Ryota Igarashi came in relief with runners on second and third. It seemed like Jack McKeon was trying to give the Mets a chance to win, and Terry Collins refused to take it. (BTW, Cameron left due to a tight hamstring, but that doesn’t fully explain Hatcher as the replacement — particularly with the expanded roster.)

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Marlins conclude their season series — finally — with a ballgame on Wednesday afternoon that begins at 5:10 PM. R.A. Dickey goes to the hill against Brad Hand.

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 7, 2011 at 6:57 am
    The announcers said that the Marlins were out of position players (yeah, even with call-ups) or down to one (someone had to fill in for Cameron in the field) and I guess that last one couldn’t run any better than the pitcher. You see pitchers pinch run at times after all. Of course, if that pop up was caught, it wouldn’t have really mattered.

    It kinda matters, Batista, since the people out there in ’12 will be some of these players and giving them a chance to win ball games (and Parnell a chance to save them) kinda matters. As much as September games do. And, the other call-up is going to pitch against the Braves, or yeah, he should have been out there instead.

    [In the “gamer” department, how about the beauty contestant winner, with crown, singing around 1 A.M. at Yankee stadium in the rain?]

    • Jeffrey Maier September 7, 2011 at 9:32 am
      How about the Yanks consistently getting the benefit of the umpiring crews on interference calls?


  2. Walnutz15 September 7, 2011 at 7:41 am
    RE: Nick Evans

    The funny thing to me has always been that Evans definitely struck me as the more Major League-ready player (over someone like Daniel Murphy).

    I know that Murph fans will be having a conniption over this statement, but so be it. Evans had (multiple) defensive positions he looked a world more comfortable playing – and could always have taken a guy like Fernando Tatis’ spot off the bench……for years now.

    It’s kinda hard to get yourself going when you get an AB every 4th day vs. someone’s toughest LHP, then a spot start where you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders to produce. The Mets never afforded Evans the kind of opportunity they did Murphy, and I think it’s been prety foolish on both fronts.

    He’s definitely better than Murphy over there at 1st base; and he’s been comfortable in the outfield — it’s been apparent for years.

    I’m glad Evans has finally stepped up at the plate — I had said a few weeks back, after seeing him take that called 3rd strike with the sacks full in Philly; that it’d take a minor miracle at the dish for him to be considered to stick around next season.

    We’re in the process of seeing that now.

    It makes for an interesting call, heading into next year…….there’s no reason he shouldn’t have been a member of this team for the last few years. They’ve been terrible, and there’s no excuse not to have given him some playing time.

    Attaboy, Jerry.

    • Joe September 7, 2011 at 8:34 am
      I don’t think Evans’ bat was impressive enough over the years for him to be at first over Murphy. Defensively, and he was playing there last year too a lot late, I don’t recall as many kudos (rightly so) as he is getting now.

      If he was a hidden talent, many teams missed it. He was put on wavers repeatedly and not picked up. No argument that he deserved someone else’s spot. Willie cough Harris, for instance. But, how Murphy was hitting, he deserved to be there.

      • Nick Evans September 7, 2011 at 9:29 am
        For the record, I never played a game at 1st Base in 2010.
  3. Walnutz15 September 7, 2011 at 8:43 am
    That’s the thing – he never hit enough during the minimal “opportunity” he was afforded. That’s what ultimately did Evans in, along with whatever problems he may have had – dealing with his demotions after Spring Training.

    Murphy should have never been on the roster in ’09 – starting in LF, no less – and the Mets should have pursued an actual legit corner outfielder; while he learned a true position in the minor leagues.

    While it could be construed as “hindsight” to those who don’t follow this site — it was said at the time, and now — 4 seasons later (from ’08, where they were piecing Evans and Murphy in anyway), they’re just getting an idea of what Evans might be able to provide off the bench.

    Sad when you’ve seen the parade of crap they’ve carried through the years….some making a couple million here, a couple millions there in the process.

  4. TheDZA September 7, 2011 at 8:44 am
    ‘Shat the bed’ should be a new stat after saves no?!

    Anyone see how many pitches Turner faced in 4 at-bats? 35…yes Thirty-five…Couple of other guys made the upper 20’s too.

    Bit of a conundrum for next year maybe in terms of defensive positions – I mean Ike has 1st base, Duda RF, then where to put Murphy and Evans – good bench guys – and under 42 yrs old – things ARE changing…

  5. gary s. September 7, 2011 at 8:52 am
    Don’t get too excited over triple a players hitting well in september after rosters have been expanded and many teams just want the season to end,Mike Vail comes to mind.Still rather have Evans in left field the last 2 years than Jason K though,Impossible to be any worse and would have been a bargain to boot.
  6. Walnutz15 September 7, 2011 at 9:00 am
    I hear ya, Gary. And certainly, there are no delusions of grandeur here (RE: Evans) — just that it’s been said for almost a handful of seasons now, that he could have been up with these (terrible) Met teams providing something off the bench……cost-effectively, to boot.

    Instead, we’ve wasted options – seen every geriatric millionaire friend of Omar Minaya – and clowns masquerading as defensive players in our outfield.

    Chris Carter? Woof.

    Mike Hessman? Get outta here.

    Daniel Murphy sliding on banana peels out in LF?


    We’ll see what happens this winter, but I wouldn’t be so quick to toss him to the curb.

    • Chin-Lung Hu September 7, 2011 at 9:07 am
      Don’t you……forget about me.


  7. Joe September 7, 2011 at 11:53 am
    I made a mistake above — Evans didn’t play at First in ’10. He played a few times in 2008 and 2009.

    As to making a mistake in not giving him more chances, again, it is not like the Mets aren’t the only one who didn’t. He was on waivers repeatedly. No one picked him up. It isn’t like it was yet another stupid Met trick alone there.

    I concur he was better than various people. As to outfield, they got Bay. Do you want him over Bay? Well, in hindsight, maybe. Over Pagan? Duda? Citing short timers like Carter isn’t that responsive.

    Murphy didn’t belong in the outfield or at second base. But, at first base, he hit pretty damn well while playing okay enough to stay there. And, if he actually had a full year there, he would have been more comfortable.

    • Walnutz15 September 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm
      In lieu of exposing Evans to waivers, I would have carried him on the roster to start a few different seasons now.

      Again – you’re bringing up starting outfield positions. I’m merely making the case that he’d be more valuable off the bench than anyone the Mets have carried through the years — and in some cases, millions of dollars cheaper, to boot. My prime example of this would be Mr. Fernando Tatis – card-carrying member of the “Friends Of Omar” (F.O.O.) Gang.

      That’s the point….and citing short-timers is exactly the reason I’m even continuing the discussion.

      See any of Janishes’ past posts involving Evans for any additional clarification — chances are, I’m right there with him in any support of “Nowhere Man” (my nickname for Evans for years now).

      The Mets have been big fans of trying to stick square pegs into round holes through the years — with nowhere close to finished products.

      Having any semblance of a defensive position — instead of “on the job” cross your finger jobs (i.e. – Murphy each year he’s played) — usually helps. Evans is much more serviceable, all-around.

      I also value that he doesn’t routinely get himself injured while attempting to play defense.

      We’ll see where this goes.

  8. murph September 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm
    Somebody finally matched Daniel Murphy’s team lead in number of games played this season. Iron men Jason Bay & Daniel Murphy lead the team with 109 games played.

    That shows how much the 2011 Mets were ravaged with injury. Even their most steady players have missed at least a month of baseball.

  9. Joe September 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm
    W. brings up various things that aren’t really my issue. I agree there were various people who were on the roster not as good as him.

    If you don’t want to expose him to waivers, still, the short timers aren’t the issue. It is one of the people there for a longer time instead of him. And, there are much fewer of them — Willie Harris is one — who Evans is clearly a better choice.

    What “square pegs” do you mean? That can’t be a bench player. That means someone in the field, which is Murphy in the OF, which I said I opposed. Who else? What other permanent player was a “square peg” in a “round hole” in the last few years? The catchers left something to be desired. That’s not it.

    The use of hitters with weak defensive skills is something that is done in the NL. Murphy had the hitting skills this year to make him a worthwhile first basemen. It is not clear if anyone refuted my point that other teams didn’t see the proper potential in Evans too, so this isn’t just some (as is a usual thing) some stupid Met thing.

  10. Walnutz15 September 8, 2011 at 8:05 am
    What you’re contesting “isn’t your issue” is brought right back up when discussing who was there in lieu of Evans.

    Guys like Jeremy Reed and Cory Sullivan – on an abysmal 2009 Met team, were afforded playing time double (in the case of Sullivan), sometimes quadruple (in the case of the terrible Reed) the amount of games Evans ever saw.

    I don’t know about you, but when I have a younger player sitting in my farm system – warranting a call-up to see what he can do at the Major League-level, I’m going to give him that shot, instead of 2 obviously burnt players.

    Reed and Sullivan were garbage, and it was plain to see early.

    I won’t go listing more heaps of trash to go over, since that isn’t your issue.

    It has been with me (in terms of Evans’ playing time) for years. Manuel obviously didn’t like him very much.

    I’m also curious to know why “square pegs” can’t be bench players. If you’re going to have a guy take up a roster spot, wouldn’t you want him to at least have a chance to be productive?

    Evans is capable of playing LF, CF, RF, 1B, 3B — and there was even talk of him attempting to get behind the dish, probably because he was so frustrated with not getting a chance to stick with the club.

    You keep bringing up other clubs……my only area of focus has been the Mets. *shrugs*