Mets Game 147: Loss to Nationals
Nationals 3 Mets 2
Yet another hard-luck loss for R.A. Dickey, while the Mets Without Hats continue to perform the safety dance.
Mets Game Notes
R.A. Dickey threw his tenth straight quality start; unfortunately, a quality start does not necessarily guarantee a win. Dickey spun seven solid innings, allowing three runs on 8 hits — only one for extra bases — and no walks.
However, the Mets offense couldn’t do anything against Nationals pitching, collecting a grand total of 3 hits. They did walk four times, though, and somehow managed to cobble together a pair of runs.
In tight ballgames like this, every detail counts — particularly on defense. And guess what? The Mets lost focus a few times, David Wright made an error, some knuckleballs bounced away from Mike Nickeas, and in the end those little things were the difference in the ballgame. Wright missed a throw by Jose Reyes that would have put out Ryan Zimmerman at third on a grounder, and moments later Zimmerman scored on a single by Rick Ankiel. Then in the seventh, with the score tied two-all and Wilson Ramos on third base (thanks to a single, wild pitch, and groundout), Brian Bixler hit a grounder to Reyes. Ramos started toward home, then stopped about 35-40 short of home. Instead of firing home immediately, Reyes pump-faked a few times, then finally threw home. By then, Ramos was caught in a rundown, and by the time he was tagged out, Bixler made it to second base. Bixler scored moments later on a base hit.
Kids, the right play there is to throw the ball to the catcher IMMEDIATELY. You should always avoid chasing a runner forward, and NEVER chase him TOWARD home plate — which in essence is what Reyes was doing by fake-throwing toward home. Get rid of the ball and let the catcher chase the runner back to third. Additionally, it’s not good practice to pump-fake a throw unless you are NOT going to throw (i.e., you intend on chasing the runner and tagging him). By faking, you confuse your teammate as much as you do the runner.
BTW, the groundout that sent Ramos to third was a beautifully ugly inside-out job by Ian Desmond, who somehow found a way to pound a very tough, far inside pitch into the ground and to the right side — allowing Ramos to advance to third. That’s something that isn’t visible in the boxscore, and negatively affects an individual’s offensive stats, but is a skill executed in winning baseball. Yes, the Nats have a losing record, and Ramos wound up not scoring, but in that situation Desmond displayed a winning play. It’s all about the process, not necessarily the result.
During the post-game press conference, manager Terry Collins mentioned that Jose Reyes was working with batting coach Dave Hudgens on staying back, taking pitches, and being selective. Collins then went on to say that he (meaning TC) told Jose to stay aggressive and “just play your game”. Um, huh? Mixed message much?
Concerning Reyes’ recent cold spell, I’m on board with Bobby Ojeda’s theory that everyone is telling Jose to turn it down a notch so that he can stay healthy — and Jose, being a guy who is always “amped up” and full of energy, can’t do that and still play the game at his peak potential. If Jose has in his head to play at 75% effort, then his approach to everything is going to be affected, including his at-bats. Ojeda surmises that as a result, Jose is not as aggressive and is swinging with a slightly slower bat.
Also during the postgame press conference, Collins suggested that the Mets didn’t have focus on the game because “everyone was talking about which hats we’re gonna wear today”. Huh? So … the Mets lost because they couldn’t deal with the questions about the responder hats? Wow — imagine if this club were ever involved in a REAL pressure-cooking story (like a pennant race!).
Ojeda had something to say about that too — Bobby O. is convinced that the team is flat-out exhausted, and making errors and losing focus because they are fatigued. Hmm … compare and contrast the two viewpoints, and you tell me which one is more logical.