Mets Game 148: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 3 Mets 2

Four straight losses for the Mets, and suddenly, the Nationals are on the verge of hopping over them in the standings.

Mets Game Notes

Dillon Gee pitched well through the first five frames, but, as he’s been wont to do lately, fell apart in the sixth — right after the offense gave him a 2-run lead. It could be argued that he lost his command, but in truth, the Nats hitters stopped chasing his sinkers and changeups below the strike zone. Gee threw 36 pitches in the sixth, and left without finishing the inning. That’s a high total of pitches for one inning, especially for someone who had already thrown five frames prior.

Chien-Ming Wang scattered 9 hits in five innings of work, yet allowed only two runs. The Mets did not get a hit off of a Nats reliever until the ninth inning.

Gee, Willie Harris, Nick Evans, and Ruben Tejada all failed to execute sacrifice bunts (Harris was hit by a pitch after missing the bunt twice, so technically he did advance the runner). Does anyone else remember back in March, when all we heard about was how Terry Collins was going to change things and the Mets were going to be strong fundamentally, and be proficient at “small ball”? Reminds me of another leader whose promises of “change” turned out empty.

I had to laugh when I saw this on Twitter, from @shyonelung: “Dillon Gee. Worst bunt attempt in the history of bunt attempts”. But in truth it’s really sad and inexcusable that the Mets cannot bunt — this isn’t a new thing, it’s been a problem all season.

Speaking of fundies, Lucas Duda continues to struggle in right field — which is to be expected, since he’s learning on the job. Duda did, however, crack three hits and drive in a run. Would you believe he has 47 RBI? Where the heck did all those come from? Wow, pretty impressive for a kid who has only started in a little over 70 games.

Also collecting three hits was Jose Reyes, who is still leading the NL in hitting, now with a .333 average.

In the second inning, with none out and Angel Pagan on first base, Willie Harris swung on 3-0 and hit a fly ball to the warning track in right field. Now, I do like seeing guys swing on 3-0 on occasion. But I’m not sure I like Willie Harris doing it in Citi Field. Ya know what I’m sayin’?

It’s games like this that provide support for the argument against September roster expansion — there were 13 pitchers used in this game, and it seemed like the managers were making pitching changes every other batter. The final three innings dragged out like the last five minutes of an NFL game.

Danny Espinosa has impressed me from the first time I saw him last year, but he really needs to do something about his swing from the left side. It’s a big uppercut that makes him susceptible to high pitches and it looks a little forced — like he’s trying hard to pull the bat through the zone.

On the other hand, I have yet to see anything special about Chris Marrero, who was a first-round pick in 2006 and is a highly touted prospect. He looks unsure of himself and lacking in confidence at the plate — sort of like Lucas Duda did earlier this season. I don’t think we’ll see what Marrero can do until (if?) he gains confidence in his ability against MLBers.

It wasn’t so long ago — as recently as the first half of the season — that Drew Storen was supposed to be the Nationals’ “closer of the future”. Well don’t look now but Storen has 36 saves, so I guess the future is now. For those who forgot, Storen was the “other” pitcher the Nats drafted in the first round of 2009 — nine slots after Stephen Strasburg.

Next Mets Game

Game three of this four-game series begins at 7:10 PM on Wednesday evening. Mike Pelfrey takes the ball against Brad Peacock, who made his MLB debut on September 6th and pitched 1 1/3 innings.

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 September 14, 2011 at 1:19 am
    Reyes is hitting but not stealing bases. Only 1 SB since his DL return. It’s like he’s auditioning for his Mets return in 2012. It’s as if he’s trying to show that he value beyond speed and as an MLB playmaker. This may become his best statistical season but Reyes has not been the same player since his latest DL stint.
    • gary s. September 14, 2011 at 9:04 am
      Hard to believe Reyes is 100 percent healthy since his hammy injuries.As siddfinch pointed out no running or extra base hits happening.Plus they want to sit him once a week.Right now, i would consider taking the 2 draft picks and letting him go.In no way is he any kind of a difference maker right now and worth big money
  2. Walnutz15 September 14, 2011 at 8:15 am
    Glad I took Storen for my ‘pen this year — knew he’d be closing very early into the season and it’s paid off a ton.

    Also took a stab at Hanrahan with a late pick, and had guys asking me if I was crazy (figured the Pirates had no one else to close = saves for me)……throw those 2 in with Mo Rivera leading the charge – and you’ve got yourself a real nice back-end of the pen for roto for a majority of the season.

    Even though he’s hit a drought lately with the Nats not doing so well, Storen’s been a stud.

    Quick question: does Josh Thole work well with any of our pitchers? Parnell was Pelfrey-like, in shaking him off last night.

    Just wondering what the deal is with him….doesn’t seem to be on the same page in terms of pitch-selection.

    • Joe Janish September 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm
      I’m really curious as to how the pitchers honestly feel about Thole catching them. I could be way off base, but based on body language I would guess that most if not all of the pitching staff, if given the option, would prefer to pitch to a catcher other than Thole. It seems to me that most of the pitchers don’t have confidence in his game calling, have trouble getting into a rhythm with him, and don’t receive any direction / leadership from him.
  3. Joe September 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm
    “Reminds me of another leader whose promises of “change” turned out empty. ”

    For 2/3 of the season, the Mets — with back-up players and Bay and Pagan sucking for chunks of time — kept on getting on base and scoring runs. The team played hard and staid credible as a ball team until hitting some sort of wall in around August. Now we have Wright making loads of errors again like when he first came back from the DL. Reyes obviously isn’t 100%. Evans’ bat silenced some. etc.

    Terry Collins probably had something to do with this. The bunting thing is horrible. If anything, the team digressed there. Again and again, other teams’ pitchers seem to do something and the Mets pitchers can’t even bunt. Collins shares the blame there.

    The last few weeks feel like the last couple months of last season. The Mets should be able to win games against the likes of the Cubs and Nats. 3-2 loses based on not following fundamentals … one out, should you test that guy’s arm with Thole running? It was a good throw, but it wasn’t THAT deep. Well, at least, the pitching didn’t disappear.

    • Joe Janish September 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm
      For two-thirds of 2010, the Mets appeared to be in playoff contention. In fact they were in second place after 105 games. They did this in spite of having a hole at second base, catchers who reached base less than 27% of the time, no Carlos Beltran, a down year from Jose Reyes, limited play and production from Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur in the OF corners, and at least one (at times two) starting rotation spot that was constantly in flux. It was July 28th, 2010 that the Mets fell out of second place, never to return.

      Granted, the “wall” they hit in August last year was in part due to losing Santana and eventually, K-Rod. But when you look at the grand scheme of things — and the bottom line, which to the Wilpons is “meaningful September games” — this year ain’t much different from last.