Mets Game 150: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 10 Mets 1

The Nationals sweep the Mets in Citi Field and as a result, leapfrog over them and into third place in the NL East.

Mets Game Notes

Even after witnessing it, it’s hard to believe that this was a 2-1 game going into the 7th inning. For six frames, it was a lazy but tight ballgame. Then I blinked, and it was 6-1. I blinked again, and it was 10-1, with reserve outfielder Mike Baxter warming up in the bullpen. You know it’s a bad day when you have a position player in the ‘pen in September, when the rosters are expanded.

Compared to his MLB debut, Chris Schwinden looked more relaxed and his final line reflected that — he allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks in five innings. Clearly, he doesn’t have overpowering stuff and his success is directly tied to his ability to command all of his pitches — which he did, mainly by getting “strike one”. His fastball looks very hittable, but he moved it around the zone and rarely threw consecutive pitches at the same speed to the same location. I like the 12-6 break on his curveball, but unfortunately he doesn’t get much downward action on any of his other pitches. For a guy who changes speeds and relies on command, he doesn’t throw many true change-ups. Rather, he changes speeds on his fastball, mixing in a two-seamer that ran in on the righthanded hitters, a four-seamer, a cutter that moves just a bit horizontally, and a slider that gets a little sink but stays above the knees. What does that mean? I think he could have some success for a short time, but will run into trouble over the long haul unless he works in a true change-up — preferably one that stays low and in the strike zone. It’s good that he has a few variations of the fastball but against MLBers he’ll need to mix in more reduced-velocity pitches to keep them off-balance.

As well as Schwinden pitched, Nats rookie Tom Milone was just a hint better, also allowing only one earned run but doing it in 5 2/3 and allowing three hits and three walks. Like Schwinden, Milone is not overpowering and needs to have his command to succeed. However, unlike Schwinden, Milone has more variance in his speeds and worked in a true change-up far more often than his righthanded counterpart. It’s not a great change-up, as it’s only about 7-9 MPH less than his fastball, but it’s good enough and it gets enough sink to induce swings and misses on occasion. Milone reminds me a little of Jeff Francis, the way he changes speeds, mixes pitches, and stays around the plate.

There isn’t a whole lot else to write about without feeling nauseous, so I’ll try to keep the rest of this brief.

David Wright made another error; that’s his 8thin the last 11 games. Luckily, it doesn’t matter at this point of the season.

If Steve Balboni were three inches taller and twenty years younger, he’d be Val Pascucci.

Colin Balester, with his gangly frame and inability to control a wicked hard-running sinker, reminds me of former Nat Mike MacDougal. When he came in relief of Milone in the sixth I thought for sure it was the Mets’ chance to tie the score. But, Balester realized he had no control of the fastball, and kept throwing a hard breaking curveball to get through the inning.

Does Rick Ankiel turn up his game a notch for the Mets? It certainly seems that way. Don’t get me wrong, he’s no Chipper Jones, but he hits 50 points higher vs. the Mets, he catches everything in centerfield, and seems to always be running around the bases.

The Mets used six relievers and nearly a seventh to get the final nine outs of the ballgame.

Now eight games under .500 and in sole possession of fourth place, the Mets’ next target is the NL East basement, currently occupied by the Florida Marlins. The Marlins are four games behind with a dozen to play — which seems like a lot of ground to cover in a short time period but hey, you never know.

Next Mets Game

The Mets fly down to Atlanta to face the Braves in a 7:35 PM start on Friday night. Chris Capuano goes against Derek Lowe.

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. gary s. September 16, 2011 at 12:13 am
    Turn out the lights the party is over.Watching this team and its execution of anything mildly related to winning baseball, reminds me of my favorite all time sports line spoken by John McCay, the coach of the 0-16 Tampa Bay Bucs many years ago.When asked about his teams execution by a reporter after a game, coach McCay replied “I think it’s a good idea”.Watching this excuse for a baseball team the last few years, i’ve come to the same conclusion.
  2. Mic September 16, 2011 at 4:33 am
    I thought Art was going to make an example of those who did not put forth effort.
  3. izzy September 16, 2011 at 6:58 am
    Me thinks we are now seeing why Mr Collins lost every clubhouse he was in charge of. You want a team to play to win and you start Val Pacucci? You want a team to play to win and you walk a guy to load the bases with one out to play for a DP and then you bring the infield in so they haven’t a chance? You want a team to play to win, you leave Angel Pagan in the game when he obviously doesn’t care what’s going on? You want your team to play to win you have to manage to win Terry. But, just like your players, you think you do all the work in front of the mike. You’ve lost this group just like you did everywhere else. Another F grade for the genius Mr Alderson.
    • Gary S. September 16, 2011 at 9:23 am
      The good news is Lucas Duda is our best player the last 2 months. The bad news is Lucas Duda is our best player the last 2 months.Reyes and Wright both need new surroundings and the owners have no money and no clue.I don’t know how much of that u can blame the manager for.
  4. Timo September 16, 2011 at 10:55 am
    Collins really needs to bench some of our starters. Pagan should be yelled at and benched! 2 bonehead plays yesterday. Wright should be benched too. 8 errors in 11 games is unexceptionable. Also, I understand playing the young call ups BUT playing VP (32 years old) is ridiculous. VP should only PH if we need a HR. He is not our future. ALSO, if the Mets DON’T finish the season in 3rd place that would discuss me. It would also be TOTALLY a disappointment if you finish in last place. Basically, the Mets front office told the fan base that they won’t trade anyone because we have a chance for the wild card and they don’t want to breakup team chemistry. This team is not showing me ANYTHING lately.
    • Joe Janish September 16, 2011 at 11:16 am
      Well … Collins benched half of his regulars in this game and look what happened. I get what you’re saying but the bottom line is this team stinks. Collins’ intensity might have run them into the ground after 145-150 games. Unfortunately there are 162 games in a season so his strategy didn’t work out so well.
      • gary s. September 16, 2011 at 11:46 am
        Joe, they son’t draw flies next year with these bums.That means the tickets and the walls will get a lot lower next year.The goal next year for the Wilnots is for “meaningful games” in July. Oh the pain!!!!
    • Joe September 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm
      Have no fear. The Mets might finish 4th.

      Wright is the goat of late. He should have had at least a day or two more days off after his slips. I’m not quite as disgusted with him as wohjr, but he has really slipped this year. His rep is truly tainted.

  5. wohjr September 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm
    The one thing that has really happened with me this season is that I have moved from indifference to outright hostility towards DW. The guy is a complete bum and is getting worse. Should have traded him at the deadline and got his going-through-the-motions, swing at garbage, k machine, error prone yet still somehow hot doggin in the field ass OUT OF TOWN.

    Seriously, after being on the team for the Luis Castillo game the fact the he still refuses to catch pop ups with two hands is really beyond the pale for a “leader”.

    • Joe Janish September 16, 2011 at 5:50 pm
      With this ballclub you have to adjust expectations and perspective.

      For example, I’m pleased that Wright is going after fly balls with one of his hands, rather than using the technique of trying to catch them with his foot, as Angel Pagan attempted yesterday.

      • gary s. September 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm
        Joe, great line.That’s why your blog is my favorite.
        • wohjr September 16, 2011 at 11:30 pm
          seconded
    • gary s. September 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm
      why so hostile?.calm down pal.The guy missed 60 games with a broken back and got beaned 2 years ago.Plus, he’s got angel pagan and jason k hitting behind him all year.Add to that, when he makes good contact, he has to contend with the great wall of flushing and the “Mo” zone.When he signs a free agent deal with the Phillies in 2013 and does 35 homers and 120 ribbies i think u might miss him,Of course we will have nick evans or danny murphy at 3rd n his place, so nothing to worry about, i guess.
      • wohjr September 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm
        gary s. is my favorite commenter. And you’re right, the fans may well miss him. I for one, will not miss him, nor that stare up into the LF upper deck while he sheds his helmet and gloves after striking out– yet again– to end the inning. He should have been out of town for young arms 6-10 months ago
  6. izzy September 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm
    Angel Pagan batting # 2. It says everything one needs to know about Collins. He is a fraud. Just like Jerry Manuel was.
    • Joe Janish September 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm
      Why? Just because Angel pussyfooted around in the outfield instead of trying to catch flying baseballs? Because completely gave up? Because he “went in the tank”, as my football coach used to say?

      What do you expect these guys to do, play hard for ALL 162 games? I mean, jeez, Pagan’s only making $3.5M — that’s like, $18M less than Johan Santana, and Johan gets to sit around and wait for his arm to heal. Pagan could’ve slipped and hurt something if he went after those fly balls, and then what? A man’s gotta look out for number one — like K-Rod, he knows the deal.