Mets Game 2: Win Over Braves

Mets 4 Braves 2

The Mets remain undefeated and in first place. Is it possible that the faraway fences got into the Mets hitters’ heads during their first few years in Citi Field? This game certainly suggested that was the case.

Mets Game Notes

R.A. Dickey was marvelous. The wind was in his favor for sharp knuckleball movement, though at times the same factor worked against him because it wreaked with command. Still, he looked great.

David Wright looks great, doesn’t he? Maybe he shouldn’t bother with spring training going forward. He looks very comfortable in the box and appears to be seeing the ball really well.

Hey Lucas Duda looks pretty darn good too, eh? BTW Duda is on pace to hit 162 homers this season.

Jair Jurrjens looked like he was in for a long day from batter #1, when he threw 7 pitches to Ruben Tejada and seemed to be nibbling at the corners against him. No disrespect to Tejada, but if you are in Citi Field, facing Tejada as the first batter of the ballgame, and you’re not challenging him, then something is very, very wrong. When Jurrjens wasn’t goofing around against singles hitters, he was leaving far too many pitches over the middle of the plate, and two of them were blasted (Wright and Duda). He got away with several others, which I’ll chalk up to early-season rust.

It’s early season for the umpires too. The home plate umpire was incredibly inconsistent with the strike zone for and against both teams.

Great to see the lanky, athletic-looking Kirk Nieuwenhuis make his MLB debut and collect his first two career base hits. What’s the chance that Andres Torres as been Wally Pipped?

Is it me, or does Nieuwenhuis — from a distance — look a little bit like A.J. Burnett?

Wow, Livan Hernandez is on the Braves? Considering their woeful-looking offense, I’m wondering — seriously — if they picked him up as much for his bat as for his arm.

Why does anyone ever throw Josh Thole a ball middle-out? Completely befuddles me that pitchers don’t pound him inside. Well, unless you’re Livan Hernandez and can’t break a pane of glass with your fastball. Similarly, I don’t understand why pitchers would ever throw a ball below the belt to Lucas Duda and Ike Davis.

Jason Bay nudged a 33-hop single through the infield for his first hit of the year. He’s in for a long year, I fear, because he has far too much head movement during his stride and therefore does not get a clear look at the incoming pitch. His head moves up, down, and forward, which causes the ball to look like it’s bouncing as it comes in to the plate, and, the batter only sees the top half of the ball. This leads to lots of grounders.

Interesting to see the Braves playing an extremely shallow outfield all around against nearly every Mets hitter. Not sure what that was all about. Michael Bourn can certainly get away with that because he has blinding speed and gets good jumps, but not so sure about Martin Prado and Jason Heyward.

Heyward, by the way, hit a remarkable opposite-field triple in the sixth. It was a dying quail knuckleball that he scooped about an inch off the ground as if he were busting a golf ball out of a trap with a sand wedge. And, right before making contact, he whacked Josh Thole’s glove. Heyward had enough time to point out that fact to the umpire before steaming around the bases.

Daniel Murphy‘s lone base hit on the day was a single blasted off the right-field fence. Yes, only a single. It wasn’t hit all that hard but it kicked off the base of the fence as if it hit a pitchback.

I love Ike Davis but he really, really has to stop whining like a beotch after called strikes. Even Keith Hernandez mentioned that, and Keith is one of Ike’s strongest supporters. Livan snuck three lollipop curves past him in the sixth and Ike moaned after each of them; it was embarrassing, because all three were clearly strikes.

Bobby Parnell showed a really sharp, 12-6 curveball that came in around 79-83 MPH. If it’s 79-80, it may be a little too slow if he’s throwing 95+, though perfect if he’s humming in the low 90s. However, if he’s throwing it 82-83 while throwing the heater 95+, he’ll be devastating. This is an incredibly encouraging sign — and could be what transforms him from just another flamethrowing enigma to a dominant late-inning reliever.

After Gary Cohen delivered several play-by-play announcements mentioning “Pastornicky,” my wife wanted to know if an ordained Christian leader was in the game because it was Holy Saturday.

Next Mets Game

The Mets go for the three-game sweep on Easter Sunday. Jonathon Niese will throw the first pitch at 1:10 p.m., and Mike Minor hurls for the Braves.

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. Sebastian April 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm
    If Parnell geared the fastball up to 95, would his new curve also naturally gain the couple of mph up to 82-83?
    • Joe Janish April 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm
      Not necessarily. It all depends on the timing of his foot strike, hip rotation, and speed of his shoulder rotation.
      • Bill April 8, 2012 at 11:20 am
        Ron and Keith were raving about him sitting 92-94, as they felt it allowed him to locate much better, and be more of a “pitcher” as opposed to the thrower he was going into this season. If he gets back to the 95-99 FB, would you worry at all about him struggling to control it?
        • Joe Janish April 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm
          I don’t know what it is that Parnell is doing differently that is causing him to have more control but less velocity, so it’s hard to comment. Maybe he’s made a mechanical change, or a change in his grip?

          What Ron and Keith are saying sounds like an old baseball idiom that doesn’t have much tangible support. It’s very possible to be a “pitcher” and still throw 95+ — see Justin Verlander, Pedro in his heyday, Nolan Ryan, and many, many others. Pitchers don’t NECESSARILY have to pull back on velocity in order to be more “pitcher” than “thrower.”

  2. Joe April 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm
    I’m a bit surprised the Mets didn’t pick up some garbage heap type as a sixth starter but while some ridicule the Mets, how about the Braves? They dropped like well the Mets at the end of the year along with the Red Sox. The Sox are having their own problems, but at least they got a new manager. The Braves? They pick up Astros cast-offs.

    The Braves are not starting off well & are in danger of becoming also rans in the NL East. I’m happy for the Mets start, realizing that the proof in the pudding will be how they manage their first slip and most importantly mid-Summer blues. But, lower expectations & all, I will enjoy them while I can.

  3. murph April 8, 2012 at 2:33 am
    I noticed Ike Davis complained again about the strike zone on a called 2nd strike, and ended up striking out on a called third strike. Keith Hernandez pointed out that he had better quit showing up the umpires.

    If broadcasters, bloggers, and even blog readers like me know this, why can’t the coaching staff get this point across to him? David Wright went and talked to him, but that was after the fact.

  4. argonbunnies April 8, 2012 at 4:03 am
    Ike has a very good eye for the outside edge and has been victimized by a ton of bad calls there over his short career. I think Terry should make it his job to go all Bobby Cox on the umps for that garbage. Ike reacting doesn’t help his cause, but someone needs to.

    I do agree that in this particular game Ike whined about at least one definite strike.

  5. Steven April 8, 2012 at 8:51 am
    Bay is a real concern. Reminds me of George Foster. He is simply not driving the ball. I think that Met management has just decided to not provide any advice to him on his swing at all, and kind of let Bay do it his way, on the theory that maybe the advice in getting in his head. If he does not produce by the end of April, we will see a platoon soon enough and a lapse in the vesting clause of his contract for lack of PAs.