Mets Game 4: Win Over Nationals
Mets 4 Nationals 3
What the Wilpons needed more than anything else was a hot start, and exciting baseball, to get people excited and buy tickets to dig them out of debt.
Mets Game Notes
Mike Pelfrey was his usual unpredictable self, struggling with his command and confidence in the early going, but pitching just fine as long as there were no baserunners.
Meantime, the other eternal enigma Edwin Jackson was similarly inconsistent, and, like Pelfrey, was getting lots of swings and misses to add more to the maddening frustration. Watching this game was somewhat bizarre, because it was as if Pelfrey were pitching for both sides.
If there is any excuse for the dual enigmas, it’s that the home plate umpire had a pretty tight strike zone. He wasn’t giving away many “pitcher’s pitches.”
Was it me, or did the Nats hit an unusually high number of singles up the middle against Big Pelf?
If Pelfrey’s job was to keep the Mets in the game and give them a chance to win, then I guess you could say he did that — he left the game tied with two outs in the sixth. It was nice of him to let Miguel Batista make his first appearance of 2012; but then, no one ever said Mike wasn’t generous.
How about Kirk Nieuwenhuis jumping all over a meatball by Jackson and putting it into the right field stands for his first big league homer? Beautiful thing to watch. I was a little surprised that Terry Collins pulled Captain Kirk in the 8th with none out and Josh Thole on second base. I get it: Kirk hits lefty, there was a lefty on the mound, and every concrete-headed dinosaur knows that young lefty hitters can’t hit veteran lefty pitchers. But jeez Louise, the kid had just hit a bomb a few innings before, and Tom Gorzelanny was working on his third inning of work, and just allowed Thole to hit a bullet. As expected, Davey Johnson responded by bringing in his flamethrowing righthander Henry Rodriguez, who whiffed pinch-hitter Scott Hairston without breaking a sweat. Sometimes, it’s OK to go against conventional thinking. In that situation, if you let Nieuwenhuis hit, Johnson is likely to leave Gorzelanny in to pitch to him — and Gorzelanny was showing signs of fatigue, which often leads to reduced command. Maybe a tired Gorzelanny would have let up another meatball up in the zone for Kirk to wallop.
It would seem that the book on Danny Espinosa is to feed him pitches up and away.
Ian Desmond is another enigma. He’s clearly a talented hitter, but has zero discipline. The double-play grounder he hit in the third inning was a prime example — he appeared as though he were going to swing at the pitch coming in no matter what, and it turned out to be a fastball in on his hands that jammed him. Terrible approach on a 0-1 count.
Right now, David Wright is a presence. His body language exudes him to be a dominating figure when he steps into the batter’s box, as a hitter who must be feared. He had that body language a few years ago, but it went away when the Mets moved into Citi Field. Even though it’s early in the season, I’ll go on a limb and say that David is back.
Ike Davis seems to be setting up in his stance with his hands lower than he did in the past. Anyone else notice this? I’m not sure what it’s affecting, if anything, nor why he might have changed. Maybe because he’s trying to correct his uppercut, by forcing his hands to go up and back as he strides? Or to reduce the size of his hitch? Whatever he was doing before seemed to be working just fine, so not sure why he’d change anything. Then again, it’s possible my memory is really awful, and he hasn’t changed a thing.
Ron Darling at the end of the SNY broadcast: “Daniel Murphy makes the play of his career at second base to get the Mets out of trouble … then delivers the game-winning single …” Really Ron? Play of his career? Wow, have we sunk that low, that the fourth game of a season can be THAT historic? Yikes!
Yes, right now, Daniel Murphy is God. But for the love of Mike Vail I really hope that this otherwise irrelevant game doesn’t turn out to be one of the highlights of his career.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Nationals play game two in Flushing on Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. Dillon Gee is scheduled to start against Ross Detwiler.
WOW, I feel like we just won the giant powerball… 4-0 and counting– can the metsies reel off another 158? Tonight everything and anything feels possible, viva los mets
Keith talked about Ike’s swing changes in the opener, which I believe you said you missed. I don’t recall offhand the reasoning behind it (I believe it was to make him quicker to the ball?), but you are not seeing things and this appears to be part of a conscious effort on Ike’s behalf. Like you said though, why change anything after his first two seasons…?
Well, yes, that is his job. A major draw is supposed to be that he’s an innings eater etc. Comparing Jackson to him is a good move & Pelfrey is somewhat lucky he hasn’t racked up similar frequent flyer miles.
I hope David is back. He can replace Beltran as the star vet. Maybe Ike can come back too. Bay was never much here, but Ike didn’t seem this out of it during ST.
Charming beginning. Bullpen starting well. The fear there is that overwork, especially with Santana not going long. Probably wanted the poet to go longer there.
Murphy is reamed as a lousy second baseman and he made a good play (for him, we can say very good). “God” status isn’t quite there yet. If the play gets him confident for the rest of the year at that position, it just might mean a lot. And, in the sense “career so far,” it was surely up there. Ron — rather testy for him (on Strasberg’s pitch count etc.) — was a bit ebullient there. Big deal. As to this game being “irrelevant,” the team is starting off well and had their first come from behind win. One game at a time. It’s quite relevant for now.
The postgame comment that it was a bit too soon to pie in the face, let’s pace ourselves more was a good one. Still, with the Debby Downer dominated theme out there, they have some reason to be happy. Like Lin pre-injury, enjoy it while you can and don’t look too far in the future.
I was one start late, but I did predict the Kirk HR. If he hits, Torres will replace Bay in the lineup whenever he returns, not Kirk. And Duda can move to left and Kirk can play right.
Something else we might have overlooked: the bullpen is really flexible. The bug strikeout guys are Acosta, Parnell, and Francisco. Acosta and Parnell are bullets Terry can save for whenever he needs a big strikeout. And Ramirez can get lefties out so Byrdak can be saved as well if need be. If the team weakness is starting pitching, and 4/5 starts in a turn can keep the team in the game (heck even 3/5) then the Offense and Bullpen can carry this team. The Defense is pretty awful too, that will start showing up soon.
It’s too early, but I’m having fun with this. How can you not?
As to defense, how “pretty awful” is the team? The corners are protected. SS is at least decent. Bay is average. Thole is pretty average. The pitchers are average. So you have a weak 2nd base and maybe (depending on center) OF.
I’m not going to rely on Acosta for much but the rest of your analysis seems sound. Will wait and see for OF.
So yeah, they will be downright awful at times this year. I am optimistic that Wright’s improved bat will mean an improved glove. And if Bay is dropped out of the lineup with Torres returning then overall OF defense won’t be so bad.