Mets Game 11: Loss to Braves

Braves 9 Mets 3

Tough game for the Mets as they dropped to a 7-4 record, but they still remain within striking distance of the league-leading Nationals — only 1.5 games behind with 151 to play.

Mets Game Notes

Johan Santana just didn’t have it; he labored from the first batter of the game, struggling with his command and unable to finish off hitters when he managed to get ahead on counts. When it was all said and done he completed just an inning and a third, expending 55 pitches, allowing 6 runs (4 earned) on 4 hits and a walk. It looked to me like he was throwing darts and completely removing his shoulder from the process. My guess is he was feeling “tight” in the shoulder or pain, and as a result didn’t get full external rotation. Ironically, by not using the shoulder as much, he actually was putting more strain on it by over-using the rest of the arm — particularly the bicep and elbow — and in turn tightening the shoulder muscles.

Braves youngster Randall Delgado is an intriguing talent with an unusual delivery — he stretches his arm almost behind his back and nearly hesitates when he gets the ball up and back, but the timing seems to work because it looks like his foot is planting at just the right time.

Matt Diaz continues to own Johan. He’s hitting over .500 lifetime against him and nearly beheaded Santana with a line drive single up the middle in the second frame.

I haven’t picked on Josh Thole in a few days so it’s time to do so once again. Thole looks like he tries to “frame” nearly every single pitch, which is not necessarily a good idea because eventually an umpire can get annoyed and purposely call balls on close pitches. Ramon Castro used to “over frame” as did Mike Piazza. Personally, I don’t believe in framing, ever, and teach my catching students to catch pitches properly, and “beat the ball to the spot” and then “stick it” — which means, to aggressively move the glove forward and catch the ball when it is a strike / looks like a strike, and then hold it there momentarily. Instead of sitting back with the glove and catching the back of the ball, and then “framing” it, I prefer that catchers extend their arm and catch one of the sides of the ball — left, top, or right, depending on location. When the ball is caught on the proper side, it looks more like a strike from the umpire’s view.

The Mets made two errors in the ballgame, increasing their total to 8 in 11 games. That works out to almost 118 errors over the course of a full season, which isn’t very good. Not the worst, but not good, either — the NL average last year was 101.

One of the errors was by Jason Bay on a fly ball, but in his defense, both teams struggled with balls in the air during the evening; it seemed to be an issue with glare in the sky, possibly due to the lights.

David Wright had “only” two hits in the ballgame, and as a result saw his average plummet to .517. He’s reached base at least twice in all 8 of the games he’s played thus far.

Another Miguel Batista appearance. Anyone else think this is getting old? Both the ritual of seeing him and him in general.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis quietly went 2-for-4. His patient approach and calmness seen so far are impressive for a player his age.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs on Wednesday afternoon at 12:10 p.m. R.A. Dickey goes to the hill against Jair Jurrjens. I have my money on R.A. to earn his third victory of the year and give the Mets the series win.

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. Izzy April 18, 2012 at 9:14 am
    Kirk should play all year, He’s better than Torres already even tho he is learning the hard way on some pitches. If they send him down when Torres comes back it will once again show that the only thing Alderson cares about is his ego and his need to prove his bad moves were wonderful.
    • Steve S. April 18, 2012 at 9:41 am
      I’d like to see Kirk steal some bases. I think his patient approach is a good one, and he probably could replace Torres as the Mets’ leadoff batter.
  2. MikeT April 18, 2012 at 10:04 am
    More evidence that Kirk will remain the Mets CFer, and that this team will be sunk by its awful defense before any other facet. Every loss this year has been severely influenced by bad defense. The defense puts the team in a hole, or it allows a close game to get away.
  3. Gary S. April 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm
    The defense is horrible.Only way to compensate is score a lot of runs.Davis and Duda need to rake big time this year and Murphy needs to bat .300 to compensate for his glove.