Giants 4 Mets 3
A rollercoaster of a contest: the Mets threatened early, then petered out, then made it close, then dramatically tied it in the ninth, then lost it in the tenth. If nothing else, they kept your attention.
Mets Game Notes
Barry Zito had come off two stellar starts to begin his season, but didn’t look so impressive in the early innings against the Mets. In particular was his command of the strike zone; he had walked only one batter on the year before taking the hill in Flushing, but the Mets worked two walks out of him by the second inning. The Mets had Barry Zito on the ropes in the second inning, but couldn’t break him. From there on the Mets hitters couldn’t figure his slop, save for a few mistakes that he offered to them.
Jonathon Niese physically looked good, but like Zito had troubles with command — though in a different way. Whereas Zito struggled to put pitches in the strike zone, Niese had trouble keeping the ball away from the middle of it. He made a mistake to former Met Angel Pagan that became a booming solo homer to start the third, and he continued to get hit hard for the rest of that inning.
Niese was throwing a little harder than normal; usually he’s around 90-91 but in this game he was 92-93 and touching 94 MPH, which seems like a minimal difference but in fact is significant. I spoke with Sport Kinesiologist Angel Borrelli during the game and she was really excited about Niese, saying he looked to have the kind of upper-body mechanics that would allow him to throw as fast as 100 MPH, and to do so would only require a minor adjustment. She’s going to look more closely at the video of Niese to confirm and get back to me on that; pretty exciting, no?
Jason Bay hit his third homer of the year, mashing a 3-1 change-up that Zito left over the heart of the plate. Bay now has a six-game hitting streak and half as many dingers as he hit in all of 2011.
Zito made another mistake to Kirk Nieuwenhuis that was dropped into the party porch over the new left field fence; it likely would’ve been an out last year. Captain Kirk has thus far established that he can play at the MLB level, and though we’ll see what happens when he gets around the league once, at this point I cannot see any logical reason to take him out of the lineup, regardless of Andres Torres‘ status.
Anyone else surprised to see Guillermo Mota still hanging around — and pitching fairly effectively?
Buster Posey made a terrible baserunning mistake in the second inning that caused this game to go into extra innings. He was on third base with one out and when a line drive was hit to center field, he didn’t go back to the base to tag. Kirk Nieuwenhuis made an excellent play to catch the ball before it hit the ground, but his momentum caused him to stumble forward in such a way that Posey could have walked in — had he tagged. At the time, it didn’t seem like a big deal, but considering that this game was tied after nine, it could have meant the ballgame. The lesson to be learned here, kids, is this: always, always, always go back to third base to tag up on ANY ball that is not hit on the ground. Secondarily, it’s the little things that can mean the difference between winning and losing. As Vince Lombardi said, “winning isn’t a some-time thing, it’s an all-time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time.” My favorite quote of all-time.
Another disappointing outing for Frank Francisco, who walked two and allowed a hit en route to giving up the winning run. Some are suggesting that Francisco’s issue is pitching in non-save situations. Maybe, though I think part of the issue is the fact he’s simply not that spectacular — he’s merely an average MLB closer. In his career he’s blown about 29% of save situations. Not everyone can be Mariano Rivera.
The Mets had many opportunities to break the game open and just couldn’t drop the hammer. They were only 1-for-10 with RISP. The Giants weren’t much better at 2-for-14; it seemed like every time they had a rally going, they’d be way ahead on a Niese curveball and pound it into the ground for an easy out.
Next Mets Game
About the Author
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.