Mets Game 22: Win Over Rockies

Mets 6 Rockies 5

A series win gives Mets fans a Rocky Mountain High.

Mets Game Notes

The Rockies looked like the Mets did about a week ago, in that they seemed to put almost-rallies together, but were unable to get the big hit to push runners across the plate. A few times, it was a brilliant defensive play by the Mets that killed the rally.

Until the 8th inning, when Jon Rauch loaded the bases and gave Tim Byrdak the honor of allowing a pinch-hit grand slam by Todd Helton. It was the first time all day that the Rox came through, and it was enough to tie the ballgame.

Before that, Johan Santana put together a very nice outing – 6 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 K, no runs, 90 pitches. Miguel “Daily” Batista spun a scoreless seventh — much to the surprise of most. It was the back-end of the bullpen that let the team down, beginning with Rauch, extending to Byrdak, and ending with Frank Francisco. Francisco “earned” the win after blowing the save in the 10th and being lucky enough that the Mets went ahead in the 11th. Otherwise, he was awful, yet again.

Here’s a crazy number to point out: the Mets had 18 hits and 22 total baserunners in 11 innings — an average of two baserunners every inning — and scored but 6 runs. They left 14 on base and were 4-18 with RISP. Lucky for them, the Rox were worse: 1-11 with RISP; they had only 6 hits but 6 walks.

Yet another fine day for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who had three more hits including a clutch RBI double in the 10th to give the Mets a brief lead, and made a spectacular diving catch to save at least two runs early in the ballgame. At this point there is zero possibility of Andres Torres returning as the starting centerfielder. It just ain’t happening.

And guess what? Ike Davis is out of his slump. He had three hits and might’ve had a fourth had it not been for an excellent snare by Marco Scutaro. Davis suddenly looks comfortable and confident, and I truly believe the confidence part is the most crucial. Despite all the many theories brought fourth by the pundits regarding Ike’s slump, my feeling is this: he has a long swing that begins with a number of moving parts, and as a result he is prone to both hot and cold streaks. Consider that he had a 3-for-31 stretch in the second half of his rookie year — in other words, this recent slump shouldn’t have been a remarkable surprise, or something that was considered unprecedented. Further, we should expect to see him go ice cold again at some point. At the same time, we can also expect him to get red-hot — starting now.

Next Mets Game

The Mets travel down to Houston to play the Astros on Monday night. Game time is 8:05 p.m. EST and pits R.A. Dickey against Bud Norris.

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. Josh Z April 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm
    the one day Santana gets some offense to back him, the rox get a grand slam go figure
  2. Bill April 30, 2012 at 2:56 am
    Joe, I know a lot of Ike’s swing is timing based, but do you think its just coincidence that he moves his hands up (to where they were during his first two successful seasons) and all of a sudden… he looks successful again? I still don’t get why they (whoever they are) messed with his swing, but I’m hopeful we have the old Ike back for good now.
    • Joe Janish April 30, 2012 at 10:50 am
      My bet is “no coincidence.”

      You and me both – no idea why there was the idea to fix something that wasn’t broken.

  3. Dan April 30, 2012 at 5:27 am
    I read that Torres will be back in center, with Nieuwenhaus platooning in left, spelling Torres on occasion to keep him healthy. Could be the beginning of the end for Bay, or Torres becoming trade bait if he can stay off the DL,
  4. Gary S. April 30, 2012 at 8:28 am
    I think Collins is nuts to move Kirk to Left and out of the lead off spot for Torres?Kirk has ballplayer written all over him.Torres has put a fork in me, I’m done written all over him.They made a big deal about ” home grown” players the other day (no big deal to me) and we are going to take Kirk and his .400 oba out of lead off for a lousy career hitter with a low career oba ?Wake up Collins..
  5. DaveSchneck April 30, 2012 at 8:58 am
    It’s hard to move Captain Kirk with the way he has been playing. Ultimately, their best outfield D would probably have Kirk in RF, Torres in CF, and Duda in LF, but that would be too extreme at this point. I say to Terry to slot Torres in LF and down in the batting order at least until the Captain and Tejada cool off, then reassess.
  6. Joe April 30, 2012 at 9:50 am
    The ageless one turned out to pitch the way he had to — for a back-end guy for Colorado, after giving up three, he held them to one more run and pitched five.

    Baxter deserves a mention. Hairston apparently has a thing about scoring a runner from third with less than two outs. Rauch digged the hole but that ball 3 underlines how a game can change on a single pitch even w/o it directly leading to a hit.

    Parnell and Batista did their jobs. Twice in a row for Batista. Did he hang out with Giambi for the meeting over the over 40 club?

  7. Gary S. April 30, 2012 at 9:52 am
    I think he is too hard headed to do nothing and put Torres in left in a platoon with Hairston.Kirk and Tejada are lights out in the one and two holes right now.Move these guys for Andres Torres???No way imho.
  8. Steven April 30, 2012 at 9:55 am
    This was a thrilling game and the type that the Mets would have invariably lost the last few seasons. I like the way Duda is hitting. Even most of his outs are well hit and his weakest hit was probably the two RBI single on Saturday. I may have missed it Joe, but have you yet put up an analysis of the Pelfrey injury, your take on whether it was caused by his new mechanics this year, and what the mets should do to take his place in the rotation
    • Joe Janish April 30, 2012 at 11:10 am
      Steven, no I haven’t mentioned the Pelfrey injury yet, for a few reasons, but mainly because I haven’t been able to comprehensively review video of Big Pelf from this year vs. last year.

      However, I will be on Joe Castellano’s show tomorrow afternoon, with Angel Borrelli, to discuss Pelfrey. Details coming shortly.

  9. jerseymet April 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm
    Fiirst kudo’s to the Mets for their fighting spirit. Secondly Rauch embodies that spirt! I’m not much of a lip reader but I gathered that he was none to pleased to be removed from the game. Yes his off-speed stuff did not work a mile above sea level; however a favorable call would have avoided two 3 and 0 pitches. This guy deserves a shot at closing.

    In spring Baxter won the battle to be the lefty bat off the bench. Now is the time to implement the left field platoon. and negate Bay’s option.

    Kirk is our centerfielder. Torres is an excellent fouth outfielder. He should get starts against lefties.

    @ Joe: Why does the high altitude so effect pitching? Does it help someone with a live fastball aka Parnell?

    • Joe April 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm
      This Joe believes R. was pissed off about the calls more than being removed from the game.
      • Joe Janish April 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm
        This Joe agrees that Rauch was ticked about the calls, but doesn’t agree that Rauch had any reason to be ticked. Rauch got at least one call he shouldn’t have, maybe two, so when that one went against him, it at least evened things out.
    • Joe Janish April 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm
      Thin air / low humidity means that objects can move more freely / without needing as much force, so for the same reasons batted balls fly extra distances, it can be assumed that pitched balls can similarly move slightly quicker from the rubber to home plate.

      However, low humidity also means that the skin is drier and therefore it’s more difficult to get a good grip on the baseball. This effect definitely, negatively affects curveballs. Does less of a grip affect fastball velocity? Probably not, since less drag (of skin) should result in more velocity. However, it’s possible that the same lack of grip could result in less control / command.

      Clear as mud?

      • Dan May 1, 2012 at 7:39 am
        Also the reduced drag that allows increased velocity would also reduce ball movement, which would make most pitches easier to hit. With less drag batted balls will travel farther, or get to a given point faster.

        I know home runs increase in that environment, but what about double plays?

      • jerseymet May 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm
        Thanks for the physics lesson!