Mets Game 23: Loss to Astros

Astros 4 Mets 3

So far, it’s shaping up to be a season of many one-run games — low-scoring, one-run games, that is. That means every move, mistake, and clutch hit is magnified. It also means that the Mets have an extremely slim margin for error, and every seemingly little execution is paramount.

Mets Game Notes

R.A. Dickey had his good knuckler, and was remarkably efficient. He had only one bad inning, and it’s hard to describe it as “bad” except for the fact that the Astros scored three runs in that frame. It took two bloops and a broken bat bleeding grounder to score the ‘stros first run in the sixth. Moments later came the bomb that put Houston ahead by three. All of Dickey’s pitches other than the gopher ball were tough to hit, and were poorly struck, but they found places to land just beyond the reach of fielders’ gloves. There wasn’t much else Dickey could do — sometimes that’s the way the ball bounces, so to speak.

Every time I see Bud Norris pitch I think, “gee whiz, this guy has great stuff, he may be a Cy Young candidate some day.” Not sure what is keeping him from being an elite pitcher — maybe a mental thing, or just a matter of development and maturation — but he seems to have “the goods.” To me he is a cross between former Astro Roy Oswalt and Jason Schmidt, though he doesn’t throw quite as hard as either; so maybe it’s a cross among Oswalt, Schmidt, and Jason Jennings. In any case, it wouldn’t surprise me to one day hear that he threw a no-hitter, nor would it stun me to see him win 18 games. He did seem to struggle in a Mike Pelfrey -like way with runners on, so maybe it’s a mental thing.

Is it me, or does Kirk Nieuwenhuis have just a little bit of Ike Davisness in him in regard to umpire complaints? He had a demonstrative reaction after being picked off, and I caught one or two situations over the past week where he openly showed his displeasure at a home plate umpire’s strike calling. I get that this is a product of Kirk’s passion, and I don’t have a problem with passion. What I do have a problem with is disrespect, and there’s a fine line that Kirk may or may not be crossing. At this point I am not judging — but will be keeping an eye on that part of his game.

Speaking of Ike Davis, he’s back. As MetsToday reader/commenter “Bill” suggested in the previous game’s post, it’s probably not a coincidence that Ike moved his hands back to the higher position he started from in 2010 and 2011 — you know, when he was good. He looks comfortable and confident now, and — wouldn’t you know? — he’s hitting the baseball with authority to all fields.

Before you get all over me for pointing out a negative regarding Nieuwenhuis, let me mention that he continues to be one of the top three contributors — all around — for the Mets thus far. He’s a ballplayer, I love watching him, and I have no idea why he wasn’t in centerfield. But at least he was in the starting lineup and leading off. He reminds me — a lot — of a young Kirk Gibson, though maybe with a smidge less homerun power (though I could be wrong on that) and with less raw speed.

Houston manager Brad Mills used five relievers to face five straight Mets hitters between the seventh and eighth innings. Was this Sparky Anderson in Game Seven of a random 1970s World Series and I missed it? Or was it Jerry Manuel in September 2008? I guess Mills is pretty desperate for victories … and is lacking job security.

Daniel Murphy made his fifth error of the season, and Josh Thole made his fourth. That’s too many. Murphy’s on pace to commit 36 over a 162-game season, and Thole’s on his way to 29. I don’t think any catcher has made as many as twenty errors in a season in a hundred years, though I could be wrong.

Mike Baxter got a start and continues to hit the ball hard, even when he makes outs. He appears to be in a zone, which to me means he should be hitting as often as possible.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Astros do it again on Tuesday night at 8:05 p.m. EST. Lefties Jonathon Niese and J.A. Happ lock horns in what could be an interesting pitchers’ duel.

Mets 2012 Games

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. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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