Mets Game 26: Loss to Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks 5 Mets 4

Both starting pitchers did well, save for one bad inning. In the end, it was relief pitching and defense that made the difference in the ballgame. On this particular night, strong defense and relief pitching by the D’Backs overtook shoddy defense and poor relieving by the Mets.

Mets Game Notes

Have to like the fight in Dillon Gee, who deserved better fate than a no-decision. His stuff is mediocre at best — really, only a slight step above that of Chris Schwinden. But he refuses to give in to batters, attacks the strike zone, mixes speeds well, and seems to turn it up a notch in the face of adversity. Imagine if you could put Gee’s head and heart into Mike Pelfrey‘s body? You’d have Roy Halladay.

Wade Miley is a similar pitcher in that he doesn’t have much beyond a big heart and some savvy. Though, I was surprised that he pitched around David Wright in the third, which to me was the key moment of the inning. At the time, Miley had a two-run lead and six innings to play; challenge him for goodness sakes! Part of my astonishment came because it seemed out of character for the wily Miley, but also because I can’t believe a player under Kirk Gibson‘s guidance would ever duck a challenge; I wonder if Gibby gave him an earful after that inning or after the ballgame?

Scary moment early in the ballgame when Ike Davis‘ ankle gave out after hitting a ground ball. It’s the same ankle he had issues with last year, and I imagine he’ll be doing some strengthening exercises for it going forward, and/or wearing some kind of a brace. With Ike finally getting back in the groove, the Mets can’t afford to lose him for any length of time.

Strange play in the fourth. Snakes had a man on first and Miley popped up a bunt. Thole let it drop instead of catching it on the fly, which is a good idea if you can get the lead runner at second. Thole could have done exactly that, as the runner stayed close to 1B. Instead of throwing to 2B, however, Thole threw to first. To compound the stupidity, Daniel Murphy stepped on the 1B bag instead of first tagging the runner, who was heading back to first. Once Murphy touched the bag, the runner had the right to stay at first, and he just stepped back.

What was more stunning was Keith Hernandez admitting that he would not have known what to do, either. Really? In what universe would anyone think that a runner who was forced would somehow be safe from being put out by standing on first base? As soon as the batter hits a ball on the ground, the runner on first has to move forward to the next base; he can’t stand on first base and be safe from being tagged out — this isn’t the kids game called “running bases” or “pickle,” it’s MLB. This is really simple stuff, and though I’m not terribly surprised that both Thole and Murphy royally botched the play, I’m truly astonished that Hernandez was befuddled by the situation.

In the eighth, there was some bad defense and worse relief pitching that let the D’Backs take the lead. One play that could have been much worse came when Scott Hairston let a ball practically bounce off his foot. I guess he didn’t dive because he wasn’t sure how close to the wall he was, but he didn’t necessarily need to leave his feet — all he had to do was keep moving and reach his glove out. Reminded me of Bobby Abreu. As it was the Snakes didn’t score as a result, but it still bugged me to see the play develop that way — for the amount of money MLBers make, I’d like to see a little more effort, even in the face of “danger.” Firemen get paid peanuts in contrast, and they think nothing of running into burning buildings.

Andres Torres very quietly collected three hits. Still, I don’t like the idea of Kirk Nieuwenhuis spending most of the evening on the bench. I suppose it makes sense to let Torres flourish with the idea of trading him for a few young warm bodies at the end of July.

Great at-bat by Lucas Duda to lead off the bottom of the eighth, working the count full before taking a walk. Ridiculously boneheaded move by Terry Collins to call a bunt in the next at-bat with Hairston hitting. Are you kidding me? No outs, man on first, down by one, and the guy at the plate’s main tool is an ability to occasionally jerk one over the fence, and you have him bunting? Wow.

Josh Thole also put together a great at-bat in the eighth, and rapped a hard liner to left that was snared by Jason Kubel.

Every time I hear “Kubel” I think of my aunt’s noodle kugel.

In the last 7 games, the Mets bullpen has allowed 24 earned runs in 25 innings.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Diamondbacks do battle again on Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. Johan Santana goes to the mound against Patrick Corbin.

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 May 5, 2012 at 12:14 am
    I don’t see your attitude towards Keith. I’ve been watching baseball since the Giants were the NL team in the Polo Grounds and never saw that happen. I’m sure it never comes up in discussions or practice or else Keith wouldn’t have been so out of touch. The closest play is when there are two runners on third and the fielders tag both because they don’t know which one is supposed to be out and which safe. That happens at least a few times a year and the players don’t know the rules on that, how could anyone expect them to know the rules on this play.
    • FashionForward May 5, 2012 at 11:27 am
      I was at the game and knew right away what the correct play would have been. As soon as the ball is put into play the runner on first loses his right to occupy that base. This is a pretty elementary baseball concept. What shocked me is that Howie Rose on the radio didn’t seem to recognize what had happened, saying only that it was a “smart play” for the runner on first to stay there. It was actually a very bad play and had Murphy not made a second bad play, would have made for an easy two outs.
    • Joe Janish May 5, 2012 at 11:36 am
      I suppose I just don’t get the confusion – to me it is one of the most basic, simple plays in baseball: the runner on first HAS TO go to second on a ground ball. A bunt is a ground ball. He can’t just stand on 1B and be immune to being put out by tag. If he could then we’d see runners retreating to first base on grounders to the second baseman or first baseman all the time.
  2. Izzy May 5, 2012 at 12:15 am
    PS: I do agree agree completely about playing Kirk. But get multiple prospects for Torres.. You are kidding right? This guy is all of a 231 career hitter. 231.!!!!!! All you get for him a another Chris Carter.
    • Joe Janish May 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm
      Where do you get the idea that “two young warm bodies” is the same as “prospects” ?

      Centerfielders who can play great defense and provide some offense are generally at a premium. If Torres can go on a hot streak and look like a .280 hitter, I do believe the Mets can get a pair of low-level minor leaguers. Not an organization’s “top ten” prospect, but certainly a couple of youngsters who show one or two tools.

  3. mic May 5, 2012 at 3:37 am
    Strange thing is that there is a belief that Torres is better than Kirk. ?????

    – As you said Izzy, Torres is a .231 hitter, a 4th OFer (at best). His best position is the role Duda/Kirk has been playing…PH/defensive sub/spot starter.

    – as for Bay: he has made several game changing catches and clutch HRs. OK his average is not exactly .300. But HE FITS in this line up, he complements it and his contribution stands on its own merit.

    -Bullpen: Jack Egbert and Fernando Cabrera.

  4. NormE May 5, 2012 at 7:29 am
    You’re correct about the Hairston attempted sac. It’s just a bad piece of strategy.
    The bullpen has begun to fall apart rather quickly. Soon it will be time to turn it over to Parnell, Egbert and others. The
    retreads are a reminder of the Madoff-induced skinflint budget the Wilpons gave this team.
  5. Steven May 5, 2012 at 8:02 am
    I also didnt understand the Hairston bunt play. Joe. I have to disagree with your contention that Gee stuff is only slightly better than Scheinden. His change up is nearly as good asjohan’s
    • Joe Janish May 5, 2012 at 11:41 am
      We’ll agree to disagree. I’m paying Gee a compliment, BTW, as I feel he gets every last ounce out of his talent.
  6. gary s. May 5, 2012 at 8:53 am
    The Hairston bunt was idiotic.That seems to be this managers calling card.Sitting Kirk makes no sense.When do we bench Ike Davis?He swung at a curve that hit him in the foot last nite.UGH!!!!Plus he made a huge error last nite that led to the loss.This is a hard team to watch..
  7. DaveSchneck May 5, 2012 at 9:21 am
    Ugly game, no doubt. Time for Mets lineup to slap around an opponent and get the ace a win.
  8. jerseymet May 5, 2012 at 10:49 am
    Nice article. Defense is the beauty of the game. The Mets are ugly. Our best hitters are promoted to Flushing and played wherever we can fit them. Few have thoroughly learned their position. UGLY BASEBALL.
  9. Corey Gorey May 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm
    I was just upset that after the team decided to do something awesome–take at bats to Beastie Boys songs in tribute to MCA–they couldn’t hold on to a two-run lead.

    I was sitting in a São Paulo bar playing “Brass Monkey” and projecting a photo of MCA against the wall across the street as I watched the stats change for the worse on the MLB pitch-by-pitch screen on my phone. My friends were confused by my quiet anger.

    Ah, technology.

  10. Joe May 6, 2012 at 12:25 am
    Gee is getting a compliment for ‘only a slight step above that of Chris Schwinden.’ … really now? Schwinden is “nice guy, doesn’t belong here” … what is a “slight step” there?