Mets Game 29: Win Over Phillies

Mets 5 Phillies 2

The Mets couldn’t beat Roy Halladay, but they were able to beat the Phillies on a night that Halladay pitched.

Mets Game Notes

Jonathon Niese had some struggles in the early frames, leaving his fastball up and flat in the zone and bouncing his curveball — which is fairly unusual, as his curve rarely hits the dirt. I wonder if he was working on a new grip, release, or location. Beyond his lack of command, I didn’t like his body language — he had a kind of resigned, almost defeated look on his face in those early frames. It was as if he knew he didn’t have his good stuff and was thinking that Halladay had all the runs he needed to win. Or, maybe that was simply what was going through my head, and I projected those thoughts onto his less-than-confident body language.

I can’t put my finger on what exactly is wrong, but I think there might be a physical issue with Roy Halladay. His follow-through looks cut off, with his upper body staying a bit too high from what I remember. In fact he’s putting too much stress on his arm with his finish. Additionally, his arm angle occasionally dropped a bit below low three-quarter — he was just about sidearm on several pitches. He’s also throwing more curveballs than his normal rate. Finally, his arm tended to drag behind his body, particularly as the game wore on. All these factors suggest that he may have either a shoulder or back issue. I hope that’s not the case, because as a baseball fan I absolutely love watching him deal. Let’s just say I won’t be stunned if at some point this season he goes on the DL with an arm and/or back problem.

One thing I really love about Halladay is his pace. He starts his next pitch almost immediately upon receiving the ball back from the catcher. No messing around — gimme the ball, and here you go, try to hit it. There’s a fine line between what he does and “rushing.” By controlling the tempo alone he has a significant advantage over the opposition.

Hunter Pence befuddles me. He has always looked awkward and unathletic, yet puts up big offensive numbers and makes remarkable plays on defense. But the thing that truly blows my mind is that his swing looks as though the only thing he can accomplish is a grounder to the left side — and that’s generally all we ever see him do against the Mets. Further, he grips the bat so tight I expect to see sawdust come down from the handel. But, at the end of the year he’ll finish with 20-25 HR and a .290-.300 AVG. How does he do this when all he hits are grounders to short?

For a short while, it appeared as though Ike Davis had come out of his funk, but now he’s back into a slump. Keith Hernandez pointed out Ike’s big hitch but Ike has had that same hitch from the time he first appeared in a Mets uniform, so as much as I hate it, I don’t thin that by itself is the issue. Rather, what I see is a timing issue. Ike has a long swing with a number of moving parts, and it takes more time to get started than an “orthodox” swing. That said, I think he’s simply getting his swing started a few milliseconds too late, and it’s causing him to rush everything forward. If I were his coach I’d suggest he try starting his stride just a hair earlier, then sit back and try to punch the ball up the middle or over the shortstop’s head. Of course, it’s much easier to say or think than it is to do.

I’m not sure how Bobby Parnell walks Juan Pierre. Pierre is never, in a million years, going to go yard against Parnell, and it’s unlikely he can catch up to Bobby’s 95+ heat. Yet somehow Parnell managed to throw four balls to him in one at-bat — with the fourth nearly hitting the bull (OK, if there was a bull, Parnell might’ve hit it). All I can do is shake my head.

With Freddy Galvis barely hitting his weight — and he’s not a heavy guy — I was surprised to see him hit for himself with one out in the eighth, men on second and third, and one out. If there was ever a spot for Jim Thome, that was it. Ah, but Thome is on the DL, and for some reason Charlie Manuel was saving his next-best option — Laynce Nix — for a two-out opportunity (why?). Geez, you know the Phillies are depleted when Erik Kratz (who?) is one of their best pinch-hitters. As it was, Galvis hit a Baltimore chop that turned into an out at the plate and a concussion for Josh Thole.

Who does Mike Nickeas think he is, stroking a double with two strikes against Jonathon Papelbon? Moreover, what the heck is Papelbon doing giving Nickeas anything other than heat after Nickeas looked overwhelmed by the fastball?

Jordany Valdespin swung from his heels on the first MLB pitch he saw, with the bases loaded. He missed. This time, though, he connected. For just a moment, and as awful as you may have felt about it, were you pleased that Ruben Tejada was on the DL? C’mon, be honest …

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Phillies do it again at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Miguel Batista faces Joe Blanton.

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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