Mets Game 34: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 8 Mets 4

For the second time in three days, the Mets make a dramatic comeback in the final inning to take the ballgame, only to lose the ballgame in similarly dramatic fashion.

Mets Game Notes

If you saw this game, chances are you’re not pleased — unless, of course, you’re Giancarlo Stanton’s mom. Skip right down to the comments section and vent your frustration.

Jonathon Niese deserved better. He didn’t have great stuff, but he took the cue from R.A. Dickey‘s most recent outing and found a way to win. Niese had few “clean” innings, but managed to roll the double-play grounder he needed or otherwise wiggle his way out of trouble (a few times with help from the leathermen).

Carlos Zambrano was surprisingly even-keeled and pitched nearly as well as Niese. Apparently that has been his modus operandi thus far this year. As a baseball fan, this pleases me, because Zambrano is one of the few “colorful” ballplayers left in what has become a sanitized game.

Key moment in the Mets’ 9th-inning comeback came when there were men on second and third, two out, and Mike Baxter pinch-hitting. Ozzie Guillen ordered Heath Bell to intentionally walk Baxter, which to me was an awful move — this I felt at the time, not after Justin Turner hit the two-run double. First of all, I HATE giving free passes, and just don’t understand how they make sense. Both old schoolers and modern-day bean counters can tell me until they’re blue in the face that it’s the right move statistically speaking, but I don’t see how that’s possible. Here’s my perspective: even if Ted Williams is up at the plate, he’s going to make an out more than 60% of the time. Most MLBers, in fact, are going to fail more than 70% of the time. So, instead of rolling with the 70% that is to your advantage, you give the batter a free pass? How does that make sense? The argument is further supported when it’s a RH pitcher vs. a LH batter (or vice-versa), as it was in the Bell-Baxter matchup. Seriously? I know Baxter is torching the ball as a PHer but in the grand scheme of things, there’s still a much better chance that he’ll make an out than get a base hit; it’s not like he’s hitting .900. What makes me more insane is that having a base open is an incredible advantage on its own. It gives the pitcher breathing room, and allows him to make mistakes. Instead of an IBB, I’d rather see Bell really bear down on Baxter in that situation, and make him hit a “pitcher’s pitch” to get those runs home. Tell Bell to live on the very edges of the strike zone (all four), and see what happens. Once you put a man on first, that luxury of being super-fine is removed, and the pitcher is forced to pitch toward the middle of the zone once he falls behind on the count. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

While we’re on the subject of that IBB, how about Justin Turner battling Bell yet again and coming through? Statheads can talk all they want about the RBI being a worthless number, but it’s at-bats like that that make me believe — as crazy as I am to do so — that there are at least a few hitters who “know how” to drive in runs.

Another “worthless” stat is wins. And in this particular game, OK, I’m agreeing with the Beaneheads — Heath Bell getting the victory pretty much nullifies a win’s importance. Though, I think wins had significant importance 30+ years ago, when starting pitchers had the most basic goal of finishing what they started.

Ramon Ramirez: not what he was cracked up to be. Am I wrong?

Frank Francisco: see Ramon Ramirez. Am I wrong?

Frank-Frank became unraveled after home plate umpire Todd Tichenor called two very close pitches balls to start John Buck‘s at-bat. They were darned close, and could’ve been called either way. Tichenor chose to call them balls, which set off Francisco, who was visibly upset. Guess what? Once you show an umpire you’re ticked off with his calls, he’s not giving you ANYTHING close. Everything mushroomed from there. After being removed from the game, Francisco approached Tichenor to share some choice words. It was ugly and embarrassing, especially considering it was Mother’s Day and Francisco’s mom was in the stands (he has a home and family in Miami). Is that really how you want to make your mom proud? I don’t think so.

Seriously though, it’s pretty early in the year for Francisco to be losing his sh$%t. My guess is he’ll be losing his closing role soon as well. Considering how the Mets have been overachieving, and the guaranteed $12M Francisco has coming to him, there isn’t much excuse for him to have a meltdown. We thought Frankie Rodriguez had issues? Think again. This man needs mental help.

Manny Acosta walked into a very difficult situation, but didn’t exactly gain any brownie points with me for his effort. His body language and facial expressions showed fear. There are two ways to deal with fear: fight or flight. Acosta fled.

With Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Hanley Ramirez, and that huge ballpark, you’ve got to think that the Marlins have a shot to set some kind of record for triples by a team.

Next Mets Game

The Mets return home to host the Milwaukee Brewers for a quick two-game series. Game one in Flushing begins at 7:10 p.m. on Monday night. The scheduled pitching matchup is Dillon Gee vs. Zack Greinke.

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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