Mets Game 36: Loss to Brewers

Brewers 8 Mets 0

Mets engage in an ugly game that needs to be forgotten as soon as possible.

Mets Game Notes

The story of the night was the removal of David Wright in the bottom of the 7th, with the Mets down by 8 and right after D.J. Carrasco drilled Ryan Braun. Let’s dissect from several angles.

First, did Carrasco hit Braun purposely? Maybe, though he’d be an idiot to say so. If he did hit him on purpose, was it right? Well, it’s not that simple. A pitcher should never want to hurt a batter. But after a batter who is really comfortable and/or crowding the plate sends a pitch 450 feet, the very next batter should be “reminded” that it’s possible for the pitcher to make a mistake inside. That’s not to say the pitcher should hit a batter, but it does mean he should throw inside, so that the hitter doesn’t get too comfortable. There are many people who disagree with this philosophy, and that’s fine; it’s an old-school mentality that goes back to the days when pitchers had more of an advantage. A naturally occuring part of baseball is the element of fear, and Bud Selig has done everything to aggressively, selectively, and unnaturally remove this fear from the batter’s mind. In the end — and ironically — it makes the game more dangerous for the batter, but we’ve talked about that in the past and likely will discuss it again. Point is, I had no problem with Carrasco hitting Braun, assuming Carrasco’s goal was to establish the inside of the plate rather than maim Braun. Further, I had a tremendous problem with home plate umpire Gary Darling’s decision to toss Carrasco — though, at the same time, I know he had to in order to uphold Selig’s unnatural edict.

Now we move on the the removal of Wright. Was it the right move by Terry Collins? Tough to say. I understand why he did — it was a knee-jerk, panic reaction by a man who cannot under any circumstances afford to lose perhaps the hottest hitter in MLB right now. Why put him into a situation that has even an inkling of possibility of harm?

At the same time, the minute Gary Darling tossed Carrasco he removed the ability of any pitcher from either side to throw inside. If Zack Greinke so much as threw a pitch on the inside corner, he was facing a probable ejection. Why would he do that? With a shutout going and no one warming up in the bullpen, why would try to hit Wright, knowing full well that if he did, he’d get tossed? It would make zero sense. That said, Greinke most likely would have stayed middle-out to Wright — and given Wright a better chance to hit. The ballplayers aren’t stupid — they know when the umpire has completely changed the face of the game. Greinke was not going to go inside, Wright knew it, and he would have had something to hit.

Now, here’s another angle to the removal of Wright: it was Collins raising the white flag and admitting that the game was effectively over. If you weren’t sure, he confirmed it by removing Daniel Murphy as well. Again, I understand why he did what he did — in his mind, it wasn’t worth the risk. But, by taking out his two hottest hitters, he also told his ballclub that he didn’t expect them to come back from an 8-run deficit in the final three innings of the ballgame. I’m not so sure that’s the right message.

Yet one more element to keep in mind: because the Brewers didn’t have the opportunity to “take a shot” at Wright in retaliation for Braun’s plunking, this subject could still be on the table when the Mets and Brewers meet again. Granted, that won’t happen until mid-September, but it’s out there, and something to keep in mind four months from now. Toward Collins’ point, if Wright will be in harm’s way, better it be in September rather than right now. Oh wait, is that assuming that a September game will be meaningless? Oops.

Anyway, let’s discuss the game before that point — albeit it briefly, since there isn’t much good to say.

Dillon Gee struggled, to say the least. Seven earned runs on eight hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. On the bright side, he struck out four. Tough outing for Gee, especially considering that the Brewers offense looked so pitiful the night before. But we have to understand that Gee is who he is, and balance our expectations appropriately. He’s going to have days where his command is sharp, three pitches are working, and he pitches really well. When those days occur, we can’t get all lost in the moment and start comparing his stuff to aces, or expect him to be the next Tom Seaver. He’s Dillon Gee, a strong-minded, huge-hearted pitcher with limited god-given talent who overachieves. This makes him someone we love rooting for, and the moment he becomes something else — when expectations raise above that — he’ll be a disappointment. Gee is the David against the Goliaths, the Rocky Balboa of the pitcher’s mound — what’s so wrong with that?

Meanwhile, Zack Greinke was what he is — a very good pitcher. The Mets couldn’t do anything against him. Hey, it happens. Tip your cap.

Next Mets Game

The Mets stay home to host the Cincinnati Reds for another quick two-game set. Game one on Wednesday begins at 7:10 p.m. and pits Johan Santana vs. Mike Leake.

If you want a chance to win two free tickets to THURSDAY afternoon’s game (1:10 p.m start), post a photo on the MetsToday Facebook page.

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. Joe May 16, 2012 at 8:29 am
    Kevin Burkhardt ? @KBurkhardtSNY

    Hahahahahaha i saw that too! RT @SurfingTheMets: Not a great lip reader, but I think Carrasco said, “That was for Shyam.” [fired / Braun testing mess]

    I don’t think it was “a knee-jerk, panic reaction” .. that’s a bit harsh … but really, when is the last time anyone ever did that? As to the white flag, well honestly, I know they are comeback kids and all, but it was 8-0. Don’t think so. Yeah, I know. Still, they got three hits the day before. I don’t think so.

    To me, the whole perufflee was a bit amusing — well, they had a bad game but Terry made it interesting all the same. And, Carrasco? He is there sending messages? Well, how bad he is, he does have a ready excuse that even if he WANTED to do it, he would have problems doing it right.

    • HobieLandrith May 16, 2012 at 8:48 am
      The beauty of baseball is that you can’t sit on the ball and wait for the clock to run out. I saw the Phillies come back from a nine-run deficit in the 8th inning to win a game last year. I’m with Joe J – as a manager you never, ever show the team you’ve given up. However I could see pulling guys late in the game if the manager believes his team has quit and wants to send them a message. I recall Willie Randolph doing that once on a getaway day.
      • Joe May 16, 2012 at 10:32 am
        I know. That game when the Mets were losing 18-9, they still had a shot! I know the cliche. But, seriously, it was at best a venial sin here. Managers repeatedly put in back-ups in such situations. If they didn’t “give up,” you don’t put Carrasco to pitch there eihter. And, protecting David Wright was probably a major factor anyhow. Taking someone else out just makes that look a bit better.
  2. David May 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm
    Whatever Collins’ motive, as a leadership move it’s the baseball equivalent of your mom or dad calling you into the house so you won’t get hurt in a fight. What are the odds that Wright gets hurt, even if he’s thrown at? Versus, what is Wright’s Dignity Index (okay, just made that up) after Collins’ removed him? As a Met fan, the only recent event that embarrasses me more is Reyes’ bunt/headfirst slide/removal to ensure the batting crown. Which, interestingly, also involved Braun.
  3. DaveSchneck May 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm
    With all due respect, Greinke is a somewhat unpredictable character. I also agree with Hobie that a baseball game isn’t over until the 27th out. I know this was knee-jerk by Terry, but he gets a pass as losing DW would be somewhat disasterous at this point. This is a team making a big playoff push nowadays.