Reds 6 Mets 3
The question of the night: why was D.J. Carrasco pitching for the Mets in the 8th inning of a one-run game?
Mets Game Notes
The easy answer to that question is, “because Carrasco was ejected the night before, forcing Ramon Ramirez to finish the ballgame.” But that’s not enough for me, because I want to know the thought process behind removing Tim Byrdak — who had thrown exactly one pitch and who has held RH batters to a .214 AVG?
Of course, by the time Carrasco allowed Toms River native Todd Frazier‘s homerun, the Mets were already down by one. But, after the homer, the momentum of the ballgame went all the way to the Reds and took all the air out of the Mets’ balloon. Down by one with six outs left is much different than down by three. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me, but when Frazier’s blast disappeared over the centerfield fence, the collective body language of the Mets was one of defeat. And this came one night after manager Terry Collins waved the white flag in the seventh inning of a 8-0 ballgame. Hey, it is what it is.
Prior to that fateful 8th inning, this was an intriguing pitchers’ duel between two crafty soft-tossers. By the end of their respective evenings, Johan Santana and Mike Leake had very similar lines. Santana was just a hair better, going an extra two-thirds of an inning over Leake’s six, allowing one less hit to Leake’s seven, and giving up one less run to Leake’s three — and doing it with only two more pitches. Both hurlers relied on batters making poor contact and the execution of their fielders, and it was the Reds defense that led to two unearned runs that made the difference in the linescore.
But, the difference in the final score was yet again in the hands of the bullpens. And yet again, the Mets’ relief corps was not up to the task.
On a positive note, Lucas Duda went 3-for-4. I LOVED seeing him swing on a 3-0 count in the first frame, and hope to see more of that in the future.
Leake is a really good athlete, as witnessed by his baserunning in the third inning. Interesting tidbit: when both were playing for Arizona State, Leake would play 1B when Ike Davis pitched, and vice-versa. Leake is only the tenth person in the history of mankind to go straight to MLB from college — and the first since Xavier Nady.
Speaking of Ike, he hit a double off his former college teammate but is one for his last seventeen. Ouch.
There’s been a ton of buzz about young Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, and can understand the excitement. He’s incredibly “quiet” behind the plate — in other words, he holds his stance and doesn’t move around very much — and does a great job of receiving pitches. Though, he usually catches the “back” of the ball, he manages to do so as well as is possible, with soft hands and without ridiculous “framing” movements. His setup and target make him a catcher that pitchers love to throw to. Though there were only two opportunities to see him throw to 2B, I liked what I saw of his footwork, exchange, overall quickness, body control, arm strength, and “line of fire” — the straightness of his throw. He’s not blessed with outstanding skills, but he puts everything together with great timing, balance, and control, has little wasted motion, and gets the ball to second base with a straight, true, tight four-seam rotation. Supposedly he has a good stick — which hasn’t yet come out this year — but even if that doesn’t develop as people expect, at the very least he’ll be a solid defensive backstop. I compare him to Brian Schneider at a similar age. Youngsters, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to watch Mesoraco and emulate some of his habits.
No hits for David Wright, dropping his average to .402. He did get two walks, though, holding his OBP at .497.
In the small detail department, an interesting play by Joey Votto in the fourth inning: he tagged from first base on a fly ball to right field and faked going to second, drawing a throw from Lucas Duda. What that says to me is teams are hearing that Duda is shaky in the field, and it’s possible to force him into a mistake if you put a little pressure on him. The SNY crew didn’t say a peep about the move by Votto, but to me it spoke volumes about both Votto’s savvy and the scouting reports on Duda. Duda — a natural first baseman — is not yet comfortable as an outfielder and other teams know it, and are going to challenge him. It will be interesting to see how he reacts and develops in response.
Had Jay Bruce hit through the ball, and finished his swing high rather than cutting it off by rolling his top hand over immediately after contact and finishing low, his long sac fly would have gone over the fence. Kids: hit through the baseball, and get full extension AFTER hitting the ball to ensure that you are accelerating your hands at the point of contact.
Ryan Ludwick is on the Reds now? He and Austin Kearns are essentially the same person to me. Righthanded hitter who once showed an ability to slug the ball over the fence, and as a result will be given chances time after time. They pick up the mantle from Jason Lane.
Next Mets Game
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.