Mets Game 43: Win Over Pirates

Mets 3 Pirates 2

When two offensively challenged teams face each other, the level of drama of a game and its outcome are often dependent on the number and type of mistakes made. This game fit that condition.

Mets Game Notes

Was this a well-pitched game? Kind of. Or was it a game that had the perception of being well-pitched because of the ineptitude of the batters? Hmm … that is up to subjective interpretation — and yours is encouraged in the comments.

R.A. Dickey‘s dancing knuckleball kept the over-zealous Buc batters in fits. Likewise, Mets hitters accomplished little against an array of fastballs and off-speed pitches served by James McDonald. Both pitchers are reliable starters with the potential to occasionally hurl brilliant outings. On this night, both pitchers brought their typical, solid-yet-unspectacular stuff and walked away with brilliant results. I mean this in no disrespect to either pitcher, both of whom I hold high respect. Rather, in my humble opinion, both pitchers succeeded more as a function of futile hitting than of outstanding pitching. Do you agree?

Further, I wonder if this game would still be playing as a 1-1 tie if not for the multiple mistakes made in the field by both sides — a few of which were not identified as errors by the official scorer, but were miscues nonetheless.

From a less ambivalent, and more positive perspective: nice to see Frank Francisco finish the game with a clean inning.

On a negative note: what is going on with David Wright? He’s mired in his worst slump of the year — he hasn’t had a hit in FIVE AT-BATS! Is it time to panic? Should Wright be studying video? Is he unprepared? Does an adjustment need to be made? What the heck is Dave Hudgens getting paid to do, if not to help David out of this? If this already prolonged dry spell goes any longer, there is a distinct possibility that Wright’s average will drop BELOW .400. I hope he works out of this funk quickly!

OK, you know I’m being facetious about Wright (right?). But on a more serious note, Ike Davis is officially awful. He needs to go down to the minors — maybe as low as Port St. Lucie — to work things out.

Kudos to Terry Collins for moving James McDonald off the mound and into the outfield when Collins was farm director for the Dodgers. By retarding his development as a pitcher for two years, Collins was integral in assuring that McDonald was not spectacular enough to completely dominate the Mets in this ballgame. Sometimes it takes a while, but eventually, decisions made with minor leaguers eventually pay off.

Following with that point, I am impressed with McDonald’s development over the past year. This time last year, I wondered if McDonald was ever going to put it together; in many ways, and perhaps because of their shared Dodgers background, McDonald reminded me of eternal enigma Edwin Jackson. But it seems as though McDonald has become more consistent with his command, and his focus and confidence has improved. I don’t expect him to be a Cy Young candidate, but as mentioned earlier, he does now appear to be a reliable MLB starter — something you couldn’t say about him in 2011.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Pirates finish up the series on Wednesday afternoon with a ballgame that begins at 12:35 p.m. Jonathon Niese faces Charlie Morton.

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. murph May 23, 2012 at 2:19 am
    Nice comments about Mr. Wright.
    You are now certainly qualified to be a member of the over-reactionary NYC sports media.

    Actually, Joe, you are over-qualified. Keep it up! Most readers know when you are kidding, and when you are providing the most incite-ful analysis of “The Mets today”

  2. murph May 23, 2012 at 2:20 am
    (and that was supposed to be: “insightful”)
  3. Walnutz15 May 23, 2012 at 8:17 am
    Nice to see a clean inning from Francisco, for a change.

    Still wondering how they scored McCutchen’s ball a hit, considering Murphy flat out muffed it.

    Say what you’d like about it being a “tough play” – that’s some hometown scoring, at its finest.

    An error all the way – especially since he was there, and had full glove on it. Neither outfielder was within 10 feet of him, and it’s a catch Murph needs to make.

    Wound up as an “RBI single” for ‘Cutch….and I do fully disagree with the official scoring.

    Strangely – and I’m wondering if this has any legs…Joe:

    This kind of hometown scoring job happened not even a year ago – same exact culprits (a McCutchen “hit” that was actually a costly Murphy error; scored generously).

    Dickey was on the hill for it (in lieu of Rauch).

    …………with the Mets ultimately appealing to MLB to have the “earned runs” knocked off of Dickey’s statline.

    ^ From June of last year, entitled: “New York Mets appeal to MLB on Andrew McCutchen hit as error, could benefit R.A. Dickey’s ERA”

    Here ya go, ‘Cutch – take some more “RBI Hits”!

    It’s pretty bizarre, though – that this storyline seems to follow McCutchen…..he’s obviously very engrossed in his own personal stats.

    From the other day, heading into the series:

    “McCutchen appeals scoring decision on error”


    – McCutchen has had films of the play sent to MLB officials.

    – “What have I got to lose? I did file an inquiry. I don’t know how long it takes for a decision; guess it depends when they look at it,” McCutchen said.

    I wasn’t even aware of this story until I looked it up now. Makes you wanna keep an eye out for book doctoring down in the ‘Burgh — especially if he’s contending for a batting title at some point.


    • Joe Janish May 23, 2012 at 8:35 am
      holy crap! Nice catch, ‘nutz!

      I think that subject deserves its own post. I’ll nose into it a bit more and whip something up. Thanks!

    • DaveSchneck May 23, 2012 at 8:50 am
      Good post and spot on. I like Murph, and he has held his own at 2B this year, but my sister would have gotten an E on that play. MLB scorers screw pitchers on a routine basis. for some reason in baseball, when a fly ball lands untouched with clueless fielders standing in the proximity, it is the pitcher’s fault, this we have had to live with forever, something about touching the ball vs. not touching it. I think Joe could put up an nice ranting post about official scoring culture (if he already hasn’t done it). Anyway, another well-timed win following a hard loss, despite a weak line-up. This is good.
      • Walnutz15 May 23, 2012 at 9:12 am
        I was wondering if I was crazy; especially considering what some blogs and readers tell you “they saw”.

        Reading Metsblog, you’d think Murphy was attempting a Willie Mays catch……”almost made a SPECTACULAR grab”.

        Yeah, if only he held onto it after it popped off the webbing of his glove.

        In fairness to Murph, he actually took a good route/angle to the ball – but bottom line: he flat-out dropped it.

        Tougher play, but an error nonetheless….except in the Pirate scorekeeper’s book.

        I honestly expected him to haul that in after getting there with no problem. (I’d imagine he’d tell you the same if you asked him man-to-man.)

        Wound up as an “RBI single”….and I do fully disagree with the official scoring.

  4. gary s. May 23, 2012 at 9:21 am
    I thought i would throw this at the wall and see what happens.The mets should trade Murphy this year for pitching or catching depth.Here’s my reasoning ns it has nothing to do with last nite’s muff.The supposed advantage to moving Murphy to 2nd base imho was to add some power to a position where very few starters have any power numbers (besides Utley or Uggla) at the expense of speed and defense.Despite hitting a lttle over .300 (good) he has exhibited no power (0 hrs) and so so defense (as expected) and zero speed (as expected).He has morphed into a slap singles hitter despite being over 6 feet and 200 pounds.I for one am very surprised at this turn of events power wise.A platoon of turner and Valdespin would provide better defense speed and power.What do u guys think?
    • Joe May 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm
      His defense looks average so far as a whole.

      Turner would provide less offense overall. The defense would not be too much better. I don’t see much more in way of speed either. I don’t know what V. will provide. You are surprised about M. but might be just as surprised with V. His looked raw. As is, M. provides average defense, hitting for average. Devil you know.

      Trading M. is something that is banded about. I don’t know if you would get THAT much for him, but I didn’t think he was untradeable pre-season and I still don’t. But, the fact his power is down doesn’t convince me one way or the other.

  5. NormE May 23, 2012 at 11:56 am
    Gary S.,
    Good points!
    No one on this team is untouchable*. The trick is to get good value.
    One item we armchair GMs usually don’t factor into our trades is the budget that a real GM has to deal with.
    With that said, trading Murphy might be a problem in getting good value because of the limitations you listed. Batting average has been demoted as an important stat when evaluating a player. Does Murph have other stats that would increase his worth?

    *-David Wright would be the closest untouchable, but one could argue that the team would be better off with a good package of prospects (if the other team could get him to
    sign a new contract before hitting free agency).