Mets Game 61: Loss to Yankees

Yankees 5 Bisons 4

For a while there, it looked like the Bisons might hang in there long enough to beat the mighty Yankees. In the end, however, we found out the difference between MLB and AAA.

Mets Game Notes

Like Dillon Gee in the start before him, Jonathon Niese did a great job of preventing the Yankees from crossing the plate, despite allowing the leadoff batter to reach base frequently. Five of the seven innings he pitched began with a Yankee on base, and one way or another, he managed to wiggle out of trouble with no harm done — until the seventh, when a leadoff single by Robinson Cano eventually resulted in a two-run homer by Russell Martin to put the Yankees within one. You have to admire Niese’s ability to work out of jams, but the percentages were against him — you can only allow so many baserunners before a few finally score. Niese had a good curveball working, inducing many swings and misses, and he had good downward movement on his sinker. Frequent visitors of MetsToday likely noticed that Niese’s arm angle was a little more overhand in comparison to those outings when he falls in love with his cutter and everything is flat. Huh.

While Niese worked around leadoff batters reaching base, the same could not be said for Bobby Parnell. Parnell allowed an infield double to Derek Jeter to start the eighth, and by the time the inning ended, Parnell was gone and the Yankees had a one-run lead. OK, it wasn’t really a double — an error was charged to Omar Quintanilla — but it was as close as you’ll ever see to an infield double.

I referred to the Bisons because it was Quintanilla, Vinny Rottino, Mike Nickeas, and Jordany Valdespin who did the bulk of the damage in the Mets’ three-run second inning. Unfortunately, other than Scott Hairston, the MLBers couldn’t figure Pettitte, and so the Mets plated only those three despite sending nine batters to the plate.

Immediately after being handed a 3-0 lead, Niese proceeded to throw six straight balls to start the bottom of the second. Eventually, the Yankees put men on first and second with none out, but Joe Girardi clearly felt sorry for the Mets and directed Nick Swisher to bunt. Bunt? Really? Down three in the second inning, seeing Niese struggling to find the plate, a lineup full of sluggers, and you’re bunting? I nearly fell off my chair. Mind you, I’m an old-schooler who appreciates small ball. But when you have hitters such as the Yankees have, the bunt should be verboten. I realize that Swisher has struggled from the right side, but if he lacks that much confidence against lefties then either he shouldn’t be in the lineup or he should stick to hitting from the left side all the time. By bunting, the Yankees not only gave Niese the gift of an out, but it changed the tone of the game, and shifted the momentum back into the Mets’ lap — it was downright absurd. I’m assuming Swisher didn’t do that on his own, and that Girardi unnecessarily and stupidly forced himself into the equation. Often, it’s best for a manager to let a baseball game develop on its own, rather than forcing things. That was one such situation and it nearly cost the Yankees the ballgame.

I’m sure there are some Mets fans fixated on David Wright‘s throw in the dirt in the seventh that Rottino couldn’t handle, which allowed Andruw Jones to reach base, caused the inning to continue, and led to Russell Martin’s two-run dinger. No doubt many were thinking, “see? we need Ike Davis there, even if he is hitting .160!” If that’s your mindset, remember that Rottino both drove in and scored a run — something Davis had not done in about a month. Mind you, I’m no advocate of having Rottino play 1B regularly. The truth is, he’s not really a first baseman but rather a utilityman who can play passable defense there. But an average MLB first baseman might make that play, AND contribute offensively — something Ike hasn’t been doing. Further, Ike has made his share of errors without adding to the offense.

Speaking of Ike, there is good news: he blasted a double to deep right-center in the ninth to drive in Lucas Duda and tie the ballgame four-all. He was right on Yankee closer Rafael Soriano, with everything in sync. Could this finally be the at-bat that ignites him? Or is it another tease that keeps him out of Buffalo for two more weeks? We’ll soon see.

By the way, Ike was thrown out at third following his double on a slow roller to short. It was an aggressive, risky play by shortstop Jayson Nix, and I think any other Major League player slides in safely. Had Ike been able to beat the tag, the game might’ve turned out differently.

Next Mets Game

The Mets lick their wounds and fly down to Tampa Bay to play the Rays on Monday night. Game time is 7:10 p.m. and pits Chris Young against Alex Cobb.

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. DaveSchneck June 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm
    Verboten, great word. It should also be applicable to everyone on the current roster when it comes to pitching in the 8th inning. After April, Rauch’s performance is Acosta-like, and despite improvement this year, Parnell looks to be a 7th inning or earlier type, Sandy needs to step up now and bring in someone that can handle the set-up role without giving up mlre than a mid-level prospect.
  2. Lee June 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm
    The hell is Vinny Rottino doing playing first?
    • HobieLandrith June 11, 2012 at 10:29 am
      Because Keith Hernandez retired.
  3. Tommy2cat June 11, 2012 at 5:36 am
    Very glad that our deficiencies are being exposed at the ML level, lest we are lured into the false belief that we are buyers at the trading deadline. Let us fall and fall fast, so that we can continue to develop and integrate our young & hungry talent.

    Here’s some immediate moves that would make sense.

    1. Promote Rob Johnson and demote Mike Nickeas, who has no business being on a ml roster.

    2. Trade Daniel Murphy to Toronto for prospect Jake Marisnick or to Giants for prospect Gary Brown, both right-handed hitting outfielders with power and speed.

    3. Platoon Valdespin and Turner at 2d base.

    4. Retain Quintanilla after Tejada’s return for late-inning defense at 2nd base and infield flexibility.

    5. Very politely ask Jason Bay to leave. See if he has the decency to leave some of his $$$ for inner-city starving families, build a Little League field or two or some other charitable endeavor. He’d probably do it.

    6. Promote Juan Lugares – ready or not.. He gets the bat on the ball and is a very capable rh hitting outfielder.

    7. Promote Jennry Mejia & Josh Edgin, send Elvin Ramirez to AAA for extra work and place Rauch on 15-day disabled list.

    8. When Baxter returns, place Ike on 15-day disabled list for Valley Fever, and let him sort through his very substantial issues on a rehab assignment at PSL.

    Well, Joe, those are my suggestions. Anything happening at the ML level is just shifting chairs on the Titanic.

    Oh, BTW, we lost this game when Bay & Wright struck out with the bases loaded in the 3rd inning. In my view, Bay infected Wright. 🙂

    • Izzy June 11, 2012 at 8:02 am
      1. Because OT.
      2. Because Toronto wants a DH who hits like Luis Castillo but can’t run fast. NOT
      3, Because you like AAAA players holding up the midle of the infield, even if one is on DL. NOT
      4. Because 30 year old AAAA players who make lots of errors are the young hungry talent we have coming up. HOPE NOT.
      5. Why should he. He was given the deal. He hasn’t tried to be crummy. NOT HAPPENING. Either cut him or put up with him.
      6. At least ask for the great next generation K to be brought up. At least they’s rise fan interest. Sandy Alderson would have kept Harper in the minors until he was 23.
      7. Wow 3 guys replace one. Hmm. How you do that?
      8. Chicken move …. Why don’t you have guts to just send him down?
      • Tommy2cat June 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm

        1. Huh? OT? Are we speaking code?
        2. Package Murphy with prospect if necessary. Murphy’s in a slump, but would be very useful to an AL ballclub.
        3. Presupposes Turner’s return & promotes Valdespin’s continued development. Both are good ballplayers. Did you know that Turner played half of last year with an injured thumb, but declined DL due to depleted roster. I recall him being an RBI machine prior to his injury. You haven’t done your homework.
        4 Quintanilla is productive and his defense will improve with a regular rotation. Your tone suggests you should know better.
        5. Uh – yeah, I was being facetious. A platoon with Baxter appears to be in JayBay’s immediate future. I’ve met him. He’s a really nice person. He’s not getting it done into 3rd year of enormous contract.
        6. Tend to agree except Harvey’s change-up is not ML ready and Wheeler…of course he’d be effective, but let him do 5 starts at AAA against more experienced hitters before throwing him in the deep end. If Young goes down, then Harvey should be promoted, ready or not.
        7. No – you misunderstood. Promote 2 players (Ramon Ramirez & Josh Edgin, a sorely needed lefty) and remove 2 players (Elvin Ramirez & Rauch). Of course, Ramon needs to come off DL, but these moves don’t need to be co-terminus.
        8. Not a chicken move, but a wise move. Ask Connor Jackson @ effects of Valley Fever & then get back to me on that one. Ike needs to get his head clear and his stamina back. I think he’s weak, physically, and fatigued mentally. His continued struggles cannot be good for his psyche & AAA may not be the appropriate remedy.

  4. Tommy2cat June 11, 2012 at 5:54 am
    BTW – Matt den Dekker is absolutely tearing the Eastern League apart. Yeah, another lefty bat.

    What we really could do is shift Duda to first base, and let den Dekker and Kirk duke it out for who plays center and who plays right. Both ball players have really, really cool names, which counts for something.

    Infield – Duda, Turner/Spin, Tejada/Nilla, DW
    OF – Bay/Baxter, den Dekker, Kirk
    C – Thole/Johnson
    Bench – Johnson, Valdespin, Hairston, Baxter, Quintanilla

    Rotation: Santana, Dickey, Niese, Young, Gee
    Bullpen: F.F., Mejia, Parnell, R. Ramirez, Batista, Byrdak, Edgin

    Note: I’d use Daniel Murphy, Familia, and McHugh & others to bring in Jake Marisnick & Gary Brown, so that we have right-handed hitting top OF prospects to develop with Brandon Nimmo. Would be a very smart move.

    BTW – as you know, Chris Young could fall apart at any moment. Matt Harvey should be his replacement.

  5. jim June 11, 2012 at 8:16 am
    I was listening to this game on MLB gameday and heard Howie Rose rant about the bandbox nature of Yankee Stadium after Martin hit that weak homer. Anyone else pick that up?
    • Izzy June 11, 2012 at 8:21 am
      A band box indeed. But a bandbox that the Mets couldn’t take advantage of.
      • HobieLandrith June 11, 2012 at 10:28 am
        Yeah usually Howie Rose is cool but his comments about the fence were annoying and whiny. The fence was there for all the Mets lefthanded bats and what did they do with it?
  6. Izzy June 11, 2012 at 8:19 am
    Long Island has a team in the World Series. Congrats to Stony Brook!!!!!
    • Walnutz15 June 11, 2012 at 9:03 am
      Pretty damn impressive for Stony Brook’s program. They were just hitting the D-1 ranks, as I was bowing out of College Ball in 2001.

      (Think it was their 1st or 2nd season…..if I recall correctly. Still remember the impressive power of Alex Trezza.)

      Super Regionals is no joke; and the Northeast had nice representation this year – with St. John’s making it there as well.

      You’ve gotta have some legitimate pitching to take it past the Regionals. I’m convinced that some of the shots hit against us at Mark Light Stadium (now Alex Rodriguez Park) – still haven’t landed 12 years later.

    • Tommy2cat June 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm
      Izzy – Now you’re talkin’…!!!
  7. Walnutz15 June 11, 2012 at 8:24 am
    You know who the Mets need? FERNANDO MARTINEZ!!

    He’ll save the day….Mighty FERNANDO!!!

    Oh, wait:

    “IF Matt Downs was recalled from Class AAA Oklahoma City when OF Fernando Martinez was placed on the 7-day disabled list with post-concussion syndrome. The Astros now have seven players on the disabled list.

    OF Fernando Martinez was placed on the 7-day disabled list with post-concussion syndrome and recalled Matt Downs from Class AAA Oklahoma City, according to the Houston Chronicle. Manager Brad Mills told the Chronicle that he believed Martinez suffered the concussion while on a previous DL stint in Class AAA and aggrevated it while diving for a ball. The Astros now have seven players on the disabled list.”

    I’d say I’m surprised, but……Tin Man Strikes again.