Mets Game 66: Loss to Reds
Reds 4 Mets 1
In truth, this game was inches away from being a 7-1 loss. But then, that’s why they call it a “game of inches.”
Mets Game Notes
In the fourth inning, with two on, two out, and a full count, Zack Cozart creamed a pitch just barely inside the left field foul pole; it reminded me of Carlton Fisk‘s historic blast in the 1975 World Series. Cozart check swinged at the very next offering, which was ruled a full swing, and the inning was over. Had Cozart hit the ball just a quarter of an inch later, it’s a 7-1 ballgame.
Regardless, Jonathon Niese struggled mightily in the first few innings, running up an alarmingly high pitch count through the fourth frame, yet somehow managed to finish seven innings. His command was terrible, with most of his pitches riding high and flat. However, the Reds hitters helped him out on numerous occasions, chasing pitches wild high with a frequency I haven’t witnessed against the Mets since John Maine was an effective hurler. Niese’s arm angle was all over the place, but mostly, it was too low, as his fingers were slipping to the side of the ball and he was releasing with his thumb pointing straight up or slightly toward 1B. On most of his pitches, his release point was between 9:30 and 10:15 (when watching from the back / centerfield camera), and that’s much too low, especially for someone who relies heavily on the curveball. As a result, his fastball was flat when it wasn’t way up, and his curveball usually had no bite. The big blow against Niese was a monstrous three-run homer by Jay Bruce in the first frame; the pitch was an ugly, hanging breaking ball (curve? slider? couldn’t really tell) that Niese threw from a sidearm / 9 o’clock angle. The pitch and the style with which it was thrown reminded me of Oliver Perez. Sorry if you just threw up in your mouth as a result of that comparison, but that’s what I saw.
Not sure what else to say about this game. The Mets hitters were stymied by Homer Bailey. He didn’t seem to be throwing anything special, but he was getting outs. Certainly, this did not look like the same team that scored 29 runs in three games against MLB’s best pitching staff. Go figure.