Mets Game 78: Win Over Dodgers
Mets 9 Dodgers 0
Before Thursday, the Dodgers may have been the worst first-place team of all-time. As they slide into an abyss, my prediction of a sweep is looking like a slam dunk.
Mets Game Notes
Another spectacular performance by R.A. Dickey, who continues to appear as close to unhittable as a MLB pitcher can be. I’m torn about whether he should start the All-Star game, or if he should be sandwiched between two flamethrowers to keep the Adulterated League hitters off-balance.
I realize that the Dodgers built a hefty lead when they still had all-world Matt Kemp, Ted Lilly, Andre Ethier, and other key players healthy, but it’s still remarkable to see such a flawed team at the top of the standings — though, not surprising at all to see them falling quickly. My guess is they lasted as long as they did in the top spot because Jerry Hairston, Jr. was unconscious for about three weeks and carried the team on his back. Right now, LA looks as bad if not worse than the Padres and Cubs — a fortunate piece of timing for the Mets, who are happy to take advantage of the situation.
As bad as the Dodgers looked in this game, the Mets weren’t exactly inspiring themselves in terms of fundamentals and fielding. “Defensive specialist” Andres Torres shied away from left fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis and allowed a soft fly by Aaron Harang drop for the first hit of the game against Dickey. Later, Ike Davis — whose defense is far overrated by most rose-colored glasses-wearing Mets fans — muffed an easy popup in foul ground to extend an at-bat. Luckily, neither of those miscues led to runs being scored, but they didn’t do anything to help Dickey, and further underscored the woeful defense that the Mets trot out to the field every day. On the other hand, this seems to be a running theme in MLB — it seems that horrific defense and terrible fundamentals are the norm rather than exception these days. I guess that’s the result of watered-down talent and rushing raw talent through minor league “development” to remain on the positive side of the balance sheet. Luckily for Bud Selig and the billionaire owners, 99.9% of baseball fans don’t care about imperfection — ticket sales across MLB are as high as they’ve been in five years. Spinning turnstiles and selling hot dogs are the most important and accurate measures of MLB health, right?
How bad are the Dodgers — and how watered-down is MLB? Jamey Wright is on the Dodgers 25-man roster. I thought he retired five years ago. His sixteen years of sub-mediocrity should be inspiration for every young pitcher to keep throwing off a mound.
Ruben Tejada continues to show that he hasn’t missed a beat offensively after extended time on the DL; he collected four hits and reached base five times.
In a remarkably stupid turn of events, an umpire warning was issued after Dickey hit Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon — presumably in retaliation for the HBP suffered by Ruben Tejada. First off, the warnings are ridiculous and change the natural order and process of the ballgame. Second, let the players even things out on their own, OK? Third, as much as I like the old-school approach by Dickey, did he hit Dee because he/the Mets believed that Harang purposely hit Tejada? Even though it looked like it might have been a purpose pitch, I find it incredibly unlikely that Harang purposely plunked Tejada with a runner on third and David Wright up next — especially since he intentionally walkEd Wright in a similar situation the inning previous. Then again, the players on the field know have a much better idea of what’s happening than we do from the comfort of our easy chairs; if Harang DID hit Tejada purposely, well, jeez, he’s as dumb as he looks after all.
I’m going to go on a limb and say that the “James Loney is a future batting champion” talk from a few years ago was way, way off.
Along similar lines, Ron Darling said something bizarre and ridiculous after Daniel Murphy hit his third homer in three days: “When Murph starts to get hot, he can do some things that other Mets hitters can’t do, he can sit on the breaking pitch which he did here, a slider from Tolleson. And this is a long home run here.”
Really? Look, I get it when Gary Cohen jumps out of his chair and wets his pants every time a Mets player goes yard — he’s a fan boy. But to hear a former Major Leaguer speak such absurd hyperbole is annoying, fake, and makes me want to vomit. First of all, it wasn’t a “long” home run — it went about five rows behind the right field wall, which is set at 330 feet from home plate. Yeah, that’s “long” for Murphy, considering his power this year is comparable to that of Luis Castillo, but it’s not “long” in terms of anything else related to MLB standards. Secondly, there’s nothing special nor unique about Murphy hitting a flat, fat, hanging, middle-of-the-plate slider 345 feet — he has a slow bat that has developed a loop this year, and that’s pretty much the ONLY pitch he can drive with such a limited swing. I’m perpetually amazed that pitchers don’t pound Murphy middle-in with fastballs at and above the belt, because if they did, he’d be back in AAA.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Dodgers play game three on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Johan Santana takes the hill against Nate Eovaldi, whoever the heck that is.