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.

Among other things that are crystal clear: Scott Van Slyke is not Andy Van Slyke.

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.

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. Corey Gorey June 30, 2012 at 2:54 am
    Wow, Joe! Your cynicism is awesome–that is, if I wasn’t off in some new bar in São Paulo called Lebowski, completely ignorant of all the happenings because my cellphone wasn’t working properly and I wasn’t knee deep in relatively cheap Stolichnaya (for Brazil prices, anyway) while checking out the few misquotes written on the walls from the classic film of the same name.

    Meanwhile, when I got home eager to check out what happened (you can imagine how excited I was to see what Dickey did)–as I tiptoed around the apt. because my wife’s first roller derby bout is tomorrow night against those bitches from Rio–after a year and a half of practicing.

    It all proves a point: if you keep the Mets off national TV and play them against teams that can’t hit home runs, and force them out on the road…well…we’ve got ourselves a damn fine ballclub. Damn fine.

  2. NormE June 30, 2012 at 7:54 am
    Once again you have exhumed Ed Wright. Is he on your dead players fantasy team?
  3. Walnutz15 June 30, 2012 at 8:27 am
    “Scott Van Slyke is not Andy Van Slyke.”

    What gave you the first inkling, Joe —

    – the put-out he turned into a “double” for Murphy (ball dropped in, AND got by him for extra bases, yet was generously scored a double by the official scorer); or

    – the overall bad positioning in RF…where he wanted to throw to the wrong base with men on?

    Let’s face it, few can be Slick Van Slyke — one of my all-time favorite outfielders….even if they’re of the same blood. *wink*

    Nice to see some more offensive output. Guess Murphy still is capable of driving a ball, when he puts a 2-handed swing on a pitch.

    Good signs from Ruben Tejada, and of course — Mr. Dickey. He’s truly been a rock this year, and it’s amazing to watch bats routinely whiff as they come through the zone.

    Great month of June for David Wright. Let’s hope it continues.

  4. Crozier June 30, 2012 at 9:49 am
    Notice that all of Dickey’s strikeouts were swinging? I doubt that happens often in a double digit performance.
  5. Quinn June 30, 2012 at 9:58 am
    ESPN.com made a likened Valdespin to Jeff Duncan, what ever happened to him?
    Great news is that today and tomorows game is at 7 and 8 et so i wont pas out in the third inning!
  6. Steven June 30, 2012 at 11:26 am
    Agree with all of your comments Joe. Especially dont understand the lack of communication and coordination of our outfielders. I understand that Duda sucks, but Torres is supposed to be a near gold glove outfielder. Torres should be positioned smartly and should be the captain on outfielder defense. How did Sandy and all of us fans get conned into believing that although he might be weak hitting we had immesuarably improved our outfield defense with Torres?
  7. DaveSchneck June 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm
    Joe,
    Good point about Ike. A couple of flips over the dugout railing last year and some =fans are ready to give him one of Hernandez’s gold gloves. Ike has been bad in the field this year, case closed.
    Good point about Darling ruining his underwear over Murph’s dinger. I get it that they like his attitude and spirit, and it is nice to see him hitting with a little power, but he needs to improve the OBP and OPS before he is a plus player.
    I think the Dickster HBP was perfect, and whether Harang hit Tejada on purpose or not, the dorr opened a crack and Dickey took advantage. It was a great chance to show his teammates and Met fans that despite all the attention, he is still a “team” guy, even when he is working on a 1 hit shutout. Getting a warning just adds a little drama. Good for him.
    • Crozier June 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm
      Advanced statistics back up the assertion that Davis is a good defensive first basement whose numbers are down this year. His boneheaded plays may be up, or maybe they’re more noticeable becuase of the spotlight on him and the Mets’ poor defense in general. But I think it’s backlash to call him overrated, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see his numbers improve in the second half, especially if he continues to hit.
      • Crozier June 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm
        “first basement”? whatever.
        • Joe Janish July 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm
          Not sure how to respond to being accused of “backlash.” From my perspective, Ike Davis has always looked like a solid Major League first baseman — one who makes the plays he’s supposed to make, and occasionally make a few extra. But he’s yet to remind me of a true Gold Glove-caliber guy — i.e., a Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly, Mark Teixeira, Mike Squires, JT Snow. Further to the point, what I’m seeing right now are solid first basemen all over MLB — my eyes see that the position has stepped it up a notch over the previous decade. So I don’t get all the gushing over Ike, other than the fact he’s “ours.”

          As for defensive metrics, I don’t give them much weight when it comes to catchers and first basemen — especially after seeing Dan Murphy rated so highly. But that’s another can of worms that’s been covered here before.

        • Crozier July 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm
          I agree that no one should gush over competency. But I hope I’m right in believing Ike will be solid defensively and deliver the power expected of a number four or five hitter the rest of the year. I certainly never expected him to be Keith, but I don’t expect anyone ever again to be Keith.
        • Joe Janish July 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm
          Sounds like we are on the same page. I do not discount Ike’s defense, and I do believe he’s above-average. But I don’t see him being anything special in comparison to other MLB first basemen — there are at least a dozen with similar or better skills.

          I think part of the gushing is due to recent Mets history at 1B — i.e. the brick-footed Carlos Delgado, the failed Mike Piazza experiment, the likes of Jason Phillips, Jeremy Reed, Damion Easley, Miguel Cairo, and Mike Jacobs (twice!) taking turns over there … really, the only above-average first basemen we’ve seen since Keith left were Joh Olerud and Doug Mientkiewicz. Dougie was deft, but his offense was so atrocious that most people dismissed his defense. The Olerud era is too far away for some to remember — particularly the younger generation, who compare Ike to Delgado, and therefore the gushing is somewhat understandable.

        • Joe Janish July 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm
          “First Basement” is from where MetsToday was originally written. 😉
  8. Joe June 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm
    “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.”

    How’s that Reyes kid doing?

    Cohen is obviously a fan but he’s not a bedwetter fan. I have listened to true homers (White Sox/WGN), and Cohen doesn’t deserve such a potty themed reference. We can say Darling, who after all used to play for the team, went too far w/o going there.

    I think repeatedly people aren’t hit on purpose but retaliations are of the “negligence” variety — you might not have intended to, but you better be more careful.

    • Joe Janish July 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm
      False. If Gary Cohen is not a bedwetter fan then no such fan exists. He is living the dream of a Mets fan, knows it, and expresses it. That’s not a criticism, but an observation.

      Don’t be so quick to do the Tejada – Reyes comparison; there’s a lot of season left. And oh by the way, Reyes has played in twice as many games, and therefore has more hits, more doubles, more triples, more homers, more RBI, more runs scored, more walks, and more stolen bases. I know, you want to point out how Sandy Alderson and the Mets were so smart to let Reyes walk, but it’s not a sales pitch that will resonate easily with me. Even with lowered performance, Reyes is far and away a more exciting player and someone I will pay to watch. Tejada can hit all the singles and doubles he wants, but has yet to be someone motivating me to pull precious ducats from my shallow pockets. Through the tiny sample of 35 games, he’s been a nice player — that’s it. Three or four years from now, I may have a more effusive opinion of him, but right now, I’ll take Reyes over Tejada in a heartbeat — even if Reyes costs $100M+ and Tejada is getting the league minimum. But, part of that is because it’s not my money … I’m very happy to see the Wilpons spend, spend, and spend some more. If I cared about the craftiness of staying under a budget and getting optimum efficiency from every dollar, I’d be a Rays fan.

  9. gary s. July 1, 2012 at 7:51 am
    Davis’s height and reach will save DW 8-10 errors a year when he yips the ball to first base.His actual defense has been pretty bad all year.Now that is hitting again and has not kicked a ball in a few weeks, we should trade him.Not holding my breath.The manager loves him as does the front office.I will say some 3 run bombs does negate his shortcomings.Would love to see a sweep tonite
  10. gary s. July 1, 2012 at 7:53 am
    Ooops.Was referring to Murphy getting traded, not Davis