Mets Game 80: Loss to Dodgers

Dodgers 8 Mets 3

As Meatloaf might have said, three out of four ain’t bad.

Mets Game Notes

When I predicted a sweep by the Mets, I failed to consider that the Dodgers might resemble a Major League club with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. As it was, Kershaw wasn’t particularly spectacular — for him — and for once the Dodgers offense gave him an explosion of support. I suppose it was only a matter of time before LA finally scored a few runs. Hey, I’m not going to get bent out of shape because the Mets lost one game out of four.

Dillon Gee threw his usual solid six innings, allowing only two earned runs but four runs total in his outing. That pair of earned runs were the only earned runs of the ballgame — the other six were unearned. But hey, the Mets’ defensive inadequacies are overblown, right?

The Mets mustered only five hits against Kershaw, who had a pretty nasty curve working for most of the ballgame. He showed signs of fatigue in the seventh, and LA manager Don Mattingly made the right move in removing him after that inning and 116 pitches.

Next Mets Game

The Mets take Monday off to fly back to Flushing. On Tuesday they take on the Phillies with a civilized 7:10 p.m. start. Jonathon Niese goes against Vance Worley.

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. NormE July 2, 2012 at 8:24 am
    Two things about Gee:
    1. Lead off walks often will come back to bite you.
    2. He had trouble putting away hitters with two strikes on them.
  2. Dan July 2, 2012 at 8:43 am
    The final error was on Nickeas, but Batista throwing behind him made an easy play almost impossible, considering he couldn’t stop to make the back hand catch and still get to the plate on time. It almost had to happen, the Dodgers were more than overdue for some good luck.
    • Joe Janish July 2, 2012 at 10:08 pm
      I looked at that play several times and still not sure who truly deserved the error. As you state, Batista could have made a better throw. Nickeas had his feet set up to take a throw to his left / glove side, and was anticipating it such that his momentum was moving forward — he was coming off of home plate as a first baseman might come off the bag. It’s a smart, safe way to handle a force-out at home. Unfortunately, the moment he committed forward, a throw that was even a bit off line to his throwing side was going to be difficult if not impossible to catch. As luck would have it, Batista threw it exactly there. It wasn’t necessarily a bad throw by Batista, but it wasn’t a good one and certainly not an optimum one.
      • Dan July 3, 2012 at 8:28 am
        The replay view from behind the plate is what convinced me that Batista was at least 49% responsible for the error. The play was similar to a pitcher trying to backhand catch a throw behind him before he reached first base on a close play. Can be done, but it would be difficult, and the slight delay to make the catch could result in a late arrival at the base. Also the throw appeared to be too hard for the short distance, a soft lob would have been a lot better.
  3. Walnutz15 July 2, 2012 at 10:52 am
    This kind of thing’s gonna happen with this club.

    When they’re not hurting themselves defensively with all of their starters in the lineup; they do it in ways like this – in playing their “vs. LHP” lineup.

    We’ve seen it before, we’ll see it again.

    In fairness, as bad as Nickeas is overall — he did bail Tejada out on that throw to the plate earlier in the game – keeping the Dodgers from jumping out to a bigger lead.

    Can’t be expecting much out of anyone backing Josh Thole up, at this rate. Just gotta chalk it up sometimes, unfortunately.

    Catching around the league ain’t what it used to be. (Most of the reason they never turned the page on Nickeas to begin with was that he was “familiar enough” with the arms we had here… addition to whatever financials needed to be devoted to securing a different back-stop.)

    I’m actually impressed that the Mets took 3 of 4 vs. the pseudo-Dodgers. 4-game sweeps are always tough to grab, no matter how well (or poorly) a team is playing.

    Any Kershaw match-up with this lineup is going to be a rough go, especially factoring in 3 Met errors.

    Just don’t lay an egg vs. the Phils….keep the course.

  4. Crozier July 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm
    Once again, the Mets fail to extend a streak past four games. No surprise.

    “But hey, the Mets’ defensive inadequacies are overblown, right?”

    Joe, I confess I’m having trouble decoding this particular sarcasm, which troubles me, since you’re generally as subtle as Roger Clemens throwing a broken bat. From your readership to the New York media to the world at large, there’s consensus that the Mets aren’t just lousy defensively, but in fact they’ve been undercharged with errors. Even Archdiocese Dolen was railing about it in his last Twitter post — and he’s normally one of those “forgive them Lord, they know not what they do” kind of guys.

    Well, I agree: Met fielders know not what they do. It was the ghastly 5th inning that lost this game, not Kershaw’s performance. Had that frame been completed without incident, Gee goes at least 7 and the Mets win. Who could blame him for getting a little unravelled by the T-Ball league “defending” him?

    And that Turner mishap at first base? Davis makes that play (why, I bet Buckner makes that play). Collins should be playing him every day no matter how steller the lefty. How else will he improve against them?

    • Crozier July 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm
      Apologies to Archdiocese Dolan for getting his name wrong.
    • Joe Janish July 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm
      C’mon, you didn’t get that?

      The Mets defense stinks. Every rose-colored-glasses-wearing Mets fan sees it differently. Many statheads like to point out numbers that make the Mets defense — or a specific Mets player’s defense — look better than what our eyes are seeing. And still another faction of Beaneheads guffaw at bad defense, maintaining that it’s irrelevant as long as a team is getting on base and scoring runs.

      Bottom line: I don’t care what anyone else says / thinks / “proves” — the Mets defense is awful, the worst I’ve seen in my 35+ years watching the team.

      • James July 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm
        Using the phrase “they sometimes play like the 1962 Mets” (and the 63, 64, 65 and 66 Mets) applies in some games which is pretty sad for a team that is fighting for a wild card spot (which they won’t get with out better relief pitching anyway).
      • DaveSchneck July 3, 2012 at 11:52 am
        Agreed. The team D is at the bottom of the league for sure, and combined with a lousy bullpen performance, it makes this season all the more intriguingm as bad D and bad pen may be the two biggest morale-killers in baseball. This just may be the most resilient Mets team we have seem in 35+ years as well.
        • Joe Janish July 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm
          Or maybe it’s the worst MLB quality we’ve seen since 1973?
  5. NormE July 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm
    Another thought on a bad ballgame. The ESPN guys correctly, I thought, took Gee to task for throwing the ball right down the middle for Kershaw and enabling the successful two strike sac. which put the Mets into a deeper hole. Was this a physical error or a mental blip?
    • Joe Janish July 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm
      Good point, Norm. Hard to say whether the error was physical or mental; it could have been both. Maybe his thought was “anywhere but down the middle” and his body, being unable to translate negative words, executed down the middle.

      Nickeas is a nice enough chap, but my gut tells me that Rob Johnson is at least twice the catcher.