Mets Game 81: Win Over Phillies

Mets 11 Phillies 1

The tables have officially turned.

Mets Game Notes

The Phillies are old, battered, and stink. The Mets are the opposite. This hasn’t been the case since 2006. It doesn’t matter whether or not the Mets win this series (they will), because what we’ve witnessed is that the Phillies era of dominance in the NL East is over, done, finished.

Also finished is Vance Worley, who can be compared to The Knack, Norman Greenbaum, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, The Buggles, Red Rider, Soft Cell, and Oran “Juice” Jones — in that he was a one-hit wonder. The statheads will say it is a result of regression to the mean. I say he’s physically damaged, and always will be, considering his horrendous stand-up follow-through that puts all the strain of deceleration on his arm (can you say, “Tommy Hanson“?). Bottom line is we’re both right, and it all became crystal-clear to Mets fans in this ballgame: Worley is nowhere near the surprising performer he was as a rookie in 2011.

Though, in Worley’s defense (pardon the pun), he wasn’t helped by his defense — both his own and the 7 men behind him. Only one error was charged to the Phillies in the boxscore, but they misplayed several balls that resulted in hits, extended innings, and runs. That’s why the old-school approach was to choke up with two strikes and just try to put the ball in play — because you never know what might happen. That philosophy was lost during the PEDs / radioactive period of home run derby, but I can see it starting to come back as middle infielders no longer routinely mash 25-30 HRs a year.

Speaking of, how about Daniel Murphy? He’s finally hitting almost well enough to overcome his defensive limitations and baserunning blunders. Though, his first “hit” of the day was a fly ball that should have been caught by left fielder John Mayberry, Jr. And for that matter, his second hit was also questionable; where the heck was Mayberry playing Murphy on that one? He must have been positioned where a left fielder might be in the late innings with a righthanded pull hitter — i.e., in guard-the-line, no-doubles defense — because that fly ball wasn’t in the normal “gap.” But, I can understand why Mayberry might’ve been there — first, because of the aforementioned fly that Mayberry missed, and second, because Murphy has been dumping Luis Castillo -like bloopers over the third baseman’s head for the last two months. The scouting reports must reflect that, but now, suddenly, Murphy is hitting the ball where left fielders should be positioned. I’m amazed at Murphy’s luck — he is still swinging with one hand and not really driving the ball with any kind of authority, but because of outfielder positioning, he’s getting doubles. You do have to credit Murphy for his ability to put the bat on the ball; I’ll never question his hand-eye coordination when holding a bat in his hand. He makes contact — but it’s usually ugly, and this year, rarely with any kind of force.

Speaking of Mayberry, the Phillies have zero ability to evaluate their own young talent. They truly believed Mayberry would somehow be the guy to fill the shoes of Raul Ibanez, and really, when you look at it, the third guy who is failing at filling the void left behind by Jayson Werth; they similarly blundered in thinking that Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown were the answers to that question. What’s interesting is that going back to the old days of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, the Phillies had a tremendous reputation for identifying and developing talent — particularly position players. But that was when they had a scouting department that relied on unreliable methods and tools such as a scout’s eyes and gut. I don’t know enough about their current philosophy — does anyone know if they still rely on the old-school style, or if the problem is they haven’t put the right people in place to smoothly transition to numerical evaluations? By the way, yes, I do realize that the Phillies traded away a huge chunk of young talent to build their roster with stars such as Roy Halladay. But, that doesn’t excuse their horrendous failures in evaluation when it comes to replacements for Werth.

Back to the Mets … it’s too easy to talk about the positives when the team wins by ten runs, so I’ll focus on the negatives. For example, there was yet another issue on the bases involving Lucas Duda and Tim Teufel, in the second inning. Duda eventually scored and the Mets won easily, so this “minor” problem was buried. But this is the third gaffe between these two men in a week, and suggests there may be a larger problem that will continue to cost them runs and possibly wins in tighter ballgames.

What was with Josh Thole pussy-footing around Carlos Ruiz in the fourth? Ruiz was blocking home plate without the ball, Thole had the right of way, and he should have demolished Ruiz. Instead, he tip-toed around him and nearly injured himself in the process. Bad play by Ruiz to be in that position, but maybe it was a good play because he knew Thole wouldn’t try to barrel him over. Can you imagine the outcome if the same play occurred with Ty Wigginton running instead of Thole?

Oh, but I’m a nasty old-schooler who thinks silly thoughts that like that. Baseball’s not a contact sport, after all, and everyone is best buddies with each other! Just because they’re “opponents” doesn’t mean they have to actually “oppose” each other. I love you, you love me, we’re a happy fam-i-ly — with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too? Excuse me while I vomit.

Eight innings from Jonathon Niese, who gave up just one run on three hits and two walks and expended a paltry 107 pitches. Strong performance on his end combined with a Phillies club that went in the tank after the fourth. Wow, did I mention how the tables have turned? Only a year ago, even a six-run lead in the ninth wasn’t safe against the “Phightin’ Phils.” That team no longer exists.

Hector Luna is still in baseball? This one is only topped by the Jamey Wright sighting.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Phillies hook up again at 1:10 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Chris Young heads to the hill against Cliff Lee.

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. TeufelFan July 4, 2012 at 12:06 am
    Do you think Thole’s reluctance to run over Ruiz was less about being buddy-buddy with Ruiz and more about Thole’s history with concussions? Coming out the wrong side of that concussion would give Thole two on the year, and he already has a concussion history, so maybe he was thinking to protect his head rather than run over the catcher when they were already leading?
    • Joe Janish July 4, 2012 at 10:46 am
      You bring up a good point that I admit I had not considered. Hmm … maybe? But, two things regarding that: first, Thole never struck me as someone who would run over a catcher in his way before the concussion. Second, if he has any concerns about his head to the point where he is adjusting his approach, then he shouldn’t be on the field and putting himself in harm’s way.
  2. DaveSchneck July 4, 2012 at 12:06 am
    Joe,
    The Mets couldn’t put up enough 11-1 wins over the Phillies as far as I’m concerned. Nice job by Niese, who is quietly performing as the Mets projected when they extended him earlier this season. That Thole play at the plate was awkward and luckily he did not land himself on the DL.
  3. meticated July 4, 2012 at 12:53 am
    its a great pleasure to follow your biimechanical insights… used to dpeak with asst trainer jeff herbst on occassion and share ideas…alas hes now down on the farm…does anybmet hierachy listen to your pearls of wisdom?
    • Joe Janish July 4, 2012 at 10:47 am
      Thank you for the compliment, glad you enjoy the site. No, no one in the Mets organization pays attention to my drivel. They likely think I’m a wacko for using crazy things like “science” to evaluate player performance.
  4. Crozier July 4, 2012 at 8:55 am
    Joe, I get the sense the heat wave is making you unusually testy. Murphy gets four hits and makes a nice play in the field; safe to say you’re one of the few writers who found a way to take the wind out of that performance.

    I’m not the biggest Murphy fan, but I was glad to see him bat second behind Tejada — something I’ve been wanting to see all year. How does Torres as a leadoff hitter make any sense, given his performance on the base paths?

    Speaking of baserunning, Joe, I’m unable to determine the target of your bizarre, Barney-themed invective. The Thole play wasn’t pussy-footing, it was poor baserunning — an affliction affecting numerous Mets. It’s as if you were seeking an excuse to spew bile about baseball players going soft. Fine, if that’s how you feel, but relevant context would be useful. It’s strange, too, that you pick on Thole, who took a concussion-inducing shoulder from Wigginton, yet neither he nor anyone on the Mets (Collins included) said it was anything other than a clean play. Not the reaction I’d expect from “softies.”

  5. gary s. July 4, 2012 at 9:55 am
    Thole is a quite a player.No power, no speed, no defense to speak of.Another guy on this team (Murphy also) who swings like Luis Castillo did.Can’t wait for the Mets to dump him.The more Murphy hits, the better reason imho to move him while somebody might be dumb enough to give us somebody who can actually play in return.Nice to see DW get some lift on that 3 run homer he hit.With Duda and Davis both underperforming in the power dept, DW needs to go deep more in the 2nd half if we are going to contend.
    • Joe Janish July 4, 2012 at 11:30 am
      Agreed on Thole and Murphy. However, to this point, against the drastically reduced quality of MLB talent, the formula of taking walks and simply putting the ball in play is working for the Mets. Will it sustain? Maybe.
  6. James July 4, 2012 at 10:32 am
    I was at the game last night. All they had left when I got to the gate at 7:00 was SRO tickets and $175 tickets. I bought two SROs for $40 each and my gf and I found some great seats in the Excelsior level (because an usher let us in to the level which is exclusive). I f’in hate these names and miss the “loge” and “mezzanine” designations of the old days. Even though the crowd was largest in CF history at 42,000, I would have preferred old rickety Shea rocking with 50,000 plus for Fireworks night. That being said, I am not so old school as to say that the new stadium is growing on me. The new dimensions are just about right, and I say that even though Ruiz’ HR would have been a double/caught last year, and Wright’s HR would have been out either way. I like the enclosed feeling of the outfield, it feels a bit more intimate, and the view from Excelsior is fantastic. (I only had to move twice for late arrivers.)
    The fireworks show during the game was great. Here are my comments:
    1. Niese is like Gentry or Darling, when he is on, he is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he has some off games.
    2. The Mets baserunning was questionable last night, esp. Duda’s issues with the 3rd base coach, and him not scoring on the first single in the 2nd inning.
    3. Ruben Tejada is f’in unbelievable. He may be a bonafide 300 hitter now.
    4. The mets get a lot of 2 out RBIs (lead the majors) because they have all these guys (esp thole, tejada, the pitchers (!), neuwenheis, turner, murphy sometimes, wright etc) who basically just try to hit the ball back through the box, or go with pitches thrown outside.
    5. murphy made a nice play in the field last night. Joe and others use him as a defensive punching bag. Does he deserve it?
    6. Davis is still not out of it. He does have 50 rbis on 45 hits, which is ridiculous. who was the last hitter to hit 209 or less with 100 rbis? david could do it.
    7. rauch is a great pitcher when working with leads of 5 runs or more.
    8. wright’s fielding continues to be great.
    9. torres can do some serious damage if he gets his average above 260.
    10. duda is destined to play in the american league. I predict that mets will never win the WS with him and that he will not be on the mets after 2013. his fielding is atrocious, and he runs like a chicken without a head.
    11. the mets will never ever ever make the playoffs with this relief staff. they will not exceed 40 second half wins with this relief staff. the mets two biggest problems have been fundamentally unchanged since 2007 – the 7th and 8th innings. and with francisco injured you can add the 9th inning to that.

    Which relief pitcher would you buy?????????????????

    fireworks postgame video in next post

    • Crozier July 4, 2012 at 10:52 am
      There’s this 40-to-50 point gap between Wright and Davis that’s basically been there all year. When Wright was a .400 hitter, Davis hovered between .150 and .160. As Wright began his 50 point slide to his current .350-ish, Davis began his ascent to .200-ish. Unfortunately for Ike, Wright isn’t budging from his current plateau, so Davis is stuck at his.

      Yes, of course this is complete nonsense. But still…

      • Joe Janish July 4, 2012 at 11:36 am
        Um … hmmm … maybe crack out a slide rule and work a little more on that theory. Who knows, maybe there’s something to it. πŸ™‚
  7. James July 4, 2012 at 10:39 am
    My second post. The fireworks show was great last night. There were 5 segments, and before each one they showed highlights from one decade in Mets history, and then during the fireworks, they played songs from that decade. Here is my video (40 seconds) on You Tube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoX1s6wfnd8&sns=em

    Enjoy!

    • Joe Janish July 4, 2012 at 11:34 am
      James, thanks for sharing!

      I would publish your videos in a separate post on the site, but if I did, Bud Selig’s enforcers would likely tell youTube to shut them down — and then no one would be able to enjoy them. You see, MLB owns everything that happens inside of a ballpark; they might even own YOU the moment your fanny hits the seat! πŸ˜‰

      Again, thanks for sharing.

      • James July 4, 2012 at 11:54 am
        You’re welcome πŸ™‚
  8. Chris July 4, 2012 at 11:07 am
    The Mets are 44-37. How was last night, “Mets Game 80: WIn Over Phillies”?
    • Joe Janish July 4, 2012 at 11:35 am
      Huh. Good question. I must have missed a game somewhere. Thanks for pointing that out.
      • Chris July 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm
        YOU OWE US A GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!