Mets Game 98: Loss to Nationals
Nationals 5 Mets 2
What was bad, has gone to worse.
Mets Game Notes
Jeremy Hefner held his own, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks in six innings, striking out seven in a 110-pitch effort. He pitched well enough to win, but, unfortunately, his team was facing Stephen Strasburg AND he had the luck of having the Mets bullpen behind him.
Strasburg was impressive, though a shade below dominating. His 95-97 MPH fastball was at times very well placed, at other times, very hittable. His curve is absolutely deadly, and reminds me of Nolan Ryan‘s yellow hammer — too hard to even think about hitting. Considering that he’s coming off TJ surgery, I’d like to see him use his change-up more often, as it less stressful than the other two pitches and nearly as effective. Right now he is on the cusp of reaching the level of a healthy Josh Johnson.
As has been the case oftentimes this season, the Mets flashed iron glovework. Daniel Murphy made an error on a routine grounder that luckily didn’t result in a run, and his miscue-mate Josh Thole dropped the ball on a play at the plate that did result in a run.
More egregious errors were made by Thole that didn’t show up in the boxscore: his continued habit of jerking / “framing” pitches (which cause him to lose strikes) and a conflict with Tim Byrdak. I’m not sure if ALL of the pitches are called by the dugout or by Thole, but either way, it was clear that Thole and Byrdak were not on the same page; heck, they weren’t even reading the same book. The discomfort between the two came to a head when Thole threw down the sign for a fastball when Byrdak wanted a breaking pitch. Byrdak grooved it and Adam LaRoche destroyed it, sending it to Shea Bridge.
As it turned out, the call came from the bench, which begs the question: do all calls come from the bench? If they do, wow, that speaks volumes about what the coaching staff / Mets organization thinks of Thole. It also explains why Thole is a follower instead of a leader on the field.
Ironically, the LOOGY Byrdak retired the two righthanded hitters he faced, and allowed a walk and a homer to the two lefties.
Mysterious pitch behind Roger Bernadina‘s head from the hand of Hefner, who otherwise had very good command. Did his cleat get stuck in the dirt, or did it have something to do with Bernadina’s spike job on Ruben Tejada in game one? Hmmm …
Lots of lazy plays and lackadaisical effort in this afternoon ballgame — even the usually hard-playing David Wright was guilty of snoozing when he didn’t move from the batter’s box on a dropped third strike.
BTW, this innings limit for Strasburg is absolutely ludicrous and defies logic. An inning can be three pitches or 43 pitches — so how can it possibly be used to measure a pitcher’s load? Yet another example of rockheads instead of qualified scientists making multi-million-dollar decisions in MLB.
The Mets are now 11.5 games out of first place, and three losses away from last place.
Next Mets Game
The Mets can’t escape Flushing fast enough, but their upcoming road trip is far from a cake walk. They start in Arizona to face the Diamondbacks in a 9:40 p.m. EST game on Thursday evening, sending Matt Harvey to the mound against Wade Miley.