Mets Game 103: Win Over Giants

Mets 8 Giants 7

Whew … that was a close one.

Don’t look now, but the Mets are riding a red-hot, two-game winning streak with the trade deadline only hours away — what piece or pieces will they add to put them over the top?

Mets Game Notes

The ninth inning was torturous, regardless of which team you were rooting for — even if your allegiance was neutral.

Jeremy Hefner deserved a better fate. The righthander was charged with 4 earned runs on 10 hits and 3 walks in 5 2/3 IP, but his effort wasn’t as ugly as those numbers look. The Mets made a few miscues that didn’t necessarily show up as errors in the boxscore, and in turn led to more pitches, more batters, and runs scored.

Still, though, 13 baserunners in less than 6 innings is unacceptable. Hefner is essentially a righthanded, slightly harder-throwing version of Pat Misch — he pitches to contact, he’s going to allow a ton of baserunners, and he might find a way to keep the team in the ballgame for 4-5 innings, while occasionally getting through 6. But in the end, he’s a AAAA guy — essentially, filler material. That’s not necessarily a knock, as most teams need a guy like Hefner to fill in from time to time. However, a winning team doesn’t allow a Hefner-type to become exposed / be a long-term solution.

I’m not sure how Sergio Romo has performed so well this year, because he looked terrible in this ballgame. He was spinning hanging sliders in the middle of the plate, and a few of them were mashed. I guess it was an off night.

The Giants had the heebie-jeebies in the top of the fourth, as seemingly everyone on the field was playing hot potato. First, Ryan Theriot dropped a popup in shallow center that should have been caught by the centerfielder. That centerfielder? Angel Pagan. No surprise the Pagan continues to show lack of baseball instinct. That was a play where the centerfielder should have taken charge, called for the ball, and caught it.

Not long after dropping the popup, Theriot then dropped the ball on a throw from Marco Scutaro during an attempted double play. It was still an out, as the umpire ruled the drop occurred during the exchange. Gary Cohen was adamant that Theriot never had control of the ball. I disagree. On a double play attempt, the second baseman should be just barely allowing the ball to touch the glove before it’s off the leather and on the way to first base. If you played some infield in your life and trained with “pancake” gloves or wooden “gloves,” then you know what I’m talking about. Basically, the ball is supposed to hit your glove hand momentarily and be grabbed by the throwing hand almost simultaneously. This is what Theriot did — the ball hit the leather, and as he went to grab it with his throwing hand, it went flying behind him. Was it truly possession? In my mind, it’s a subjective call and can go either way. Even so, I was surprised that Terry Collins only offered a half-hearted argument — it was a call on which he could have justifiably gone ballistic. Maybe, as a former middle infielder, he understood why it was ruled an out.

Moments later, Scott Hairston stole second as Buster Posey dropped the baseball — again, during the exchange. While Hairston likely would’ve stolen the base anyway — he got a great jump on Madison Bumgarner — I absolutely hated Posey’s execution (or lack thereof). Posey caught the ball one-handed, then moved his glove back toward his throwing hand — dropping the ball in the process. What I teach my catching students is to catch with two hands — keeping the throwing hand just behind the glove as the ball is caught. Then, the glove is turned inward as the throwing hand goes into the glove to pick the ball out — like picking an apple out of a basket. The exchange occurs in front of the body to prevent over-rotation. My catching students NEVER drop the ball with this method, they get the ball out of the glove more quickly, and they throw on a straight line to the target more consistently than one-handed catchers.

Those ball-dropping heebie-jeebies seemed to affect Bumgarner, who then was unable to throw a strike for the next three batters. It was mildly reminiscent of Rick Ankiel’s infamous playoff game or an Oliver Perez outing; Bumgarner simply got into a funk that prevented him from throwing a strike — even Jason Bay drew a walk. I don’t know if the heebie-jeebies were contagious or there was something about the biorhythms or the moon phase, but that inning was bizarre.

Bay, by the way, finally got a hit after going 0-for-23. He blasted an outside pitch off the right field wall, hitting it so hard that it was only a single. Baby steps, baby steps.

In the fifth, after a leadoff double by Marco Scutaro, Theriot placed a sacrifice bunt to move Scutaro to third. Really? A sac bunt with none out and a man on second? WTF am I missing? Ridiculous that the Giants gave away an out there — even if Melky Cabrera followed with the RBI single. Let Theriot swing away for goodness sakes — this isn’t 1968, and Theriot isn’t Hal Lanier.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Giants do it again on Tuesday night at 10:15 p.m. Matt Harvey goes to the hill against Tim Lincecum.

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. Walnutz15 July 31, 2012 at 7:36 am
    Hefner’s serviceable, and his overall line was very misleading. However, as a Major League pitcher (or hopeful, in this case anyway) – you can’t let miscues derail you from proving your worth.

    In addition to getting screwed already on a “triple” by Matt Kemp vs. the Dodgers — allowing a run to score vs. his line…..which Hairston should have had in his back pocket, but dropped — he again, had some misfortune on behalf of his “defense”.

    Cedeno converts that double play, and Hefner goes 6 IP, with 2 ER…….another serviceable outing from your 5th starter – that everyone wants to write off, academically – as terrible.

    However, since you can never presume a DP — everything before it becomes an earned run.

    Realistically speaking – Hefner’s no worse than anyone the Mets have continuously given chances to through the years – at the back-end of that rotation.

    Bobby Parnell, though — should never pitch past the 7th inning again in his own career. What a gutless wonder.

  2. DaveSchneck July 31, 2012 at 9:10 am
    I agree with your WTF regarding the bunt. I find that there are at least 5 WTF in every major league game, which in itself is unreal seeing that this is a profession. I know it is ingrained in baseball that a DP can’t be assumed, but that gabage needs to go. A room service one hopper right at a middle infielder with a slow runner has to be a DP every single time or a fielder is at fault, not a pitcher. Anyhow, Collins as well as we Met fans will take a win any way we can get it, even if we have to suffer through Manny Acostalypse walking 2 of the first 3 hitters in a save opportunity with a 2 run lead. Walnutz has the recipe for next year;s pen – get enough arms and backup arms so Parnell never sees service after the 7th. They tried that this year but Alderson did not provide enough backup in case of injury.
    • Joe Janish July 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm
      Schneck, good points. You’re right – I also see at least 5 WTFs per game.

      As a crusty old schooler, I remember guys like Mike Champion, Pat Rockett, Tom Veryzer, Duane Kuiper, and Rob Wilfong. They couldn’t hit worth a damn, but they made every play in the field, ran the bases properly, and could execute fundamentals with their eyes closed. When those guys bunted, it made sense. Today, I don’t understand sacrificing when the hitter is at least a .250 hitter and has the potential to put the ball over the fence — particularly when most MLBers think bunting is only for decoration.

      Anyway …

      I LOVE the moniker “Manny Acostalypse.” I’m going to use it!

  3. MikeT July 31, 2012 at 9:20 am
    I rode Romo to about 20 saves early in the year when The Beard got hurt. I jettisoned him a few weeks back and do not regret it, he’s just not the same guy. the Giants need bullpen help, and rotation help if Lincecum is never going to turn it around. Their offense is bad, but it is not as bad as it was two year ago when they won. So I think the Giants should go after pitching if they want to win.
  4. Walnutz15 July 31, 2012 at 9:37 am
    I also enjoy that there’s some kind of “debate” to actually keep Scott Hairston around….like a reluctancy to actually deal him to a contender, that might give us something remotely useful.

    Hairston will never again match the production he’s giving us in 2012 (IMHO) – and stands to get a nice raise, from his $1.1MM from this past off-season.

    Nice story, but really…..will he be worth keeping around on a $3MM or so pricetag?

    ‘Cuz, really – it’s not like he’s going to be keeping any fannies in the seats down the stretch. To me, you pull the trigger on a deal while his value’s as high as it’ll ever get.

    We’ve seen far too many instances of these “keep around a year too long” re-signs. I’d rather not go that route with Hairston, especially on an extended raise.

    • argonbunnies July 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm
      As good as he’s been, I really think Hairston could help a contender, and I hope we’d get something good back for him.

      On the other hand, if you’re a contender, and you look at Hairston’s career line, do you really want to lose a good prospect for that guy?

      So I dunno. If the Mets think they’ll contend next year (I don’t know why they would, but if they do), then $3 mil for a guy who can hit HRs off lefties isn’t the worst idea.

      • Walnutz15 July 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm
        A guy like Hairston’s a prime candidate to turn right around, and ask the Mets for a 2-year commitment, coming off this kind of season – in terms of production per AB.

        Realistically speaking, he’s really packed a tremendous amount into his 231 AB’s —- 14 HR’s, 44 RBI.

        More than I would have ever expected to see in watching his stickball swing for a season+. It’s only a matter of time before his “all” swing reverts back to “nothing” — and his agent realizes this.

        This just strikes me as a situation where he’ll attempt to hold the Mets up at gunpoint in an attempt to get a bigger pay-day — and if not, then he’ll just go to a better team for something similar.

        All adds up to: trade him while you can get something. Provided it’s more than nothing.

  5. Joe July 31, 2012 at 9:43 am
    Hefner isn’t top of the line starter material. He is like the third or fourth back-up option on a team that was said to have no real back-ups. Pretty good on that level. He is a credible spot starter & for the second game in the row, went six or almost six innings against a good pitcher & kept them in the game, even with five more outs to get. He also gave an impressive five inning relief stint & only one of his starts was bad. The other time, his first major league start as I recall, coming back from a long rain delay was more than he could handle. Given how Gee, Niese and now Young had some messy games, not bad for option #7.

    Messy game. Edgin showed some pose. BTW, how about Pagan? After a brief moment, he is back doing badly. I stick by my sentiment last Winter that it was a reasonable risk to trade him for two players that served needs. The fact that the reliever, which some thought had potential, did not do that well for some months just shows the crapshoot nature of the business.

    Baxter, hometown hero, comes back and pinch hits in a key spot. Like that guy.

    • Walnutz15 July 31, 2012 at 9:58 am
      I never understood what the fascination was with Pagan…..especially for a guy who was always rumored to be so into his stats.

      To me, he was nothing more than a 4th OF – due to his streakiness, as we’re seeing from him (yet again) this season. He always puts forth one big push throughout a season, where everyone likes to say, “SEE! I TOLD YOU HE’S AWESOME – HE’S REALIZING HIS POTENTIAL NOW!!! — then it hits back to what he really is:

      An athletic outfielder who has no sense of baseball instinct/IQ, past his actual god-given ability…..his speed always made up for terrible reads/routes in the outfield.

      For $5MM or so, I’ll gladly check out some other options.

      Pagan’s never going to be the headiest player on a field – but it really speaks more to a situation where the Mets never had much more than him to man CF. Hopefully, they start to see some progression from a few guys in the system now.

      I still make that trade now…..provided SF presents a chance to turn the page on him + add what seems like a legit bullpen arm in the process.

      RE: Hefner, we had a brigade that acted like he’s the worst pitcher in the world, that should never get a shot to start for a team begging on the corner for a starting pitcher.

      He’s a fine 5th starter.

  6. Mets Fan in Singapore July 31, 2012 at 10:28 am
    Edgin did seem pretty poised despite inheriting a bad situation. Does this mean that Parnell has lost Collins’ confidence? Not without reason. But to be honest, and I know it’s a bit of a small sample in 10 innings but 18/4 K/BB ratio is alright for Edgin. He was over 10 K/9 in the minors though he seemed to walk a few too many batters in AAA. Parnell just doesn’t seem to have it. Just gives up too many hits. Janish how does pulling Bobby get nary a mention in the recap? 🙂 Why not give it to Edgin in the 9th or any other important situation?
    • argonbunnies July 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm
      Agreed. Edgin got a dribbler and a K, then lost the strike zone for 5 pitches, but then recovered to K a guy who had great ABs all day long in Scutaro, with the bases loaded, no less. That’s more stepping up in a big spot than we’ve seen from anyone in the ‘pen in a long time.
  7. argonbunnies July 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm
    Wright’s swing is fully back to his last few years of Ks. Last time this happened, he couldn’t fix it until he had a few months away from playing.

    I think that whether or not that pattern repeats will define Wright’s career going forward. Is he a great hitter who’s merely capable of slumps like everyone else? Or is he a mediocre slugger, who has the tools to be a great hitter but only rarely harnesses them?

    I expect the Mets to lock him up long-term in the off season. The answer to the above question will determine whether that contract will be money well spent or an albatross that will drag the franchise down.

  8. gary s. July 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm
    Wright’s trying to hit a home run every time up..Looks like the losing is getting to him and he has lost some focus.Understandable.Playing for this loser organization will get to you sooner or later.I don’t think he will be signed.Alderson would not give Babe Ruth a long term deal in his prime..Wrights going to want 20 mill a year for 5-6 years.FUGGEDABOUTIT!!!!!
    • Joe Janish July 31, 2012 at 10:31 pm
      Gary, I really believe you’re right — DWright will command that kind of salary and I’m not seeing the Mets committing. My guess is they’ll let him as they did with Reyes. Sad.