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.