Marlins 4 Mets 2
Fish fry Mets in Flushing.
Mets Game Notes
This was a mostly uneventful, dare I say boring, ballgame — except for two innings. Mets starter Jonathon Niese had one bad inning, and the combination of Wade LeBlanc and Chad Gaudin teamed up for one bad inning for the Marlins. However, Niese’s version of “bad” resulted in twice as many runs as the two Pescado pitchers.
Niese was throwing from a low arm angle, and releasing “under the ball” from the first frame. As a result, his pitches were up in the zone and usually had very little downward movement.
If you are a loyal MetsToday visitor then you might be tired of this broken record of mine, where I sing about Niese’s arm angle and release point. Below are photos taken of my TV during a slow-motion replay of Niese’s delivery during the SNY telecast, where you can see what I’ve been trying to describe with words for the past three years.
First, see how Niese’s arm is at a more or less sidearm angle, and his fingers are under the ball just prior to release:
This frame is just a few milliseconds later, and you can see the fingers sliding to the side:
In these two images you can see the release point up close. Actually it’s one frame just before release and one frame occurring during the release. Notice the fingers and how they slide to the side of the ball before release. Then, notice where the fingers are as the ball is being released — they’re underneath the baseball. The ball can only move in one direction out of the hand when the fingers are under it — up. Also note that the release is happening with the hand/arm to the side of the body — as if Niese were throwing a frisbee or a discus. Generally speaking, a pitcher wants to release the ball slightly in front of the body, so that he can have some leverage and momentum behind the ball, and shorten the distance to home plate.
I hope these images help you understand what I’ve been harping on throughout most of Niese’s career. The arm angle drops, the fingers slide to the side of the ball, the ball is released with the fingers under instead of on top of the ball, and the result is a pitch that rides high in the strike zone, and/or doesn’t get any downward movement. Further, it’s a delivery that puts significant strain on the elbow. I stand by my theory that this habit is a direct result of throwing too many cutters, which in Niese’s case have evolved into slow sliders / nickel curves.
Hope you enjoyed Show-n-Tell.
Marlins pitcher Wade LeBlanc is kind of like a younger, poor-man’s version of Mark Buehrle, right? A step or two up from Pat Misch. It will be interesting to see if LeBlanc continues to develop toward the Buehrle ideal, or if he eventually experiences the fate befallen Zack Duke.
I really thought that Chad Gaudin was going to completely sh*t the bed and give the Mets a five- or six-run inning in the fifth. Obviously, it was not to be, but that seemed to be the Mets’ best chance to win the ballgame.
Carlos Zambrano entered at just the right time, and left at just the right time, to garner a cheap win.
How far Heath Bell has fallen. Yet, he’s still cashing enormous paychecks. Good work if you can get it.
Next Mets Game
About the Author
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.