Mets Game 110: Loss to Marlins

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.

Carlos Lee at first base makes Carlos Delgado look nimble and rangy.

Looking at the Marlins, with names like Nick Green and Donovan Solano littering the lineup, this seemed like a cakewalk for Niese. Oh well.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Marlins meet again at 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday night. Chris Young faces Nathan Eovaldi.

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. gary s. August 8, 2012 at 8:09 am
    Turned the ganme off after 2 innings,Just wanted to see our old ss get an at bat.It is August 8 and the Mets are pretty much unwatchable.Right on schedule.Just to make matters worse, they have the washed up Bay and Torres in the line up.Time for football and hockey folks.Once again, i want to thank the Wilponzi’s for meaningful games in May and June.Maybe one of these years we can play some meaningful games after the All Star break.
  2. Walnutz15 August 8, 2012 at 8:13 am
    Attaboy, Terry.

    Anyone who’s ever watched Jon Niese throw a baseball in a Met uniform knows he’s not typically long for any outing past August 1st — it’s just him, as a pitcher without stamina.

    At 82 pitches through 5 innings, what’s he going to do — go 1 more inning, tops?

    Yeah, we all know the bullpen’s been terrible…..but that’s your turning point of the game right there. Giving up your best shot, offensively — just to send your starter out for another 3 or 4 hitters in the 6th?


    This is the kind of stuff that would be tremendously magnified, provided Collins were managing in a pennant race. Luckily for him, he won’t have to worry much about that with these Met teams.

    • argonbunnies August 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm
      Agreed 100%. It was either a failure to look ahead, or a decision to trade a shot at 2 runs for 1 less relief inning. Either way, inexcusable.
    • argonbunnies August 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm
      Good stuff on Niese, Joe! Those shots are excellent.

      Which part are you saying strains the elbow; the hand position, or the arm slot? My impression is that some sidearm deliveries put less strain on the arm. History’s best Johnsons certainly had great health with it…

      • argonbunnies August 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm
        Dammit, posted in the wrong place again. I miss the Delete feature. Trying again below…
  3. AC Wayne August 8, 2012 at 8:25 am
    Can someone explain to me why Ike Davis wasn’t in the starting lineup last night? Again, I get it, lefty on lefty not a favorable match up, but this is Wade LeBlanc we’re talking about here, c’mon Terry, stop with the match ups, with the exception of Scott Hairston vs. LHP of course
  4. DaveSchneck August 8, 2012 at 9:06 am
    This game was an abomination. I will second the points above – not PH for Niese to throw one more inning was a joke, leaving Ike out of the starting lineup after an offday was a joke, and the Met effort was basically a joke. Yes, we know this team isn’t going anywhere, but they now have a huge home losing streak, and losing lifelessly to the likes of a deal Marlins team putting out mediocre or worse pitching is just terrible. We all could give Collins enough credit for overperfomance early, but swooning in August against playoff teams is one thing, but playing poorly against weak competition will need to be addressed by management.
  5. meticated August 8, 2012 at 10:20 am
    I am now living in Sydney Au. Being on the othervsidebof the planet hasnt diminished my enthusiasm, but it has tempered my reality…I can not get too stressed about the abysmal faceplant we just did for the umpteenth time. God knows I wish it were different , but its far removed now and the pain us dulled and the frustration just cant touch me in comparison to the global crises and inhumanity…it is still a diversion to be enjoyed but kept in relativity to leadin g my own adventure…I will still cheer them from a distance but unles drastic improvements hsppen, then my focus is on bringing Godliness into the world immediately
  6. argonbunnies August 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm
    Good stuff on Niese, Joe! Those shots are excellent.

    Which part are you saying strains the elbow; the hand position, or the arm slot? My impression is that some sidearm deliveries put less strain on the arm. History’s best Johnsons certainly had great health with it…