Mets Game 113: Loss to Braves

Braves 4 Mets 0

What happened to the offense? What happened to the “never say die” attitude?

Mets Game Notes

Looking at the boxscore, Matt Harvey‘s outing doesn’t look so terrible. However, his first two frames were awful, as he struggled to find the strike zone and fell behind nearly every hitter. In the first two innings, Braves starter Pat Maholm tossed 14 pitches, while Harvey threw 52. Yikes!

However, Harvey did a nice job of bouncing back, fighting, and keeping himself in the game. As it turned out, he allowed only two runs — which came on a Jason Heyward bomb in the first — on two hits and five walks in six innings. He expended 101 pitches, which is pretty impressive considering that incredibly inefficient start.

Unfortunately, Harvey’s about-face effort was all for naught, because the Mets hitters couldn’t solve the mystery of Pat “Cy Young” Maholm. Maholm’s blazing 88-MPH fastball and refusal to throw two pitches in a row at the same speed nor in the same location was too much for the Metsies to handle. They managed exactly three hits — two of them doubles, interestingly — and no walks as they were shut out by Maholm.

Lefty Josh Edgin also gave up two runs, also on a homerun — to Dan Uggla. Not a great night for the phenoms.

In the ninth inning, Jordany Valdespin gave an inkling to the concerns of many Mets officials throughout his career. He struck out looking on a pitch that had plenty of the inside part of the plate, and he beefed loudly and unprofessionally. Not smart, not classy, and not acceptable. The pitch looked worse than it was because catcher David Ross was set up on the outside part of the plate and had to reach to his right to stab at the ball — and then he made it look even worse by trying to “frame” it. Regardless, the ball passed over the inside of the plate — about 3-4 inches from the edge — and there was no question it was a strike. Boo Jordany!

This loss gives the Mets 59 losses on the season. So what? Well, the Phillies have 61 losses and the Marlins 62, which means the Mets are closer to the bottom of the NL East than the standings might suggest. A team can always win more games, but they can’t lose less. Those Phillies have been sneaking back up since the All-Star break, and I fear they can pass the Mets if they go on a run.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Braves do it again at 7:10 p.m. Johan Santana is scheduled to make his comeback from the DL against Kris Medlen.

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. argonbunnies August 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm
    “refusal to throw two pitches in a row at the same speed nor in the same location”

    Joe, I’ve always wondered, why don’t more pitchers pitch this way? Every pitcher who I’ve seen succeed while throwing tons of strikes — Halladay, Maddux, Cliff Lee, Rick Reed — has done this. Is it simply a skill that most pitchers don’t have, moving the ball around with different pitches without finding the middle of the plate?

    Honestly, sometimes I feel like Halladay does throw it down the middle, but it’s usually with the first cutter the batter’s seen after some sinkers and curves, so they hit it off the handle. What do you think would happen if Dillon Gee pitched this way? (On his best nights, in fact, maybe he sort of does?)

    • Joe Janish August 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm
      Most pitchers’ best pitches are fastball and slider, so they don’t have the arsenal to change speeds — they essentially throw at “one speed.” In order to do what Maholm did, a pitcher has to have strong command of at least a fastball and one of either a change-up or curveball. If he has all three, then he can throw at three different speeds. The majority of pitchers, however, spend most of their time working on the fastball — as they should — and the slider, because the slider tends to be an easier pitch to learn and use for swings and misses.
  2. argonbunnies August 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm
    On a related note, Harvey threw some perfect up-an-in fastballs to Bourn in the first. The fact that Bourn was able to foul them all off was the clearest sign I think you could possibly have that 8 consecutive fastballs is idiocy. Mix in something slower before the count gets to 3 balls fer pete’s sake! I know, first batter of the game, but still.
    • Joe Janish August 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm
      Agreed. This is why I don’t necessarily agree with “keeping the change-up in your back pocket” in the first few innings.

      Depending on who you are, you may not want to throw more than a few change-ups in the first inning — but at least show it, to give the hitters something else to think about.

  3. DaveSchneck August 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm
    Mets made Maholm look like Walter Johnson with yet another lifeless performance at the plate.
  4. gary s. August 12, 2012 at 9:16 am
    Since the front office and players seem to have taken the rest of the year off i have followed suit by no longer watching any games.Alderson’s big plan starts paying didvidends in 2013..LOL!!!!