Mets Game 115: Win Over Braves

Mets 6 Braves 5

Mets avoid sweep, beat Braves — though, it took three pitchers to get the final out of the game.

Mets Game Notes

Jonathon Niese pitched a strong game, going eight innings and allowing just one run on six hits and two walks, striking out six in a very efficient, 106-pitch effort. It seems that he follows a pattern: a good start followed by a not-so-good start. Niese threw from a fairly good, fairly consistent, overhand arm angle, and as a result his curveball had good 11-5 bite and his fastball had nice downward movement. Additionally, he had the benefit of Rob Johnson behind the plate, which in my opinion can’t be overestimated. As mentioned in posts previous, Johnson is not necessarily a stellar backstop, but he’s much better than Josh Thole when it comes to pitch-calling, setting up hitters, handling the pitcher, receiving strikes, and taking charge.

The story of the night was Niese, but it helped that the Mets finally scored a few runs. In particular, it was nice to see David Wright and Ike Davis provide some production. Also, after going 3-for-August (3-for-24), Jordany Valdespin broke out of his slump with a solo homer and bloop single.

Interesting seeing the Braves batters swinging so aggressively against Niese. Even in the seventh inning, down by four, the first two hitters were swinging at the first pitch. Really? Since when is it possible to hit a four-run homer with nobody on?

Josh Edgin and Frank Francisco managed to make the game entertaining in the ninth and therefore keep fannies. Besides walking in two runs with the bases loaded, Francisco threw a fastball over the middle of the plate on an 0-2 count to Martin Prado, resulting in a two-run single. How Michael Bourn didn’t score from third on that hit is unknown; perhaps a gift from the baseball gods?

I’m not sure what was going on in Francisco’s mind during that debacle of an outing. He seemed to be half-asleep, and lacking in confidence. All he threw were fastballs; doesn’t he throw a secondary pitch? I could swear I saw him throw a slider or something earlier in the year.

Let me leave you with this: can you tell which is Ben Sheets, and which is Seann William Scott?

Next Mets Game

The Mets get a day off on Monday, then travel out to Cincinnati to take on the Reds. Chris Young goes to the hill against Mat Latos.

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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. Dan August 13, 2012 at 5:36 am
    When Frankie walked Juanny I could feel the start of another adventure into the well known. Heilman at his worst (uninjured) would have done better, the close play at first on the last strike out was a fitting end to this latest bullpen fiasco.

    And a question – is Edgin’s heavy July usage (11 games from July 13 to July 30) taking it’s toll, with him now needing more than a day to recover his effectiveness?

  2. Crozier August 13, 2012 at 8:11 am
    I shared your perception of Niece’s consistency issues, but when I checked his previous 10 games, I was surprised to see he pitched poorly in just two of them, so-so in one, and fine in the remaining 7 — including 6 games with two or fewer earned runs. But tnen, the Mets were 5-5 in those 10 games, which does support the on/off reputation. With more luck (i.e., offense), Niese would be en route to a 15-win season. But given the subsequent performances of 21st century Mets pitchers who reached that plateau (see: Martinez, Maine, Perez, Pelfrey), maybe it’s best he doesn’t win 15.
    • Mike B August 13, 2012 at 8:50 am
      Maybe its best the New York Mets dont field a professional baseball team. Between bourn not scoring on the double and that terrible job by johnson on the last strike out the Mets should have lost this game. They are unwatchable, you get a start like that and he bullpen walks 4 guys and hit a batter. A complete joke.
    • Joe Janish August 13, 2012 at 11:39 am
      Crozier, if you look only at Niese’s numbers, then yes, he pitched fairly well in his last ten starts. However, I look more at the process rather than the result, and his process has been inconsistent his entire career. In most of his games, Niese pitches with varied arm angles and release points, including ones that can cause arm issues over the long term.
  3. Tommy2cat August 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm
    Hi Joe – Niese appears to be more effective against line-ups that stack lefties as opposed to line-ups that stack righties, as a very general proposition.

    Makes sense, because the lefties that do better against right-handed line-ups tend to use their change-up predominantly. Mind you, this is just a general observation of what I’ve come to expect from Niese without analyzing any hard data in support.

    Over time, Niese does appear to be undergoing a very gradual maturation process. I can envision him being a very steady component of a very, very solid rotation in 2014.

    RIGHT NOW I am watching Lucas Duda batting against Paw Sox lefty. He let a fastball pass by for a called strike, swung at a curveball in the dirt for strike three and strode to the dugout yawning. Yeah, that really happened.

    So, I’d trade David Wright, Josh Thole and Jennry Mejia for Colorado’s Wilin Rosario & Drew Pomeranz.. Would that package work?

    Dickey, Pomeranz, Harvey, Niese, Wheeler….

    We should’ve traded Jose Reyes for the the Giant’s OF prospect Gary Brown during last year’s Beltran/Wheeler deal. At least we’d have something tangible from Reyes’ departure.

    And why is Fred Lewis stuck at AAA? Have you seen his stats? He’s a major league ball player.

    Have a nice evening.

    • Joe Janish August 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm
      Thanks for the Duda update … seems nothing’s changed!

      Not sure about that Rockies trade. Not sure either team would do it.

      Lewis is in AAA because Andres Torres has a guaranteed contract.

      Good points on Niese. Though, I’m not sure about that “very, very solid rotation in 2014.” I suppose you’re assuming Harvey and Wheeler are going to be as great as everyone hopes? And Dickey is still around and awesome? Well, I guess we can dream …

  4. argonbunnies August 15, 2012 at 3:20 am
    Joe, this is crazy, man. I kid you not, when I saw Sheets on the mound I went to IMDB and looked up Seann William Scott.