Mets Game 135: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 5 Mets 4

With one misstep, the Mets play the heel in St. Louis.

Mets Game Notes

I’m not sure what happened with Collin McHugh; this game was completely unlike every other game he’s pitched in MLB. I guess he, like every pitcher, is prone to a bad day. There’s no other explanation. After all, he had a career 0.00 ERA with about 11 strikeouts per nine innings — what the heck?

McHugh’s final line was 4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. The Cards hit him hard and chased him early; he was gone after 68 pitches.

Daniel Murphy had a walk and two hits, including a two-run homer. He also made a throwing error that didn’t lead to any runs, and was picked off at first base with two outs in the third. So, I guess you can say that his offensive performance outbalanced his defense. Though, that means you don’t put any value on the extra pitches he caused his pitcher to throw as the inning was extended, nor the lack of pitches the opposing pitcher needed to throw to end the inning. We’re also not taking into account balls he didn’t get to due to lack of range.

Lucas Duda went 0-for-3 at bat, and though he wasn’t charged with any errors, made left field look like an adventure as he misplayed and/or misjudged several balls hit his way. My feeling is that his weak defense far outbalanced his offense in this particular game.

What was nice to see was the Mets stay in the game and keep coming back, playing hard through all nine innings. I know, I have such tiny expectations for millionaires playing a little boys’ game. But after what we’ve seen earlier this season, and in seasons past, I no longer take such a thing for granted.

In fact, the Mets nearly had a rally started in the ninth, when it appeared that Andres Torres led off the inning with a hustling double. However, he missed first base, the Cardinals appealed, and instead the inning began with one out and no one on. It was a very close play, and the one camera angle provided by SNY suggested that Torres’ back heel might have touched the corner of the bag. However, camera angles can be deceiving and misleading, so we’ll never know for sure. First base umpire David Rackley was also seen in the replay, standing about three feet from the bag with his eyes focused down as Torres went past it. You know what? If Rackley says Torres missed the bag, I’m going to believe him and his perspective over the pixelated one from SNY that shows an angle from the wrong side of the bag. The angle we needed was from directly above first base.

In any case, Torres didn’t argue the call, which some might interpret as telling. Me, I’m not so sure — he could have been just too stunned to argue. Or, he might be one of those few MLBers who still respect umpires, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with their calls. However, Terry Collins did argue the call, and then repeated his “woe is us” mantra suggesting that all the bad calls go against the Mets. Please, stop whining, you’re supposed to be a professional. For every supposed “bad” call made against the Mets, there’s been a “bad” call helping the Mets (case in point: as recently as game 134, when Torres should have been called out on strike three to end the ballgame, but instead wound up walking, extending the Mets rally that eventually resulted in a Mets win). But everyone wearing orange and blue glasses forgets those. Beyond that, there have been FAR more mistakes made by Mets players than mistakes made by umpires. No one is perfect, and the Mets are much less perfect than the men in blue.

In addition to Collins arguing the call — which he should have, as it is part of his job to argue close calls — Daniel Murphy also voiced his beef to Rackley after making the final out of the game. Unlike Collins, that’s not part of Murphy’s job. Who the heck is Murphy to argue — was he anywhere close to the play in question? My assumption is that Murphy was either in the dugout or somewhere near the on-deck circle when Torres either did or didn’t hit the bag, so I’m not sure where he gets off arguing with the umpire. More sour grapes that do nothing but make the Mets look like a bunch of babies to everyone other than diehard Mets fans.

Which leads me to my next point: SNY pushing the “we were robbed” story angle to the fans. It’s the best the network can do to build some kind of support for a woeful team, I guess. The Mets can’t win enough to build interest, so play the sympathy card / “the world is against us” angle to rile up the few fans paying attention. Classy. Instead, how about focusing on the myriad fundamental mistakes the Mets made specifically in this game, rather than one mistake that the first base ump may or may not have made? Oh, no, that would place the responsibility on the team, wouldn’t it? And that won’t sell tickets, gain viewers, or build up the pageviews, will it? Better to put the blame on someone else and stir up some controversy.

By the way, here is a frightening quote from Collins:

“I get back to the bench and I got 10 guys telling me he touched the bag,” said Collins. “I have never seen that call in the big leagues.”

Really? You’ve never seen an appeal play that resulted in a runner being called out for missing a base? Wow. Either Collins hasn’t been managing in MLB for very long, or his memory is awful. We see at least one or two a year, if not more.

Next Mets Game

The Cardinals and Mets do it again on Tuesday night at 8:15 p.m. Matt Harvey heads to the hill against Jaime Garcia.

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. Joe September 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm
    “First base umpire David Rackley was also seen in the replay, standing about three feet from the bag with his eyes focused down as Torres went past it.”

    Umm…Rackley was not “standing” (???) nor was he “three feet” (???) from the bag…he was jogging towards the bag, and was at least five feet away when Torres touched the bag. A moving umpire’s eyes cannot be as steady as one who is “standing.” Shame on you for misrepresenting that fact. Additionally, he was on the opposite corner of the bag which Torres touched. You have to be 100% sure when you make that call and Rackley wasn’t… despite his statement.

    A bad call made worse by denial, end of story.

    • Joe Janish September 3, 2012 at 9:58 pm
      Who are you to decide that Rackley was or wasn’t 100% sure of his call? And how do you decide from one fuzzy, poor camera angle that he got it wrong?

      Rackley was the only person — including Torres himself — who had the best look at the play. I didn’t misrepresent anything — he was three feet from the bag and it doesn’t matter whether or not he was moving.

  2. argonbunnies September 3, 2012 at 9:05 pm
    Seems to me that what Collins had never seen before is a “missed bag” call on a play that close, where it really could have gone either way.

    It’s like the “neighborhood play” when the middle infielder tags 2nd while trying to turn 2. If it’s at all close, the umps almost always give it to you, so when they don’t, it does seem kinda unfair. “Oh, you’re ruling technicalities by the book now?”

    I’ve only ever seen a “missed bag” call on a close play one time before — Ryan Church’s failure to score on a triple in L.A.

    As for SNY, the broadcasters might be the least biased I’ve ever seen, but they ain’t perfect. Gary’s not always spot-on with the strike zone, and Keith’s the only one who bring sup mistakes that aren’t glaring. I imagine there’s some disincentive to pile on the criticism of guys you share 50 plane flights with.

  3. DaveSchneck September 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    I much prefer your tagline score to the actual final. That appeal was downright atrocious. Had it been called on a Cardinal I would say the same thing. Unless a runner clearly misses the base, the play needs to stand. Either the ump is blind, which is not good, or he felt compelled to inject himself into the outcome of the game on a hairline call that is very uncommon. Although the Mets got a call n game 134, this is not balls and strikes.
    • Joe Janish September 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm
      Woops … that original score I put must’ve been the product of wishful thinking. Thanks, it’s been corrected.

      As for the call, I don’t see why Rackley would make the call unless he was 100% sure he saw Torres miss the bag completely. TV cameras can lie — they do regularly on balls and strikes from the off-center field camera, and they likely did on this play as well. Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see.

      By the way, why does it matter whether the call is balls and strikes or a runner missing the base? A ball / strike call can adversely affect a game as much as any other, as we saw in game 134 (and many, many others). That’s what annoys me about MLB’s decision to allow video replay review on homerun calls — those are hardly the only calls that can change the course of a game. Every call matters, and every call affects the very next pitch/play/execution in some way, shape, or form.

    • Joe September 4, 2012 at 9:09 am
      B-I-N-G-O Dave…it has to be OBVIOUS.
      • DaveSchneck September 4, 2012 at 9:35 am
        Joe J,
        Yes, I fully agree that every call is important due to the nature of baseball, but Joe above made my point, it has to be obvious. I wasn’t standing by the ump, but I think the TV replays, while not conclusive, showed how close Torres was. To me, that makes this very candy-ass call. I can tke a mistake by an ump but impacting the game on these candy-ass calls angers me as a fan. I’m disappointed Collins didn’t get tossed.
      • Joe Janish September 4, 2012 at 9:18 pm
        No, it does not have to be “obvious.” It merely has to be the call that the umpire feels is correct. Saying something is “obvious” refers to a general consensus from multiple parties. Last I checked, umpiring is done (mostly) on a solitary basis. In some cases, there is an umpires’ conference to see if someone else had a better view, but in this particular case, there was one person who had the best perspective, and he made the call, and therefore all other opinions are moot.
  4. Tommy2cat September 4, 2012 at 4:45 am
    Well, I watched the play on TV with two of my sons and soon as Torres rounded first, before he reached 2nd base, I said “Damnit – he missed first base!!!” The play at 2nd base was close & I was hoping that no one else noticed.

    Regardless, it was a BS call as the replays appear quite inconclusive. With the game on the line, an ump shouldn’t interject himself into a situation like that and reverse a critical play unless the miscue is obvious. In this play, notwithstanding my initial reaction, it was still too close to reverse. The umpire simply reveled in being playing the role of spoiler – he couldn’t wait to “punch out” Torres. It was a coward’s call.

    And for you baseball purists, Jason Motte balked when he initiated the appeal play as he didn’t step off properly and turned the wrong way toward 2nd base. So, technically, the balk constituted a play which should have placed Torres on 3rd and deprived the Card’s of the spoils of their very cheap gamesmanship.

    At the end of the day, the Mets need to look no further than the mirror in this loss. The baserunning and team defense was shoddy & DW is beginning to disappear. Torres needs to be more careful, as does Ike, who looked quite foolish in almost being thrown out at 2nd base, and as did Shoppach for not backing up first base on Murphy’s overthrow. Sloppy play catches up with you in the game of baseball. And sometimes it give an ump the chance to play the anti-hero.

    • Joe September 4, 2012 at 9:12 am
      Wow! Excellent observation…I just watched again…and you’re RIGHT. Bravo.
    • Joe Janish September 4, 2012 at 9:31 pm
      Funny, I also thought that maybe Motte balked. What if he did? Does it make the appeal inconsequential, because it constitutes the next play? I don’t feel like looking it up in the rule book right now.
  5. Izzy September 4, 2012 at 9:52 am
    The fact that it was close proves nothing. The fact that you all ignore is that if he hit the bag why didn’t he argue. You ignore the fact that if he hit the bag why didn’t Goodwin, the closest Met to the play not argue. Why didn’t they argue. Because the ump got it right. The fact that it was close is irelvant. how can any one of you want the ump to ignore what he sees!!!!!! It would have been a candy ass call if the ump decided to ignore what his eyes told him he saw. Maybe you all want do overs. that way the ump will never have to make a close call because it is late in the game.
    • DaveSchneck September 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm
      Sorry, but I respectfully stand by my interpretation. The ump’s actions had nothing to do with whether the Mets stink, whether they deserved to win, who was going to argue, or whether MLB should have replay. In making the call, as Joe pointed out, he was jogging down the line, in foul territory, and Torres cut the inside of the bag like they been teaching since before Branch Rickey. I don’t buy the ump’s statement. Additionally, he seemed quite pleased to dramatically ring up his out call, which wasn’t done “in the moment” like most calls when the ump gets dramatic. That’s either candy ass or blindness in my book. Ok, too much said by me on that play, I’d prefer criticize the Wilpons than the umps.
  6. Joe September 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm
    Most of the people on this team aren’t “millionaires” actually especially after taxes, but sure, each team should play it all out for playing a kids’ game.

    Doesn’t actually always happen. So tossing out a rookie with one MLB start and a flawed pen (two scoreless from “I was good today” Acosta) and clawing back from 4-0 down against one of the leaders of the NL is worthy of respect.

    Anyway, why shouldn’t players argue calls in support of their team? Fans do it all the time. I don’t understand that at all. Teammates repeatedly are upset at things like that — why would only managers support their teams like that? And, any delayed call like that should be crystal clear.

    The whining about SNY being petty (no, they sell the team in other ways too, including see Matt Harvey, Dickey) about the “blown call” is annoying too. Unless you think they are just lying, if the people there really think the call was bad, there is no reason not to go that way. GRK repeatedly are quite fair, often tough on hitters (“got to swing there”). SNY is not just a bunch of gamers.

    • Joe September 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm
      bunch of homers, sorry. Liked it when I can edit these things.
    • Joe Janish September 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm
      What is your definition of “most” ? The Mets have about 15 individuals making $1M or more this year.

      Why SHOULD players argue calls that they were not directly involved in? Give me a good reason to show disrespect and unprofessionalism, I’m all ears.

      Stop with the “it should be crystal clear” and “it should be obvious” — it’s not about the consensus of a bunch of Mets fans who were shown one crappy inconclusive camera angle, it’s about ONE MAN’S view, and in his view, it WAS obvious / crystal clear. Deal with it, it’s the way baseball has been umpired for over a hundred years. If there were three or four different “crystal clear” camera shots that showed Torres’ foot hitting the base, I might feel differently.

      You’re whining about me whining about SNY whining. Is that “meta” or what?

  7. Hobie September 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm
    Love Mets fans harping on one crappy play while they ignore the other dozen mistakes the Mets made in this game.

    Face facts: the Mets stink

    • Joe September 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm
      Agreed…the Mets stink…

      …and so did that call.

      • Hobie September 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm
        Enough with the call already, it’s tiresome! The mets suck, regardless of th call. Why do you care so much about one freakin call? How about Duda’s suckiness in LF? You waste so much time on what can’t be controlled (ump) instead of the controllable (fundies). Typical loser reaction and attitude.