Mets Game 136: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 5 Mets 1

There was a point in this game when I thought the Mets had a chance to win. No, actually, that’s a lie — there was no point when I thought the Mets had a chance to win. Sorry.

Mets Game Notes

Matt Harvey didn’t have great command, but found a way to get through five frames while keeping his team in the game. Check that; he pitched well enough to keep a typical MLB offense in the ballgame. That’s different from keeping the Mets in a ballgame, considering that the 2012 Mets offense often resembles the 1977 version (where is “Little Hammer” John Milner when you need him?). Harvey allowed three runs on six hits and three walks in five innings; far too many baserunners, but he kept things from getting out of hand — not unlike a Jonathon Niese start.

There was something I really liked seeing in Harvey’s difficult second inning: his composure. We all have witnessed the emotional meltdowns of Mike Pelfrey in times of trouble, and therefore can appreciate when a young hurler keeps his cool on the mound when it seems as though everything is falling apart around him. OK, it wasn’t that bad a situation in the second, but the Cards had the bases loaded and whacked a few very good pitches made by Harvey — the type where all one can do is “tip your cap” to the hitter for making solid contact on a pitch in a tough location. Through it all, Harvey remained unflappable, retained confident and controlled body language, and continued to pound his fastball in the strike zone. It may seem like a simple, small thing, but there are many, many professional pitchers — of all ages — who would change their game or adjust their approach in that situation. How many times have you seen a pitcher start pecking at the corners with breaking pitches when stuck in a difficult situation? Harvey held confidence in himself and his stuff and worked his way out of it. Good thing to see.

What I didn’t like to see was Harvey’s arm lagging behind; it likely is misinterpreted as his front side opening too early. But what I saw was his arm sometimes not rotating as quickly as it has in past outings, and as a result, it falls behind and his release point is too high and/or too soon, and the ball flies up and away from the RH batter (up and in to the lefty). Translation: fatigue.

The Mets bullpen finally cracked, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk in three innings. Hey, you can’t be perfect forever.

Of note, Jeurys Familia made his MLB debut and struck out Lance Berkman to begin his career.

Maybe my memory is awful, but it seems like Matt Holliday rarely does much against the Mets. I get the feeling that he feasts on really bad pitching, and does just so-so against the rest of the world. Harvey had no problem tying him up with fastballs high and fastballs inside, making it look like Holliday had a slow bat.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Cardinals play one more time on Wednesday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. in St. Louis. R.A. Dickey is scheduled to start against Adam Wainwright.

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. Izzy September 5, 2012 at 8:44 am
    No close calls; no comments! Ah, tonight, meaningful game in September…Too bad for Wilpon its a football game.
  2. James September 5, 2012 at 10:53 am
    Hilarious stream here. You gotta relieve! (by having a sense of humor)