Mets Game 149: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 16 Mets 1

Can a blog be speechless?

Mets Game Notes

Frightening: I wrote that opening line BEFORE the ninth inning.

I’ve heard the saying, “the game was over before it started,” but this is the first time it could have been taken literally. The Phillies collected 9 singles, a walk, a hit batter, and 8 runs in the top half of the first frame. Heck, Chase Utley was 2-for-2 with 2 RBI before the third out of the game was recorded.

By the time it was all over, the Phillies battered Mets pitching for 21 hits, including 19 singles. They scored 8 runs in the first and 7 runs in the ninth. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before, except against my high school team in my sophomore year, when we were 4-20.

That reminded me of something: in these blowouts, and especially in those long, awful innings, the player on the field you need to “feel for” the most is the catcher. Catching is tough under normal conditions, but I can assure you that a marathon inning is one of the most brutal duties a catcher has to endure as a baseball player — mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you don’t believe me, rewind the DVR and watch the first inning again, sitting in a squat.

Prior to the game, I read or heard somewhere that Terry Collins announced that Collin McHugh would be ready to enter the game early in chase Jeremy Hefner ran into trouble. I thought, “gee, how could you say that publicly? Not exactly a vote of confidence for your starter.” Clearly, though, Collins knew something we didn’t. Or, maybe it was a case of self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way, it still didn’t make the announcement right. It’s fine if that’s the plan, but keep it to yourself.

In the ninth inning, Domonic Brown showed courtesy and class by sliding very short of second base on a potential DP grounder; the intention was to make certain there was no contact made with the person making the turn. Unbelievably, Ronny Cedeno and Jordany Valdespin not only didn’t turn the DP, but they very nearly blew the force-out — even with Brown finishing his slide a good three feet short of the bag! Cedeno made a terrible flip to Valdespin, who dropped it like a hot potato and then couldn’t pick it up; I thought he might have to step on the ball to make sure it was dead before picking it up. Brown actually had time to get up from his slide and crawl to second, but he seemed to be doing it mercifully slowly so as not to completely embarrass the middle infielders.

That play, along with so many others, made me wonder, “is this what Mets games looked like in 1962?”

After being given an eight-run lead to start the game, Phillies starter Tyler Cloyd walked leadoff batter Fred Lewis. Really? If I were his pitching coach or manager, I might have made a visit to the mound and strangled Cloyd.

However, Cloyd settled down after that and dominated a completely passionless, resigned, and impotent Mets offense. He cruised through eight innings, allowing just three hits and expending a paltry 88 pitches. Charlie Manuel sent in the ball boy for the ninth just to be nice.

The Mets used ten (10) pitchers. TEN!

One of those ten was Josh Edgin, who allowed a grand slam to Ryan Howard in the ninth — the second night in the row he allowed a homer in the ninth to Howard. I hope the Mets backpedal from their decision to make that his last outing of the season; not a great way to finish. Can you imagine the nightmares he’ll have all winter?

By the way, anyone out there still excited about Jeremy Hefner? Anyone still thinking about putting up Terry Collins for Manager of the Year?

I thought there was a point a few weeks back when the Mets hit rock bottom. Obviously I was wrong. Now I’m wondering if there are still depths to fall.

Hapless? Helpless? Hopeless? Which is the best one-word description for this game?

Though we saw dogs on the field in this game, “Bark in the Park” isn’t until Saturday. It’s sold out, by the way.

Speaking of dogs, and in all seriousness, my 12-year-old blind Italian Greyhound is currently recovering from major liver surgery. Please think good thoughts for her. Thank you.

Next Mets Game

The floundering Fish fly into Flushing on Friday for a three-game weekend series. Game one begins at 7:10 p.m. and will see Jonathon Niese facing Jacob Turner.

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. September 20, 2012 at 11:46 pm
    Joe, good luck to your dog.I can not root for this franchise any more.Which is actually easy, since i have not watched an inning in over a month.When the Wilpons sell the team (ha ha), maybe i will come back.Met fans deserve better.If they bring Collins back after this stiffs quit on him, Alderson and his assistants should be thrown out of MLB for gross incompetence
    • Joe Janish September 21, 2012 at 8:19 am
      Thanks Gary, keeping fingers crossed.
  2. randy September 21, 2012 at 12:52 am
    Think about it before you say anything.
    Bay and a real decent minor leaguer for Al Soriano.
    Kind of does make some sense.
    • Joe Janish September 21, 2012 at 8:22 am
      Randy, actually I thought about that months ago. To me it makes plenty of sense. With Soriano, at least you get some kind of production, and he has the HR power the Mets desperately need. His sporadic lack of effort and mind-numbing defensive performance, though, might drive me out of my mind.
  3. James September 21, 2012 at 5:49 am
    Joe, that was a great post and I wish your dog a full healing.
    You may have not seen this reported in China Daily: “In a surprising development, the New York Mets have decided to play all their home games on the road next year. CitiField will be used as a market for fleas, including one stall featuring the “gently used” bats of the 2012 Mets. The fire in Terry Collins’ eyes will also be put up for sale.”
    • gary s. September 21, 2012 at 8:03 am
      Excellent.Well said James
    • Joe Janish September 21, 2012 at 8:19 am
      Thanks James.

      Good pickup on the China Daily piece. I must have glazed over that story — was it in the financial section or the obituaries? ;-)

  4. Steven September 21, 2012 at 8:41 am
    What really sucks is that this late swoon is probably going to kill attendance even worse both forbthis year next year. we could see an even lower payroll next year I think it is highly likely Wright and RA are traded
  5. Dan B September 21, 2012 at 8:43 am
    Please send a videotape of this game to Cy Young voters and remind them that Dickey has 18 wins and is 12 games over .500 with this team. He deserves a Cy Young and a Nobel Prize.
  6. DaveSchneck September 21, 2012 at 9:11 am
    Joe,
    Best wishes for the pooch. By all means keep her away from Citifield. MLB posted paid attendance last night of 20,010, but it looked more like only family and friends actually attended. Why would anyone in their right mind, no matter how devoted, pay to attend a home game. We can blame the Wilpons, Alderson, Collins, the moon, but paying fans deserve some blame as well. I will never tell anyone how to spend their money, but spending at Citifield makes someone part of the problem.
    • Joe Janish September 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm
      Thanks for the well-wishes, Dave.

      Yeah I can’t believe the Mets released that attendance number. There couldn’t have been more than 8,000 to 10,000 people there, maybe less.

  7. Joe September 21, 2012 at 11:37 am
    I thought Hefner was a credible fill-in, but well, that ship might have sailed. McHugh also seems a better blogger / Tweeter than major league pitcher. The game was in cruise control (bunch of AAA giving you innings) & should have been over six runs sooner. The 9th reminded you how bad things were going. The lack of hitting was typical.
  8. Nick September 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm
    Philly fan here. You all have a great franchise that is going through tough times. Trust me, I understand as the phillies organization have the most losses than any professional team. Sooner or later things,will happen for ya
  9. Brain sliver September 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm
    I hope your dog is doing well. It is actually pretty amazing what they can do now, as opposed to when I was growing up (I am 58).

    I do not get the Mets on TV, but I was watching Gameday on mets.com and I watched Familia pitch. I am not sure what to make of what I saw. He throws a fastball in the high 90s. I could not really tell if there was much movement on it. But I noticed it was almost always located low and inside to a right handed batter. Gameday shows the pitches for the entire at bat and I was surprised how many pitches were bunched in the same place. My thinking is that if everyone knows where the pitch will be, they can adjust, step back, and hit it. This seems to be what happened. Is this a problem of command, or is it a pitcher with no real understanding, or even a catcher with the same problem? Familia seems to have promise, but he needs to vary the location more. I realized this was less than an inning (yes, I know, VERY small sample size), so it might just be a bad day, but it is the only time I have really seen Familia. Is there hope here? To be fair, I also noticed the umpire’s strike zone seemed to be off and seemed to vary greatly. Low inside pitches were getting strike calls, but the zone was really small on anything pas the middle of the plate towards the outside. As the inning went on, the low inside pitch stopped getting the strike call.

    • Joe Janish September 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm
      Thanks, at the moment my dog is doing OK. Keeping fingers crossed; if she gets through the next 24 hours she should make it.

      In the ninth inning of a 10-1 — and then 16-1 — game, I don’t expect to see consistency from the umpire. To me he seemed desperate to call anything close a strike, for the most part.

      Familia’s main pitch — and the one with which he seems to have the most confidence — is the sinker. Specifically, a “down and in” sinker, which is what you saw last night. His mechanics are not the best, and as a result his control in the minors has been inconsistent. My guess is that he, Dan Warthen, and Kelly Shoppach just wanted strikes thrown at that point in the game, and chose to go with the one pitch they felt he had the most chance of getting strikes with.

      His secondary pitches are OK but he does not have consistent command of them. In fact, he doesn’t have true command of his fastball, either. He’s young, and still a work in progress. His main issue to overcome is finding a more efficient (and safer) delivery, and repeating it.

  10. Dan B September 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm
    By the way, when discussing the Met’s offense this year, please consider the following. We replaced Jose Reyes (2012 stats: .288 ave, 11 hr, 56 rbi, 81 runs, 35 sb) with Ruben Tejada (2012 stats: .289 ave, 1 hr, 22 rbi, 45 runs, 3 sb). We replaced Carlos Beltran (.268 ave, 29 hr, 89 rbi, 76 runs, 13 sb) with Lucas Duda (.243 ave, 14 hr, 54 rbi, 41 runs, 1sb). We replaced Angel Pagan (.282 ave, 8 hr, 56 rbi, 89 runs, 27 sb) with Andres Torres (.220 ave, 2 hr, 33 rbi, 42 runs, 11 sb). We are talking the difference of 31 homeruns, 92 rbi’s, 118 runs, and 60 stolen bases. I am not saying we were wrong for getting rid of any one of those players, however it helps explain this year’s drop in offense.
    • Joe Janish September 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm
      Please replace “We” with “Sandy Alderson” and I’m with you on all points.
  11. friend September 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm
    Only two extra base hits allowed, and no errors committed! Yay team!
  12. Dan September 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm
    Joe, I hope the pooch is still doing OK, and lives to see the end of the Wilpons, who we’re probably stuck with for quite a while if they got a piece of the recent Madoff payout.

    It looks like the team is now trying to replicate ’62, 50 years later. 7 more years and they can try to recreate ’69, we would hope.

    • Joe Janish September 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm
      Thanks Dan. If in fact I knew my dog would live as long as we had to live with the Wilpons, I’d change the name of this blog to “WilponsToday” and celebrate every day of their ownership.

      As for the seven-year plan — yeah, that sounds about right.