Mets Game 3: Loss to Padres
Padres 2 Mets 1
Kind of early in the season for a lazy “getaway” day game after a night game.
Mets Game Notes
This is the kind of game that Dillon Gee can win, and should have won, but, unfortunately, did not. His stuff was average for him — he threw a decent amount of strikes, mixed up his fastball with an appropriate number of curveballs and change-ups, and was underwhelming but workmanlike — good enough to keep his team in the game. What was on Gee’s side was that the Padres’ offense is terrible. Unfortunately for Gee, the Mets offense was even worse. Looking at the final stat line, one could ascertain that Gee had a great outing — he allowed only three hits and one run, pitching into the seventh inning. But the looks of numbers can be deceiving. The truth is, he struggled more than the boxscore indicates, and the seemingly sparkling stats spoke more to the inadequacies of the Padres’ hitters than the performance of Dillon Gee.
By the way, I like Dillon Gee. I like the fact he has a great pickoff move, fields his position well, and gets the most from his abilities. I like that he carries himself like he belongs in the big leagues, and has no fear, yet at the same time understands his capabilities and works around them when necessary. I believe he’s a capable back-end starter who has a place in MLB. Just want to get that out there.
After two days of looking like an awoken giant, Lucas Duda went back into his slumber, baffled by the ordinary slop tossed by journeyman Eric Stults. But hey, Duda wasn’t the only one confused by Stults’ perplexers — everyone other than Justin Turner and John Buck was befuddled.
Turner and Buck collected all of the Mets’ five hits. At some point, someone, somewhere, is going to give Turner an opportunity to play in at least a platoon role, if not an everyday job. It probably won’t be a championship club, but it will be a big-league team.
As for Buck, he looks “locked in” or “in the zone.” Darling commented that Buck was “one of the best offensive catchers in baseball a few years ago.” Um … I wouldn’t go that far. Buck did have a really strong 2010, and it earned him a 3-year, $18M free-agent contract. His 20 HR, .280 AVG., and .803 OPS was very good for a catcher, but the list of “the best offensive catchers” in 2010 began with Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Jorge Posada, Carlos Ruiz, Brian McCann, and even Geovany Soto — all of whom had a higher OPS than Buck that year. Buck was in the second tier, amongst the likes of Mike Napoli, Ramon Hernandez, and (shiver) Rod Barajas. I’m not pointing this out to make Darling look bad. Rather, it was something that I think is something of a curiosity — for whatever reason, it was an unusually strong offensive year for backstops. Or maybe it just felt that way because I’m so used to Mets catchers being so inept (offensively and defensively).
Poor execution of rundown in the fourth inning between third and home. It was a comebacker to Gee, who immediately threw home. That’s not necessarily the worst thing to do, and in fact, if a pitcher is not sure what to do, the best decision — with a man on third — is to throw home, because at minimum you want to prevent the run from scoring. In that particular situation, I disagree with Ron Darling‘s opinion that Gee should have run toward Yonder Alonso rather than thrown the ball to John Buck. On the replay, it was clear that Alonso was still charging toward home when Gee had the ball in his glove, and was more than halfway down the line — he didn’t freeze until right after Gee released the ball. In a perfect world, Gee gets Alonso to freeze one beat faster, and then he can run toward him. But, in the heat of the moment, one has to think fast, and I’m fine with Gee’s decision. Where the Mets failed was in Buck’s early throw to David Wright. What Buck should have done was chase Alonso closer to third base before tossing the ball to Wright. Once a rundown begins — and in my opinion, it began when Buck caught Gee’s throw — the out should be executed with one throw; at most, two throws. But, if it gets to two throws, chances are the other runners have time to advance, which is exactly what happened.
For what was a one-run game for most of the contest, there was a startlingly lack of urgency and intensity by the Mets offense. I guess that has something to do with the day game after a night game thing, but, again — these guys are tired in game three of the season?
Very strange decision — to me — was Mike Baxter pinch-hitting for Collin Cowgill in the 7th, with two out, a man on first, Dale Thayer (!) on the mound, and Padres up 1-0. I get the whole lefty batter vs. righty hitter thing, but, Cowgill started game 1 against a righty starter and did pretty OK. Further, as the leadoff hitter, I would assume Cowgill is perceived as one of the best hitters on the club — if he’s not, why is he batting leadoff? Finally, in that situation, the Mets needed an extra-base hit, and all public communication from manager Terry Collins thus far has suggested that he perceives Cowgill as a potential power hitter. So how / why does Baxter hit there? Mind you, I like Baxter, and I understand the necessity of getting him an at-bat, but I don’t get the timing nor the player he replaced.