Mets 4 Marlins 3
A dramatic, walk-off win by the Metropolitans electrified the five dozen fans rocking Citi Field on a windy Sunday afternoon.
Mets Game Notes
Lost in the excitement of Marlon Byrd‘s last-inning heroics was the impressive debut of 20-year-old Jose Fernandez; he is the real deal. Did his first-game excitement / adrenalin and the element of mystery help him? Sure. But he displayed certain attributes that suggest he’ll have future success. What most impressed me was his confidence — he had no fear of throwing his fastball, nor of throwing strikes. It was similar to Matt Harvey‘s first few starts — an aura of confidence that was just short of cockiness. Fernandez threw an easy, effortless 94-95 MPH, pounding all four quadrants of the strike zone. He has a mature, developed, strong body and fairly clean mechanics. In short, he doesn’t look like a 20-year-old. I’m not ready to hail him as the next Felix Hernandez, but I will go on a limb and say he’ll be a solid #3, or possibly #2, big-league pitcher within the next two years.
FYI, the Marlins took Fernandez out of Braulio Alonso High School in Tampa, FL, in the first round, 14th overall, in the 2011 draft. That was the pick immediately after the Mets chose Brandon Nimmo.
In contrast was the debut of Aaron Laffey, who appears to be the lefthanded version of Jeremy Hefner in that he throws a lot of very hittable pitches. Laffey scattered 10 hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings, yet somehow managed to escape the game allowing only three runs. Does that say more about Laffey or the ineptitude of the Marlins offense? You be the judge. The Mets have a relatively easy schedule for the rest of the month, and this patchwork rotation might be able to get by long enough against lesser hitters to develop a sense of confidence that may push them through May.
Scott Atchison — who looks more like a stressed-out, over-worked accountant than a Major League pitcher — got two huge outs in the 7th to keep it a one-run game. That was his third appearance in three days; is he the righthanded version of Pedro Feliciano? Did anyone inform Terry Collins and/or Dan Warthen that Atchison missed two months last year with “elbow tightness” and is pitching with a partially torn UCL? Hey, whatever — keep running him out there until his arm falls off. Relievers are a dime a dozen, and disposable, right? Considering that Atchison throws a slider/cutter nearly every pitch, he hasn’t considered analyzing his mechanics to see if there’s an inefficiency, and Collins isn’t looking to use him judiciously, my guess is he’ll be out by mid-June with more forearm tightness and/or an elbow injury.
Steve Cishek is not the lights-out guy he was as a setup man in 2011 and 2012; is it because he’s now a closer, and a mental thing? Maybe there is something to that old-school theory that the last three outs of a game are the most difficult.
Very curious to see Miami play the infield in with one out in the ninth, men on second and third, and winning by a run. Ironically, Cishek threw a good pitch in a good spot, but in a bad sequence. He’d just missed down and in on his first pitch to Marlon Byrd, so it didn’t make sense to go after the same exact spot — that’s one of the golden rules of pitching: never throw the same pitch in the same spot at the same speed. With first base open, and a lead, it would’ve made sense to try going away with a slider, hoping to get Byrd to chase, and come back with the down-and-in sinker later in the at-bat. But Byrd saw the pitch the first time and was geared up to hit it the second time. Had third baseman Chris Valaika been playing back behind the bag, he still may not have fielded the ball, but he would have had a much better shot at stopping it.
Speaking of stopping balls, Lucas Duda is looking scary in left field thus far. But, as long as he slugs about .800, he’ll make up for it.
How did the Mets win this series? They successfully neutralized Giancarlo Stanton. I know it’s early, but his facial expressions and body language suggest that he is really affected by the lack of protection in the lineup. He’s definitely looking aggravated and thinking too hard. Too bad, because he’s a very talented hitter and it’s clear he’s going to have a rough year.
It’s going to be a really long year for the Marlins. With Stanton neutralized, the best hitter on the team is Greg Dobbs — how far can a team go with that being said? The Marlins look like an average AAA team. Ouch.
Next Mets Game
About the Author
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.