Mets Game 17: Win Over Nationals

Mets 2 Nationals 0

For once, it’s the opposing team that beats itself.

Mets Game Notes

Credit this victory to Jayson Werth, who unbelievably swung on a 3-0 count with no outs and men on first and second against Scott Rice in the top of the 8th. Rice couldn’t throw a strike to the first two batters he faced, couldn’t throw a strike to Werth, yet the man who looks like a caveman acted like a caveman and swung at a 3-0 sinker, dribbling it to Ruben Tejada for a gift-wrapped double play.

Maybe Werth rolls into a double play on the 3-1 pitch — if that fourth pitch wasn’t ball four. But even still, it was incredibly stupid baseball by someone who is supposed to be a smart veteran. If it was Davey Johnson giving him the green light, then shame on both Johnson and Werth. I might feel differently if Rice had shown the ability to put the ball over the plate previous to Werth’s at-bat, but he was clearly struggling to find the strike zone. If you follow this blog you know I advocate swinging on 3-0, but the situation has to be right; that wasn’t the right situation.

But that wasn’t the only bad decision made by a Nat. Two innings earlier, with one out and Dillon Gee running out of gas, Denard Span attempted to take second base on a ball in the dirt. Generally speaking, it’s good to be aggressive on balls in the dirt, but again, it depends on the situation. Down by two, with the starting pitcher tiring and your top two hitters coming to the plate, there must be some caution. It was the kind of pitch that was likely going to get by John Buck and roll to the wall — in which case, Span could have walked to second base. So the thought process there should be: if the ball gets by Buck, go; if it stays in front of him, hold on and read the play before committing. Instead, Span was taking off the moment the ball hit the dirt, Buck made a remarkable backhand play to pick the ball cleanly, and was able to throw out Span by 15 feet.

Speaking of Gee, he was excellent through the first five, shutting out the Nats on three hits. Then in the sixth he lost it, walking three batters yet somehow escaping without allowing a run (one of those walks was to Span in the situation explained above). The Nationals seemed to be lulled into lethargy by Gee’s off-speed stuff — there never seemed to be any urgency by Washington, who were waiting back for something to happen.

The Mets offense wasn’t exactly rambunctious, either, managing just four hits on the day. They did extract three walks from starter and loser Jordan Zimmerman, but had only two baserunners after the fifth frame.

All in all it was just a lazy Sunday afternoon game. It’s a win, and the Mets will take it, but they must be a little concerned with Rice’s ineffectiveness.

Thank goodness for John Buck, whose seventh homer of the season — a solo shot in the second — was all that was needed for the victory. Where might the Mets be without Mr. Buck?

Next Mets Game

The Mets get a day off on Monday, then host the stumbling Dodgers for a three-game set that begins on Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. Jonathon Niese takes the hill against Clayton Kershaw.

Mets 2013 Games

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.

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