Mets Game 18: Loss to Dodgers
Dodgers 7 Mets 2
Mets Game Notes
Veteran middle infielder Ellis had four hits, including two homers, drove in four, and pelted Jonathon Niese‘s ankle with a hard-hit grounder.
A bizarre ballgame. It seemed as though the Mets were in big trouble, as Clayton Kershaw was mowing them down and Jonathon Niese was knocked out of the game by a Mark Ellis line drive to his right leg. Then out of nowhere, with two outs and none on in the bottom of the third, the presence of Robert Carson in the batter’s box confounded Kershaw. I’m guessing the Mets have a witch doctor of some sort in their dugout, because Kershaw completely and mysteriously lost his command — not unlike Jayson Werth mysteriously losing his mind on a 3-0 count on Sunday. Kershaw walked Carson — he of 15 plate appearances in 7 minor league seasons and standing in the box the very first time in his young big-league career. How Kershaw managed to throw one ball to Carson, much less four, is a riddle known only by the Great Sphinx of Giza. Yet, it happened, and the walk put Kershaw out of sorts, as he then walked Ruben Tejada and allowed RBI singles to David Wright and Daniel Murphy. And just like that, despite losing Niese in the top of the frame, the Mets were in position to make a game of it.
For the next three innings, it appeared as though the Mets might just pull this one out. Carson and Scott Atchison allowed one run and Kershaw was out of the game after only five innings and 111 pitches. All things considered, a great position for the Mets. However, Brandon Lyon‘s perfect season was blemished, as he allowed three earned runs in the 7th — hey, he couldn’t go the entire year with a 0.00 ERA, could he? If there was any hope still held by optimistic Mets fans, Josh Edgin chased it away for good by giving up another two in the 8th.
After this latest appearance, and the toll on the bullpen in this game, I can’t imagine Edgin being in Flushing by game time on Wednesday. It’s clear that Edgin needs to go down to the minors and figure things out, and the Mets need a fresh arm after 6 2/3 innings of bullpen work. I suppose you can hope that Matt Harvey spins a complete game shutout, but is that fair?
As has been the case since spring training, Edgin’s pitches have no, um, edge. His arm angle is low three-quarter to sidearm, so everything is on one flat plane, his command is poor, and his pitches have little variance in speed. To succeed as a pitcher at any level, once must have downward movement, and/or overpowering velocity, and/or be able to change speeds, and be able to consistently hit specific spots. Edgin is not doing any of these things, which makes retiring the best hitters on the planet a challenge.
Juan Lagares made his MLB debut and collected his first big-league hit, a single off of Paco Rodriguez. Nearly as impressive was breaking up his first big-league double play attempt a few minutes later. He went in hard and clean and sent Mark Ellis into a pommel horse hop. Nice to see. Will Lagares be a big-time hitter? Hard to tell, but I think his stride is a little too long, especially for someone who isn’t known to be a homerun hitter.
Lagares’ presence is mildly surprising, considering that Marlon Byrd has started off hot and management seemed so hot on giving Collin Cowgill a fair shot. However, Cowgill is below the Mendoza Line and seems to think there’s a law against allowing a pitch to pass him. But he does have boundless energy and a lot of spunk! I do realize that the Dodgers scheduled three lefthanded starters for this series, but if Lagares isn’t starting any of the three, I don’t completely “get” his promotion. Will Lagares come in when LA brings in a LOOGY? I guess? This may have been more about sending Kirk Nieuwenhuis down than needing an extra RH bat.
The Mets managed four hits in the ballgame. Four. Kershaw left the game after five frames. The Mets had one baserunner after Kershaw exited. Really?
Hey, Jeurys Familia gave the Mets 1 1/3 innings of shutout relief. So there’s a bright spot in the evening.
On a side note, for those who felt the Mets’ starting pitching was a strength when it consisted of Johan Santana, Shaun Marcum, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, and Matt Harvey — the Dodgers went into spring training with 10 starting pitchers, and only three are still standing. Actually, it’s four, but Ted Lilly doesn’t really count, because he’s not physically ready to pitch but the Dodgers have no choice but to press him into duty. If you think losing Santana and Marcum makes the Mets snakebit, consider the Dodgers have lost Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano, Zack Greinke, and Lilly — and they traded Aaron Harang at a time they thought they had a surplus.
Next Mets Game
Wednesday is Matt Harvey night, with Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly invited to the festivities, which begin at 7:10 p.m.