Mets Game 20: Loss to Dodgers
Dodgers 3 Mets 2
No dramatics from Jordany Valdespin this time.
Mets Game Notes
Kind of a shame that Jeremy Hefner pitched as well as he did and walked away with a no-decison. He allowed only one run and three hits in seven innings; I’m not sure he’s going to perform that well against a legit lineup very often (legit meaning “not the Marlins”). Hefner did a great job of keeping his non-sinking fastball at the knees, and as a result the Dodger batters had a hard time lifting pitches into the air. Also, those low pitches led to several much-needed double plays that pulled Hefner out of difficult situations — he allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base four times in his seven innings of work.
Ron Darling briefly talked about Hefner using finger pressure to move the ball. I was a little surprised (only a little) to hear the same “old school” concept of using pressure with the middle finger vs. the index finger — which was first mentioned publicly by Tom Seaver in his book The Art of Pitching. Since the advent of high-speed film, we now know that the tip of the middle finger almost always is last to touch the ball (for pitchers and fielders) — even if there is a conscious effort to use “index finger pressure.” Further, the middle finger is the “power finger,” in that (biologically) it has the ability to apply the most spin to the ball. That said, it makes sense to focus on always using the middle finger when applying pressure; the key is in manipulating that pressure on different spots on the ball, and on the edges of the seams in particular.
Hyun-Jin Ryu was impressive, pounding first-pitch strikes like it was his job. Oh that’s right — it IS his job to do that. He matched Hefner pitch for pitch, with an acceptably efficient 109 pitches in 7 frames. (Hefner was even more efficient, with 93 tosses in 7 IP.) However, the game seemed to grind to a halt when the bullpens took over — which was great for getting me sleepy but not great for entertainment. It took 20+ pitches per inning for each of the LA relievers to get three outs. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …
Scott Rice, who was charged with the loss, retired the one batter he faced in the 8th, but gave up the fateful two in the ninth. They’re called Lefthanded ONE OUT GuYs for a reason — a manager can only expect one out before the risk of a LOOGY being over-exposed. Though, the third run crossed the plate as a result of Bobby Parnell allowing an inherited runner to score; Parnell didn’t exactly “shut the door.”
LA closer Brandon League earned a save by the skin of his teeth, and not before allowing an Ike Davis solo homer. Ike was 0-for-3 with two Ks prior to the blast. He can really cream those balls over the middle of the plate.
I’m starting to see Daniel Murphy‘s weak one-handed swing creep back into his repertoire. The first two weeks of the season, he was almost always using both hands through contact, letting go with the top hand after getting extension. However, he started letting go of the top hand prematurely, usually when there were two strikes on the count. I’m not sure why he goes one-handed in defensive situations; one would think he’d use two hands for more bat control. In any case, that one-handed habit became his regular swing, regardless of count, at some point last year — which had something to do with his power outage. I will be keeping a close eye on his top hand going forward.
For a brief period early in the ballgame, Dodgers catcher Ramon Hernandez used a really nice, low, balanced, wide-footed, sitting back, upright upper body catching stance — something I don’t remember him using previously. But after a few pitches, he snapped back into that awful, unbalanced crouch, with his feet close together, his knees outside his feet, and upper body crouched over the knees. Interestingly, it’s the same exact stance used by Henry Blanco, and I wonder if it’s a Venezuelan thing — i.e., something taught to young catchers in that country. Though, I don’t think Victor Martinez catches that way, and not sure about Francisco Cervelli.
Weird play in the sixth, when a pitch hit the knob of Lucas Duda‘s bat and deflected off his leg. Had the ball not hit his body and gone into fair territory, it would have been live. A lady who plays / played competitive softball will tell you they do that on purpose in their game. Duda curls his pinky under the knob, so he’s lucky he didn’t smash it.
Nice seeing Anthony Recker behind the plate. Not so nice seeing Recker at the plate. I wonder how long it will be before Bud Selig allows a DH for the catcher? And then, a middle infielder? By the year 2020 MLB should have offenses and defenses, just like the NFL. Heck, maybe MLB will go all Herb Washington and allow designated runners as well. What a lovely game it will be!
The official, reported attendance for this game was 24,851. Really? I guess half the crowd was waiting on line at the Shake Shack, and another few thousand hanging out in the various clubs and suites, because there weren’t more than 10,000 sitting in their seats. I know it was a Thursday afternoon and kids aren’t out of school yet, but such a sparse crowd must concerning to the bean counters.
How does Juan Uribe walk three times in one game? It’s rare for him to walk three times in A MONTH.
The Mets left 7 runners on base and were 0-for-5 with RISP, but it seemed much worse than that.