Mets Game 22: Loss to Phillies
Phillies 9 Mets 4
Mets lose another series at home and drop to two games below .500 as the Phillies walk all over them.
Mets Game Notes
Not an auspicious debut for Shaun Marcum, who struggled to get through four frames and didn’t show much other than a decent deuce. His fastball was in the 84-85 MPH range and often caught too much of the middle of the plate. His signature change-up was OK, but wasn’t fooling anyone as his fastball velocity was too low; he needs to be closer to 87 to make his 77-79 MPH change-up effective.
During the TV broadcast, Tom Verducci astutely pointed out that Marcum’s pitching hand is not where it needs to be at foot strike; in other words, his arm lags behind his body (Verducci calls it “a late loader”) — and as a result, much stress is put on his shoulder. Yes. Verducci went on to state that being behind “also works to his advantage because it generates tremendous sink the way he pitches over that front leg.” No. No, no, NO. There is NO advantage of the arm being behind, and “pitching over the front leg” has nothing to do with sinking movement; I’m not even sure what the heck Verducci is talking about by saying “pitching over the front leg.” ALL pitch movement comes from grip, finger pressure, and timing of release. Sometimes I think Verducci knows just enough to be dangerous; his knowledge is beyond most other journalists, but it’s still only halfway there.
On the other side, Philadelphia rookie Jonathan Pettibone threw a Marcum-in-his-prime-like game — OK but not great velocity, but constantly changing speeds and location. He left his change-up high in the zone several times and was hurt by it, but otherwise did a good job of keeping the ball down and the Mets off-balance. He also displayed an impressive stroke and good hand-eye coordination at the plate.
John Buck hit another homer, and is having the April of his life.
Daniel Murphy is back to waving at the ball, often one-handed. At times it looks like he’s trying to “catch” the ball with the bat, as one might execute a bunt. He’ll make plenty of contact with that approach — it’s similar to what Rod Carew did back in the day — but he’s not going to hit with much power.
The Phillies continued to pound middle-in against Jordany Valdespin (and keeping the ball above the belt), who is too close to the plate to do anything with those pitches. He was getting jammed on pitches over the plate’s dead-center — and reacted with shock when the umpire called them strikes.
Ike Davis whacked a double down the first base line, but he displayed yet another adjustment to his batting stance. This time, his hands were exceptionally high in his set — kind of like where Cliff Floyd used to set up with his hands, except with some tilt of the barrel toward the pitcher. I have to wonder how much more consistent Ike would hit if he’d just stick with one approach for an extended period.
Good thing Marcum didn’t face Howard a third time, as the slugger sent the ball to the warning track in his first two ABs against Marcum.
Michael Young is 11-for-19 against the Mets thus far this year.
Next Mets Game
The Mets will try to avoid a sweep as the series finale begins at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Jonathan Niese takes the ball against Cole Hamels.