Mets Game 25: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 2 Mets 1

Jeremy Hefner just couldn’t do the job. What a disappointment.

Mets Game Notes

Apparently, Hefner thought all he had to do was throw 8 shutout innings — how presumptious! Hey Hef, let me let you in on a secret: you play in the NATIONAL League, which means you have to hit, which means you can’t just toss a ball down a hill and call it a day — you gotta provide somethin’ with da stick, too!

Wait … what do you mean there are 8 other guys who hit every day to provide the offense?

In all seriousness, Hefner gave exactly what the Mets needed, and then some. Eight innings, allowing four hits, no walks, one hit batter, striking out 8 in an incredibly efficient 107 pitches — including 70 strikes. It was the greatest MLB outing of his life, and may remain that status. What else could he have done, other than hit a three-run homer?

As it turned out, yeah, he needed to hit a three-run homer, because the other guys holding wooden sticks didn’t do much to support him. Cy Young Kevin Slowey limited the numb Mets bats to four hits, no walks, and one run, striking out 8 in an 8-inning, 106-pitch effort (73 for strikes). No, I didn’t just copy and paste Hefner’s line in there — the two pitchers put up nearly identical numbers.

Perhaps the sleepy bats on both sides had something to do with the marathon game from the previous evening. I’d buy into that — and one has to wonder if the entertainment value would have been enhanced if greenies were still allowed. But I think there’s more to it than exhaustion. Hefner’s performance had at least something to do with the fact he was facing a AAA lineup. That’s not an exaggeration. Think about it: the most dangerous bat in the Miami lineup was Greg Dobbs, who is — at best — a utility guy / pinch-hitter on any other team in MLB (other than maybe the Astros). Dobbs as the big bat is kind of like Roger Bernadina being the “ringer” on the Netherlands’ national team in the WBC — except, Bernadina had quasi-protection in the lineup in the form of Andruw Jones. If Jones wasn’t in Japan right now, he might be batting cleanup for the Fish.

On the other hand, the Mets had a few guys in their lineup who are legit — David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, for example. Is Slowey that good? Were the Fish a lot less tired? Did the 15-inning loss not only drain the Mets’ energy, but also their motivation?

Hey, we can easily blame third base umpire Tim McClelland for blowing the call in the ninth. But the truth is, the throw by Anthony Recker was high, Chris Coghlan beat it and was under the tag, and it was circumstance that would have caused him to be out. It was a GREAT play by David Wright, in that he held the tag on Coghlan the entire time — that’s exactly what you kids should do, instead of the inane choice that many players take of showing the umpire the ball after a tag. McClelland, unfortunately, was in a bad position to make that call; not necessarily the wrong position to make the call, but a bad vantage point for how that play evolved. You can’t blame McClelland for his inability to see the future. You can’t blame him for not asking for help, because it’s his call and he was the umpire closest to the play. Further, you can’t blame McClelland for Recker’s bad throw, nor Recker’s choice to throw to third instead of first. Nor can you blame McClelland for the plays that led up to Coghlan’s advancing to third, nor the plays that led to Juan Pierre crossing the plate with the winning run. Oh, and you can’t blame McClelland for the Mets’ futility on offense.

Was McClelland’s blown call key to the loss? Sure. But also key was the Mets’ inability to garner more than four baserunners and a run off of Kevin Slowey.

For the record, I liked Recker’s aggressiveness in that situation; I just didn’t love the execution. Recker needed to make a perfect throw, and I found it great that he had the confidence that he could do so — it just didn’t work out. Had he gone to first, he likely would have gotten the out, but that still would’ve meant a man on third with only one out and many ways to score. It’s like choosing slow death over a shot at beating death. Maybe, had Recker gone to first to get the out, Coghlan scores anyway on a sac fly, wild pitch, squeeze, error, or base hit, and we have another 15-inning marathon on our hands. I liked the gamble — but, that’s me.

What I didn’t like was the passed ball by Recker that allowed Coghlan to get to second. The wild pitch that allowed Pierre to score … hmm … debatable. Should Recker have stopped it? Maybe. I don’t know. That was a tough pitch to block, and Recker hasn’t had much experience catching Brandon Lyon. Both that pitch and the passed ball surprised Recker, and I believe unfamiliarity was a factor in both.

Interesting tidbit: while the Mets are third in the league in runs scored with 119, only one NL club has allowed more runs than the 118 allowed by the Mets — the Phillies, who have allowed 122.

Next Mets Game

The Mets will try to avoid the sweep on getaway day, with a start time of 12:40 p.m. Dillon Gee goes against Miami batting practice pitcher Wade LeBlanc.

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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