Mets Game 26: Win over Marlins

Mets 7 Marlins 6

Mets avoid being swept in Miami. Somehow, though, it still feels like a sweep.

Mets Game Notes

Here’s the problem with any team not named the Astros playing the Marlins: you’re EXPECTED to win, especially now that Giancarlo Stanton is out of action. One look at the laughable lineup and the inferior arms and you have to think, “hey, this is going to be cake.” And it SHOULD be cake to beat the Fish. So the Mets were in a tough situation: if they lose, it’s an absolute disaster; if they win, well, they’re supposed to win.

As it was, the Mets won this game and escaped a sweep by the skin of their teeth. One bad umpiring call, one wild pitch, one dropped fly ball, one muffed grounder, and this game might have been won by the Marlins. That’s the problem when you field a bad team: the tiniest of plays can mean the difference between winning and losing. In this particular case, the Mets avoided that miscue and came away ahead after the 27th out.

This shouldn’t be the case. The Mets are a flawed team, for sure, but the Marlins are a flawed minor league team. Bobby Parnell finally earned his third save of 2013, but did we learn anything from his retiring Donovan Solano, Greg Dobbs, and Justin Ruggiano? The game felt like and played like a AAA contest, as did the previous two in the series. Was it a case of the Mets playing down to their competition, or are they really that bad? As critical I am of the Mets, I have to believe it’s the former. I sincerely believe that David Wright is an All-Star, John Buck is an average MLB starting catcher, Ruben Tejada is an acceptable MLB shortstop, and so on. This squad SHOULD be able to take two of three from the horrific Marlins in their sleep. Yet they were nearly swept.

Dillon Gee allowed 4 earned runs on 9 hits and 2 walks in 5 innings of work. Eleven baserunners in five frames, against the Fish? Please, take a look at that lineup. Maybe it was a case of Gee having a bad day, but geez Louise, if you’re going to have a bad day, it can’t be against the Marlins. Have a bad day against the Braves, who are supposed to beat you — not against the Marlins, against whom you need to garner all the wins you can get. If Gee can’t beat the Fish, who is he going to beat?

On a positive note, Jordany Valdespin came in halfway through the game and delivered a key three-run blast. That was great, but again, you have to go back to the “you’re supposed to …” theme. Is ‘spin the real deal, or is he merely a great AAAA player who takes advantage of lesser competition? Hard to say, right now; more data is needed.

David Wright and John Buck went a combined 6-for-9 with a homer, two doubles, three RBI, and three runs scored. Again, isn’t that what is expected when legit MLB bats face AAA pitching? It’s a no-win situation.

Next Mets Game

The Mets get a day off to travel to Atlanta and contemplate their future. On Friday they’re hosted by the Braves. Game time is 7:30 p.m. and pits Shaun Marcum against Mike Minor. Guess what, friends? The Mets schedule is about to be very difficult. And they just nearly were swept by the worst team in the NL.

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.
  1. argonbunnies May 2, 2013 at 3:54 am
    Gee looked really bad today. He looked bad in the exact same way that he always looks when he looks bad — everything sailing to his arm side instead of sinking. I can’t spot a lowered arm slot, but this must be what happens when he talks about “struggling with his release point”.

    Ever since he came up, Gee’s been very Jekyl & Hyde. When he’s right, his change-up is nasty and his location is good and his sequences are fun to watch. When he’s off, he’s pretty much awful, simply hoping to keep hitters off balance by changing speeds on flat stuff he can’t locate.

    • Joe Janish May 2, 2013 at 9:44 am
      It’s hard to see what’s happening from the TV camera angles; I don’t see anything obvious, such as an over-rotation — though he MIGHT be turning in his left shoulder a bit too much at leg lift. It appeared as though the arm-side run was happening with the change-up and curve, so it could be a matter of grip and/or slowing down the arm. If the arm slows but the body keeps going at normal speed, the arm will be behind.

      Though, I wonder if it is a gripping the ball issue – a warning sign of an elbow problem or possibly a numbness in the fingers issue. When he had an 0-2 count on Nick Green in the 4th, John Buck called an inside fastball, and Gee missed the target by three feet, instead throwing the ball outside (and Green whacked it to RF for a double). Was Gee afraid to throw inside? Or was he unable to let go of the ball when he wanted to? Not sure.

  2. argonbunnies May 2, 2013 at 4:00 am
    Duda started swinging more this series. He had a few hard-hit balls on 1-0 pitches, but mostly he just swung at sliders in the dirt that he’d been laying off.

    I hope people weren’t telling him to be “more aggressive”. Patient may be his best mode.

    I wasn’t a fan of him watching meatballs go by, but it does occur to me that there’s an advantage of long ABs that GKR haven’t touched on this season — timing a pitcher and tracking his stuff. Especially the first AB against a given pitcher, that often seems to pay off. Most of the Mets seem to make better contact on the same pitch 3-2 vs 0-0. When they came out swinging at everything Slowey threw, I knew they weren’t going to score.

    • Joe Janish May 2, 2013 at 9:32 am
      I noticed the aggressiveness by Duda as well. Very strange time to start swinging — against a bunch of AA – AAA – AAAA guys who pick at the corners and rely on sliders in the dirt to get outs. Might have made more sense to be aggressive against guys who pound the strike zone.
  3. meticated May 2, 2013 at 4:56 am
    Joe…please email me back…
    • Joe Janish May 2, 2013 at 9:27 am
      Meticated, I emailed you on Tuesday morning around 8:30 a.m., and have not received a reply. Is your email different from the one you use to login here? I emailed to your yahoo address.
  4. Happy59 May 2, 2013 at 6:47 am
    Collins must go, he still doesn’t handle a bullpen well; refuses to set a lineup, players in and out and up and down in the lineup. How can they get used to hitting before or after someone? Addicted to the double-switch, recently in the top of the fourth inning? REALLY? Wonders why when his bench is empty late in a close game. Team usually wilts in the second half, starting early this year and this club does have talent and desire to, win. Just need the right manager and soon.
    • Izzy May 2, 2013 at 7:15 am
      Happy; collins is flawed. But do tell us, if Collins were replaced how much better would this very bad team be? The answer is very little. You are blaming the wrong guy. By demanding Collins be fired you are in effect saying Alderson gave him the tools to contend. did he? I bash Collins because of things you clearly state. But he ain’t the problem. Funny tho how so many yearn for a set lineup when many of these same people couldn’t stand Willie Randolph doing exactly what they want Collins to do!!!!!
  5. DaveSchneck May 2, 2013 at 8:11 am
    I agree with Izzy. While Collins has been a little weak strategy-wise, this mess is 100% on the GM. I also agree with Joe, losing one game to this Marlin team, without Stanton for 2.5 of the 3 games, is terrible, and says a lot about where this Met team is. Two is shameful and a sweep would have competed with the lowest points in franchise history. That Marlin team is a joke. Gee’s performance was Laffey-like, which is not a compliment. If Wheeler can back up this week’s game with another two like it, he’ll be up, and Hefner and Gee can battle it out for the #5 spot, with the loser becoming the long man. Let’s see if the Mets can up their game against a major league team this weekend.
  6. Walnutz15 May 2, 2013 at 8:15 am
    No excuse for Valdespin NOT to get more playing time on this pathetic roster.

    I’m not sure of the line saying he takes advantage of lesser competition, considering he’s homered off handfuls of top closers in late-inning situation.

    Not saying that’s what he is, a HR-hitting machine….but he brings enough tools to the table to consistently play on this team.

    - Speed (only guy with it)
    - Athleticism
    - Lil’ bit o’ lightning in his stroke

    Wake up, Terry. Not gonna do much better.

    Give him a full week’s worth of leading off andf playing CF. He doesn’t have a clue of what he has, and nor do we ——- that’s what this season is, to find out.

    • argonbunnies May 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm
      I think it’s gonna take more than a week to see what we have. Valdespin seems streaky to me. His swing looks great sometimes, and other times it gets too loopy. If we really want to evaluate him, I think we’d have to run him out there every day for multiple months.

      Not that that’s a terrible idea. It’s certainly wiser than throwing time at Marlon Byrd. But it’s a level of commitment that impacts Cowgill, Baxter and Lagares too.

      • Walnutz15 May 3, 2013 at 9:09 am
        Oh, no doubt — I’m just saying a week since it’s been a struggle for him to crack a Collins lineup, regardless.

        The jokers Alderson’s brought in have been awful. I’d be fine with letting him play for a month straight, and if nothing is shown — then utilize him in the capacity that sees him as a sometime-guy who pinch hits late.

        No reason not to see what we’ve got, while we can. They always putz around like this, when they can test guys out — complete waste of time.

  7. DaveSchneck May 2, 2013 at 8:21 am
    One other point from the game. Early on, I forget the inning, Mets down 3-0, Wright was up with 2 outs and a 2-1 count when Murphy got picked off first to end the inning. It is beyond words how bad that is with the big bat up. This mess is not Collins fault, but why he did not pull Murphy from the game right there I don’t know. All we hear about is fundis and accountability, and then we see plays like that. Collins has no bite to his bark, and that is a problem. He had a prefect opportunity to send a message to his team that the crap won’t be tolerated, and with a guy, Murphy, who would have taken it like a man.
    • argonbunnies May 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm
      Hmm. Pulling guys for lack of hustle is one thing. Pulling a guy for a play in which he failed to read the pitcher’s move is another. I mean, if the reason you’re pulling him is because it was a bonehead play, then you have to start pulling guys for bonehead plays that work too, right? The guy who steals 3rd with 2 outs on a close play needs to be out of there just as much as Murph. Same as the guy who swings at a 3-0 pitch out of the strike zone. Much as I think that sort of accountability would be great, I’ve never heard of it happening, so I think it’d be deemed too radical.
      • Walnutz15 May 3, 2013 at 11:07 am
        “The guy who steals 3rd with 2 outs on a close play needs to be out of there just as much as Murph.”

        Thing is…….chances are – this would be Murphy, too.

        Stealing it only due to the 3rd baseman not being able to get a tag on him, or the throw skipping past him into LF – having him beat by 25 feet.

        Never seen a dopier baserunner than Murphy, from a standpoint of —- “he’s just not fast, and should never be putting himself in the situations he’s in regardless.”

  8. Happy59 May 2, 2013 at 9:31 am
    Yes I Agree, I may be making Collins the “fall guy” for this team. However, this is a relatively young team which requires a manager skilled with dealing with young players as well as the nuances of the game. Although Collins has “calmed” down he still is way to intense for some of these young players. Watching games when do you see Collins smile? Only at the end of the game when they win. Otherwise he looks so intense he’s ready to explode. If he relaxes and has more fun then so the players relax……… perhaps leading to less mistakes and more wins?
  9. TexasGusCC May 2, 2013 at 10:12 am
    The roster has many players that look overwhelmed, but it also is not performing as well as it can. It’s not a contending team, we all knew that, but players are put in positions they shouldn’t be in, and that is the manager. Cowgill doesn’t need to be in center as a defensive replacement is consecutive games (or at all), when you have Lagares. Rice shouldn’t be setting up Parnell against the Nationals. Etc. Collins is a nice guy, and a good baseball guy, but an extra two or wins in one month is twelve for the year.

    Players like Ike Davis seem to be lost, and that happens in slumps, but he needs some kind of break. Maybe two or three days off in a row. Something.

    Although I can agree with most things that people have written, a couple of things give me question. Regarding Willie Randolph, wasn’t the beef against him that his team was lifeless and he didn’t show any passion or motivated his guys? Also, he seemed to be outmanaged often because of his lack of making moves to counter moves being made.

    I don’t like Valdepin’s history, from the Marlins hat to his antics, I remember Jaquin Andujar wasn’t revered, but as long as he performed it was tolerated. Valdespin is a player that had 10+/10+ last year in 200 Abs. On every other weak team, he would be playing every day. On the Mets, we have a .220 hitter with no speed or power leading off for about 1/3 of their games against righties so far for his “good” OBP. Valdespin’ s OBP is .345 as a starter. It’s the .175 avg as a pinch hitter that has him where he’s at.

    Why not put Lagares in center and Spin in right and leave them there? Who on this team are we expecting/hoping to break out?

    • NormE May 2, 2013 at 1:40 pm
      TexasGus, are you tapping my phone? I was telling a friend the exact same thing about Lagares and Valdespin.
      Give them 3 to 4 weeks. What have you got to lose? Baxter is a bench player and Byrd should be released–he’s in the way.
      Maybe Alderson has to whisper in Collins’ ear that he shouldn’t worry about being the manager next year–because he won’t be, but will have another job in the organization. So Collins should relax and let the youngsters play. 65 wins or 70 wins, it makes no difference. But, the way you get there does.
  10. Dan B May 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm
    At this point, the Mets decission making should center on, “how does this effect the 2015 season”. If losing five extra games this year helps evaluate players, then do it. Personally, I would prefer they bring in players who will help starting next year, but I think next year will be punted, too. The Mets have so many holes they are the Dunkin Munchkins of baseball — all holes and no donuts.
    • DaveSchneck May 3, 2013 at 10:24 am
      Dan,
      With 136 games left in 2013 and a full 2014, we are now targeting 2015? It may work out this way, but geez louise.
      • Izzy May 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm
        I think Dan meant 2016 or 17. Certainlyt a date after the next GM cleans up the pile of manure that Alderson has built.
  11. TexasGusCC May 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm
    LOL, Dan that was a good one, I want to use it when talking about them with my buddy. Norm, glad you agree as even last weekend I posted this and even said I felt badly for Cowgill because he doesn’t get to play. Then, he played. Then, I was too ashamed to post for a while.
  12. Dan B May 3, 2013 at 9:17 am
    first week of May and diehard Met fans are losing interest in the team. What will it be like in late June? Will the Wilpons panic and start making moves just to attract attention? Or will they sell off players like Buck and Wright rather then pay their salaries? I really fear a panic move coming up.
    • Mike B May 3, 2013 at 9:39 am
      I thought you have to have interest to lose it. The joke has been that the Mets are a AAAA team, well I feel they are a AAA not because the level of talent but the level of interest. Its hard to care because what do wins and losses really mean to this team? Nothing..
  13. TexasGusCC May 3, 2013 at 11:35 am
    Walnutz, did you forget about Franceour?
  14. Dan B May 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm
    Dave, until the last large loan is refinanced (I think it comes due in June 2014) i would bet the Mets don’t raise their payroll. That means punting 2014. I don’t expect them to be better in 2014. Buck will be gone. Wheeler is questionable. If they were willing to buy a free agent, who is out there will make a difference?
    • DaveSchneck May 3, 2013 at 2:18 pm
      Dan,
      The win-now mode is a requirement for any successful franchise. I don’t mean deal your prospects for a veteran at the expense of the future. Win now means that no matter who they put on the field in any particular game or inning, this is MLB and they are expected to play winning baseball. Yes, humans make mistakes, and yes, over time talent wins out, but all the winners have a win now attitude. Some players on the team now have it. It certainly doesn’t look like management has it. This team, in 2013, needs to win 81 games or more, to end its run of being a losing franchise. Then we can deal with 2014 or 2015, or if Izzy prefers 2017 when Alderson’s son is the GM.
    • DaveSchneck May 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm
      When you have a 64 year old field manager in his last gig needing Ws to extend his MLB life, you wind up with the Baxters and Byrds in the line-up. This is a high school text book example of bad management by the GM.
  15. Joe May 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm
    ” John Buck is an average MLB starting catcher”

    Who isn’t hitting like one.

    I agree it is pathetic that this team was this close to being swept but the problem is that the Mets – especially w/o Ike Davis hitting – is a mediocre team. The Astros lost to a series to the Yanks because of a run and lasted to the 14th against the Tigers. The margin isn’t that much between the Mets and the Marlins. But, you expect them to win two of three. That extra inning game was shameful.

    The Mets are not good enough to be able to survive the putative #3 (even if he’s not) starter pitching like this. Hefner had two back to back starts that were impressive. On average, he basically has met expectations. Gee has not. We had reason to expect he would give you more than this mess.

    Gee was basically the reason this was so close. Yes, Duda misplayed a playable ball so it wasn’t 7-4, but that will happen. If Gee is going to play like this, the Mets need another starter.

    Meanwhile, I’m curious how Lagares and Brown will do.