Mets Game 30: Loss to White Sox

White Sox 6 Mets 3

At least they split.

Mets Game Notes

Alejandro De Aza led off the game by jerking a middle-of-the-plate fastball into the right field stands, and that set the tone for the rest of the evening. Though it was a seven o’clock start, it felt like an afternoon getaway game. The ChiSox got ahead immediately, the Mets tied it up, then the Palehose had a three-run third and the Mets went in the tank as the game slogged along. Luckily, though, there weren’t many witnesses to this crime of an effort; the official attendance reported was 21,470, but there’s no way there was more than 15,000. In fact, I would put the number at closer to 10 or 12K.

Jeremy Hefner did what he does: he threw strikes, he hung around the middle of the plate, he got hit hard, he gave up a few runs. His line was 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 94 pitches — about what you can expect from a fifth starter.

Unfortunately for Hefner, he was facing a front-of-the-rotation type starter in Jake Peavy, who overwhelmed the Mets through 6 2/3 innings. Peavy had a lot of lateral run on his sinker; it resembled the one that Greg Maddux threw back in the day, as it would start a 6-10 inches off the plate but by the time it crossed it was over the middle. Though Lucas Duda hit a beast of a homer off of him the first time up, the second time around Peavy froze big Luke on consecutive sinkers that started at Duda’s hip but wound up splitting the plate in half for a backward K.

Scott Atchison had another rough outing, allowing 3 hits and an earned run in two-thirds of an inning. He’s not looking like the shutdown guy he was in early April.

And just when you thought perhaps Jeurys Familia could be an answer in the late innings, he served up a solo blast to Alex Rios and walked another in his one-inning stint.

Rios had a big day at the plate, but I didn’t realize he was such a dog. He barely made it out of the box on a slow grounder early in the contest, and his lack of effort must drive Robin Ventura nuts.

Alexei Ramirez flashed fancy footwork and glovework in this ballgame, helping Peavy pitch efficient innings. Seeing Ramirez and other shortstops around MLB, it’s hard to get as excited as some less-objective Mets fans about Ruben Tejada. Tejada is a fine, solid shortstop who occasionally makes a “web gem” — but that’s it. In other words, what Tejada does at SS is not special from the perspective of the level in which he plays; it’s what you expect to see from a Major League shortstop. It’s similar to the local over-rating of Ike Davis‘ defense. Like Tejada, Davis is a solid defender, and provides what is expected of an average MLB first basemen. Not necessarily a Gold Glover, certainly not unique.

Why is John Buck trying to throw out runners from his knees? Luckily De Aza was stranded at 3B, but still, the process stunk.

It’s difficult to score runs when your top three hitters combine to go 0-for-11. David Wright did walk twice, but that was it from the table setters. For all the excitement and drama Jordany Valdespin provides, he’s hitting .231 with a .275 OBP. And remember how hot Daniel Murphy was in the first few weeks of the season? He’s now down to .275 and still providing less-than-adequate defense (though his limitations seem less glaring). I don’t believe there is any sabermetric measurement that includes a defender’s ability to be in the proper place at the proper time, but those who measured this game with their eyes saw Murphy in the wrong spot several times, and that impacts team defense.

Speaking of ‘spin, he needs to stop with the calling safe calls as he runs through first base. It’s cute when he’s actually safe, but really, really bush league when he’s out by three strides (such as in the first inning).

Despite ‘spin’s poor stats and disrespect / inspiring exuberance for the game (pick your perspective), the Mets need to keep playing him. Who else is there in the organization with similar youth and potential upside?

Justin Turner made a late-inning appearance in the outfield. That’s great, but how sad is it that the Mets need to find a way to get Turner’s bat in the lineup? Think about that.

Next Mets Game

The Pittsburgh Pirates come to Flushing to face the Mets on Thursday night to begin a four-game series. Game time is 7:10 p.m. and has Dillon Gee facing Jeff Locke.

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. Izzy May 9, 2013 at 6:57 am
    Wow, after reading this I’m extra glad I watched the Rangers game. Washington seems like a better team but, its all even and if Henriq can get hot they can get to the next round and make 4-7 nights of meaningful games in May available.
  2. Dan B May 9, 2013 at 8:58 am
    I hate to say it but I am beginning to think the shine is off the apple that was John Buck. The dream of trading him for the next Wheeler may be just that, a dream.
    • DaveSchneck May 9, 2013 at 12:44 pm
      Dan,
      I don’t think the Mets every had any chance of Buck bringing back a Wheeler-caliber prospect, even despite his great start, as the league knows he is not in the class of a Beltran. I fully expect him to play more to career norms. I still see value in retaining him beyond 2013, and if he plays closer to career norms his price should be affordable. If he can play a little 1B, tutor the staff and d’Arnaud, and play 60 games behind the plate, he could be an asset at least for 2014.
  3. Dan B May 9, 2013 at 1:38 pm
    Not a bad idea if the Mets can stomach a backup catcher making $2 million(?) a year. Past experiences says no. I expect he will walk if he is not traded.