Mets Game 37: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 4 Mets 2

Shaun Marcum finally made it beyond the fifth inning. In fact, he pitched into the seventh. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to garner a win.

Mets Game Notes

Marcum pitched very well, allowing 2 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk in 6 2/3 IP. That’s the best non-Harvey start we’ve seen in a while.

However, the defense behind Marcum was less than stellar and the offense was unsupportive.

When you are a bad team playing an “A” team, you must bring your “A” game to have a chance to win — and hope that that “A” team has an off-night. On this particular evening, the “A” team from St. Louis didn’t have an off-night, but had a vulnerable night. Had the Mets brought their “A” game, they had a good chance to steal this one. But they didn’t. Instead, they brought their usual game, which is several letters away from “A.” They had an average number of hits and baserunners (for them), but went 0-for-4 with RISP — which makes it difficult to score runs, and runs are required to win games. Further, they made multiple mistakes both in the field and on the basepaths, and you just can’t make multiple mistakes against a club like the Cardinals, even when they’re on a slightly off-night. The very good teams may not have their offense every night, but they almost always have their fundamentals. Fundies, defense, and pitching generally don’t go into slumps; at the very least, very good teams will ALWAYS have at least two of those three working pristinely in every single game. And guess what? The Cardinals brought pristine defense, fundies, and pitching, while the Mets found ways to beat themselves.

When John Buck is hitting like Babe Ruth, you don’t mind so much if he makes a baserunning mistake. However, when John Buck is hitting like John Buck, there is zero tolerance for getting caught stealing or making a stupid mistake that results in getting doubled off on an outfield fly. So when both of those occurred … hmmm … I guess you’d say there is “sub-zero tolerance”?

Rick Ankiel hit his first homerun as a Met, driving in all of the Mets runs for the night. Yee-ha.

Ankiel was one of two Mets with more than one hit. The other? Shaun Marcum.

Not sure what else to say. The Mets stink, and that fact is more glaring when they play against good teams. It’s less noticeable against bad teams like the Marlins and so-so teams like the Pirates and Phillies. But against good teams? Ouch. The Mets look like cow bell for other teams. Meaning, fodder to feast on.

Next Mets Game

The final game of this four-game series in St. Louis begins at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. Jonathon Niese goes to the hill against Adam Wainwright.

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. AC Wayne May 16, 2013 at 12:22 am
    You just can’t give extra outs to the Cards or any team for that matter. Wright’s inability to place a tag on John Jay in the BOT of the 4th was inexcusable, Jay wasn’t even trying to get out of the run-down, he was conceding the out. In terms of the Mets, they have taken the fun out of baseball. Every time they some how take a lead or tie the game, they give that lead right back to the opposing team the very next inning. Not sure what to suggest??? It’s really getting ugly.
  2. argonbunnies May 16, 2013 at 5:33 am
    Two notes:

    1) Marcum retired the Cardinals in order on 10 pitches in the 2nd. Only one of the 10 was a fastball. “Throw strikes with your secondary stuff” indeed. Rest of the staff, take heed. Your curveball isn’t just for bait pitches in the dirt or first-pitch surprises.

    2) I thought the key AB of the night was Kozma’s single in the 7th. With Marcum cruising and looking viable for the 8th, Descalso lays off some tough pitches and the 3-2 gets away from Shaun for a walk. Okay, bad execution there, but he comes right back with a good curve to get Kozma to pop up to medium CF. Inning over, right?

    Except Rick Ankiel is standing on the warning track, charges in for an eternity and has to field the ball on a hop. I know with the go-ahead run on first in the 7th you play No Doubles, but this was ridiculous.

    a) It’s Pete Kozma, not a slugger.

    b) What’s the point in getting a CF who can cover ground if you can’t trust him to go back on the ball?

    c) Why an extreme No Doubles OF when Terry doesn’t guard the lines at first and third? Is there any sort of a plan here?

    The Mets have had awful OF positioning for as long as I can remember. They always play the opposite field too deep against pitchers and slap hitters. Tonight was just another moment where, if anyone was actually paying attention (Terry, Goodwin, or Ankiel himself), it would have been painfully obvious that the fielder was not in a good spot.

    • david May 16, 2013 at 6:17 am
      Ankiel was out of position 2 nights ago on Wiggington’s base hit off the heel of his glove too. Check the tape. He’s not a good CF. Hence, the Astros cut him. I wish that SNY TV Money was going to the team . . .
  3. Dan B May 16, 2013 at 7:40 am
    How many players on the 40 man roster are you excited about? Wright and Harvey, obviously. Wheeler and d’Arnaud, certainly but prospects always have risk involve. But after that? Maybe a couple more that you root for but they don’t come across as difference makers. Ugh.
  4. AC Wayne May 16, 2013 at 8:31 am
    To your point, Dan B, I don’t think the guys on the team root for each other, this is as mish-mash as it gets in terms of the current roster they have out there. That’s what happens when you have one guy, DWright, making good money and the rest picking up the scraps. It just doesn’t seem like anyone is looking out for one another, I don’t know if that’s the coach’s fault? Two plays from last night, Murphy’s double then steal of third, Wright strikes out and Ike, he couldn’t hit the side of a barn, leaves him stranded…another example, Scott Rice comes in, you know there’s a guy on 3rd base, why the hell are you throwing balls in the dirt??
    • Izzy May 16, 2013 at 10:08 am
      Bad teams play bad, bad players play bad. It doesn’t mean they don’t root for each other. do you actually believe Wrights whiffed with a guy on 3rd because he didn’t root for him. Do you think Davis is sucking on purpose because he doesn’t root for Wright or Duda? The excuses become more incredible each day. The team is bad because there are a lot of less than average big league players on the roster and the coaches were picked by Alderson and not the manager. One guy moans Ankiel was out of position. Why was that? because the statistical analysis of the brain trust in positioning, as in hitting and as in pitching philosophies believes in one way and one way only. Its a failed regime from top to bottom. When you start blaming the man who picks the players, picks the manager, picks the coaches and demands the one way or no way approach, then you”ll be at the core of the problem. Until then, demand a new manger, new players, new attitude, new coaches and the result will be the same. Its Sandy Alderson running the show from top to bottom. The problem is the GREAT MISTAKE.
  5. friend May 16, 2013 at 9:47 am
    If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a noise?

    If a team doesn’t hit with runners in scoring position, are the runners really in scoring position?

  6. Walnutz15 May 16, 2013 at 10:48 am
    Everyone loves to rush to the “look at this team” assessment.

    However, when you look at things with an objective eye — you can’t tell me that any ballclub in the Major Leagues has NO SHOT at winning, on any given afternoon or evening.

    Looking at the body of work from Collins-led clubs……they just go into the tank.

    The Mets are amidst a 4-13 stretch right now, where their last 2 wins have come from snoozefest walk-offs — 1-run in 10 innings during that Harvey start pretty much typifies what we’re watching.

    The win preceding those 2 was actually an exciting extra-innings win on the road in Atlanta; where Collins exhibited some life, and made a managerial move that I didn’t completely disagree with….go figure!

    And prior to that one, was the Valdespin walk-off grand slam on May 1st.

    Otherwise, you back-track into 3 consecutive Met losses….going back into April.

    This isn’t the ONLY problem here — but I find it hard to be disputed:

    When Collins’ teams tank…….they tank HARD, FAST, AND FURIOUS.

    The Mets are 30 games under .500 since July of last season.

  7. Walnutz15 May 16, 2013 at 11:16 am
    ……..and really – if I hear someone refer to the Mets “being #1 in baserunning” (another of the “useless stat” variety) – I’d love to smack them upside the head.

    If you watch, the Mets are a bunch of dolts – and have been for years.

    This must not account for situations like when Daniel Murphy gets doubled off by 60 feet on balls he turns to watch get caught in front of him in the outfield, or like last night – when John Buck just took off on a liner to CF w/men in front of him, and only 1 out…..getting doubled-up as well.

    Being “aggressive’ is one thing. Having a brain to be a smart baserunner is completely different.

    All part of the garbage being tolerated by Collins from “veterans” (use that term very loosely on this roster). Hearing this doesn’t spark much inspiration, either:

    ”Outside of a few innings we’ve been in every game in the last week,” manager Terry Collins said. “We just cannot finish it. We cannot get a big hit. We cannot get a big out. We cannot make a big play when we need to.”

    ……….because again, anyone who’s watched knows – your teams are never ready to play, regardless. And it will get worse when the malaise sets in in May, rather than the usual 2nd half tank.

    Get rid of the entire coaching staff, for starters — then deal with whatever stems from it later on.

    Warthen’s been on borrowed time since he was installed, post-Randolph regime.

    Hudgens sucks, but will stay because he implements their garbage hitting philosophy.

    Do everyone a favor and get rid of Terry Howe.

  8. Steven A May 16, 2013 at 11:32 am
    “The Mets are 30 games under .500 since July of last season”

    Wow. That is quiete an indictment.
    The thing is I am not sure what players from the outside the Mets could have acquired who would have made any difference rather than just spending money to appease Mike Francesca and some of the fans here, a lot of whom don’t even have season tickets. What really sucks is that management is actually not totally cheap and the argument can be made that they are just looking to receive fair consideration; they spent money to try to do things on the smart side and have willingly eaten a lot of money on Perez, Bay and Castillo. If the Mets were clearly out simply to purge the payroll, they could have easily just kept the bad contracts and not added anyone, and probably be no worse for these years. The problem is that all of the long term contract moves that the team has made at the major league level for outside players have failed in retrospect (Carrasco, Frank Francisco, Marcum; I do not include Hairston or Capuano because those were one year deals), and no breaks have gone our way in terms of players thus far. Heck, we would probably could have been over .500 in 2011 and 2012 had we been willing to let the K-Rod option vest and not instead wasted the $16 million over two years on Francisco. There is no doubt in my mind that historians will end up judging this era on whether Wheeler/D’Arnaud/Syndergaard turn out to be stars. Also, more and more it looks like the event that really inked our fate and was an era changer was the collision at Coors field in May 2011 between Ike and David.

    • Walnutz15 May 16, 2013 at 11:45 am
      45-75, to be exact.
    • Happy59 May 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm
      Steven you share several very valide points. Mets have a poor record on whom they give free agent contracts of more than 1 year. Mets simply don’t do their homework on a player or just assume they will play up to their given dollars. Their last 3 managers disliked younger players but were forced to use them; nor were they adept at using a bullpen, wearing pitchers out until they hit the DL. of course the GM is just as guilty for not acquiring the right pieces or making roster moves. The last 2 years they waited until mid-season to make changes. This year they started right away sending players down who weren’t peforming, and i thought great, their not wasting time this year, however, the pieces they chose to bring up haven’t helped. so what happens now? i sincerely believe that Collins severe intensity effects the players, how can they not be? I really think they have the quality on the roster to win with, however, Collins has mismanaged and buried their talent in poor moves on the field and in the batting order. His intensity must intimitate some younger players and put off some older ones. He NEVER smiles!! A new manager and staff will loosen up the clubhouse and they shall begih to win like they are capable of……
  9. Dan B May 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm
    You can spend money while not over spending on free agents. How about investing in the farm system? The fact that AAA is in Vegas is direct result of the Mets ignoring financially and intellectually the minors. Why not spend slot money rather then leaving some on the table? Why not replace executives with top executives when they leave rather then double up workloads? How about trading a HHairs ton or Capuano or Reyes rather then fear smaller ticket sales? How about having a farm system with home groomed players rather then a couple we got for trading our top pitcher and offensive player for?
  10. Steven A May 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm
    These are all valid points Wallnuts, Happy and Dan B.

    Again, what might have been without (1) the collision at Coors field in May 2011 between Ike and David and (2) had the third base umpire called Beltran’s hit fair on June 1, 2012

    • Joe Janish May 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm
      I don’t believe things would have been much different if the Davis-Wright collision never happened. Ike was in the middle of a hot streak, yes, but he’s proven to be exactly that: a guy who is either on a red-hot streak, or an ice-cold one. The fact he broke his foot has nothing to do with the streakiness, and has nothing to do with his ridiculous approach of changing his batting stance every other game. Maybe the Mets would have won 5-10 more games that year — MAYBE — had Ike remained healthy, but looking at the big picture, I don’t see the organization being in any different a situation at present.

      Or maybe I’m missing your perception of the situation?