Mets Game 38: Win Over Cardinals
Mets 5 Cardinals 2
Mets win on getaway day to escape a sweep in St. Louis.
Mets Game Notes
Caveat: I didn’t watch the entire game, only parts of it. I couldn’t watch it live because it was a day game and I have that full-time job thing, and by the time I got home was too tired to sit through all nine frames. But, I’ll share the little bit that I noticed, and you can fill in the rest.
Jonathon Niese had better results than in his previous two starts, but I didn’t see much difference in his delivery. Much ado was made about him working in the bullpen with Dan Warthen on “staying upright” and “throwing over his front leg” but to me he was the same old sidewinding Niese. He’s been getting away with this motion for over two years now, and been a fairly solid if somewhat inconsistent pitcher, so not sure whether it matters if he can “fix” his mechanics or not. Maybe the answer is to lower expectations, and see him for what he is — a nice #3 or #4 starter on a championship club with an intense competitive streak and the ability to make 30 starts a year and eat 180-190 innings. There’s a lot of value in that kind of pitcher — just ask Jeff Suppan, Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, John Lackey, or any of a number of middle-rotation pitchers who enjoyed extensive, profitable careers in MLB.
I did, however, notice Ike Davis‘ new mechanics. He looks kind of like he’s squatting in the woods because there’s no port-a-john nearby. He also looks like he’s thinking — A LOT — about his body movements, and getting them timed correctly. If you’ve ever played golf, you probably know it’s hard to think about your swing and hit the ball well. Now imagine if that ball was moving toward you at 90+ MPH, instead of sitting on a tee; it’s too much to think about — it’s next to impossible to think about your body’s actions and react to ball movement within a half-second. So it wasn’t surprising that Ike struck out four times in five at-bats.
On a positive note, Daniel Murphy has broken out of his slump and is on a hot streak. That’s great. What’s not great is that he’s not a homerun hitter, so his hot streaks are bunches of singles and an occasional double, and his cold streaks are a lot of outs. It would be nice if he could keep his performance more balanced and consistent, but he’s another one who, I surmise, does a little too much thinking and tinkering when he’s not going well.
Why do I sound so negative when the Mets just won a game? Maybe because they lost the previous six.
Cool thing I meant to mention three posts ago: the crowd’s reaction to Rick Ankiel. He left St. Louis four years ago, yet the fans still love him and support him. Those St. Louis fans are so awesome it’s annoying, right?
What’s going on with Ankiel in centerfield? Is he misjudging balls? Has he lost a step, and relied on his speed more than we thought? Is he affected by absolute neophytes flanking him on either side? I think it’s a combination of losing a step and non-outfielders around him. He missed a ball early on that probably should have been caught by Jordany Valdespin, and Gary Cohen suggested that Ankiel should know he’s playing next to an inexperienced right fielder. Really? Should he know that? If he doesn’t, is it 100% his fault, or can some of it be on the coaching staff? Is it really Ankiel’s responsibility to know that Valdespin has less than 60 games of pro experience in the outfield, and only a dozen or so games in RF specifically? Should he also know ‘spin’s blood type and favorite cocktail, after only three days with the club? I don’t think so. I think that a Major League outfielder should assume that he’s playing with other Major League outfielders, unless/until he’s told differently. These Frankenstein experiments to shove offensive production into open positions is a nice idea on paper, is great for Strat-O-Matic, and worked well when Brad Pitt played the part of Billy Beane in Moneyball, but in the real world, on the field, players who are less than adequate on defense not only expose themselves but frequently negatively affect the defense of those around them.
Also speaking of Ankiel — he got away with a terrible baserunning decision in the 7th when he was thrown out by a mile attempting to stretch a single to a double, but the umpire erroneously gifted him a ground-rule double. Remember this the next time a break goes against the Mets — it all evens out eventually.