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.

Bobby Parnell earned his fourth save of the year, and is on pace to save 17 for the season. What was my over-under?

Next Mets Game

Strangely enough, the Mets follow a day game with another day game as they move on to Chicago. Friday afternoon’s game time is 2:20 EDT and the pitching matchup is Matt Harvey vs. Edwin Jackson.

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. TexasGusCC May 17, 2013 at 1:00 am
    While it was in the air, I also thought that ball would be caught. It seems like the reason Cohen even made that point is because the ball hung a bit. Ankiel has played four games at center for the Mets, has misplayed a ball a couple of times already and seems to play quite deep. I checked his UZR, and it is in fact negative for four years out of the last five. Valdespin needs to learn to judge fly balls and that will take time, if they care to give him the chance.

    On a different note, this is a cool article on Matt Harvey:

  2. wohjr May 17, 2013 at 2:57 am
    to be fair joe, murph did belt one that found a seam in the OF wall on the fly about 5-6 foot from a homer. Harvey tomorrow!
    • Joe Janish May 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm
      Indeed he did.

      I guess my point is this: if a guy is going to have such wild streaks of hot and cold, I want it to be because he’s an Ike Davis type — someone with a big, powerful swing and who, when hot, can carry a team.

      Murphy regularly has these streaks of 0-for-25, 2-for-33, etc., throughout a season, and then you look at his final numbers and he has less than 10 homers and an OBP that is directly related to his batting average — which in turn, is a reflection of whether he finishes a season hot or cold.

      If a guy is going to hit around .270-.280 with only about 10 HR, and not give me speed, and not give me above-average defense, then at the very least I want him to be STEADY — consistently getting a few base hits every week, mixed in with walks, never having prolonged slumps. A guy with Murphy’s production should rarely if ever go more than three games without a base hit — and still be getting on base when he’s not getting the singles.

      If Murphy brought ANYTHING else to the table beyond his bat, I’d feel differently. But he’s below average in the field and on the bases, so if he doesn’t bring his bat, he’s not bringing anything.

      If you’re old enough to remember Johnny Grubb or Warren Cromartie, that’s the kind of offensive player Murphy needs to be. Not spectacular, but steady.

  3. Izzy May 17, 2013 at 7:16 am
    Maybe Ankiel isn’t the Willie Mays the Great Mistake’s PR machine proclaimed him to be! Maybe he’s just a reminder to the Great Mistake of how it used to be in the good old days of Canseco and co.
    The most important thing for Met fans yesterday was news that SNY viewer ratings have plummeted. With an empty park and all time lows watching, next year’s advertising rates plummet for the Wilpons and the screw turns tighter and tighter around the Great Mistake and the owner whose biggest success in life was being friends with Bernie Madoff. By the way the game was sold out in St Louis. Think the city morge would have been a third packed for a day game in May!!!!
  4. Dan B May 17, 2013 at 9:08 am
    I hate to post this on a day after a win, but I can’t help myself. Jason Bay is hitting .iWit a340
  5. Dan B May 17, 2013 at 9:12 am
    I hate to post this after a win, but I can’t help myself. Jason Bay is hitting .241, with a .340 OBP and 4 hrs and 11 rbis. He would be one of our top producing outfielders. And the Mets paid him an extra $1 million to defer $4 million two years so the Mets could sign free agents for 2013.
  6. Dan B May 17, 2013 at 9:14 am
    Which means the Mets have even less money tosign free agents in the next two ooff seasons. (I hate posting with my phone)
  7. MsMet May 17, 2013 at 11:45 am
    The reality is we would not have had to pick up ankiel if we had a major league outfield. How arrogant was Alderson when he joked “What Outfield” and still did nothing. Either he is incapable of finding good talent or handcuffed the the Coupons. Regarding Ike Davis, how about a change of scenary trade. Ike for Justin smoak in Seattle.
  8. MsMet May 17, 2013 at 11:48 am
    There were outfield options on waivers such as Casper Wells and Julio Borbon. At least they have a major league resume, but they passed on every OF free agent, waiver wire player. It is always about a roster spot. I never saw such a crowded 40 man roster with no talent
    • Joe Janish May 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm
    • Happy59 May 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm
      Your right MsMet, wasted AAA club, loaded with marginal playrs who either never get called up or don’t produce when they are………. no wonder their in the Vegas wasteland. They should stock AAA with more AA players who are hungry and producing. Mets seem to stifle younger players unless they are exceptional like Harvey…..