Mets Game 41: Win Over Cubs

Mets 4 Cubs 3

Mets win the rubber match to pass their sweet sixteen and gain win number seventeen at the quarter point of the season.

Mets Game Notes

A quarter of the season gone and the Mets have 17 wins. So, they’re on pace to win about 68 games. And they’ve already been through the easiest part of their schedule. Oh boy … long summer ahead.

Dillon Gee was again not great. His performance was again not acceptable. He hurled five frames and allowed three runs and nine baserunners. His ERA is now above six. His fastball was getting too much plate and elevated at a level too high. He tried very hard to get the curveball going, but couldn’t throw it for a strike — and left it up hanging hhigh far too often. His change-up was pretty decent in terms of location and movement, but it was thrown at 85 MPH, which isn’t much of a difference in velocity from his 88-90 MPH fastball. Or maybe that WAS his fastball? Only Gee and catcher Anthony Recker know for sure, though, I did see the radar gun light up at 90 and 91 on occasion. Gee’s slider was even slower than his change-up, at around 83-84 MPH. So in effect, the slider was more of a change-up than his change-up. I don’t know how a pitcher can be successful with that menagerie.

Travis Wood is an example of why I am profusely anti-DH. While most pitchers are not very good hitters, it doesn’t mean they have to be completely ineffectual offensively, and further, it is very possible to have good-hitting pitchers — and when there IS a good-hitting pitcher, it changes the landscape of the game. To me, having that variable in place is much more interesting than extending the career of an old, one-dimensional slugger — or creating a career for a hitter who can’t play a defensive position. Baseball, like life, has its flaws, and managing those flaws as well as being surprised by unlikely events is part of what makes the game so interesting and enjoyable.

I’m wondering if Daniel Murphy is Keith Hernandez‘s illegitimate son, because in Keith’s eyes, Murphy can do no wrong — and when he does wrong, Keith excuses it with stupid comments like, “but I like the aggressiveness!” Yes, it was Murphy’s homerun that won the game for the Mets. But his persistent stupidity on the basepaths is maddening, and in the long run, detrimental to the goal of winning. In the top of the third, with one out, Murphy hit a comebacker to Wood, who initiated a rundown that retired Juan Lagares. Murphy ran wildly into second base and barely made it safely after Lagares was put out — and I think the ump might have missed the call. Though Murphy was safe, the ends do not necessarily justify the means — it was a bad decision by Murphy due to the risk. He does this all the time — he makes baserunning decisions thinking he has Jose Reyes-like speed rather than the reality, and that’s a problem. There’s nothing wrong with being aggressive, but a player has to know his strengths as well as his limitations, and know how to leverage both. In the end it didn’t matter, because Murphy was safe and it made no difference to the final score. But it’s all about the process, and the process was flawed.

Murphy blasted his solo homer after I wrote at length about his waving at the ball with half-swings. So, yes, the post-game dinner for me was crow. But I still don’t like how he looks at the plate, despite his current hot streak and the dinger.

Speaking of homeruns, Juan Lagares also hit one, as well as a double. Does that mean he’ll get more starts, or only against LHPs? Or is it a bad idea to take at-bats away from the immortal Rick Ankiel? (For the record, Ankiel has always been a favorite of mine — but it doesn’t cloud my objectivity in terms of what the Mets should be doing with their young players.)

The Mets might just have something with Bobby Parnell, who continues to dominate hitters on sub-.500 clubs. Can he convert saves against the better hitters and better teams? We don’t yet know, but getting saves against the tomato cans helps his confidence, and confidence goes a long way toward success. Assuming Parnell can parlay these confidence-builders into success against the Reds, Braves, Yankees, etc., the question becomes: do the Mets deal him at the deadline for prospects? My vote is a loud “yes,” considering that Parnell is 28 years old and the Mets are going nowhere in 2013 nor 2014. Sell high and get some value before he rolls back down the hill or suffers an injury; from what I understand, he has some kind of “shoulder tightness” that is keeping Terry Collins from using him more often.

Nice job by the Mets bullpen, who shut out the Cubs through the final four frames. I’m chalking that up to mystery, as most of the Cubs hitters have not seen the submarining Greg Burke nor Scott Rice. Yes, I’m the opposite of the silver-lining finder; I’m a realist.

OK, positive note: I like Anthony Recker behind the dish. Offensively, not so much, but he continues to impress me with his mobility, footwork, game-calling, tempo management, and arm strength. A solid and acceptable backup backstop.

Next Mets Game

The Mets come home to Flushing to face the Reds on Monday night at 7:10 p.m. Shaun Marcum takes the mound against Johnny Cueto.

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. Sidd Finch May 20, 2013 at 12:12 am
    The OF is a mess, but the Collins method of platooning makes it worse. Everyday the box score features a different array of names. They should have Lagares and Duda out there every day, especially Lagares. He needs to face RHP, I mean it’s the major leagues, its kind of a prerequisite to being a pro ballplayer-unless the Mets are trying to create their own Matt Diaz or something.

    Hard to believe Parnell is going to be 29 this season, time flies when you’re waiting for a “phenom” to develop. I kinda agree they should trade him for prospects while his value is high. But knuckle curveball pitchers can have pretty long careers (Burt Hooton, Isringhausen) and since he’s added that pitch he’s been pretty dominant. If he were still a strictly fastball guy approaching 29 I’d completely agree with you. But instead he may be just coming into his own as a quality closer and reliever the Mets could rely on for the next several years.

    • Dan42 May 20, 2013 at 5:54 am
      Agreed as for value, but considering that this team is going nowhere for the next several years doesn’t it make sense to trade for prospects that could help after the Wilpon cloud is lifted?
      • Sidd Finch May 20, 2013 at 11:43 am
        I’m not completely against trading Parnell for prospects but for the most part those type of deals don’t pan out. Parnell is a not an A-level closer so the best you could get would probably be raw A, A+ minor league level guys with huge upside potential but also with some glaring hole in their game.

        In the coming years, the Met’s strength is shaping up to be its rotation. They are going to need all the help they can out in the bullpen (which has been a weakness for a few years-maybe since ’06 really). Removing one of the few quality arms out there might not be the wisest move. It creates another hole in an already leaky boat.

        The Met’s seem hell-bent on returning to ’70s style of baseball so in the coming years expect a ton of tight, low scoring one or two run games. We might be better off with a maturing Parnell trying to save or hold those games than with whoever replaces him. It’s not like we’ve done a great job on the relievers we’ve selected on the open market so I don’t have confidence that he’d be adequately replaced.

  2. Dan B May 20, 2013 at 8:51 am
    Do you really think the Mets would trade a cheap Parnell if it meant replacing him with a free agent in the off season? If they were serious about rebuilding the farm, they would. If they are serious about paying off debts, they won’t.
    Speaking of good hitting pitchers, wouldn’t it be great if the Mets could convince Ankiel to pitch again, like one of the posters here suggested? Gimmick? Of course. Create interest? Definately. Collins could take a page from Davey Johnson’s playbooks and swap Ankiel and Parnell between pitcher and right field according to the batter. C’mon, we will need a reason to watch in August.
  3. argonbunnies May 20, 2013 at 6:47 pm
    I liked Recker’s game-calling too. Gee’s fastball location was awful, his change-up was awful, but he still managed to avoid walks and keep most hitters slightly off-balance due to smart pitch selection. I also thought his breaking pitches showed pretty decent bite. I have a feeling we’re looking at a lost season or at least half-season for Gee, but hopefully the 2012 model with the A+ change-up and decent fastball command is still in there somewhere.

    I’d love to trade Parnell for players who, in the future, will be more valuable than a good reliever. I doubt that opportunity will arise, though. I’d bet the top prospect in a Parnell deal would be someone like Familia.

    As for Murphy, swinging level and striking out less than 100 times may not make him a great hitter, but in today’s game it does make him a breath of fresh air in certain ways. Who else on the Mets is Keith gonna root for? An all or nothing guy like Duda? A punchless righty like Tejada? It’s all a matter of comparison, man.

    Finally, Joe, well said about the value of dealing with imperfections. That’s part of what makes any game compelling, and pitcher batting is a great example. Baseball should be fun to play and to think along with strategically, not just fun to passively watch for highlights.