Mets Game 44: Loss to Reds
Reds 7 Mets 4
What happened to the Mets is the same as the past tense of what a broom does.
Mets Game Notes
Although the linescore says that Matt Harvey allowed 4 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings pitched, it sure didn’t feel that way. Additionally, at least two of the runs came home on a grounder botched by Ike Davis; it could be argued that Davis’ lack of urgency resulted in a third. Hmm … three runs right there … I guess it could still be a tie ballgame right now.
Davis let the first run home when he stayed back on a high hopper with Joey Votto on third. He almost threw home, but made the right decision in holding on to the ball and getting the sure out. But he almost certainly would have had a legit play at the plate had he rushed forward and picked off the ball one bounce earlier — in the baseball clinics where I teach, we call it “charging in.” Yeah, I know, we do some cutting-edge things at Pro Player, but we figure if the kids today can figure out the “new math,” they can figure out when and how to run in on a slow-moving ground ball.
Then in the ninth, Ike made perhaps the most inexcusable decision of his career, letting the ball bounce by him as the go-ahead / winning run scampered home. It was the most bizarre non-play I’ve seen in a long time — he had plenty of time to get in front of the ball, chose instead to kneel down into a backhand position, then, instead of putting his glove on the ball, he just watched it bounce by and into the outfield. Obviously, he was guessing that it was a foul ball, but that’s exactly the problem: it’s not the player’s call, it’s the umpire’s. If there is ever even the slightest possibility that the ball is fair, the player must make an attempt to stop it. In fact, a player should always, always assume that a ball is fair until told differently by a man in blue.
After those two plays, and his continued ineffectualness at the plate, Ike Davis has to be at least benched, and more appropriately, sent to Las Vegas. He’s not playing Major League-caliber ball, and not showing any progression toward that level — every day, he regresses more and more.
Very strange move in the bottom of the ninth by Terry Collins. With two out and a man on second, three runs down, Collins sent Juan Lagares to pinch-hit for Rick Ankiel against Aroldis Chapman. Chapman completely overmatched Lagares, striking him out on four pitches. I guess Collins removed Ankiel because he’s a lefty hitter, and Chapman a lefty pitcher, but that’s weak logic. First of all, Ankiel is arguably the Mets’ hottest hitter (the only one hotter is Daniel Murphy). Second, Ankiel already had three hits on the day — two doubles and a triple. He was scorching the ball. Third, the lefty-lefty thing is an advantage for the pitcher when he throws a nasty slider or curveball. Can anyone tell me what Chapman’s best pitch is? That’s right, a fastball that flirts with triple digits. Yes, he also throws a little breaking pitch, but it’s the fastball that he uses to get guys out. In my mind, it doesn’t matter much whether there’s a LH or RH hitter at the plate — Chapman eats them up indifferently. Sure, the stats say that RH hitters hit for a batting average more than double the LHs — but it’s still only .225. The way I see it, when there is an elite, other-worldly entity on the mound, numbers go out the window — you have to put the player you believe is the most capable hitter you have available, on that day, in that moment. And right there, I’m taking my chances with Ankiel — for no other reason than he’s swinging the bat better than anyone on the club.
Speaking of Murphy, he had a 3-for-4 day, pushing his average above .300.
Did anyone notice that Joey Votto’s opposite-field blast came on a 3-0 pitch?
Although Ike’s brain freeze allowed the go-ahead run, some of the responsibility must be given to Bobby Parnell. Parnell has been lights out — a truly wonderful surprise — thus far. However, four of his six saves have come against the Marlins, Cubs, and Twins; three of his four wins came vs. the Dodgers, White Sox, and Pirates — not exactly the best teams in MLB. He has come up big against good teams like the Cardinals, Braves, and Nationals, but one has to wonder if he looks a little better than he really is because he’s been feasting on bad ballclubs?
Next Mets Game
The Mets have Thursday off to contemplate their erroneous ways. On Friday night they kick off a three-game series with the Braves at 7:10 p.m., with Jeremy Hefner facing Kris Medlen. The series precedes a four-game showdown with the crosstown Yankees. Step away from the ledge …