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 …

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. Izzy May 23, 2013 at 4:52 am
    Here’s the only things to be learned from the game. Cohen is a better play by play guy then Burkhart is. Secondly, it is nice to know Cohen will miss a Met game for his son’s graduation.
  2. Dan B May 23, 2013 at 6:42 am
    Dada and Davis are hitting under .100 For the month of May. I bet Buck isn’t much better. I am amazed Wright ever sees a strike.
  3. Walnutz15 May 23, 2013 at 7:50 am
    If Terry Collins is managing this team past the ASB, then there’s something majorly wrong…..and it has very little to do with “replacing him with Wally Backman” for me.

    Made the same observation as you wrote-up:

    Enjoyed seeing Rick Ankiel producing at the plate yesterday – to have Collins pinch hit for him with a guy who’d sat cold for the last 26 and 2/3 innings….against Aroldis Chapman, who was pumping it at 98mph in the 9th.

    Good job.

  4. DaveSchneck May 23, 2013 at 8:47 am
    Joe,
    The Ike play in the 9th was downright atrocious. Darling was virtually speechless, as if any further criticism was akin to punching someone out cold on the ground. This drama with Ike is a joke. There is no excuse to keep him on the team right now, his entire game is in shambles. He needs to go far away and regroup to save his career and repair the huge holes in his game both at the plate and in the field. It is best for the team and him. Alderson’s continued hesitation on this is indicative of his lack of leadership. Also, Walnutz is dead on with Lagares, there is no excuse for benching this kid for 3 games after his game on Sunday. You want to play Ankiel, fine, send Lagares back to Vegas and find some vet to take his spot. Right now, this franchise is a complete mess. Sure, the losing stinks, but it is how they are losing and how they are managing it that is so disappointing.
    • Walnutz15 May 23, 2013 at 9:01 am
      Absolutely.

      And really, whatever Ankiel does is inconsequential to the long-term view (heck – even the next year) of the franchise.

      Whatever he doesn’t do……is at the expense of seeing what kids like Lagares or Valdespin can do.

      If the Mets aren’t going to play these guys, or are going to send them up cold – once or twice a week in isolated AB’s vs. elite back-end relievers……then you may as well send them back to Triple-A to get some legitimate playing time.

      The way they’re doing this, amidst an obviously lost season – is on par with the way previous regimes handled the utilization of the D.L., and played short-handed. It’s a similar problem, but in a different area.

      No one’s getting better this way.

      No one’s developing, or increasing their value by showing other teams they can play….they’re not even being afforded the opportunity to show us regularly!

      There are a bunch of guys at the Major League-level right now, who have absolutely no business being there….whether they’re everyday starters, young guys rotting on benches, or odd-job guys who were brought in to cause even more of a cluster-(fudge).

      It’s ridiculous.

      • gary s May 23, 2013 at 9:16 am
        Could not agree more.I was at the game yesterday and was amazed that Collins pinch hit for Ankiel.He is a clueless loser.Always has been, always will be.I also thought he royally screwed up with Harvey in the top of the 7th.He had thrown 100 pitches already.At most as soon as Cozart got the hit, you take him out of the game. Instead he leaves him in too long and put him in position to lose the game for no reason. Same thing with Lagares.Why put young players in position to fail??Watching Met games right now is like getting kicked in the teeth. And ownership expects you to thank them for it also..
    • winelawyer May 23, 2013 at 4:50 pm
      Ike seems like he needs an ashram to get his head right even more than he needs at bats in Las Vegas. In any case, he does not seem be recovering in NY.
    • Izzy May 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm
      Agree with you guys completely. Its irrelevant PHing or not for Ankiel. Its very relevant and pathetic having two young guys rotting on the bench while has beens like Byrd and ankiel play instead. Its not like catcher where they determined (probably wrongly but at least they sent the D’Aumond to the minors instead of having him rot. The inconsistency and the hideous decisions go right to the offices of one ALDERSON.
  5. Dan B May 23, 2013 at 9:20 am
    Hypothetically, let’s say Davis bounces back like last year and hits 25 hrs, 85 rbis in 2013. Do you still trust him for the future? Do you risk an implosion every year?
    • DaveSchneck May 23, 2013 at 10:43 am
      Dan,
      That is the key question, and my answer is no. Ike costs $3 mil this year, and probably $5 mil next year, maybe more if he goes 25/85. If he was year 2 and had another low cost year or low cost arb 1 year, I think he could be rehabilitated. Duda has this advantage over Ike given his tenure. Even when he was “right”, he has not proven he can hit lefties enough to be an every day player. I have been a big Ike fan but sadly to me he has already made his bed. For 2014, Alderson needs to bring in a leadoff hitter and cleanup hitter, and 1B/RF/LF is open landscape for finding that power bat.
  6. friend May 23, 2013 at 9:26 am
    Ike Davis is possessed — wait for it — by Bill Buckner.
  7. gary s May 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    a slump is a .220 average at memorial day..batting .148 gets a ticket to a different organization imho.Let another team deal with this kind of nonproduction..
  8. TexasGusCC May 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm
    DaveSchneck, Alderson said on WFAN why they signed Ankiel. He said that the Mets do not have any major league ready center fielders, so they signed Ankiel, who is a MLB outfielder. There, now he feels he satisfied the masses. Although, I’m glad to see that Ankiel has done ok so far.
    On Collins, all I can ask is: Aren’t the Mets tired of being made fun of?
  9. Dan B May 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm
    The Mets not only lack MLB ready center fielders, but they lack AAA center fielders. At the start of the season, they only had three natural outfielders in AAA, four in AA, and four in A. So much for building through the farm system!
    • DaveSchneck May 23, 2013 at 9:48 pm
      Dan,
      Den Dekker and Lagares both can play MLB caliber CF. DD got hurt and both may need a little more seasoning. I understand why the got Ankiel, as he can give the pitchers good D and a legit bat, but Lagares then needs to go to AAA. This is GM 101 stuff.
  10. Quinn May 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm
    You cant really get on Parnell about a poor outing, those ER should be on Collins Intentionally walking two batters, Parnell cant control what happens if the coach is scared of the Batting order.
  11. Happy59 May 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm
    Seems more of you are realizing that Collins and Alderson are the main problems in Met land…. they are stifling the very playerrs they should be playing and or promoting. While others get a free pass, I like Ike, but that last play at first astonished me, every other 1st baseman would grab that ball and make some play, not stare at it. Truly amazing.
    • Izzy May 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm
      Collins is irrelevant. Alderson dumps him, you get another Collins with a different tone of voice and a different uniform. To work for Alderson you have to be his lackey. If you don’t rid the place of the stench of Alderson you change nothing. Last May everyone loved Collins. He made the same moves. He was lucky. This year luck runs out in two weeks. Or did Alderson just give him that much worse of a hand. Some of each.
      • Dan42 May 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm
        But isn’t the stench really the Wilpons? And maybe Selig, for allowing the franchise sink to this level?
        • NormE May 24, 2013 at 12:58 am
          Dan42, you hit it right on the head.
        • Izzy May 24, 2013 at 6:29 am
          I agree Dan and Norm , but if you remember, Alderson proudly and assuredly pronounced himself to be the man in charge when he took this job. And it is Alderson who has failed miserably in bringing in major legue talent. His defenders all remind us endlessly of Minaya’s bad contracts. They conveniently forget all the guys he got off the scrap heap who performed quite well, better than any of the garbage Alderson brought in. Darren Oliver and Endy chavez and Bradford and on and on would be superstars on Alderson’s Mets.
        • TexasGusCC May 24, 2013 at 10:31 am
          Izzy,
          Omar has always been an evaluator of talent, that’s why he quickly got a job in San Diego in their front office. Alderson is straight business, that’s why he needed DePodesta to be the evaluator.
        • Izzy May 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm
          Too. Bad Alderson found a failure to be his right hand yes man. The Met problems are more than talent veal. It’s a plan to make everyone conform, it’s a plsn to have coaches that ignore a players strengths and weaknesses in order to force the Alderson way… The zombie way of baseball. Notice new guys start well because they don’t lnow the zombie way. Note hoe Wright improved last year by ignoring the zombie way and going back to his HS coach to fix him. It oes on and on. This is a very failed experiment.
  12. Timo May 23, 2013 at 4:56 pm
    I picked a great day to watch my first Mets game this year. Not to hot or too cold, overcase so I didn’t get a sunburn. However, picked Harvey’s worst outing and the other Mets didn’t show up (except for Murphy and Ankiel). It got so bad, that I was people watching after they took out Harvey. Someone was wearing a Paul Janish – Reds tshirt! Classic!
  13. argonbunnies May 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm
    Has anyone else noticed that Harvey’s fastball isn’t moving like it was in his first several starts of the season? The belt-up pitch that used to rise and tail and get swings and misses is now straight as a string, and is being fouled off. The velocity is about the same, the location is probably more consistent, but the movement is gone. I wonder if Harvey’s changed something in order to have better control?
    • Joe Janish May 24, 2013 at 1:11 pm
      I haven’t noticed a change in movement, but will watch with a keener eye during his next start.

      Compared to those first few magical starts in April, his velocity is slightly higher now — only about one MPH difference, but still, it’s something. Maybe it’s a combination of warmer weather and feeling stronger as he gets more into shape — perhaps he’s conscious of throwing a bit harder, as opposed to hitting spots and focusing on the feel of the ball when it was colder and he was not quite 100%.

      It could also be an illusion, mitigated in part by facing better hitters now than he did in April. Padres, Marlins, Twins, Phillies, Dodgers had several holes in their lineups a month ago, and Harvey could go up in the zone more often. Against a slugging team like the Reds, it’s dangerous to play around in the upper quadrants.

  14. mike May 24, 2013 at 10:20 am
    I am thinking this team can lose 100 games.
    Wonder what odds I can get in Vegas on that bet? Seems safe enough.