Mets Game 45: Loss to Braves
Braves 7 Mets 5
It took nearly 24 hours for the Braves to beat the Mets.
Mets Game Notes
Jeremy Hefner pitched as well as can be expected, allowing two earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. Unfortunately for Jeremy, one of those hits was a two-run homer by Freddie Freeman. Also unfortunately for Hefner, the relievers supporting him were from Flushing.
“I was so excited that he pitched so well after he’s been so down about not winning a game. I said, ‘I’m not going to let this kid lose this game. I’m not going to do that,’” Collins said, acknowledging that Hefner felt good enough to keep pitching. “He needs to move forward with a positive attitude that he pitched very, very well.”
I admire what Terry wanted to do, but he doesn’t have the kind of bullpen to execute his well-intentioned plan — especially not against a big-hitting club like the Braves. Hefner was keeping the Braves off-balance, was cruising, not showing any signs of fatigue, and the bottom of the Braves lineup was coming up — with two of the hitters, in fact, had been struggling mightily of late and batting far below .200 for the season. In that situation, Collins has to continue riding his horse, at least through the seventh.
As soon as LaTroy Hawkins took the mound against Dan Uggla, you could see what was going to happen. As poorly as Uggla has been thus far this year, he hasn’t had trouble handling fastballs in the middle of the plate — and that’s what Hawkins relies upon. Boom. Bye bye win for Hefner.
Daniel Murphy remains hot, collecting two hits, but he remains mentally challenged after making contact, as evidenced by his ill-advised decision to try to stretch a one-base error into a two-base error in the 7th. On that play, he reminded me of a first-year T-ball kid, who hits the ball and then just runs around the bases without regard to where the ball might be — you know what I’m talking about, right?
The Mets caught a huge break when the umpires refused to call the game, despite unplayable conditions. The ball was squirting all over the place in the bottom of the eighth, yet the game went on, and thanks to players slipping, wild pitches, and hydroplaning baseballs, the Mets scored two runs. Too bad they couldn’t cash in on the break and do something 20 hours later.
Speaking of that first and final inning of Saturday evening, both Brandon Lyon and Craig Kimbrel looked really out of sorts. Perhaps it was too weird for the relievers to be pitching at what felt like the beginning of a game. Lyon was throwing BP, and didn’t even appear to be trying. Kimbrel couldn’t find the plate, and beat himself in allowing two baserunners.
Kimbrel caught a break when Ruben Tejada made a horrendous bunt attempt and popped the ball weakly into Brian McCann‘s glove with men on first and second. I constantly hear that Tejada is a very good bunter, but have yet to actually see him drop a very good bunt. His method was terrible — he wasn’t set up properly with the feet, he didn’t have the bat held properly, and he jabbed at the ball instead of “catching” it with the bat. Fundies!
B.J. Upton, however, was able to drop a bunt — a safety squeeze that brought home the Braves’ insurance run. Someone who isn’t following the Braves closely this year might have thought, “what the heck is Upton bunting for in this situation?” But the “other” Upton is mired in a season-long, Ike Davis-like slump, hitting about .150. That was a good move and it should have made him feel good to get a run home.
The Braves — and the Reds before them — appeared to be consciously pounding the ball inside against John Buck. Have the scouting reports identified a hole in his swing?
Ike Davis struck out four times in five at-bats, as did Marlon Byrd. Davis is now hitting .145 with 57 strikeouts in 153 at-bats, is playing below-average defense, has never run well, and is suffering from brain farts. But hey, he poked a pitch into left field in the bottom of the tenth, so there’s that.
A few days ago, Collins pinch-hit Juan Lagares for Rick Ankiel in the bottom of the ninth against Aroldis Chapman. In this game, he removed Lagares for Justin Turner in the bottom of the tenth against Craig Kimbrel. Was this the result of learning? Personally, I would have left Lagares in there, who runs a bit better than Turner and therefore might have had less chance of hitting into a game-ending double play (which Turner wound up doing).