Mets Game 51: Win Over Yankees

Mets 3 Robinson Cano 1

The Mets beat Robinson Cano 3-1 to complete their first-ever four-game sweep against the New York Yankees.

Mets Game Notes

Are these the same Bronx Bombers who had been sitting atop the AL Beast for most of this young season? If so, it’s too bad the Mets are in the NL, instead of AL East — because they’d probably be 20 games over .500 at this point.

Is it possible that the AL isn’t as great as everyone thinks? Is it possible that the Yankees aren’t “all that”? Or, are the Mets really this good that they can make the AL East’s second-place team look like a bad AAA squad?

Running along with that theme, if the Mets ARE this good, why are they seven games under .500? Is Terry Collins THAT bad a manager?

Hard to say …

Did anyone else get the feeling that the Mets were really, really pumped up for this series, while the Yankees were generally indifferent?

Now, the question for Mets fans is this: will the Mets parlay this wonderful experience into a legitimate run? Will they continue the momentum and have they captured the confidence they need to play at a level higher than they did before facing the men in pinstripes? We’ll see soon enough.

Dillon Gee pitched his best game of the year, setting a career-high one-game strikeout total. Interestingly, Collins lit a fire under Gee’s butt prior to the game by saying that Dillon would be a good fit in the bullpen. It’s kind of reminiscent of Collins’ threats to Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada — which resulted in Davis pulling out of a slump and Tejada playing like he was on a tightrope with a lion waiting underneath. Really makes you wonder … are the Mets better than they’ve shown, and if so, whose fault is it that they haven’t been motivated to this point? Or are these performances a coincidence?

Bizarre move by Collins to replace Gee in the 8th with Scott Rice. Yes, I get the whole lefty-lefty matchup advantage. And I witnessed that the move worked. However, it can’t always be about the one individual game that night — there are 162 to play. Gee was cruising, the Yankees lineup was awful and had no chance against him, and Scott Rice is on pace to appear in 100 games. Won’t there be games to win in July and August? Won’t the Mets need a LOOGY to get key outs in those contests? This is typical Collins / Jerry Manuel / Joe Torre / neanderthal bullpen “management”: just keep riding the “hot hand” until that horse’s arm falls off. Never mind the future, you have to win RIGHT NOW. Scott Rice may as well be a figment of Alvin Toffler’s imagination from Future Shock — a throwaway. Let Rice pitch and pitch and pitch until he can’t pitch no more. Don’t worry about the consequences until there ARE consequences. And hey, there have been plenty of cases where relievers appeared in 80-90 games and were fine (never mind that was in the Steroids Era), so this theory that a reliever can pitch too much could very well be poppycock!

Speaking of the Steroids Era, the big bang of the game came from juiceman Marlon Byrd, who blasted a two-run shot into the upper deck to give the Mets the two runs needed to win the ballgame.

Not for nuthin’ but the Mets collected exactly four hits in this ballgame, facing future HoFers Vidal Nuno, Shawn Kelley, Boone Logan, and Joba Chamberlain. I’m going to chalk it up to the element of mystery.

By the same token, the mighty mighty Yankees had exactly the same output — four hits. So, does that say more about how bad the Yankees hitters are, or how good the Mets pitchers were? Or, again, perhaps it can be chalked up to the element of mystery.

Omar Quintanilla made an inauspicious 2013 debut by allowing the first ground ball his way to go through his legs. Of course he did. Well, better to get it out of the way right away. I’m confident that over the next two weeks, we’ll see better overall performance from OQ than we’ve seen from Ruben Tejada.

Bobby Parnell mowed them down again, pitching a perfect ninth for save number nine. I maintain that the Mets will be best served, over the long-term, selling high on Parnell. As the other Kenny Rogers once crooned, “you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away … and know when to run.”

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a three-game series in Miami against the Marlins at 7:10 p.m. on Friday night. Shaun Marcum takes the mound against rookie phenom Jacob Turner, who will be making his much-ballyhooed first start of the season.

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. NormE May 30, 2013 at 11:13 pm
    The ultimate responsibility for the abuse of Scott Rice lies with Sandy Alderson. He’s the boss—all he has to do is tell Terry Collins to stop. Or, he can tell TC that he definitely will or won’t be the manager next year, so stop managing as if you have Jerry Manuelitis. Let TC know that there will be a place in the organization for him, but only if he stops this abuse of Scott Rice.
  2. TexasGusCC May 30, 2013 at 11:50 pm
    Do you think Alderson wants to start the ‘you have to do this and you have to do that’ thing? Then, if he wants to replace Collins, Collins will just say ‘I did everything he told me to do, that’s why we’re losing’. I wouldn’t put myself in that position if I was Alderson.
  3. Joe May 31, 2013 at 1:42 am
    MLB has enough mediocre teams — the NL East at the moment isn’t exactly great, including the slumping Nats — that I figure the Mets have enough to win 70 something games. Today’s Yankee starter had a feel of one of those Marlins newbie starters the Mets always had problems with. Most of the Yankees pen has that flavor. Claibourne? Warren? Kelley? Who? Chamberlain looks like John Goodman. Is Jacob Justin’s cousin or something?
    • Joe Janish May 31, 2013 at 8:47 am
      Sadly, yes.

      Bud Selig’s ultimate goal of socialism … er, parity … is coming to fruition.

      All it took was watering down the talent pool and implementing a quasi salary cap.

      Here’s the thing, though — if Major League is going to be the same quality as minor league, then why would anyone bother paying the exorbitant prices to watch Major League? Is the Shake Shack really that good?

  4. Dan B May 31, 2013 at 6:46 am
    Twice now Travis Hafner batted in the ninth inning with two outs and his team down multiple runs. Twice the Mets played the shift. Twice he struck out. Why not place a bunt down the third base line and get on base? If he hits a home run, the Yankees still need more runs. Drives me crazy. I am not saying you change your batting style every time (though Buck did) but when your team needs base runners and the other team gives you first, you should take it.
  5. Izzy May 31, 2013 at 7:17 am
    I think teams always looked pumped up when the win and indifferent when they lose. I think Girardi got all he could get out of his seconds, just like Collins did last year for a longer period of time. The only difference is that Girardi has a first team coming back maybe and Collins didn’t.
    So for all those who want Collins fired for the inability of the GM to give him a solid team, is he now a great manager and Girardi a bad one???? Just kidding all you Alderson lovers.
    • Joe Janish May 31, 2013 at 8:53 am
      Agreed that players look pumped up after a win. But several Mets were showing a fired-up look and unusual intensity during the games, not just after. But, I tend to focus more on body language, and perhaps give it more weight than I should.

      Here’s a thought for you to have fun with: does this sweep mean that Collins is a great manager, and he’s been holding out on using his great tactics for the first 47 games of the season? Or, are the Mets better than they showed in those first 47, and Collins has grossly mismanaged his team up to this point?

  6. DaveSchneck May 31, 2013 at 8:26 am
    Joe,
    Don’t you know it isn’t nice to pick on someone for a medical condition like man boobies?
    • Joe Janish May 31, 2013 at 8:57 am
      I was referring to Marlon’s new cleansing diet, which is an inspiration to all. I’m thinking of adding wheat grass and beet juice to bolster my immune system, lose weight, and increase vitality and energy to my life as well!
      • DaveSchneck May 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm
        Joe,
        I actually added wheat grass and beet juice to my diet too. I dropped 10 lbs., get sick less, have more energy, and feel great, but for some reason I still can’t hit a hard ball over 300 feet.
        • Joe Janish May 31, 2013 at 6:14 pm
          There’s a great herbalist on the west coast named Victor Conte. Give him a call, he can help with the fly balls.
  7. Walnutz15 May 31, 2013 at 10:12 am
    The whole Rice situation is reminiscent of:

    – the Willie-Joe Smith debacle, or
    – when they figured it was prudent to stupidly let Feliciano go out there every day to “break his own appearance records”.

    We all know how those situations ended.

    Collins might think he’s doing Rice a favor, by getting some exposure as a 31-year old rookie…..but I sincerely doubt this is the smart approach – considering he’s on pace for 97 appearances.

    Guess we’ll see by the time we hit July.

    Overall, I just take a bit of issue with this “let the guy feel good about himself” approach from Collins…..these are paid professionals who are supposed to be going out there with bulldog mentalities.

    Gee had thrown 88 pitches, and could have finished out the inning, regardless of it wound up working out in the end.

    We’ve heard similar from Collins in the past about guys being pulled so “he wouldn’t lose the game” – etc. Believe he’d said it about one of Hefner’s previous starts, just last week.

    I don’t like the overall “little league” mentality of those kinds of quotes or sentiments. Again, it worked out — so I can’t go nutty….but really — it’s just the way Collins is.

    Great, unexpected 4 game sweep vs. Yankees Light. Hopefully, they can follow-up with a non-letdown vs. the fish…….still very “meh” on them as a collective unit.

    • azulnaranja May 31, 2013 at 10:39 am
      Totally agree on Collins’ decision to pull Gee last night. He could have at least waited until Gee gave up a hit or a walk before pulling him. Sometimes I do think there is merit in pulling a guy so he “feels good,” but this clearly wasn’t one of them.
      I think that the Mets, to borrow the old cliche, look worse than they are when they are losing, and better than they are when they are winning. I don’t think this group is a 100 loss team, but I don’t think they are an 80 win team either. While this week was fun, I think it had at least as much to say about the talent level of the current Yankees roster as it did about the Mets. I think the Mets pitching will be a relatively bright spot this season, especially if Gee and Marcum can continue their most recent success, but I have to believe they will struggle to score runs all year long.
  8. Walnutz15 May 31, 2013 at 11:08 am
    RE: Quintanilla on the botched DP ball

    Another of the wonderful nuances associated with having guys play fake baseball out in the PCL. Looked like Quintanilla had no idea what to expect, in coming back to play a real infield….where plays are actually made, and rockets don’t rip through terribly scorched earth.

    Continues to amaze me that they’d keep Wheeler there a day past feeling well-enough to take the hill without pain. Not really, though – since they’ve been looking to save every dollar associated with that Super-2 status.

    Kid’s been more ready than any other fringe prospect they rushed through the system…..and should have been here after his 3rd or 4th Vegas start. Yeah, they’ll point to his lat pain, but I’m not certain that didn’t happen as a direct result of pitching in an environment where he’d probably have to “snap-off” more than he’s ever done in his career, just to have a semblance of effectiveness — due to the ridiculously high altitudes and balls not breaking.

    Stupidity.

  9. Eric May 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm
    I don’t understand why you want to trade Parnell. You say we can find a quality closer on the open market and get a solid OF bat for Parnell – but how has that worked out for us in the recent past? We have an important position locked down with Parnell – one less thing to worry about. He is part of the core with Wright, Murphy, Harvey and Niese. We could get the same OF Bat for a couple of our highly touted minor league pitching prospects and not have to give up our home grown closer who is just starting to come into his own, and could be a dominant closer for us when we are ready to challenge for the division in 2015.
    • Joe Janish June 1, 2013 at 12:32 am
      A closer is not an important position, particularly for a non-playoff team. By 2015, Parnell will be in his early 30s and likely moving away from his peak. The Mets need to trade players while they’re at peak value to obtain top talent.
  10. argonbunnies May 31, 2013 at 2:40 pm
    If your starting pitcher is dominating and has thrown 88 pitches, you leave him in.

    That is, unless this is a guy who has suddenly gone from great to terrible around the 80-90 pitch mark in each of his last 5 starts.

    Gee missed his spots and got a little help on the strikeout of Brignac. Having a new pitcher face Garnder made sense. And if Rice is the guy to face Gardner, might as well have him face Ichiro too.

    Good move by Collins. (Though I agree that the explanation he gave the papers — get the starter out feeling good about himself — is a loser mentality.)

    • Joe May 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm
      Collins mentioned that he was worried about a few of the pitches he was making and also said something akin to what you said regarding facing Ichiro. He didn’t only mention the feel good bit. I also agree that given recent events, it was reasonable to be worried about Gee suddenly losing it.
  11. argonbunnies May 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm
    Joe, the question about whether the Mets have been underperforming up until now, or overperformed this week, seems pretty clear cut to me. They were a few clutch hits away from going 1-3. Wright and Murphy won’t come through every time, and Byrd won’t hit every hanger into the seats. When your margin of victory is that small, victory isn’t indicative of anything. Sadly, I don’t think we know anything about these Mets that we didn’t know last week. They’ve got enough talent to win when everything goes right. Otherwise, not so much.

    I do think Niese and Marcum will up their games now that Jon’s arm angle is fixed and Shaun’s done with spring training. But that doesn’t say anything about the team or the manager.

  12. Sidd Finch May 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm
    There is really no secret to why the Mets are playing well right now-pitching. In addition to the outstanding job from Harvey, the rest of the rotation is stringing together QS. Also, the bullpen has been fairly steady recently as well. Most of the team can’t hit worth a lick, and are proving that on a daily basis. Collins’ OF platooning method doesn’t help matters in that department either.

    If Wheeler delivers when he’s called up and the rest of the rotation stays healthy, the team will at least be competitive this summer. The Yankees series came at the right time and hopefully they can continue the momentum against underachieving Nats and underwhelming Marlins.

  13. Dan B May 31, 2013 at 5:05 pm
    In game 1, Mets score twice with 6 hits. In game 2, Mets scored twice with seven hits. In game 4, Mets score three runs on four hits. .That is not clutch nor winning baseball.