Mets Game 54: Loss To Marlins

Marlins 11 Mets 6

Early on, it looked like the Marlins were going to run away with this one. Then it looked like the Mets were going to pull out with a win. Then it looked like the Marlins were going to run away with it. And then, they did.

Mets Game Notes

The Marlins might have discovered Matt Harvey‘s kryptonite: bunts and bloops. Miami took full advantage of seeing-eye singles and a dead fish (pardon the pun) dropped by Juan Pierre to score three runs in the first frame.

But it wasn’t just luck for the Fish. In truth, Harvey didn’t have it in this game — and if you’re going to have an off-day, it may as well be against the worst team in the history of baseball, so there’s still a chance to win. He struggled with his command, particularly with the fastball. Frequently, his mechanics were off — his arm was dragging behind his body and dropping a bit below his normal three-quarters slot. As a result the ball was flying up and away from LH hitters / up and in to RHers. He threw 80 pitches in the first four frames, as the Fish pounded his change-up for singles and worked several full counts.

For the first time in his career, Harvey allowed as many as ten hits — and #10 came with one out in the fifth.

It was the right move to pull Harvey after five innings and a hundred pitches — he was out of gas. But why was Scott Rice brought in to start the sixth? Because he was well-rested? Baffling move by Terry Collins. Isn’t Rice the LOOGY that you save for the big out needed in the seventh or eighth?

There was a point when Rice threw 11 straight balls, and 12 balls out of 13 pitches, before he was left in to face Marcell Ozuna — another mysterious move by Collins. Then Ozuna swing at the first pitch he saw, a pitch a few inches outside. But, two pitches later, Ozuna drove in two on a line drive to the left-field wall.

Watching him catch about 50 games now, I have a feel for John Buck‘s defensive skills and game-calling. Both are better than we’ve seen from a Mets regular backstop in four years, but, in my opinion, he’s below-average in both areas. His pitch selections, especially with Harvey on the mound, often boggle my mind — I can understand why Harvey often seems frustrated with Buck and shakes him off frequently. Buck’s receiving is so-so; he catches the back of the ball instead of a side, as most MLBers improperly do. He’s slow with his hands on balls in the dirt and as a result, he doesn’t block pitches well at all. The best part of his game behind the plate is an above-average arm and, usually, a quick release.

Lucas Duda hit a bomb, his tenth homer of the year. His play in the field, though, remains questionable. He didn’t make any errors in the ballgame, but it’s an adventure every time the ball enters his domain — to the point where I’m surprised when he catches it cleanly. He struggles to get reads off the bat, has trouble judging the ball in the air, his footwork is awkward, and he seems to lose focus even in the middle of making a play. On a positive note, he has a decent arm.

Ike Davis also went yard — the first time since late April — using a brand-new stance. Now, Davis has his feet spread a normal distance, and he’s holding his hands a bit lower, with the bat vertical. Is that why he hit a homerun? I’d have to say the new stance puts him in a better position to hit the baseball, but don’t expect him to go on a murderous tear. At least part of the reason he sent the ball 400+ feet was due to getting a pitch in his wheelhouse — middle of the plate, about knee high. His blast tied the game 4-4.

Perhaps the hardest-hit homerun came from the most unlikely of sluggers — Omar Quintanilla. The Q-man hit a ferocious liner into the right-field seats to put the Mets on the scoreboard. He slashed another ball that nearly knocked first baseman Greg Dobbs‘ head off for a single. Big Q is no star, but does anyone miss Ruben Tejada?

What was nearly the biggest play of the game was the Marlins’ inability to turn a double play on Lucas Duda in the top of the fifth. Dobbs was a bit too slow in getting rid of the grounder, and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria couldn’t get off a strong throw with David Wright going in hard to break up the DP. Marlon Byrd followed with an RBI single and then Davis lunged into a hanging slider to drive in another. (Glad to hear Keith Hernandez point out the poor execution.) Don’t believe little things mean the difference between winning and losing? That one botched double play was a prime example supporting the theory. There was no reason for the Fish not to get the two final outs — it was poor execution — and the result was the Mets going ahead by two runs and Miami losing the game.

Oh, and while on the subject of little things, in the bottom of the sixth, with one out, men on second and third, and the game tied at six, the Mets played the corners in against Chris Coghlan, who hit a grounder to Daniel Murphy to score the go-ahead run. Can someone please explain why Murphy and Quintanilla were playing back at double-play depth with the go-ahead run on 3B and no one on first?

Between that illogical alignment, the handling of Rice, and several other head-scratchers, I hope we don’t have to hear any more hot air about Terry Collins being a good in-game manager. He made one brilliant move in a game that otherwise was filled with puzzling choices back in early May, and ever since we’ve been hearing how “Collins won’t be out-managed.” Really?

According to an SNY graphic, Murphy is second in the NL among second basemen in game-winning RBI with 4. Huh. I thought they stopped tracking that statistic when Murphy was still in diapers.

Speaking of Murph, is he standing far away from the plate or am I seeing things?

After a promising start in a Mets uniform, Rick Ankiel has regressed to what he’s become — a hitter who has lost some bat speed and strikes out far too much, a fielder who’s lost a half-step and as a result can no longer make up for misjudged fly balls. He still hustles, makes few mental mistakes, has a strong arm, runs with above-average speed on the bases, and can occasionally hit a mistake over the fence, but he doesn’t provide enough to warrant an everyday job.

Interesting that Ankiel was in the starting lineup one day after Terry Collins proclaimed that Juan Lagares needed to play, and in particular, needed to be exposed to righthanded pitching.

Table-setters Juan Pierre and Ed Lucas were a combined 6-for-7 with 3 walks and scored 5 runs. Hard to win when you let the first two hitters get on base nine times.

Pierre is evidence that speedsters don’t necessarily lose their legs as they age. Pierre definitely lost his bat speed (not that it was ever lightning-quick), and he’s lost a step, but he’s still faster than the average bear. I like to point that out to people who use the losing speed tool as a reason it didn’t make sense to re-sign Jose Reyes, keep Angel Pagan around, or sign Michael Bourn. Sure, there were other reasons to let Reyes and Pagan go, and not sign Bourn, but losing their legs is not a strong argument.

Next Mets Game

The Mets get Monday off, then travel up to Washington D.C. to face the Nationals on Tuesday night. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Scheduled pitching matchup has Jeremy Hefner on the hill against Jordan Zimmerman.

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 June 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm
    This is the game that should get Collins fired. You don’t sweep the Yankees and later get swept by the Marlins in a roughly 72 hour period. The fact your team comes in flat for an in-division series like this is inexcusable! The irony is the Mets actually scored 6, yes 6 runs after being shut down in gms 1-2…but sadly the woebegone opposition tallied 11.
    • Izzy June 2, 2013 at 6:59 pm
      While i officially gave up on Mr Collins after yesterday’s embarrassing over managing of a rout, I do not think he will befired and I do not want him fired. He won’t be fired because the poor and ponzii less Freddy Wilpon would have to pay him to do nothing and raise someone else’s salary to take over the club. And I don’t want him fired because the hideous GM who hired him will pick his replacement and nothing will change as that guy will be even more of a yes man than Collins is.
      • Joe Janish June 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm
        Exactly. If Collins is fired, it will be only for the sake of making a change / reacting to public opinion. They won’t get anyone outside the organization, they’ll just promote someone already on the payroll — most likely Tim Teufel or Bob Geren.
  2. The King June 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm
    So this is what rock bottom feels like. Rock on, Ike (pun intended).
  3. AC Wayne June 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm
    And to think that ESPN NY ran a story after the Mets swept the Yanks w/the headline, “Sign Collins to an extension now.”
  4. DaveSchneck June 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm
    It would be difficult to find a more humiliating series in the entire 50+ year history of this franchise. Injuries aside, how can it get any worse? I have not been calling for Collins head, but why he brought in Rice in the sixth was head-scratching, but how he let him throw 31 pitches in light of his use this year is downright abusive.
    • Joe Janish June 3, 2013 at 12:13 am
      Agreed on all counts.

      Here’s my theory: TC the dinosaur figured that because Rice had two days of rest, and Monday was an off-day, that meant Rice could throw an infinite amount of pitches.

      Really scary that there is no logic nor science included in Sandy Alderson’s master plan. For all the bean counting going on via DePodesta, etc., they completely overlook the simple fact that human beings are executing the schedule.

      • Ed Mac June 3, 2013 at 2:04 am
        Joe..can you go into more detail about what you mean when you say “there is no logic nor science included in Sandy Alderson’s master plan”. Personally I think he has a mixed bag of results thus far..interested in your pov..
        • Joe Janish June 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm
          Based on what we’ve seen via player acquisitions, it appears that the master plan is to rely primarily on statistics — and, it seems that minor league stats are interpreted as though they’re the same or very similar to MLB stats. Example: Brad Emaus, who was so highly regarded by the Mets front office that he was on the All-Star ballot last year. This year’s minor-league OBP bust was Collin Cowgill. Those are just two examples.

          The over-reliance on stats also seems to be applied to the evaluation of pitchers — with no regard to injury history. Should anyone be surprised that Scott Atchison is on the DL? There’s a reason no one else would sign him last winter — he was pitching with a torn UCL last year. The front office made a batch of similarly illogical signings over the past two winters – chronically damaged goods like Boof Bonser, Chris Young, Taylor Buchholz, Shaun Marcum, Taylor Tankersley, etc. I didn’t have a problem with some of those signings; several would have made good sense if the idea was that the player returning would be an extra hand. But the flaw is that the Mets have been building their pitching staffs around damaged arms since Alderson took over. This year’s plan was inexcusable — going into the season with only five legitimate starters, with three a huge question mark to stay healthy (Johan, Marcum, Gee). Further, they knew Frankie Francisco had elbow surgery in December, yet the best experienced reliever they brought in for depth was yet another chronically injured pitcher (Brandon Lyon).

          It seems to me that no one in the Mets organization pays attention to pitching mechanics, and subscribes to the theory that arm injuries simply “happen” as a course of doing business / are unavoidable — and that’s simply untrue. Science has proven that there are efficient and effective body movements that will allow humans to throw a baseball safely — and, there are certain motions that are unsafe. If the Mets are aware of this science, they’re completely ignoring it, choosing instead to bet that a guy coming off a surgery will come back healthy and not be injured again for a while. What they should be doing is examining why a pitcher was injured in the first place.

        • DaveSchneck June 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm
          A few counterpoints. Everyone in baseball uses SABRs to some degree, and have been doing so for at least the last five years. The model franchises use them. What is in question is to what degree and with what success. I don’t think using the stats is a problem, it is using them poorly, and this regime has done poorly. Regarding the health of the Met pitching, no team has more TJ surgeries in recent times than the Braves, and probably no team has produced more quality MLB arms in the same time span. That may be an anomaly, but it is also true. I think your best point is that the Mets, with Alderson, have been acting like bit players, mostly because of financial troubles, and have staked their “competitive” teams on the “leftover” players, heavily discounted due to the injury risk. This practice has left the brand badly damaged, despite the pitching in the pipeline. The Marlins clearly, and heck, even the Nats, may still have more players in the pipeline than the Mets.
        • Joe Janish June 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm
          Agreed re: the use of stats / sabermetrics. I think it’s important to use stats — but it’s not smart to over-rely on them / rely on them exclusively. It seems — from their actions — that the Mets heavily weigh stats over all other means of evaluation. Ironically, that’s an outdated mode — that’s Moneyball, circa 2000. We were provided the illusion that Alderson and DePodesta were going to be cutting edge and applying evaluation techniques that others weren’t, and in turn exploit market inefficiencies. So far, it appears they’ve been experimenting and the paint ain’t sticking.

          You know what today’s “moneyball” technique is? Science. The successful teams are trying to understand it and implement it. The Mets are ten years behind. The closest they have to exploiting a market inefficiency is drafting a player who never played high school baseball.

          As for the Braves, I don’t know whether their volume of arm surgeries is any more or less than any other organization’s. I do notice, though, that they don’t pick up too many pitchers with a sustained history of chronic arm problems, nor do they sign many pitchers coming off major surgery and putting them into their main plan. Sure, they’ve taken flyers on guys like Ben Sheets, but Sheets was ALWAYS considered a “hey, if he pans out, great, if not, whatever — it’s not like we’re counting on him.” Similarly, when Tim Hudson went down with TJ surgery, they didn’t count on him to be back per the timetable — they went out and added Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez, and Kenshin Kawakami. In contrast, the Mets signed Chris Young and Chris Capuano with the plan they’d be part of the rotation, and this year, planned the rotation around getting 20+ starts from Johan Santana and Shaun Marcum.

          I don’t understand how a MLB GM can go into a season expecting to finish the season with the same five pitchers that comprised the rotation on Opening Day — with three of them major health risks.

        • Ed Mac June 3, 2013 at 9:41 pm
          Thanks for clarifying…I agree that:

          1) Alderson/Podesta have made poor use of saber techniques and yes, they do act as if minor league stats are similar to major league stats.

          2) They don’t seem to fully understand “mechanics” in general-whether it’s Mejia’s flawed motion or Ike/Duda’s lousy approach to hitting. Valentine just said that btw that “the Mets don’t have anyone in their organization that seems to stress mechanics”. I also see a dramatic overuse of pitchers like Scott Rice-almost as if they will gladly burn him out/possibly hurt his arm “because we have another guy who we feel is ready whom we will bring up in the second half”. I think this is inexcusable abuse of a professional pitcher-and what’s Rice gonna say? Stop it!
          He should but he’s getting his first major league shot and he’s not going to do that-he’s at the Mets/Collins/Warthen’s mercy.

          3) Alderson “punted” this season and was never,ever serious about fielding a decent team- he clearly wanted a top 5 stud draft choice and finishing .500 would be counterproductive to bringing a possible “Darryl Strawberry-type/franchise player position player here. He tanked the season-no doubt about it-and all the moves he made in the offseason were simply made for the purpose of looking like he was doing something-when in fact-he was doing nothing. Byrd is a perfect illustration of this.

          I disagree here:

          1) The arms in the Mets system are quite evidently superior (it seems to me) so you can’t knock their saber techniques on the major league level and then totally ignore it when it comes to their drafting decisions-most of the guys the Mets are drafting (even hitters) have very low K totals, relatively high walk totals and an extremely high OBP for minor league players-who are typically very undisciplined. Even the pitchers they draft have a very high K rate and very low walk rate-these things are obviously part of their pitching makeup and a big part of the reason they were drafted. Montero is perfect example.

          2) Sandy is working with not much money (who knows how little? It will become obvious in 2014) but, all along-has been banking on trading good arms for good position players. He even said this a few weeks back. This has been obvious to me from the start-you don’t draft very raw players like Nimmo and expect him to make an impact in less than 5 yrs.

          Summary: Sandy’s acquisitions (apart from trades) are horrible but then I don’t think he really expected much-simply filler until minor league guys were ready. Mets scientific grasp of proven kinesthetic concepts (as applied to pitchers) seems to be very lacking and their approach to hitting mechanics does not seem very sophisticated as well. I give Sandy/Podesta a tentative “A” in the drafting dept for the high number of “hits” they seem to be having in the minor league pitching dept-an objective person has to view that as giving them credibility as a franchise. So like I said to me-it’s a mixed bag and Sandy’s time here is still up in the air as far as evaluation. Need a couple more years really based on what he was left with by Omar (not much).

        • Jon C June 3, 2013 at 11:07 pm
          Well we knew they certainly were not expecting to compete, they said as much.

          But intentionally tanking the season is taking it to a whole nother level.

          Then again, other than pure incompetence, its the only theory that really fits. If so, some may consider the current failures as a “brilliant” move to get a high draft pick. After all, why finish middle of the pack when you can finish last?

          The only problem I have is if that was the case, they should have told us fans so we could take the year off too, and tickets to the games should be 5 bucks 😀

        • Dan B June 4, 2013 at 11:11 am
          Ed, I am curious. Who are Alderson’s draft picks that you admire and what level are they? Alderson has been here three years and the only top prospects he has near the majors are the ones he got when trading away his top position player and his top pitcher. I am not an knowledgeable about the lower minors, I would love some good news from there.
        • Joe Janish June 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm
          “The arms in the Mets system are quite evidently superior (it seems to me) so you can’t knock their saber techniques on the major league level and then totally ignore it when it comes to their drafting decisions-most of the guys the Mets are drafting (even hitters) have very low K totals, relatively high walk totals and an extremely high OBP for minor league players-who are typically very undisciplined. Even the pitchers they draft have a very high K rate and very low walk rate-these things are obviously part of their pitching makeup and a big part of the reason they were drafted. Montero is perfect example.”

          I’m not sure what you mean by the Mets arms being quite evidently superior … superior to what? Not being rude, I’m curious.

          As to the rest of it, that sounds similar to the strategy outlined in Moneyball. Other than Montero and Cory Mazzoni, I’m not aware of any promising Mets pitching prospects who fit that mold. LIke Dan B. I’m not too well versed on the lower minors and would like to learn more, so if you could let us know what names to look out for it is appreciated. Many thanks.

  5. Happy59 June 3, 2013 at 4:52 am
    Alderson “master plan” apparently is restricted to acquiring players from the waiver wire or free agents no one else wants.

    Release the tired older relievers and bring up youngsters to get some experience. They can’t possibly do and worse than the ones they would be replacing.

    Izzy had a point about firing Collins, Alderson would just pick someone else who hasn’t managed in ten years and would “tow the line” just for another chance to manage.

    However, Collins is making stranger and poorer decisions every game. He simply cannot inspire the players. He must go, hopefully Alderson follows him……..

    Release Ankiel and give Lagares playing time to develope or not.

    Being sweep by the worst team in baseball, the Marlins, is unacceptable and simply unforgiveable.

  6. Walnutz15 June 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm
    Terry Collins is an awful manager. I’ve long held to the belief that no one picks up on this, simply because we play nothing remotely close to meaningful games.

    If we did, he’d have been fired long ago.

    • The King June 3, 2013 at 8:23 pm
      The Wilpons are not paying for two managers this year. The team will finish 4th or 5th with TC, Miller Huggins, or Cornelius McGillicuddy managing them. Period. Case closed. Wait ’till next year (or next decade, more likely).
      • Walnutz15 June 4, 2013 at 8:59 am
        When the Mets already have a Major League manager sitting on their bench, in Bob Geren — paying additional funds doesn’t even factor into the equation.

        We’ve gone through this a million times already, and the record stays “steady”. Dating back to July of last year, Collins had “led” his squad to a 53-84 record.

        30 Games sub-.500, no matter what the roster, is utterly embarrassing — and not indicative of a Major League quality manager.

        Sorry. Too much tolerance of garbage.

    • Ed Mac June 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm
      The poor talent quality on the Mets roster gets Collins a “pass” from anyone in the major league baseball industry. Tony LaRussa or Valentine could probably milk better results from this bunch but it would be only a marginal improvement. When Justin Turner (really a 4A player) is considered one of your best ‘clutch hitters’ than you have a very serious deficiency of talented players. Terry is just placeholder-like a lot of the Met players-and will be replaced-probably after this year in favor of a younger manager who can “grow” with the younger players coming up. Mets will reward Collins for his sacrifice of his sanity for the last 3 yrs with a job someplace in the system until he wants to retire and stop doing baseball stuff. Collins will be the Mets Lasorda and sadly will never have the horses-so will never be able to tell if he’s really any good or not.
      • TexasGusCC June 4, 2013 at 12:03 am
        Ed, there is a bible story about a man that was given ten talents, another one five, and another one, one. My point is that if Collins was getting the most out of his players, we would recognize it. While we haven’t been in baseball 42 years, we have watched over 5,000 games in our baseball watching experience and can tell dumb from smart. Save us the violin.

        Furthermore, Collins says something but has not to this day carried through with anything he has said for more than two or three games. He plays favorites, and shuns those he does not favor.

        As Branch Rickey said in “42”, this is the baseball winning business, and every fan’s dollar is green. When is comes to winning, there is no character issues. Ty Cobb was the biggest asshole there seems to have ever been, but he’s in the Hall of Fame. Collins’ agenda take precedence over the good of the club, and that is no one else’s fault but his boss’. The buck stops with Alderson on this issue because he is the caretaker, he is responsible.

        So, while fans would gladly tune in to see if our youngsters are getting better, we don’t gave a rat’s ass about Ankiel, Byrd, or Baxter. Look at their stats, and tell me if those are the numbers worthy of neglecting possible future assets.

        And, while we are at it, obviously Alderson doesn’t give a hoot about Rice. I wonder if Harvey threw 130 pitches if that would be enough to make a change, or would that stoic GM of ours just keep watching quietly.

        • Ed Mac June 4, 2013 at 1:23 am
          Great reply Gus and you have very, very sound points sprinkled all over there. My guess is Collins indecisiveness is caused by lack of quality personnel..notice he does not move David Wright around much? He always had Ike in the cleanup hole for same reason..he has had to juggle pitchers and hitters because of the ineffectiveness and honestly I would do the same thing if I were in his place…as far as Rice..they are doing the same thing they did to Byrdk…and Feliciano…burning them out…it’s a characteristic of the Warthen era-trying to save his job-because if the Mets lose-the Manager goes and so does he. I really don’t like that guy and previously I defended him-Rice’s overuse is really abusive and there’s simply no way around it and it falls in Collins as well.
      • TexasGusCC June 4, 2013 at 12:04 am
        Joe, my response is in moderation, unless my answer is improper, please clear it. Thank you.
        • Joe Janish June 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm
          Sorry about that, Gus. I’m never entirely sure why some comments get caught in moderation.
  7. TexasGusCC June 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm
    I thought it might have been my description of Ty Cobb’s character. But, from the stories of Cobb spiking second basemen on double plays and how he treated teammates, Cobb may have been proud, lol.