Mets Game 55: Loss To Nationals

Nationals 3 Mets 2

Nationals suffer a severe case of the Mets but rebound just in time to steal one in the bottom of the ninth.

Mets Game Notes

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Are these the same Washington Nationals who were supposed to run away with the National League East? Granted, there are a few players on the DL — including Bryce Harper — and Jayson Werth just came off the DL, but still, one would think they’d be above .500 at this point of the season.

The Nats received 8 solid innings from workhorse Jordan Zimmerman, and deserved better. He allowed four hits, one walk, and no earned runs, expending a very efficient 101 pitches. Did I mention he didn’t really have his best stuff? Unfortunately, he came away with a no-decision because his club resembled a team from Flushing in the top of the fifth, when the defense made three consecutive boneheaded plays to set up Omar Quintanilla‘s two-run triple. First, a slow grounder by Jordany Valdespin was mishandled by Adam LaRoche, who showed no urgency whatsoever and stayed back, waiting for the ball to come to him a la Daniel Murphy / Ruben Tejada. By the time he gloved it, ‘spin was about to cross the bag and a rushed shovel throw couldn’t be handled by Zimmerman covering. Miraculously, the official scorer ruled it a hit. On the next play, LaRoche made a bad throw to second on what should’ve been a routine double-play to put men on first and second with none out. I wonder if LaRoche’s ADHD meds weren’t kicking in or something, because it was like he was in slow-motion. Honestly, I don’t mean to be funny nor cruel — seeing LaRoche have two straight vapor locks, I sincerely have to consider if they were somehow related to his meds / condition.

Following those two snafus, Jeremy Hefner pushed a bunt right back to Jordan Zimmerman, who would have thrown out Valdespin at third by 25 feet. Except, Ryan Zimmerman kept charging instead of retreating to third — a rookie mistake by a Gold Glover. This is why I (and Willie Randolph) prefer the wheel play in that situation — because it’s nearly impossible for a third baseman to be aggressive … and if he is, there’s a chance you miss a golden opportunity to get the out at third. Not that the bunt coverage mattered so much, as Big Q followed with a triple that would’ve scored two regardless.

Quintanilla, by the way, hit a double and a triple and walked in four plate appearances.

As mentioned, Jordan Zimmerman deserved better, and the same can be said for Jeremy Hefner, who didn’t lose but did miss out on a win. Hefner nearly matched Zimmerman pitch for pitch — he pitched an inning less and allowed one earned run (a solo homer by Ian Desmond), on four hits and a walk, striking out 7 in a 103-pitch effort.

The Nationals were right on Bobby Parnell in the ninth; Parnell did not register an out until Steve Lombardozzi‘s sacrifice fly ended the ballgame.

Where the heck was the pinch-runner for Adam LaRoche with none out, tie game, bottom of the ninth, and Ian Desmond at the plate? Shame on Davey Johnson, who slipped on that one.

Further perplexing was the following decision by Terry Collins to walk Roger Bernadina with men on second and third, none out, tie game, bottom of the ninth. Bernadina is struggling, and can be overpowered by Parnell even when he’s hitting well. With one out, I MIGHT understand it, as a double play ends the inning — though not agree with it. With no outs, why create a situation where your pitcher has absolutely no room for error?

Next Mets Game

The Nats and Mets do it again at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night. Dillon Gee faces Dan Haren.

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. Happy59 June 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm
    I am absolutely bewildered by the Mets futility. Every night a new method to lose. However, I shall follow the game again tomorrow. I am after all a Mets fan. [simply not in the mood to analyze].
  2. gary s June 5, 2013 at 1:03 am
    Parnell now has 14 saves in 30 chances lifetime.Guess i should not be surprised we lost. Yet Met shills are pushing him and Murphy (hilarious) for the all star team.
  3. TexasGusCC June 5, 2013 at 1:07 am
    I would like to discuss three topics that have absolutely nothing to do with this tough loss. Although I think the key play was the wild pitch. It’s 2-1, man on second. If the infield was back and LaRoche grounds out, man on third one out, easier to get out of it. If, if, if….

    Topic #1: I heard an interview on the radio about El Paso trying to get a AAA team. They are building a stadium and want a team. Hmmmmm, interested?

    Topic #2: This from Tell me where you heard this philosophy before, and doesn’t David DeJesus sound like Mets material since he’s a free agent?

    – Regarding the Cubs’ inability to draw walks, Hoyer said, “We’ve got to change up the whole culture. The culture of the Cubs was always, swing early in the count, walks were never something that was emphasized. It’s a really slippery slope, you don’t want to have a bunch of passive hitters on your team. At the same time, walks are indicative of a good approach at the plate, and we don’t have that. We’ve tried to bring in hitters…Rizzo has a good approach at the plate, DeJesus is excellent, Nate Schierholtz, Valbuena’s a good on-base guy. But a lot of the guys we inherited have struggled with that adjustment, and something we have to keep on pounding away at. We’ve said, if guys we inherited aren’t going to do that, we have to find other people because we’re just not going to win baseball games if we don’t get on base more.”

    Topic #3: Angels get swept by Astros in a four game series (at least it wasn’t the Marlins), and now the talk is how they are handicapped by the contracts of Pujols and Hamilton. I have been thinking about this for over a month, and tonight I heard those magic words. Hence, I think that trading for Hamilton would get us a power hitter pretty cheap, personnel wise. Therefore, keeping all the good prospects and adding a good power hitter and I don’t care about the 4/$100MM left. Whatcha think?

    • argonbunnies June 5, 2013 at 4:22 am
      I too have been thinking that the Mets need to trade for a slightly overpaid star on a team where he doesn’t fit.

      The question is whether Hamilton is a star, and whether he’s only slightly overpaid. Unfortunately, my answer to both is “no”.

      I’d be happy to roll the dice on Pujols, but no team can take that contract unless they’re prepared for Yankee-esqe budgets for the next decade.

      Andre Ethier would upgrade an OF spot from terrible to mediocre, but the Dodgers would need to eat a lot of money to make it worth the Mets’ while.

      Alex Rios would be an interesting gamble — he can be one of the better OFs in baseball, or one of the absolute worst.

    • DaveSchneck June 5, 2013 at 8:31 am
      No thanks on Hamilton or Pujols unless Angels eat everything but $5 mil/year, and that ain’t happening. No thanks on Ethier or Rios, either. Mets need a legit leadoff hitter, preferrably one that can play CF. Choo will be available this winter, but he is not a good enough glove to play CF, so he will occupy a corner. Then, they need a cleanup bat at either 1B or and OF corner. Not some middle-aged so so guy, a big stick. Alderson can get both, hell, I could get both, so long as they are willing to pay the market price. regardless of the pipeline of prospects, he also needs 3 more big arms, two to start and one in the pen, and that is if he keeps Parnell. These can come from within the org or outside. If he fills those holes, he can choose between Ike and Duda, and the other players start to look better. Lastly, he needs to find premium defenders at SS and CF, either in house or out. These two can hit 7th and 8th so long as they are denying the opposition runs in the field. This game is not rocket science and does not require an ivy league education.
      • TexasGusCC June 5, 2013 at 9:56 am
        I read all the comments, but answered in Dave’s box since he was the latest. The reason I brought up Hamilton is that the other two big hitters discussed will cost more talent-wise. Hamilton is still a good hitter, but like every other big contract, struggling at first. Trading for Stanton would cost two blue chippers and a good prospect, and I don’t want to go that route. Cargo would also be two blue chippers. Hamilton would be a prospect in the #11 – 15 area. And, we can ask for Aybar too, he’s a poor man’s Jose Reyes, but let’s keep it simple. Would you rather have a team with Cargo and a stopgap pitcher like Marcum or Hamilton and Wheeler? I would go Hamilton and Wheeler.

        I have been thinking about Rios since spring training when I wrote about Viciedo and Ethier. I don’t think Ethier is a power hitter, but I think a good contact hitter that seems to struggle against lefties. Rios is up and down for several years now, and for $15MM, I’d rather have Hamilton at $25MM. The production should be worth it.

        Ability-wise, I think Choo would be good also, Hamilton a little better, but no complaints. But, with $50MM coming off the books, they may get Hamilton and Choo. I was going to recommend David DeJesus for about $10MM, instead of Choo.

        I would offer the Angels, Duda or Davis and Tapia (or a different starter not named Wheeler, Fullmer, or Montero) for Hamilton and Aybar. But, I would at least get Hamilton. Then, with lesser hitter (DeJesus?), the lineup would be more potent at the 2-7 area, Aybar would lead off, if they got him.

        Any name here would be an upgrade, but unless they get the proper leader, they are wasting time. And, when you are losing money, time is of the essence.

  4. argonbunnies June 5, 2013 at 2:20 am
    Didn’t watch live, but when I saw that Parnell blew a save, thought, “Was it bad luck, bad defense, or did he do something stupid and revert to throwing nothing but fastballs?”

    First pitch, fastball.

    Second pitch, nice-looking curveball an inch outside.

    Next 19 pitches, fastballs.

    Zimmerman did a great job hitting a pitch that wasn’t located quite right, but every other batter in the inning definitely benefited from being able to sit on fastballs. Lombardozzi is an easy K on that high fastball if Parnell doesn’t throw it to him nine times in a row.

    I can watch inferior talent, but combining it with stupidity and bad baseball is just too much.

    • DaveSchneck June 5, 2013 at 8:21 am
      Unfortunately Parnell went back in time last night, and I couldn’t agree more with your final sentence.
  5. Izzy June 5, 2013 at 8:21 am
    Based on location watched on Nats feed. Some interesting things. Nats very unhappy with their pen. Gee, the DFA’d two bums to clean house . Mets pen far worse, they think about moves and do nothing. Nats scored only two runs in ninth inning all year prior to last night….nats had no walk off wins prior to last night. Everyone loves playing the Mets, except for the Yankees. Nat offense is second to last in BA. Whose behind them???? Gee its the Mets. And Nat analyst FP Santangello makes same exact comments about Ike Davis in batters box that Hernandez has been making. I guess Met coaches are too busy screaming about working the count to observe a very messed up approach to swinging as the Mets don’t consider hitting the ball as very important.
    To argon: I don’t think Parnell was trying to throw every fast ball up to Lombardozzi. I don’t think he could get it down.
  6. Walnutz15 June 5, 2013 at 8:26 am
    Feel a little bad for Hefner.

    He’s pitched much better than his record, and has definitely kept this squad in ballgames. All you can really ask from him…..and I’m glad he’s more or less remained as a solid option out of the 5th slot, as he showed some of us last year.

    On the flip side, I think we’re entering into the “Parnell isn’t a closer” portion of the program, again. No matter how many low-leverage situations he’s been able to close out – true colors are going to surface….just never been a fan of his.

    “HE JUST SAVED A 1-RUN GAME VS. THE YANKEES!” — those weren’t the Yanks.

    Don’t get me wrong, he’s pitched very well this year….and I don’t mind him as a late-inning option on these terrible teams, but a guy with a fastball as hittable as his is, is not going to get the final 3 outs of a ballgame in the 9th with much frequency.

    ……..especially when he threw 20 of them, out of his 21 pitches. Couldn’t believe that in watching the 9th, either – Argon. It’s ridiculous.

    Lombardozzi needed to be put away with those gross “happy to make contact” hacks he was taking…..instead he celebrated a weak fly ball to LF, as if it were a game winning bomb into the 2nd deck. Should never be with a “closer”.

    – 14 saves in 30 chances now, over the course of his career.

    – 3rd blown save, sitting here on June 5th.

    I don’t think we can get too worked up over Collins calling for the intentional walk, simply because Parnell doesn’t put anyone away.

    Can’t even take it for granted that he would’ve vs. Bernadina. (I was more worried that he’d fire one to the backstop during the intentional pass, truth be told.)

    4 hits ain’t gonna cut it, either. As Collins-led squads drop to 32 games under-.500 (53-85) since last July.

    Stop the insanity, and send this idiot on vacation.