Mets Game 67: Win Over Braves

Mets 6 Braves 1

Zack Wheeler‘s much-anticipated MLB debut turned out to be a grave disappointment.

Mets Game Notes

Wheeler the uber-prospect struck out all three times he came to bat — he couldn’t even lay down a bunt!

But, he did pitch pretty well, so maybe there’s still hope. As much as the Mets need a bat, you can never have enough pitching, right? Wheeler lived in the 95-98 range and showed a slider that had plus potential. He was a little wild at first, but eventually settled down and shut out Atlanta through six innings. Both Ron Darling and Gary Cohen commented that they were impressed that Wheeler did as well as he did despite not pitching as well as he’s capable. I’m not sure I can agree with such a suggestion, since this is the first time anyone has seen him pitch at the Major League level. For all we know, this could be the best he can do at this point in his pro career. That’s not to say he won’t improve and be an ace at some point in the future. Rather, I don’t think it’s fair to expect a 23-year-old rookie to pitch much better than he did in his MLB debut. He’s going to have some rough patches, mixed in with stellar ones. It looks to me like he’ll have bouts of wildness, and he may struggle as he develops an offspeed pitch. So to me, what he did in this game is his ceiling for 2013.

Though the Braves are a dozen games over .500 and sitting pretty atop the NL East, they definitely are NOT Bobby Cox‘s Braves, and have evolved into Fredi Gonzalez‘s Braves. What I mean by that is the present-day Braves are sloppy, and prone to beating themselves via poor fundamentals. However, they have so much talent — both on the mound and in the batter’s box — that they can overcome those mistakes most of the time wit sheer talent. That’s a far cry from the old days, when the Braves would “win boring” by simply executing and forcing the other team to beat itself.

I don’t understand how Staten Island native and St. John’s grad Anthony Varvaro has such good stats. It seems like every time we see him pitch against the Mets, he can’t throw strikes and/or gets crushed. I wonder if it has something to do with being a New York kid pitching against a team he may have followed in his childhood? Or maybe it’s just my inaccurate, selective memory.

The Mets beat the first-place Braves with, essentially, a minor-league team. How about that?

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Braves hook up again on Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. The scheduled pitching matchup is Shaun Marcum vs. Kris Medlen. It’s unlikely I will write a post-game recap as I have a 8 p.m. game myself. Hopefully I won’t break my back, blow out my arm, or bust a leg in my first appearance behind the dish in three years.

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 June 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm
    Good luck and keep us posted on your return to catching! Has Evan Gattis been your inspiration?
    • Joe Janish June 19, 2013 at 11:36 am
      Thanks, I’ll need it!

      Gattis may have been a subconscious inspiration. In truth it went like this: an old teammate/friend from HS and college called and said, “hey, we lost both our catchers to injury, do you want to catch?” And my answer was, “sure.”

      The rest, as they say, will be history.

  2. Mic June 19, 2013 at 1:35 am
    Good pitching beats good hitting’:
    So far our young guns.. Dillon Gee, Harvey now Zach have essentially bossed a good NL team that’s not shabby.
  3. TexasGusCC June 19, 2013 at 2:41 am
    Good luck Joe.

    A couple of points of interest:

    – On Byrd’s double to center to start the eighth, B. J. Upton seemed to coast back and then turn to play it off the wall. Darling and Cohen pointed this out and surmised if he could have caught it by running harder. Then, on the errant pickoff attempt of Byrd on second, B. J. Upton overran the ball and then seemed to not be killing himself to go get it, thus allowing Byrd to score. Cohen and Darling have both been commenting for two days now how none of the Braves outfielders seem to run full speed on defense.

    – Cohen mentioned how the Braves really aren’t hitting well and the homeruns are carrying them. He continued to say that the Mets may not be too far away in the lineup by adding a couple of pieces (especially if Duda has awakened), but the power and the bullpens are what separate these two teams.

    • Dan42 June 19, 2013 at 4:15 am
      WSJ article today pretty much sums up the current situation. Not gonna be easy for this team to get better with the Wlpons in charge.

    • Izzy June 19, 2013 at 6:21 am
      Real gold or fools gold? Come back in a couple years. As for Cohen belittling the opponents. That’s his forte. Met mistakes are mentioned and then he goeds to his next stat from wherever the truck sends it from. An oppnent mistake he rambles on endlessly for innings. Lucky to have mlb package and can get sick of all homers.
  4. Walnutz15 June 19, 2013 at 11:19 am
    Tip o’ the cap to Zack Wheeler, getting that 1st win under his belt.

    We’ll see how many of those 5 walks can be attributed to being “amped up” (probably the 1st two, legitimately) – and how much of it will be able to be contained as he gets more comfortable in his new digs.

    Overall, loved that he was able to gun it up – and get it by Major League hitters.

    His “offspeed” (90mph slider) stuff is also capable of being really impressive, when on.

    As opposed to most of this club, I’m actually looking forward to following his development.

    Granted, this is where ANYONE should be getting excited about the prospect of 2 young pitchers of this caliber — but my interest in his and Harvey’s starts is genuinely peaked.

    That’s where the Mets will have me tuning in, on 2 out of 5 days.

    • Walnutz15 June 19, 2013 at 11:25 am
      Also liked reading this – about Harvey:

      “And with the count full, he twirled in a curve ball, like he was marking his territory, that this mound was going to be his for a long, long time, and using his fourth-best pitch on a 3-2 count was kosher.

      Freeman turned back to John Buck, the Mets’ catcher.

      “Are you serious?” he asked.

      “He can throw whatever he wants to now, bro,” Buck replied.

      “That son of a b!tch,” Freeman said.”

      Will be interesting to see how Buck’s able to work with Wheeler going forward, also.

      Granted, the DH forced them to have Recker behind the dish in Game 2 — but Buck on the sidelines could also comfortably take in what works and what might not when it comes to Wheeler’s strengths.

      He’ll certainly know hitters better.

  5. argonbunnies June 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm
    Wheeler was definitely fun to watch. I saw a lot of good and a lot of bad. The late, quick arm motion looks like it might give hitters a late look at the ball, and also destroy Zack’s shoulder. (But hey, John Maine survived his mechanics till nearly age 28, so Wheeler may have plenty of time left.) The few curves he executed had nice break straight down; should play well against lefties and righties. The slider didn’t move a ton, but the velocity may give some hope for the future. 89, straight down, not super sharp — reminded me of Jorge Sosa.

    Great velocity, obviously. But his fastball looked like early Mike Pelfrey — sometimes it would sink, sometimes it would tail, sometimes it would be pretty straight, and none of those changes seemed intentional. His location was also pretty poor, often missing on the opposite side of the plate from his target. He’d better keep throwing 97 if he’s going to have this little command. On the plus side, when his ball was up he was getting it past the hitters, and when it was down they were hitting it on the ground.

    Overall, I’m reminded a bit of early Max Scherzer — electric stuff, deep counts, walks, strikeouts, some fretting about his mechanics. If Wheeler follows Scherzer’s path, he should be above-average immediately, and break through to star status in 2017.