Mets Game 69: Win Over Braves

Mets 4 Braves 3

The Mighty Mets take three of five against the bungling Braves.

Mets Game Notes

Short-term good news is the Mets win. Long-term bad news is Jonathon Niese exited the game due to a shoulder injury with one out in the fourth. We discussed the negative possibilities related to Niese’s shoulder tendonitis earlier this month, and I fear this latest chapter in his story could be a bad, bad thing. We’ll see.

As has been the theme in this never-ending series, the Braves beat themselves. If you go back to the MetsToday archives, you’ll read my criticism of Fredi Gonzalez‘s poorly prepared, fundamentally weak Florida Marlins clubs, and my further amazement that Gonzalez was so highly regarded by Bobby Cox and the Braves management. That amazement has not dulled — I still don’t get it. What is so special about Fredi Gonzalez? His teams are lazy and don’t execute. It’s similar to the Manny Acta / Connie Mackta phenomenon. I don’t know — maybe Gonzalez and Acta are simply really good conversationalists, and/or solid drinking buddies. Certainly, their ability to prepare teams to play Major League baseball is mediocre at best.

Credit the Mets for making less mistakes than the Braves to walk away with this win and a series win. You won’t see them winning like this very often, so savor it. Also credit David Wright for going yard twice, and the Mets bullpen for pitching a miraculous 5 2/3 shutout innings.

During the postgame, both Terry Collins and Bob Ojeda discussed the cold ballgames that Niese pitched in earlier in the season as a possible reason for Niese’s shoulder problems. Ojeda went so far as to describe how a cold wind could be the culprit. I hear nonsense like this and wonder if I’m in a time warp, and it’s the 1800s, and waiting to hear that the Mets medical staff will be applying leeches to Niese’s shoulder to extract the poisons running through it. Cold weather doesn’t cause injury by itself; if it did, then every pitcher that pitched in the same games in which Niese did would also be suffering injuries. Niese’s shoulder problems are due to mechanical errors and/or overuse. Not a cold draft / colpo d’aria — this isn’t Italy, for goodness sakes.

Another bizarre, borderline comical quote from Ojeda:

… the good thing is that the doctor didn’t push on one spot and bring tears to his eyes — didn’t do that so that’s a good sign.

Um, yeah, I guess? Though, I’ve definitely suffered extreme, debilitating injuries that didn’t cause me to cry — no matter what manipulation the doctor applied — but that’s just me. Maybe it’s a tear-duct thing.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a three-game weekend series in Philadelphia on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Jeremy Hefner faces the Phillies against Cole Hamels.

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. wohjr June 21, 2013 at 3:24 am
    Well I’ve already seen enough of Mr. Young, Jr. Rather see Valdespin be a bonehead than that dude. What is that like 6 foul bunts in 8 at bats?

    Ironically Niese going DL saves dem Mets from having to cut someone when they stop with the 6 man rotation… I would have DFAd Marcum off the island but he might not have accepted a trip to Vegas

    • Walnutz15 June 21, 2013 at 8:18 am
      Good to see it’s not just me.
  2. argonbunnies June 21, 2013 at 6:18 am
    Can a manager prepare a team to play good fundamental baseball? In the last 23 years of watching the Mets, I’m not sure if I’ve seen a manager impact that. Willie Randolph was billed that way, and it seemed plausible at first, but then in his third year it all went away. It’s always all about the players. When the Braves invested $75 mil in lazy B.J. Upton, I predicted their sharpness would decline.

    Actually, Bobby Valentine might have been enough of a dictator to bench, berate, or call out players for bad fundies, but the modern player apparently won’t take that (see 2012 Red Sox). Buck Showalter had a similar rep, but appears to have channeled his OCD in a friendlier direction of late. Tony LaRussa clearly cared about the little things, but he addressed them by micromanaging every aspect of the game. I’m surprised I didn’t see Cardinals outfielders field singles and then glance toward the dugout for a signal for which base to throw to.

    My point is, I’d give Fredi a pass. If he keeps his players in a good mood and doesn’t blow out Kimbrel’s arm with overuse, that’s all a manager is paid to do these days.

    Speaking of overuse, nice to see major injury reclamation Aardsma in for the 3rd straight day. *sigh*

    As for Niese, he seemed to be in much more pain than Santana was when he tore his capsule, so I assume it’s something bad. Crystal ball says he misses 3 months with a partially torn labrum.

    Finally, Kirk and Lagares need to be playing every day and developing, so if the Mets really do stick with their idiotic plan to give regular playing time to career back-up E.Y. Jr., one of those two needs to head back to Vegas immediately.

    • Joe Janish June 21, 2013 at 10:09 am
      Absolutely a manager can prepare — and more importantly, MOTIVATE — a team to play good fundamental baseball.

      Playing strong, error-free defense has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with preparation and repetition. If a manager makes defense a priority, his team should at the very least make the routine plays, throw to the right bases, etc. It’s not about turning Justin Turner in to Ozzie Smith, it’s about making the plays a MLB player is expected to make.

      I can’t give Fredi a pass because every team he’s managed has been terrible fundamentally, If there was any question as to how little importance he puts on the basics, and how much it negatively affects a team, just look at what Joe Girardi did in one year with the same group of misfits in 2006.

      It’s too easy to blame the players’ skill sets, or the attitude of “today’s player,” or the general philosophy of MLB general managers. Hey, if that’s the way “Major” League Baseball is going to go, I can’t control it, but I’m not going to excuse it. For the billions of dollars MLB extracts from fans’ pockets, I expect to see the very best, most elite ballplaying on the planet. I’m not so sure that’s the case.

      As for Aardsma, is anyone surprised?

      Agreed on Kirk / Lagares.

      • DaveSchneck June 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm
        I am not giving Freddie G. a pass, but outside of that I agree with all of Argon’s points. I have seen too many Met teams, as well as opponents, make way too many mental mistakes for the better part of two decades. It can’t just be the manager. It is something with the modern day game. For my 2 cents, the biggest reason is that the modern manager has no leverage over the player, due to the skyrocketing salaries and investments in the players. Izzy also has a good point with the “focus enhancing” stimulants of yore. There have been plenty of examples this year where Collins could pull guys from a game or bench them. But, who does he have to replace the punished player? Only 4 subs on the bench since there are 1,000 pitchers on every team. And a GM or owner that will be on him for angering a “long term investment”. Or the players union will bitch if a team implements a fine big enough to get the attention of multi-millionnaires. I couldn’t imagine having to manage a staff at work making 20x my salary with contracts and organized labor behind them. I love Ojeda, but you are right about his comments regarding Niese’s level of pain. I guess he could also say it is a good sign that his arm didn’t fall off when shaking hands.
      • argonbunnies June 21, 2013 at 8:18 pm
        By “all about the players” I didn’t mean talent, I meant attitude. I haven’t seen a manager motivate unmotivated players. Maybe Girardi benching Hanley was an exception, but how’d that work out for Joe? His uncompromising style got him fired.

        Remember in 2005 and 2006 when the Mets played with pretty good fundies and some attributed that to Randolph? Then at the end of April 2007, Valentin got hurt, Reyes got entitled, Delgado got petulant, and suddenly the infield was a lazy sieve.

        As for practice and repetition, it’s odd that in this age of constant media coverage of everything big market players do, we never hear about practice after Spring Training. That leads me to believe that when the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox aren’t on the field, they’re lifting weights and hitting BP, not working on cut-offs.

    • Joe June 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm
      The potshot at the use of AA is just that. He wasn’t going to be used. But, Niese then got hurt and the pen had to pitch over five innings. It was something of an emergency situation. “Somewhat” means, yes, they still didn’t HAVE to use him, but for .2 of an inning in that situation, it’s you know kinda forgivable.
      • Joe Janish June 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm
        Yes it was an emergency situation. But why did it have to be Aardsma? Because he volunteered (most likely)?

        And Collins went with Aardsma there because he has wrung the arms of EVERY reliever dry.

        When a pitcher is given an off-day, it has to be an off-day. The thing is, managers and coaches don’t have any understanding of the how/when/why of rest and recovery. They just go with their gut, or what was done before, or what the player tells them, and then weigh that against the bit of knowledge suggested by their training staff.

        Pitchers injure their arms because of a) mechanical flaws; b) improper preparation; and/or c) improper recovery. Every MLB manager who runs relievers out to the mound on back-to-back days or multiple days in a row is essentially conducting an experiment that’s likely to go bad. But what makes Collins even worse is he treats still-recovering arms the same as healthy ones.

    • Joe June 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm
      The messy play by the Braves is embarrassing.

      The Mets pen have shown signs of being pretty decent. We aren’t talking superior here, obviously, but the team isn’t losing because of their pen overall. If the team actually could hit consistently and make a few less bonehead moves from manager on down, they could be average. I realize this isn’t great but other than a few teams, it is basically what the NL is these days.

      If you get Young, you should at least take a look at him. He is not showing us much. Fine. Don’t give him much rope. Would like to see more of the others, including Brown, anyway. And, it still was a decent trade since McHugh had to be moved for roster reasons and didn’t have much value. Young is basically the sort of player you will get — a spare part that might be of some use for the Mets or some other team.

  3. Izzy June 21, 2013 at 9:58 am
    Remember when niese blew out his hammy and tried to pitch!!!! He was hurting Ojeda. One thing about retired players becoming analysts. No matter the team they work for, they remain glued firmly into their era.
    As for Gonzalez, I agree with Janish. He manages just like Acta did in DC and Clevaland, only he has some solid pitcher to hide it. He’s not a rookie manager. He’s a lousy manager. But I think part of the problem with fundamentals is that the guys just can’t go into the clubhouse and swallow some good old fashioned stimualnts to get thru the grind anymore. i think they can’t play sharply every day with the schedule, travel, late night frivolity etc.
  4. MsMet1 June 21, 2013 at 10:13 am
    I remember you hinting that Niese had a potential earlier in the month. Unfortunately, it looks like a reality. Niese must go to the DL no matter what. As far as Eric Young Jr vs Valdespin, Valdespin should not even be on this team. I would give Young a little more time to get acclimated to the team etc. I think that was a nice little trade as McHugh obiviously had no future with the team