Mets Game 72: Win Over Phillies

Mets 8 Phillies 0

Finally, Matt Harvey gets run support.

Mets Game Notes

Matt Harvey was his usual dominant self, disposing of Phillies batters like a frat boy feasting on Philly cheesesteaks. He pounded a 97-98 MPH fastball all over the strike zone, hitting triple digits on occasion. Where did this velocity come from? Maybe the heat?

In addition to his lights-out pitching, Matt Harvey was hitting the ball hard all day. His double scored the second run of the game, and in the sixth, he hit a liner back to the box that knocked the glove off Joe Savery‘s hand.

David Wright led a surprisingly powerful Mets offense, going 4-for-5 with 2 doubles, a triple, and a homerun. Overall, of the Mets’ dozen hits, 9 were for extra-bases.

Eric Young is playing like a man on fire in his first few games as a Met. So did Rick Ankiel, by the way. Hmmm … should we expect it to last, or is this a case of someone — like Ankiel — who is playing a bit above his head because of intense motivation to prove everyone wrong?

Mets received a gift when center fielder Ben Revere dropped the ball after catching it to start the top of the fifth inning. After holding the ball securely in his glove, he brought it down to his hip and it popped out as he opened his glove and attempted to shuffle it into his right hand. The umpire called it a “no catch” and the hustling Juan Lagares made it all the way to third base. (Actually, Lagares hustled to first, jogged it to second, and then turned it on again after rounding second and seeing the ball come loose. If he was running hard all the way, would he have made it home? Maybe?)

In my opinion, it was the wrong call. Per the MLB Rule book:

A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball. It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught.

Hey, it’s a judgment call, but from my perspective, Revere caught it, held it for a good two seconds, then dropped during the exchange. We’ve seen it happen a thousand times before, and umpires almost always call it a catch.

What really irked me, though, was Ron Darling‘s reaction to the play. He asserted that it was definitely not a catch because — he said — the fielder has to be able to take it out of the glove with his hand. No Ronnie, he doesn’t — see the rule above. Further annoying was Darling’s continued beratement of Revere through the bottom of the inning. Darling criticized Revere for “styling” and suggested that those on the Phillies bench should “freeze him out” for his poor play, to “teach him a lesson.” Really? Wow, Ron, what crawled up your butt this morning? Readers, you know I’m old school and hate to see poor fundamentals, but even I couldn’t see what Ronnie was seeing. I didn’t see any “styling” or showboating by Revere — I just saw a guy who inadvertently dropped the ball during the exchange, and a bad call by the umpire. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the way I saw it.

Next Mets Game

The Mets start a quick two-game set with the White Sox in Chicago, with the first contest beginning at 8:10 p.m. EST on Monday night. Zack Wheeler takes the ball against Chris Sale.

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. Jacobson June 24, 2013 at 5:10 am
    I think I understand umpire’s reasoning, because right below the passage you cited, I believe there is something about to establish the catch his release of ball needs to be “voluntary and intentional”. I think because Revere dropped the ball by flipping the glove and let ball drop into his hand, the umpire deemed the release of ball “unintentional”. I think that’s where Ron Darling’s comment came from: if he just took out the ball by hand, he most likely wouldn’t drop it and allowing these mushy calls. I’m jot sure if he call is correct, but I think I understand umpire’s reasonings.
  2. Dan B June 24, 2013 at 8:19 am
    It’s funny but if Wright had a single rather then one of those doubles people would excited that he hit for the cycle. An example why I always thought “the cycle” is silly. It amazes me other teams pitch anything near the plate to Wright.
    • crozier June 24, 2013 at 10:08 am
      Fans do love statistical quirks. I guess someone has to come up with a name for 4 extra base hits. “Bat Trick,” anyone?

      Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.

      • murph June 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm
        super-cycle or cycle +1?
      • Joe Janish June 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm
        I like “bat trick” — maybe we can use it for three HRs in a game?
    • crozier June 24, 2013 at 10:17 am
      Puzzling that over 50% of this entry was dedicated to a non-issue, especially as umpires make lousy calls that truly impact games every day. The game was effectively over in the first inning, and the bad call changed nothing.

      What I see is a team playing much better than the one that swept the Yankees. I still doubt they’ll finish better than fourth, but at least it’s a team I don’t mind watching for now — even when Harvey isn’t pitching. Some analysis on what’s going right at the moment — as opposed to what Ron Darling is doing wrong in the booth — would add a lot more value to this blog.

      • Joe Janish June 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm
        Crozier, I write about whatever moves me during the game, and because I am a baseball coach, what usually moves me is something about the process of the game. Further, I try to write about the one or two things that no one else is likely to write about.

        The Mets won in a blowout, Harvey pitched with his usual mastery, the Phillies’ bullpen stinks — and you can read about that at any of five dozen other blogs.

        While the Mets have won 6 of their last 9 I really haven’t seen anything dramatically different in their process from what they’ve been doing all year. The Braves beat themselves and vs. the Phillies, the Mets feasted on bad pitching.

        Sorry I let you down this time.

  3. DaveSchneck June 24, 2013 at 8:53 am
    Joe,
    I saw that play live and heard Darling, he definitely got up on the wrong end of the bed yesterday. No way he calls out a Met player (not named Valdespin) on the same play. Ironically, I saw a highlight of another game yesterday where the identical call was made. Revere was not styling, and definitely had control of the ball, but dropping it out of the glove into his other hand is very risky and invites that type of call, right or wrong. By the way, if Wright played in that ballpark he would put up Pujols-Cardinals-like stats. Regarding EY, he is a better acquisition than Ankiel. I agree that he will cool off, and my hope is that they don’t overrate him and consider him a starter candidate. As a 4th OF and spot starter, keeping him away from CF, he is quite servicable and can contribute to a winning team if he maintains a good approach at the plate, especially at Citifield.
  4. Joe June 24, 2013 at 9:37 am
    As noted above, the final sentence is also relevant, though it might not change anything:

    “In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.”

    I can understand calling it either way but surely would be annoyed if it was against the Mets. The player here as Darling noted is not a “clown” or anything — if we are going to get all on him, let’s add that he said that — but he did make a mistake here. It was an easy thing to simply hold on to the ball ” to prove that he has complete control of the ball,” but he was slipshod. That is what annoyed Darling. I missed the freezing out bit to be honest.

    As to Lagares, yeah, maybe if he ran all the way, even after it surely looked to everyone that it was a catch, he might have made it home. Maybe. Loads of players would have barely made it to 2B. But, you know, if we want to find something wrong, maybe, we can say that.

    Yes, I’ll wait to see how EY does but even if it’s short term, it is a decent deal give they had to get rid of McHugh for a roster spot, he was not as over the hill as RA (so much even the Astros wanted him gone) and they gave up little to get him.

    As is, as Richard Neer suggested on the ‘FAN, the Mets actually have a real OF now. Not a very good one. But, a real OF. Nice as long as it lasts.

  5. Dan B June 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm
    This blog doesn’t discuss what’s going on? We have amazing debates on what’s going on with the Mets. I bet there are lots of readers who would debate you on the quality of this team (spoiler alert — I am not as impressed as you). But Mets Today is also about the delicate little parts that makes baseball discussions so much fun. (I hope I am not stepping on Janish’s toes here)
    • Crozier June 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm
      Saying the Mets are playing better than when they swept the Yankees shouldn’t be interpreted as saying they’re playing great, just that there have been tangible improvements.

      I also didn’t say “this blog doesn’t discuss what’s going on.” I came to this space because Joe provided someting lacking in most other blogs: an insider’s focus on techniques, and valuable analysis that wasn’t statistics-dependent. When he’s on, there are few blogs I’d rather check out. But when he’s tired, irritable, and too cynical for his own good — which lately has been often — it can be a drag. I’m not bashing him; I want him to play to his strengths more.

      • Joe Janish June 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm
        Dan and Crozier, thanks for the kind words.

        Crozier, you’re absolutely right (no, I’m not being facetious, at all) — I have been tired, irritable, and too cynical for my own good. There are several reasons for that which I won’t go into, because that’s not what the blog is about. Hopefully I’ll have more time and be more “into” writing the good stuff soon. I appreciate your sticking around despite my current slump.

        • crozier June 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm
          I’ll definitely stick around. I can honestly say that when the Mets have an interesting game (which still happens sometimes) Mets Today is the first place I go.

          And whatever has you in a cynical bind, sorry to hear it, and I hope it clears up soon.

        • DaveSchneck June 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm
          Everyone hits a slump every now and then. Nonetheless, some players at 80% are better than the alternative at 100%. I’ll but Joe J. in that category (as well as Ron Darling). I sense a hitting streak is due real soon.
        • NormE June 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm
          Joe Janish and Crozier both showing class.
        • Jon C June 25, 2013 at 8:08 am
          sounds like Joe needs someone to motivate him to help him perform at his best—I hear Terry Collins might be available (badumching!)

          not to pile on but I have noticed this as well…but this is still the only mets blog I read, keep up the good work and looking forward to what you have to say next 😀

          if you are looking for some ideas maybe once a week devote a post to analyzing a specific player (I’d love to hear your breakdown on Recker, is he a potential backup for D’Arnaud?).

        • Joe Janish June 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm
          Jon, thanks for the support and the idea.

          Lack of time is one of causes of my current slump, unfortunately. If it were up to me, this would be a full-time gig and be writing at least one outstanding, original post a day.

          But, I do like your idea and will try to implement it soon.

          Thanks again.

  6. argonbunnies June 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm
    Since it’s been mentioned here a few times recently — yes, of course the announcers are more likely to really harp on an opposing player’s mistakes. They don’t have to share planes with them and see them every single day. They don’t rely on them for quotes and access that helps provide their livelihood. This is true for all daily baseball broadcasters. If you want to remove all basis for bias, listen to Ralph Kiner, Tom Seaver, or other guests who don’t live with the people they’re commenting on.

    So it would be crazy to expect Gary, Keith or Ron to really lay into a Met. Don’t expect that. It won’t happen.

    That said, I do think it’s reasonable to expect them to make mention of when the Mets screw up, and not give them a pass for it. The announcers won’t go on and on about how so and so is an idiot, but they should say, “That’s a bad play. He has to not do that.” And… whaddaya know… they do.

    As for Revere’s play, I agreed with Darling, because even if the umpires screwed up, and “You have to take the ball out with your hand,” isn’t a rule, I’ve been hearing it for 20+ years, and I’m sure Revere has too, and therefor dropping the ball from glove to hand is an unnecessary risk. There’s no possible reason to do it, there’s a 1 in 1000 reason not to do it (and Darling admitted those odds), so there ya go. It’s like a catcher using his body to block a pitch that he could backhand. Practice good habits.

    • argonbunnies June 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm
      Er, the point about blocking pitches didn’t come out quite right. All I meant to say was “practice good habits”.
  7. TexasGusCC June 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm
    Happened to watch the Philadelphia feed of the game for the only three batters I got to see: Lagares, Quintanilla, and Harvey in the fifth inning. When Revere dropped the ball, obviously they disagreed with the call, but read the rule to the audience. They were shocked and EXTREMELY IMPRESSED to see Lagares at 3rd base. Gary Matthews (Sarge) said that ‘the hustle shown by Lagares shows him to be a WINNING PLAYER, because just about most other players would have been on second and it would not have been a big deal’. When the other guys’ announcers are congratulating you, you have done well. Their rule read that there must be a “completed transfer out of the glove”. I don’t understand that either.

    The Eric Young pickup gives a speed element that this team lacks, and furthermore there isn’t a leadoff hitter anywhere in the system.