Mets Game 82: Loss to Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks 5 Mets 4

Nothing like fireworks on the Fourth of July. Or, watching paint dry. Which is more like watching this contest? I have my opinion, but you be the judge.

Mets Game Notes

Dillon Gee was cruising right along through the first three innings, showing a sharp-breaking curve and spotting his fastball in the lower half of the strike zone. Then in the fourth, around pitch #35, his arm angle lowered and his fastball was flying up, and he lost the downward break on the curve. He got out of the inning without consequence, but the issues continued in the fifth when the Snakes scored two runs.

The tight 12-6 curve came back in the seventh, but he didn’t have great command of his fastball. No matter, as the curve got the swings and misses needed to get through the inning.

I’m guessing Gee’s issues are related to the pain in his elbow, and possibly also his shoulder. His mechanics change sporadically, again, my guess is he’s making adjustments to avoid pain. Still, he finds a way to retire hitters — usually by combing good location at the lower edges of the strike zone with changing speeds. Arizona tends to draw more walks than the average, yet they were fairly aggressive against Gee. That means he was doing a good job keeping the Snakes off balance and offering pitches that looked more hittable than they actually were. Or, Arizona was having an off day. Or both.

Gee delivered a two-out RBI single to tie the game in the fifth, advancing to second base as the throw went home. Nice rip up the middle and nice hustle.

In contrast, Ian Kennedy didn’t do anything with the bat, and in particular, his bunting approach is horrific. Kennedy waits too long to get his bat out in front, and then doesn’t have enough time to judge the pitch as it’s coming in. Also, he has his bat squared too high, which means the only way he can bunt the ball is by moving down to the ball — which almost always results in a popup. How bunting should be done: 1) square as early as possible, without giving the corner infielders too much time to charge; 2) get the bat out in front of the plate, started at the bottom of the strike zone; 3) as the pitch comes in, try to “catch” the ball with the bat. If the pitch is higher than the hands, the adjustment is to raise the bat slightly to meet the ball — which in turn results in overspin at contact and the ball going down to the ground. This is really basic stuff that a 10-year-old can accomplish — there’s no excuse for a Major League pitcher to use a poor bunting approach. I’m not suggesting that bunting is easy, but the approach is fairly simple.

On the mound, though, Kennedy kept the Mets at bay. A huge moment came in the bottom of the 7th, when, with men on second and third with two out, he froze Daniel Murphy on a 2-2 fastball to end the inning. The pitch started in the middle of the plate and moved into Murphy’s wheelhouse — down and in. I’m not sure what Murphy was looking for in that situation. Maybe he was stunned to get his pitch?

Paul Goldschmidt was having a huge first half — until he came to Flushing. Before his 13th inning double, he’d done nothing against the Mets, other than provide many light breezes with his bat. This is one of the top hitters in the NL? Sure didn’t look the part.

I’m thinking Brandon Lyon‘s career is hanging by a thread. A torn thread. Heath Bell is not far behind him — though at least Bell can still reach the mid-90s with his fastball.

Citi Field seemed pretty empty. I guess people had better plans for the Fourth of July.

Next Mets Game

The Mets embark on a nine-game road trip beginning in Milwaukee Friday night at 8:10 p.m. Zack Wheeler takes the ball against Johnny Hellweg.

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 July 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm
    In the 10th inning Capt. Kirk singled. EY out on a pop foul bunt. Murph out on a lazy fly to left. Wright out on a foul pop. I quit. Turned it off. “Watching paint dry” is a very good way of putting it.
  2. Warren July 4, 2013 at 10:19 pm
    Joe, What do you think of how Collins seems to be a relief pitcher killer? I remember you had a great article 2 or 3 years ago about how often relievers should be used. Collins seems to go on the jags, as w/Rice, where he way overuses relievers. I’m especially concerned about Ardsma, who has been way overused lately w/maybe one day off even after throwing 40 pitches earlier this week. And even worse, he’s coming off arm trouble or surgery that caused him to miss last season. What’s your opinion on this?
  3. The King July 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm
    Lyon dfa’ed. The thread is threadbare.
    • Dan42 July 5, 2013 at 12:24 am
      Appearance bonuses have a way of accelerating the inevitable.
  4. Jacobson July 5, 2013 at 6:43 am
    Collins do have a tendency to overuse RPs. However, I really don’t think he have much choice yesterday. He did use rested pitchers first (like Hawkins), Carlos Torres gave Mets 3 innings, Mets just can’t score runs, that’s just unfortunate
  5. Joe July 6, 2013 at 11:18 am
    Somewhat amazing how Germain is sent down w/o being used in a 15 inning game. And, Marcum just HAD to get involved, right? I was not watching, but checked my phone for updates. It was the game that would not end.