Mets Game 83: Win Over Brewers
Mets 12 Brewers 5
A good way to start off a road trip.
Mets Game Notes
The Mets hit, hit, and hit some more, led by Kirk Nieuwenhuis. When did he join the club? Fourteen hits in all by the boys from Flushing, who were also aided by three Milwaukee errors. But do you care more about the offensive outburst, or how Zack Wheeler pitched?
Per corporal Terry Collins‘ edict, Zack Wheeler threw lots of fastballs. According to BrooksBaseball’s PITCHf/x, the count was 80 fastballs, 14 sliders, and 4 curves — that seems fairly correct. Apparently, the Brewers can’t read, don’t subscribe to newspapers, and/or don’t have internet access, lest they would’ve been aware that they’d be seeing plenty of fastballs in this ballgame. Perhaps in the future, Collins can tell the media how the Mets plan to attack every individual hitter, rather than offering a general strategy.
Of course, it’s much easier to throw fastballs when you’re up by four or five runs early in the game, as the opposition should be taking a strike. Still, Wheeler reached 80 pitches after four innings, and his velocity wasn’t in that 98-99 MPH range that made him such an exciting prospect. Instead, he was hanging in the 95-97 range, slipping to 93-95 in his last two innings, which is still pretty darn fast. But, it’s mildly concerning that Wheeler’s velocity has dropped a few MPH so quickly after a few innings. I imagine part of it has to do wit all of the mechanical adjustments thrown upon him by Dan Warthen; when and athlete is thinking, he’s slowing himself down just a bit. I hope that’s the problem, rather than my more serious fear: an arm issue. At some point in the next few years, Wheeler is very likely to have a shoulder and/or elbow injury, because his hand is not where it needs to be when his front foot comes down — it’s a good two beats behind most of the time. That means his arms and legs are not in sync, which means his arm is “shouldering” (pardon the pun) most of the load.
Speaking of dangerous mechanics, Milwaukee starter Johnny Hellweg is an injury waiting to happen. He stands almost completely straight up throughout his motion and through the release, so all the stress of deceleration is put on the shoulder. Further, he often slings the ball from a low three-quarter slot, putting strain on the elbow. It reminds me quite a bit of Rob Dibble or Brad Penny. Hellweg throws a hard fastball that reached the upper 90s, but I didn’t see a legit off-speed pitch, so my guess is his future will be in the bullpen. Or an operating table.
When Tyler Thornburg was in the game, and the announcers kept mentioning his name, I couldn’t stop thinking about that 1980s miniseries “The Thorn Birds.”
Ike Davis blasted a 66-hop single past the pitcher in his first at-bat to drive in a run. In his second at-bat, he slashed a long single into the right-center gap. In at-bat three, he struck out looking on a pitch in a similar location that ended the bottom half of the previous inning for Wheeler. At-bat four was a liner to RF, and he pulled a 3-1 pitch into RF in his final at-bat. I would stop short of saying he looks confident at the plate, but he does look more sure of himself than he did prior to be demoted. Mechanically, I see a few adjustments, but he’s still off-balance and hitting off of his front foot, pulling everything. That’s not good for most hitters, but if he can get his timing right he can go on a hot streak and hit some balls a long way — just don’t expect him to hit for a high average.
With the score 9-5 and the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, Bobby Parnell was warming up in the bullpen. Really? After pitching in each of the previous two games, and with your team up by four, and about to score more runs? I mean, I get that the Mets relievers have been pretty bad lately, but gee whiz, is the plan to run the one reliable arm into to the ground as well?