Mets Game 85: Win Over Brewers

Mets 2 Brewers 1

Nothing like a clean, well-played ballgame. When we will see one is anyone’s guess.

Mets Game Notes

I recently mentioned the trend of official scorers to call everything a hit, and this game was a clear example. There were at least four Mets “hits” that should have been scored as errors by the Brewers; in the end, only two bad throws by Juan Francisco were charged as errors. When a ball is hit directly to a fielder, and the fielder can’t handle it, it’s an error. When a fielder gets his glove on a grounder without diving, but it continues into the outfield, it’s an error. When a fielder can’t complete a play a Major Leaguer is supposed to complete, it’s an error. When an outfielder stops short of the wall on a catchable fly, it’s an error. This official scoring issue isn’t a little thing, this is a concerted effort to artificially prop up the perceived image of “Major League Baseball.” It could be said that labeling these games as “MLB” is a form of false advertising.

OK, off the soapbox …

The highlight of the game was the starting pitching for both sides. Quick working, strike throwing efficiency.

Well-pitched game by Jeremy Hefner, who went seven solid innings, allowing just two hits — one a solo homer — a walk, and a run, while striking out eight. He was efficient, too, hurling only 105 pitches, and I was mildly surprised to see him removed. Maybe Terry Collins wanted him to feel good about himself more than he wanted a win, who knows?

Nearly as proficient and efficient was Tom Gorzelanny, who scattered 8 hits in 6 innings but walked none and struck out 8 in allowing two unearned runs. Gorzelanny really deserved better from the official scorer as well as the defense behind him. Despite allowing so many hits (by my count, it should have been only four rather than eight), Gorzelanny pitched as well as can be expected, working quickly and throwing a ton of strikes.

Two men in the Mets lineup handled Gorzelanny — David Wright and Josh Satin. You remember Satin — he’s the guy who lost his job after hitting .375 over a three-week span on one of the worst-hitting teams in baseball. Satin went 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored. During the game, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez discussed the “problem” of finding a spot in the lineup for Satin. Really? How about looking at the “problem” from the other perspective: i.e., taking a look at the current lineup and figure out who should be removed — if not regularly, then at least vs. lefthanded pitchers. The solution smacks you in the face — it’s Daniel Murphy, and lo and behold, he plays Satin’s natural position. For some reason though, Gary and Keith completely avoided mentioning second base or Murphy in the conversation. Or perhaps a .221 AVG / .502 OPS vs. lefthanded starting pitchers is considered acceptable for mediocre-fielding second basemen.

Next Mets Game

The Mets move on to San Francisco for a three-game set against the Giants. Game one begins at 10:15 p.m. EST. Matt Harvey goes against Tim Lincecum.

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. crozier July 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm
    Spot on with this one, Joe. The Brewers played so horribly this series that it was tough to enjoy the two wins the Mets managed from the series. With 11 “hits” and but one run batted in, this wasn’t a game to feel great about, Hefner’s and Satin’s contributions aside.

    As to Satin, it was infuriating to see him benched two games, being one of the hottest hands the Mets have played all year – just when I thought I reached the saturation point, management baffles me yet again.

    I thought I’d see some acknowledgement of Hefner’s string of good performances, but I can see you aren’t ready to embrace him, and fair enough: 7 starts shouldn’t have fans proclaiming “Happy Hefner Day” when he goes out there. But in fact is I’m confident of a good start every time he pitches, and he’s been as consistent as any ML pitcher during this stretch.

    The Mets are a legitimate .500-ish team at the moment. Not worth celebrating, but it sure beats horrible.

    • Joe Janish July 8, 2013 at 8:37 am
      I really like Hefner and am very pleased to see him succeeding. I’m afraid I might jinx him.
      • Quinn July 8, 2013 at 11:50 am
        If Hefner’s name was Wheeler everybody would be excited. Who do you get more excited about right now, the guy who has the hype or the guy who is performing?
      • Walnutz15 July 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm
        It could be argued that Hefner has been Alderson’s most-productive pick-up over the past 2 seasons-worth of starts.

        Liked him a lot last year, from the “quality start” standpoint (and remember people here incorrectly grouping him in with the likes of Chris Schwinden, calling him terrible, etc.)

        People kinda started up that sentiment again, around the Met-blogosphere in 2013….citing him as an Aaron Laffey-type.

        Truth be told, as fed-up as I was starting to get with his starts in the beginning of 2013… was more a byproduct of the team going into the tank during his night to take the ball, than it ever was him getting shellacked.

        All he’s done is kept them in ballgames, almost without-fail……and that’s been impressive, considering he’s really had to adjust at points.

        I read where people ask what we could get for him. Personally, I couldn’t see trading him — simply because we have one of the shoddiest rotations in baseball when it comes to long-term health.

        Year-after-year, we talk about guys in the rotation and how they can and will become mainstays……..and year-after-year, most of them hit the shelf for prolonged periods of time.

        Johan Santana
        Jon Niese
        Dillon Gee
        Shaun Marcum
        Chris Young
        Mike Pelfey

        et al, etc., etc.

        Seeing a dude like Hefner take the ball, producing like he has….has been a terrific story — no matter how bland it might be to those looking for “pop”.

        I like him and think they should consider holding onto him as a back-end guy.

        Granted, someone knocks down the door – clamoring for him? You have to listen to what they’re offering…..but in my heart of hearts, I’m doubting they get very much for Hefner.

        To me, it makes a world more sense to keep him around. He gets smacked a few starts in a row, and he can always take the ball in long-relief.

        Hopefully, his success continues.

        • Joe Janish July 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm
          I felt that Hefner was only a hair above Schwinden / Laffey — until he suddenly started throwing over 90 MPH.

          Prior to a few starts ago, Hefner was hanging in the 88-89 range and not fooling anyone other than terrible hitters. Now he’s 91-92 and occasionally touching 94. That’s a huge difference — as you know from experience.

        • Walnutz15 July 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm
          Maybe he’s just a bit chapped that I started calling him “Hans Klopek”, from The ‘Burbs.

          Either way, I love the fire.

          Something needs to be done about this ridiculous official scoring, Joe. It’s running rampant around the league…..and really makes me wonder if it’s been going on forever.

          …….given that none of us had MLBTV back in the day, and only saw isolated samples of “GOLD GLOVE LEGENDS” in the field. Kinda makes ya wonder what you might have been seeing on the back of a baseball card.

  2. Jon C July 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm
    was away this weekend so I also didn’t have a chance to express my OUTRAGE and seeing Mr. Satin benched. I’d love to see Elias pull up a stat on when the last time a guy with a 10 game hitting streak got benched. I was a bit worried he’d take a dive because of this, so good for him coming out today and making trouble for management.

    as for the errors, my dad is a braves fan so I watched one of the atl/phl games with him over the weekend—same deal. Michael Young had two balls hit directly at him that he flubbed—one ruled a hit, one ruled an error. But wait! After an inning they decided to change the error to a hit as well, so all the runs became earned! Forgot who was pitching, but even the phillies home announcers felt bad for him.

    I’m not sure 100% how “official” scoring works, but somehow the home team is in charge of hiring somebody for this? Why? Why not have an independent “judge” for these sorts of things? Maybe we should let home teams pick their own umpires for the games next?

  3. gary s. July 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm
    Bench a .375 hitter for a ..168 hitter.That is why it sucks to be a met fan
  4. DaveSchneck July 8, 2013 at 9:22 am
    I missed the game, but excellent point about Satin spelling Murphy vs. lefties, his numbers are abysmal. Also a great point about Jon C. – there may not be any other example in the history of MLB of a guy who had a 10 game hitting streak and was healthy being out of excluded from a starting line up. Very strange.

    Lastly, I agree 100% with the soapbox regarding MLB scoring. These issues have always existed, but it does seem to have gotten worse. I will add that any fly ball hit almost directly to an OF and is not caught is an error. This includes “lost in the sun” or “lost in the lights”. It is beyond insane that an OF stands with his hands up, the ball drops 10 feet from him, the batter gets a double. But, on the same play, if the OF takes a stab and the OF gets a glove on it, it is a 2 base error. MLB needs to get out of the dark ages on this. Two fixes are incredibly simple – 1. provide a “neutral” scorer, perhaps a 5th umpire if you will, to score the games, assist in the reviews, etc. 2. clarify the rules in the rule book for scoring an error vs. a hit (they can copy and paste Joe’s words above and 3. provide and automatic central review, like the NHL does on questionable goals, to confirm the scoring. It does not need to be immediate, as in a review situation, as the scoring can be adjusted shortly after the game if necessary. The review is a story for another day. With the explosion of data and SABR stats, and the interest that fans have along with the dependence within the sport, the costs to upgrade this outdated and flawed process would be nothing as compared to the quality the improvments bring to the sport. Joe – do you have any specific ideas on how to improve this and perhaps replay review as well?

    • Joe Janish July 8, 2013 at 10:24 am
      MLB doesn’t want the system changed, because if official scorers ruled properly, there would be 5-6 errors per game, and that wouldn’t look good for people paying good money to see what are supposed to be the best baseball players on the planet.

      Also, MLB wants to see big offensive numbers. People get more excited to see high batting averages than low ERAs.

      If they wanted to fix things, they would. They’d hire impartial scorers who might be along the lines of umpires, or perhaps they contract an outside company such as Elias. It won’t happen — MLB likes things just the way they are, and few fans are complaining.

      • crozier July 8, 2013 at 10:40 am
        Joe, you often refer to “Stat heads” in a way that suggests you don’t trust them, but advanced fielding stats capture these quasi-errors. If the formulas are ever standardized and broadly recognized (i.e., become comprehendible), they will add value to the game, and undo some of the damage the officials inflict.

        Won’t help ERA, but that can be a sketchy stat as well, in my book.

        • Joe Janish July 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm
          Advanced fielding stats are still a far way off from being reliable. The main problem is that by the time you get a decent sample size, the player’s skill set may have changed (or he may have retired).

          I don’t know that fielding will ever be properly evaluated, because there are too many little things that aren’t quantified, like missed cutoffs, not being in place for cutoff, throwing to the wrong base, not covering a base, weather conditions, alignment, competency of other fielders, speed of batted balls, difficulty level of position, etc. Further, I’ve yet to see a stat that addresses the burden of a misplay on the progression of the game and/or the pitcher. For example, if an outfielder drops a ball, how many more pitches are thrown that inning?

          But even if someone does figure out the best way to measure fielding, there then needs to be a way to comprehend it — as you suggest. Meet me in the hot tub time machine, we’ll see what stats are like in 50 years.

        • DaveSchneck July 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm
          All your points are valid, and all the components of fielding you mention significant. I am only a minor user of SABR stats, but frankly, with the money in the game, it would surprise me if this type of detailed analysis is not already being done by someone, be it in the public or private domain. Despite what we see from the Mets and Brewers, most all of baseball has recognized the importance of defense. Grading throwing for accuracy and appropriateness is easy, as are errors by glove vs arm vs brain. Building this database is both easy and useful for both judging talent and knowing the opposition in order to gain a competitive edge. Your point on the bad PR true errors totals would create is true…maybe they need to take the total off the scoreboard, as it serves no purpose up there today being that the figure is a joke.
        • Joe Janish July 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm
          The error count on the scoreboard is about as reliable as the “official attendance.” Heh.
  5. Dan B July 8, 2013 at 9:57 am
    Did anyone noticed that Hairston got traded for a single A prospect? I guess the trade market changed since last year, with Hairston hitting better and making $2 million less, he wasn’t traded because he only would bring back a single A prospect. Hmmm…
    • Joe July 8, 2013 at 11:07 am
      Joe Janish talked about trading Hairston last year and I stick to my sentiment that it wasn’t a big deal that the Mets didn’t trade one of the few reasons to watch the team for not much more. I expected they listened to offers and didn’t see anything worthwhile. Ho hum.
      • Joe Janish July 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm
        The Mets are better off today without an extra single-A prospect and without Scott Hairston? Because Hairston made the last 50 games of the year more interesting?

        Whatever floats your boat.

  6. Dan B July 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    As I said last year, Hairston wasn’t traded because the Mets feared low attendance would get even lower. When I criticize the Met’s spending, I am more critical on how they cheap out on player development then free agency. Hairston (and a list of non-traded others) exemplify that.