Mets Game 86: Win Over Giants
Mets 4 Giants 3
It wasn’t bad enough that the game began at bedtime — it had to go into extra innings as well.
Mets Game Notes
For the second straight start, Matt Harvey had less than his best stuff. Of course, most mere mortals would be very pleased indeed allowing 3 earned runs on 6 hits in 7 innings pitched. But this wasn’t the Matt Harvey we’re used to seeing. He couldn’t spot the fastball, yet had ample velocity. In other words, he was over-throwing. Too amped up auditioning in front of NL All-Star Team Manager Bruce Bochy? Is Harvey starting to feel fatigue, and overcompensating? Was it just a bad night?
It did not please me to see Harvey pushed out for the seventh and to 121 pitches. Believe me, I’m the first one to tell you that pitch counts are for the most part nonsense and pitchers today need to throw more rather than less. But in this particular ballgame, Harvey had long, stressful innings early in the game — the kind that lead to fatigue and possibly injury. I don’t mind seeing a pitcher throw 120 pitches over 8 innings, when he’s thrown right around 15 or so pitches per inning. But when a guy labors through more than one inning — i.e., tossing more than 22-25 — a yellow flag has to go up in the manager’s head. Harvey threw about 50 pitches in the first two frames, then had a couple more in the 20 range. When Hunter Pence led off the 7th with a triple, I’m going out there and removing Harvey. He doesn’t need to prove how tough he is. He doesn’t need to stay in the game to get the win. He doesn’t need to push his body beyond its limits for a fourth-place team whose best shot at success in 2013 is if the Phillies falter enough to let them sneak into third. Starting off the inning of a one-run game with a triple, you know the rest of the inning is going to be high-stress. Matt Harvey is the future of the franchise — get him the heck out of there so he’s healthy enough to win that kind of game for you in 2015, when it might matter.
On the other side, Tim Lincecum is not the freak he used to be, but he still gets a ton of swings and misses — especially when he has the split-finger working, which he did on this particular evening. In one sequence, Lincecum threw three consecutive splits in the same exact spot to Ike Davis, and Davis flailed and missed all three.
Batters from both sides took issue with home plate umpire Adam Hamari’s strike calls. I have to say, I was loving it — he calls the strike zone by the book, he’s consistent, and he’s assertive. Constant crybabies John Buck and Ike Davis whined all night, but the pitches they let go were strikes. There were also a few checked swings called strikes by Hamari — without asking for help — that ticked off hitters. Again, I loved it. If he thought they swung, why should he ask for help? There’s too much of this nonsense that causes umpires to be less focused, less responsible, and slows down the game. If there were more umps like Hamari, maybe we’d have games under three hours again.
This was another of those paint-dry games, though it did have its highlights here and there. It was as though neither team’s offense wanted to win the game — only the pitchers were battling.
I was surprised to see Bochy panic in the 16th and pull George Kontos, who had been pitching well. Or maybe Bochy simply had enough and was trying to find a way to end the game, regardless of who wound up winning.
Imagine Pablo Sandoval doing a cannonball plunge into your pool. He’d wet the entire neighborhood.
Andres Torres still stinks. In case you were wondering.
Did you stay up late enough to see Brandon Crawford‘s sparkling play on a rocket by Marlon Byrd to end the top of the 11th? Wow. Just, wow. I understand why he starts every day despite limited offensive skills. He is a game-changer with the glove. Naturally, he booted the ball in the 16th to let in the winning run. My guess is he was completely exhausted, as was everyone involved in, and watching, this godforsaken contest.