Mets Game 95: Loss to Braves
Braves 2 Mets 1
If you love the Mets, you didn’t love this game. If you love drama in baseball, you loved this game.
Regardless of whether you were rooting for one side or the other, or simply watching the game as a fan of baseball, this contest was gripping to the final out.
Mets Game Notes
Dillon Gee deserved better. Much better. (Cue the song: It’s a Hard Knock Life.) He took a no-hitter into the seventh, and would up allowing only two hits and three walks before he exited after seven solid innings of goose eggs. He took full advantage of the overly aggressive, big-swinging Braves, keeping them off-balance by using his slider and change-up and expanding the zone, inducing many low-count outs. Atlanta had only one shot to reach him — when they loaded the bases in the seventh. But Gee worked his way out of it and left the game in the hands of the bullpen.
Gee is fun to watch. He’s smart and savvy, knows his limitations and strengths, “stays within himself,” reads the situation in front of him, and adjusts accordingly. Seeing Gee “craft” a game is as enjoyable (to me) as watching a hard-throwing, filthy pitcher such as Matt Harvey.
It would be easy to blame John Buck for the loss — pinning him for the passed ball that deflected off his glove and allowed the Braves runners to advance to second and third and set up the tying and winning runs. However, it was Bobby Parnell who allowed those runners to reach base in the first place, and it was Parnell who allowed the well-struck single by Reed Johnson that drove in the winning run. I’m not sure exactly how or why Buck missed the pitch, but my guess is he was expecting a fastball down and away, or some kind of breaking pitch (confusion with signs?) and couldn’t react quickly enough to a 96-MPH heater up and in. Speaking from experience — yes, I’ve caught pitchers who threw 95+, though not in a long time — missing location on the fastball by a foot or more is more difficult to react to, and stop, than a breaking pitch, mainly because it’s impossible to prepare yourself for a pitch at that velocity. Put simply, you can’t anticipate where a hard but wild fastball is going to go. In contrast, when you know a slider or curve is coming, you have a good idea of where it’s going to go wild, if it goes wild — to the opposite side of the pitcher’s arm. A fastball can go anywhere, and as the velocity goes up, stopping wild ones gets more challenging.
I didn’t like Parnell’s facial expressions nor body language, at all. It was mainly his face that bothered me (a girl said that to me once on the dance floor, but it was a different reference I’m sure). He looked unsure of himself, lacking in confidence. Maybe it had something to do with the inclement weather. Or maybe it had something to do with getting rocked the day before by the Phillies. Either way, he didn’t have the swagger that Craig Kimbrel displayed.
Though, Kimbrel struggled mightily against the elements in the bottom of the ninth. Like Parnell in the top of the frame, he had trouble gripping the baseball, with particular trouble commanding the breaking stuff. Those final two innings were challenging to everyone on both sides — though, the conditions were routine for the Irish National Baseball team.
Credit Omar Quintanilla for a bad-ass-tough at-bat in the final frame. He hung as tough as a batter can hang against Kimbrel and the elements. Granted, the elements probably affected Kimbrel more than Q, but you have to like Q’s gumption.
A big positive for the Mets was seeing Ike Davis hit the ball hard several times, collecting two hits and driving in the Mets’ sole run.
Davis drove in Marlon Byrd after Byrd led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple(?). Yes, I’m hard on Byrd, but his choice of nutritional supplements — I swear — has nothing to do with my opinion that the hometown official scorer was egregious in scoring the ball that Byrd hit a triple. Nor does the suspension of great fraud Ryan Braun affect my judgment. It was a line drive to right field that Justin Upton jumped toward, but wasn’t able to catch and the ball skipped safely on the ground below his glove. Probably, Upton shouldn’t be charged with an error for allowing Byrd to reach first base. But, I don’t understand how he can’t be charged with a two-base error for letting the ball go under his glove and roll to the wall. It makes little sense in the tiny world existing in my rock head. If Upton plays it safe, it’s a routine single. Because he didn’t touch it, it’s a triple? Um, no.
Home plate umpire Eric Cooper was calling strikes at the letters for both sides throughout the ballgame. Nice to see.
Do the Mets lose this game if the conditions were dry and clear? Hard to say, but there’s no doubt that the weather affected the performance of both clubs.