Mets Game 96: Win Over Braves

Mets 4 Braves 1

Who ever would have thought that Carlos Torres and the Mets would beat Kris Medlen and the Braves? But that’s why they play the games.

Mets Game Notes

Who does Carlos Torres think he is, shutting down the Braves’ vaunted collection of sluggers? How did he do it? Not with “stuff,” that’s for sure. He simply threw strikes, hung tough, and got outs.

Conversely, Kris Medlen was not the pitcher of 2012 — though he wasn’t all that awful, either. He simply wasn’t as good as Torres, and his lineup wasn’t as prolific as advertised.

If I’m the Braves, I’m concerned about the offense’s make-up. It’s hauntingly similar to the “all or nothing” Yankees lineups that frightened opposing pitchers, feasted on lesser clubs, but fizzled in a short series. The Braves may well run away with the NL East, but if a few of those long-ballers is slumping, they’re going to have a really hard time scoring runs — particularly against the NL’s elite moundsmen. It won’t be Fredi Gonzalez‘s fault, though, because he’s a great guy. Harumph.

LaTroy Hawkins is a survivor. I thought he ad retired five years ago, but now I’m starting to believe he has at minimum another five years ahead of him in MLB. He’s the relief-pitching version of Livan Hernandez — just keeping on, keepin’ on.

How many more times does Brian McCann have to hit the ball to left field to convince the Mets to stop playing him in the shift? It’s not like he’s getting lucky or dinking the ball the other way — he’s clearly focusing on waiting on pitches and purposely hitting the other way with authority.

Glad to see Bobby Parnell can close out a game with a three-run lead.

Next Mets Game

Game three of this series begins at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night in Flushing. Jeremy Hefner takes the hill against Tim Hudson.

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. TexasGusCC July 24, 2013 at 2:25 am
    A real turning point may have been the first inning. If Heyward scores, it’s 2-0 and the inning continues.

    Ike Davis’ double was a big hit from a player for whom so little production has come from.

    Collins taking out Aardsma for Rice with two outs in the seventh and a man on first, I know that it seems normal for him, but burning a pitcher to get one out. Aardsma deserves more faith than that.

    Young seems to be slowing down, not just less hits but starting to strikeout a bit more.

  2. NormE July 24, 2013 at 6:59 am
    Normally I would agree with you about taking Aardsma out, but he did not look comfortable pitching to Heyward. With two lefties coming up I think this time the move to Rice was prudent.
  3. James July 24, 2013 at 7:56 am
    Earlier this week I posited the following: If Davis hits the rest of the way (270 and 30hr/year rate)mets could reach 500. He needs to keep this up through early August and then maybe he has turned the corner..AND THEN METS SHOULD FORCE HIM TO PLAY WINTER BALL so he stays sharp.

    If you watch the mets every day for 45 years you get to know the rhythm of the team. they are starting to look like the 83 mets or the 68 mets, on the verge of being a first division team (NOT saying they will make the playoffs next year). If you don’t know what first division means, you probably are younger than 40 😉

    • crozier July 24, 2013 at 9:25 am
      I rooted for Ike to turn things around in 2012, and was glad to see him partially salvage his season. But after this year I no longer have faith. There are numerous examples of players who start cold and turn it up when the weather heats up, but a .170 first half is crippling.

      None of the Mets’ weak spots this year (Davis, Duda, Tejada) appeared to be playing with a “spark” – I recognize that’s an intangible that can’t be rendered in fangraphs – and it’s no coincidence the Mets started winning when they came out of the lineup. If Ike plays well for the season’s remainder, I’d have no issue with trading him and moving on. The Mets may or may not have a competitive lineup next year, but it’s a cinch they won’t if they have to carry Davis on their backs for the first three months again.

      James, I know what a first division team is, albeit from a historical context rather than from being there, and I appreciate the reference.

      • James July 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm
      • James July 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm
        My daughter loves Ike Davis so please don’t tell her that I wrote this but:
        I am ok with trading Ike Davis, too, if we can get anything reasonable.
    • crozier July 24, 2013 at 9:51 am
      I agree on your McCann comment, though in yesterday’s case that double wasn’t playable under normal positioning. Regardless, Collins shouldn’t be the last to know; maybe he should read more.

      Very funny on Parnell, but he’s come into a game with a tie or one run lead 21 times this season and finished 16 with wins or saves (and two of those blown saves were in April). Not Kimbrel-worthy, but I haven’t felt as comfortable with the 9th inning in many years.

      Could the Mets do better? Sure, but Craig Kimbrel’s are in short supply – and are in no way guaranteed to perform well year-over-year. That’s why I remain on the fence as to whether or not he’s a valuable trade chip. He’s not so lights-out that a contending team would offer much for him, and the odds of him getting better over the next two years are probably the same as gambling on someone else to do as good of a job.

    • crozier July 24, 2013 at 9:57 am
      Okay, I’m an idiot. I posted a comment with the word “g@mbling” in it after Joe helpfully explained to me that his filters search not just for bad words but also words and phrases suggesting spam, inclusive of g@mbling. And so my comment went into Moderation Purgatory.

      Take heed, Mets Today commenters.

      • Joe Janish July 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm
        I’ve approved it – sorry for the delay, been busy with the real job today.
        • crozier July 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm
          Jeez, no apology necessary. Like I said, I’m the rule-breaker here.
  4. Sidd Finch July 24, 2013 at 9:29 am
    I’m not saying he’s going to be an All-Star or anything but I really like Lagares. Of course, it’s all about how the offensive side evolves with him. He already has the glove and arm. Because of those defensive skills, a 750 OPS with a handful of steals would be enough to make him a more than decent option as our starting CF in 2014.

    When factoring in the team’s obvious emphasis on its talented, young starting pitchers, a strong defense, particularly up the middle, is crucial for the Mets success going forward. Defensively, Lagares is already the Mets best homegrown OF prospect to play in the bigs since Gomez. Not that there’s been much competition.

  5. Quinn July 24, 2013 at 9:32 am
    I hope Ike Davis does good enough to trade. The way Izzy feels about Alderson is the way i feel about this guy. Did anyone else see the comments he had after the game? “i guess Im an way player” How can you make jokes you’re batting .178. Im tired of his entitled attitude and would not/ could not be happier if the mets traded him. If they dont is he really worth a pay raise during arbitration this year?
    • Joe Janish July 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm
      I can’t figure out if Ike’s attitude is due to an entitlement thing or the cockiness needed to succeed at a high level. But considering how the Mets have handled Jordany Valdespin, and the way they so quickly positioned Ike as a “face” of the franchise / “core” player, perhaps he does have some entitlement or too much comfort.
      • Timo July 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm
        It’s great to hear that Ike considers himself as a visiting player when he hears the boos. That something a “face” of a franchise should say! NOT!
        I hope he gets out of this funk so we can trade him and put Duda at 1st. BUT, I know that will never happen.
        We should trade relief like Dave A & Hawkins and get an A or AA player. BUT, i know that will never happen. Maybe I should just become a CUBs fan. They are trying to make the team better.
        I bet they make the playoffs before the Mets.
        • crozier July 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm
          Putting your money on the Cubs is not what I would call a sound practice, no matter how upset this team makes you.

          [Side note to Joe — I phrased this very carefully]

        • Timo July 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm
          The team doesn’t upset me, the ownership does. I’ve been a fan since 1980. Each decade we had hope. Not feeling hopeful these days.
  6. DaveSchneck July 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm
    I was at the game last night, and a few points to note –

    Torres was impressive. The Braves were all over him in the first inning, but he did not fold. He battled and gave them a badly needed 6 innings. I’ll take a guy like that any time.

    Ike’s bunt was a debacle. First, he bunted foul. Then, he bunted right back to the pitcher and he was out by a mule. In contrast, as you point out, McCann “hit” to the left side. I don’t mind a surprise but here or there, assuming there is some competence, but if Ike wants to get the opponent out of that shift all he has to do is take some pitches to left via his swing, not a bunt.

    Lagares looks as smmoth in the OF in person as he does on TV. He just missed one on the warning track but covered a huge amount of ground. He doesn’t play too deep and gets great jumps, especially charging like he did on the assist in the first inning.

    Lastly, regarding the attendance. it sure didn’t look like there was 24K as reported in the box score as paid attendance. But, throughout the course of the game, there are many fans on the concourse and in the food area in the outfield and around Shea bridge. It was actually a more decent atmosphere and less depressing than it looks on TV with all those fans disguised as empty seats. Still, it looks odd that the big buck seats behind the plate are almost all empty. They really need to lower those prices and get some fannies close to the action.

  7. argonbunnies July 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm
    When McDowell talked to Medlen before Ike’s double, I thought, what could McDowell possibly be saying? “Don’t hang a curve or change inside, that’s the only pitch he can handle”?

    And then, whaddaya know, Medlen hangs a curve inside, Ike hits a double.

    On any other pitch, Ike is still toast. He needs to fix his timing (Keith is right). The fact that it’s been a problem all year, before and after AAA, is a bad sign. Part of what makes a good hitter is the ability to fix yourself when you get out of whack. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ike has a great season ahead of him at some point, but I don’t think anyone can know how much sub-replacement-level performance will precede and follow it. 3 months? 3 years? I’d send him to the minors until he becomes a different hitter… unless he did fix his timing in the minors, and it instantly regressed in the majors… in which case I’d send him to a psychiatrist.