Mets Game 97: Loss To Braves
Braves 8 Mets 2
Shades of Joe Theismann — for those of a certain age.
Mets Game Notes
Terrible, terrible, terrible fortune for Tim Hudson, who is one of a handful of pitchers I will pay to watch. Of course, I have to point out that he covered the bag poorly — the pitcher should only be stepping on the inside part of the first-base bag when covering first, because if he steps anywhere else, well, what can happen is what happened to Hudson. I hope this latest of a long line of injuries doesn’t end Hudson’s career — he’s a craftsman and competitor who hurled a textbook ballgame and one who young pitchers should watch and try to emulate.
Eric Young, Jr. shouldn’t feel bad (as in responsible) about the play. He had the right to the base and Hudson was incorrectly positioned. Stuff happens, and if you are a competitor and going hard for the bag, you can’t be concerned about your opponent putting himself in danger — that’s his problem, not yours. That may sound cold, but the reality is that any other approach could cause yourself to be injured — and further, you shouldn’t be thinking about avoiding someone who is in your right of way, you should only be thinking about executing. Once you start trying to avoid or anticipate what the other person is doing, the situation becomes more dangerous for both of you.
Has Jeremy Hefner fallen back to Earth, or did he just have a bad night? I’m rooting hard for the latter, because I don’t want this fairy tale to end — similar to the way I wanted to ride the R.A. Dickey magic carpet ride as long and as far as it would go. I don’t think Hefner will ever win a Cy Young, but it’s fun rooting for him and seeing him succeed. What concerns me is that he’s regressing to the pitcher we saw for most of last year, leaving very hittable, straight fastballs over the middle of the plate, and hanging the curveball to the wrong hitters at the wrong time.
In the 5th, Brian McCann hit a ball into the Boudreau Shift and Daniel Murphy muffed it in short right field. Murphy was playing his exceptionally deep position, but what struck me was the way he went after the ball and tried to field it — his intent from the beginning was to backhand the ball, much like he was executing a backhand drill. Loyal reader, when have you read this before, and in reference to whom? If you’re thinking Ruben Tejada, you’re right. Which makes me believe that there is something flawed with the way the Mets are teaching their “home-grown” infielders. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing backhand drills, by the way. The issue is that Mets infielders are using that technique as their default / main way of going after balls to their right. Maybe I’m wrong — I’m a catcher after all — but every infield instructor and MLB infielder I’ve ever spoken to has affirmed that one should first try to get in front of the ball and field with two hands, using the backhand only as a last resort. If there are any infielders out there who can weigh in on this, please offer your experience / know-how in the comments — thank you.
Evan Gattis is a B-E-A-S-T. What makes him so interesting — and scary — is that he has a really, really short swing, which makes him less prone to slumps and provides him the ability to let the ball get deep and hit to all fields. I still think “Caveman” is an appropriate nickname, but no one else is calling him that.
Murphy made another, awkward error during which is glove flew off his hand in the ninth on a routine double-play grounder. Maybe he should lay off the Red Bull during the game.
Andrelton Simmons is on fire, eh? Even when making outs he’s hitting the ball on the nose and hard. And the one time he was fooled, he mashed a homer into the left-field seats off his front foot.
Catchers, did you see where Anthony Recker was positioned while waiting for the throw from Juan Lagares that retired Jason Heyward in the ninth? That’s where you need to be when you don’t have the ball — in front of the plate, to the right of the baseline, giving the runner the lane that he has the right to. Once the ball is in your glove, you can enter the runner’s zone and do what you need to do, but until then, stay out.
Tell the truth: were you thinking of me when Paul Janish pinch-ran in the ninth?
Luis Ayala just won’t go away. He seemed on his last thread when with the Mets, and that was, what? Five years ago? And he’s not even a lefty!
Next Mets Game
The final game of the series pits Zack Wheeler and Alex Wood and starts at an early getaway day time — 12:10 PM — so set the DVR (or take the day off). I’ll be on my way to, and then sitting in, the green room of Bloomberg TV with my company’s CEO so won’t be able to watch it live, but I’ll get a post up as soon as I can. If by chance you want to learn about wine collecting and investing, tune in to “Money Moves with Deirdre Bolton” on Bloomberg (325 or 672 on RCN, 30/730 on Time Warner, 105/722 on Cablevision) at 2:00 PM and wait for the brilliant and engaging Cristina Mariani to appear as a guest to discuss the topic.