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.

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. The King July 25, 2013 at 12:07 am
    Where was LT when you need him? But seriously, with all the trade talk, is Murph untradeable? The team needs a major upgrade at 2nd, and I don’t hear any talk about it. Surely someone is willing to part with a ham sandwich?
  2. TexasGusCC July 25, 2013 at 12:43 am
    I have a thought that I would like to share: Please respond.

    The Rangers have the #1 prospect in baseball, everyone wants him. So do the Rangers! They signed Elvis Andrus to 10 years for $131MM. They aren’t happy about the production they are getting for the 24 year old defensive whiz with speed to burn. He has no homeruns, and only 12 extra basehits. That is our opportunity. Andrus can fly! Was rated the #7 defender in all of MLB last year. This year, his BABIP is only .289, where it normally is around .335. Thus, his average is at .247, but add the fifty points he is missing, and….290+.

    Furthermore, with that contract, we can get him for barely more than Montero and Tapia (Texas has very little pitching in the minors now). He’s only 24, so he’s expected to rebound and has 21 SB already. As he gets older, he’ll get a little stronger. Now, you add a top defender at SS that is also your leadoff hitter, so we can get a middle of the order bat for LF (Beltran?). Resign Byrd, let’s just say, or get Choo. Put Flores at second as now you have Andrus to help defensively. And here is your lineup:

    Andrus
    Flores
    Wright
    Beltran
    Byrd/Choo
    Duda/Ike/Satin
    D’Arnaud
    Lagares (although I would like to see him move up, but where?)
    Pitcher.

    How do you like that? Problem: Texas won’t make this deal til December, but I’m sure (hopeful) they will. Would/Should the Mets?

    • argonbunnies July 25, 2013 at 2:07 am
      Not bad as a win-now move. The last 5-7 years of the Andrus deal will be major overpays, though. Are we ready to win now? Let’s add a #4 and #5 hitter and #2 starter first, and then I’d probably be in favor of this. However, if we need Montero/Tapia to get those pieces, then the Andrus trade can’t happen.
      • TexasGusCC July 25, 2013 at 9:24 am
        Good point Argon. I expected Niese as a #2, Gee as the #3, and then Hefner and Wheeler or Wheeler and a #5.

        The last five years will be tough and Alderson doesn’t like these deals, but if they want to fill their stadium and since they have $50MM coming off, they need to sacrifice their little wish list. We all know how’s that worked for him so far.

        Also, this assumes resigning Byrd at say 2/$12MM and signing Beltran at 2/$30MM?

        So, it’s a thought that solves 3 problems (leadoff, SS, and power in LF) albeit a more expensive than I would have liked, but we save Wheeler and d’Arnaud and that was the aim. In two years hopefully Puello is ready to take over one OF spot.

  3. argonbunnies July 25, 2013 at 2:18 am
    Joe, is your last name pronounced like Paul’s, “Yanish”?

    I’m not sure what it was about Hefner, but it looked like he was rushing somehow. He didn’t seem as focused or in control. When adversity bit, it seemed like he was eager to get the ball and throw it ASAP. It’s better than looking scared, but might be a small sign of panic. For whatever reason, it didn’t surprise me that he hung a slider to Uggla at that particular moment.

    Wright wanted to be The Man and follow up Murph’s 8th inning double with a big hit of his own. Walden tried to walk him, throwing 6 straight balls out of the strike zone, but Wright refused to be passed, and swung at the last 3 for an inning-ending K. This might be a good time for Terry to repeat his “don’t try to do too much” message.

    Wow is the NL East awful right now. With Hudson down, if the Mets could make a trade for one superstar right now, who knows, they could be in this race… .500 might be enough to win it… Oh, wait, the Braves are still a full 13 games over .500. Never mind.

    • DaveSchneck July 25, 2013 at 9:02 am
      Argon,
      Good point on DW. Monday in the top of the 9th, up 1-0 with Young on 3rd and one out, he strcuk out against Walden on 3 pitches, watching strike 3 go right down the middle. Last night, Hudson’s last 5 Ks were all batters looking. That AB looked to me like DW was swinging no matter what, and tha tis just not good baseball. I was not that impressed with the Braves before Hudson got his unfortunate injury. Too bad the GM did nothing this offseason to give the Mets a chance.
    • Joe Janish July 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm
      Bunnies, I pronounce the “J” as we do here in ‘merica. I’m not sure why Paul pronounces it as if it were a “Y.” German thing, I guess.

      Agreed on D-Wright – he was trying to do too much.

  4. Walnutz15 July 25, 2013 at 9:22 am
    Could you imagine if the Met official scorer’s actually charged Murphy with every error he’s actually made?

    He’s got “14″ this year, and they’ve very obviously been looking the other way for years now.

    Pretty rough game to watch, even prior to the injury — that sucker was just plum twerked.

    Don’t think it would have mattered very much, whether or not Hefner got bombed (and believe me, that ball Gattis hit was LAUNCHED). They flat-out got owned by Mr. Hudson…..no gonna win many games with the way they looked at the plate last night. Baffled.

    Would really suck if this did him in, but if it ever came to that – at least he was really dealin’ when he went out.

    • DaveSchneck July 25, 2013 at 10:26 am
      Good point on the Murph Es. Murph has been a big disappointment this year at the plate. He abg and OBP are not at an acceptable level given the defense he brings. Also, his numbers against LHP are dreadful. He has gone a long way towards defining himself as a sub/platoon player, not an every day player. The need to get Flores up ASAP and see how he looks at 2B for the balance of the season. I almost hope they drop 6 in a row so they can stop the push to .500 charade and begin building a team that can compete in 2014 right now.
      • Sidd Finch July 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm
        They should’ve traded Murph last winter. The team’s infatuation with him has never made sense. He has no power, poor baserunning instincts and an awful fielding 2B. He is a negative integer for this team. His trade value drops by the hour. Duda, Murphy, Niewenhuis, and Turner should be shipped out or released this offeseason. None of them should be on the opening day roster in ’14
  5. Dan B July 25, 2013 at 10:01 am
    Gus, I think you are stretching a little with Niese and Gee at #2 & 3. I put them at #3 & 5. Reading about the Wilpon’s finances, I find it hard to believe they will pay big bucks this off season for players. There are still hundreds of millions of debt to be refinanced/paid off in the next 18 months. I am guessing the Mets will have a $65 -75 million payroll for 2014. That allows them to lower payroll while still being able to sign one mid-range FA which they can point to as a sign that things are getting better.
  6. friend July 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm
    The worst thing about the Hudson injury, is that this type of injury can be easily avoided by using an existing, inexpensive product called a “double first base”, which has the appearance of two standard bases glued side by side, with one side typically colored white and the other, orange. It is positioned with the white portion in the exact location as a standard first base, which places the orange portion in foul territory. Fielders should limit their contact to the white portion and runners to the orange. (and orange goes well with Citi Field)
    • The King July 26, 2013 at 12:36 am
      Not suitable for professionals. Hudson made an amateur mistake and paid for it.
      • friend July 26, 2013 at 9:53 am
        Not the point. It’s a safety issue. The doctrine of best practice holds that reasonable accommodation should be made to protect employees from injuries due to mistakes as well as accidents.