Mets Game 98: Win Over Braves

Mets 7 Braves 4

Mets take advantage of misplays by Braves to split the series.

Mets Game Notes

Zack Wheeler was OK. Not great — 3 earned runs allowed on 4 hits and 2 walks, as he struck out 5 in six frames. The main problem was that half of the hits allowed were homeruns.

Braves starter Alex Wood allowed one more earned run, but also gave up 8 hits and walked 2 in only 4 1/3 innings. Though, he didn’t get much help from the eight men playing around him.

The Braves played a very sloppy game, and it cost them dearly. Evan Gattis may have single-handedly been responsible for the Mets’ four-run fourth. A wild pitch in the seventh that should’ve been blocked by defensive specialist Gerald Laird allowed Andrew Brown to advance to third, which caused the infield to be drawn in, which in turn allowed a Daniel Murphy grounder to find a hole between second and third and score Brown. The inning previous, a Freddie Freeman error set up a Mets rally that didn’t result in a run, but eventually motivated Alex Wood’s exit and incurred more pitches and stress on both Wood and reliever Kameron Loe. Loe, by the way, nearly allowed Marlon Byrd to score from third on a wildly thrown intentional ball. As I’ve mentioned several times before, these are not Bobby Cox‘s Braves.

Mets received a gift from the umpires in the 6th when David Wright‘s ground-rule double was not called, and instead, was a triple. Several bad things happened on this play. First, even though outfielder Reed Johnson threw up his hands to indicate it was a ground-rule double, it’s not his call, and either he or Evan Gattis should have continued pursuing the ball. Second, it was egregious that the umpiring crew did not at least get together and conference to make sure they were all in agreement on whether it was a live play or a dead ball. I’m not sure that any of them could have run out to follow the fly, as they needed to stay in the infield and be sure the runners touched all the bases — I’m not certain of the protocol in situations such as that.

For those of you who tuned in to Bloomberg at 2 PM and didn’t see Cristina Mariani, my apologies. Her appearance was canceled at the last minute because of the SAC Capital / Stephen Cohen news; apparently, the charges against Cohen are such a big deal that Bloomberg opted to cancel all ancillary programming and go with “hard news” all day.

Ironically — because this is a blog covering the Mets — it is the same Steven Cohen who helped bail out the Wilpons by buying a 4% share for $20M. It will be interesting to see what Bud Selig does if Cohen winds up being found guilty — and what the Mets do if it turns out they have to give back the $20M.

Next Mets Game

The Mets head south to begin a weekend series with the Nationals. Game one on Friday afternoon begins at 1:10 PM in Washington, D.C. Scheduled starters are Jenrry Mejia and Jordan Zimmerman.

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. argonbunnies July 26, 2013 at 12:07 am
    After getting beat by Reed Johnson in the first game of the series, Parnell has looked good in his last two outings. A lot of strikes, and the best curve I’ve seen from him — consistently sharp.

    Bad David Wright didn’t stick around the way he did last year! His current swing may not be his ideal, but it isn’t the slow uppercut we saw on Monday. Hooray!

    • Walnutz15 July 26, 2013 at 8:57 am
      Thing with Parnell, and I’m not looking for reasons to crap on him — is:

      Give him a 3-run lead in the 9th, and I’m sure he’ll look a world better than he will with a 1-run lead, or with actual men on base.

      ……….that’s where he looks more like Mike Pelfrey than Dennis Eckersley.

      While Parnell “has developed” (thank you, Ricky Bones) over the past couple of seasons; he will be 29 soon — and has been with the club for parts of 6 seasons already.

      If this is his ceiling, a Braden Looper, in-between type “closer” on a middling team —- and someone comes a knockin’ with a package type deal (say, he and Marlon Byrd……he and Murphy, etc.) that improves us — I definitely wouldn’t balk.

      While I’d be fine with him as a productive set-up man in the 7th or 8th inning, I’d be lyingto myself if I though it wouldn’t be easier to fill that kind of hole in the ‘pen than it would be to potentially secure a young, talented position player with a few years of team control.

      You don’t have to trade him, by any means — especially if it’s not going to help the club in futur seasons. However, I’d be pretty disappointed to learn that he’s off the table.

  2. argonbunnies July 26, 2013 at 12:14 am
    On Wheeler: his velocity at 92-95 was good, but still well below the minor league reports of 97-98. On the plus side, he threw tons of fastballs and the Braves didn’t square up many of them, hitting lots of grounders, so he must have had good movement…? I only saw the ball run left-to-right, but maybe there was some invisible late sink going on.

    He mixed in some good sliders. I think he few close to zero curves and change-ups, but perhaps I missed some (didn’t watch every inning).

    • Joe Janish July 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm
      Pitch F/X says Wheeler threw 15 sliders (7 for strikes) 5 curves (2 for strikes) and 1 change-up for a ball. The other 70 pitches were fastballs.

      I agree with you re: velocity. From what we’d been hearing, I was expecting a guy with a lively, Gooden-like fastball, but still learning to command it and without a good curve. What we’ve seen instead is a kid with inconsistent command of a 94-95 MPH fastball that has some sink, a decent slider, and no reliable off-speed pitch. In other words, Mike Pelfrey.

      I know Wheeler is still young, but Pelfrey was young once too — and never developed, even despite having “smart” people like Rick Peterson around. Wheeler has Dan Warthen — who BTW was Pelfrey’s mentor in the minors.

      • DaveSchneck July 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm
        Joe,
        I think we all suffer from a little Pelfreyitis, and Harvey’s incredible success can impact our expectations, but all things considered at this point I see no better place for Wheeler to continue his development than in the bigs. It is clear by all indications – human eye, stats, etc, that he is a work in progress and all his pitches need improvement, but so long as he is not killing the team (they are still competing for the playoffs despite the low odds), or endangering his confidence or his arm, running him out there every five games is fine. In his comments, he clearly acknowledges where he needs work, so hopefully each game benefits his development. I did expect to see a little more velocity, but in the long run the command is more important.
        • argonbunnies July 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm
          I don’t think Wheeler’s confidence, his arm, or the team’s record are particularly in jeopardy by having him in the majors. I’m sure MLB is a great place to work on pitch selection, preparation, the mental side, etc. However, I’m also pretty sure that the minors are a much better place to focus on practicing the basics, like consistent release point, fastball command, and spinning the curve. That’s what Wheeler needs now. No point giving him the advanced class before he has a stable base to work from.

          As for velocity vs command, in Wheeler we really need both. This organization’s claim of talent and hope is based in no small part on Wheeler’s ranking as the #6 prospect in the game (according to MLB 2013 preseason). Letting him become a mediocre starter is not acceptable. In throwing him into a results-oriented environment before he’s figured out how to repeat his delivery, that’s exactly what the Mets are risking.

          I mean, I’d like to give the organization the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he was executing the basics in AAA, and it’s only MLB jitters that are throwing him off now. But have the Mets earned that? I’d say just the opposite.

          The Mets promoted Wheeler because it would make them more interesting right this second (and it does!). And maybe because Backman was impressed with his results, but Wally’s no pitching expert. I don’t know what Randy St. Claire’s role is in all this, or what his opinion is, or who listens to him. He certainly has plenty of experience working with raw major leaguers, but it may have been a while since he taught the A-B-Cs to kids.

        • NormE July 26, 2013 at 11:00 pm
          Argon, I think that having the Mets AAA team in Las Vegas may be a factor in keeping him in NY. LV is not the physical environment that lends itself to refining a pitcher. On the other hand, having Wheeler under the influence of Dan Warthen is problematic. On balance I would vote for keeping him in NY.
        • mic July 27, 2013 at 2:58 am
          Interesting discussion. This has a “Joe Janish report” written all over it.

          Subject: What to expect from the Mets new stable of starters:
          Harvey; Not much to say (or is there?)
          Wheeler; See above for a start.
          Meija: Same age as Harvey now.
          Gee: The new Bobby Jones?
          Syndergaard: TBD
          Montero: TBD

          Where do they project?

  3. Dan B July 26, 2013 at 1:08 am
    i am sure it is all coincidental that the Wilpons seem to do a lot of business with Wall Street cheats. Bill Maher better keep his nose clean. Do you think Bud will make Wilpons return the $20 mill? Especially before the loans are addressed? Ha!
  4. wohjr July 26, 2013 at 4:15 am
    Joe would be interested to hear your take on the wine storage fiasco unfolding in chelsea

    Wheeler is echoes of john maine. John maine had one good year though, maybe next year is our year?

    Does the commentariat figure byrd is in line for suspension or are we quite sure he’s off the juice?

    Interesting dicussion re: braun this evening with my friends. Generally I don’t factor in moral rectitude to my evaluation of players, which lead to a discussion of which player it would be most disheartining to find out was on steroids, I say Mariano as much as I love David

    • Walnutz15 July 26, 2013 at 8:30 am
      For me, my worst fear came true yesterday — in the person of Robert Fick.

      Heard Benigno discussing this earlier on my drive in, completely missing the boat on it – “Who’zzz Raahhhbit Fick? Why shood I cayah……they obviously didn’t work feh’him!”

      http://www.mlive.com/tigers/index.ssf/2013/07/former_tigers_first_baseman_ro.html

      Not that Benigno does, specifically — but this is exactly why guys like him should have no say whatsoever in who gets a HOF vote. They’re almost all clueless (or just plain hypocrites) as to how so many guys just like Fick (and worse, statistically) even got and stayed in The Bigs in the first place.

      So, we’re only to care – and cry about it when guys are Legends?

      ………..gotcha.

      Part of the article:

      Fick admitted to using steroids twice in his career, including at least once when he played in Detroit, in an appearance on the “Good Day L.A.” television show, which aired early Thursday.
      “I’ve tried it,” Fick said. “Two times.”

      On both occasions, Fick said he was recovering from a shoulder injury, including a stint in 2000 when he separated his shoulder as a Tiger.

      “They called it a third-degree separation,” he said. “I got on some juice and next thing you know, in three or four weeks, I was back in the lineup.”

      A career .258 hitter, Fick spent five years with the Tigers and was named an All-Star in 2002 — his final season in Detroit. He batted .268 with the Tigers, including .272 in 2001, his breakout season, which saw him hit 19 home runs and 21 doubles.

      “I never did it in the offseason — trying to lift weights, get strong to hit home runs,” Fick said. “I was a young player, I had three or four shoulder injuries, I was told that it would help me get back on the field and stay on the field.”

      Without naming names, Fick — who played for the Tigers from 1998-2002 — said several of his teammates in Detroit used steroids, too.

      “Everybody knew who was doing what and nobody cared,” Fick said. “The goal was to win and be in the major leagues, and that’s pretty much how I saw it.”

      Fick also admitted to taking amphetamines, and suggested most players took them until the negative attention heightened and they were explicitly banned.

      “It was definitely a problem in baseball,” he said. “It’s 162 games, it’s 22 off-days during the season. Baseball is every day. You’ve got to get up for the game, and guys were doing it. And nobody cared.”

      …………………..while I couldn’t care less about most of this, in concept – having seen so much of it from kids my age, and in my own locker room back then — I can’t wait until the day that some of those “hundred +” names get leaked……..just so the naive portion of the MLB fanbase’s eyes are opened as to how common all of this has been for the longest time.

  5. Timo July 26, 2013 at 10:56 am
    Bud will do nothing to the Mets. He looked the other way while getting some insider trading info for his use (I’m sure.) That’s why he is leaving baseball. It’s getting to hot for him with Mets and Steriods scandels.
    Classic Bud! He’ll be back in Milwaukee ruining that team. Next year the Brewers will trade for Nelly Cruz and Arod. ;)