Mets Game 103: Win Over Marlins

Mets 6 Marlins 5

Sometimes all you need is to play a team that makes more mistakes than you do.

Mets Game Notes

Jeremy Hefner — for the third start in a row — just didn’t have it. Once again, he was bereft of command. Though he didn’t allow any hits through the first few innings, he nonetheless struggled in every frame. When he wasn’t walking Fish, he was going to 2-2 and 3-2 counts, causing his pitch count to soar early and putting his defense to sleep. Part of his problem, too, was that — for the most part — his lowered velocity. On occasion he touched 94 MPH, but rarely (if ever?) for a strike. He’s not down in the dangerous 89-90 area but he’s getting close, sitting right around 91 on most of his fastballs. It doesn’t sound like much, but every extra MPH above 90 is like two at a lower range; additionally, slower fastballs make off-speed pitches less effective.

Marlins starter Jacob Turner had his own issues early on, but righted the ship and was cruising right along with a two-run lead when Mike Redmond mysteriously removed him with one out in the seventh, Eric Young, Jr. at the plate, and the pitch count at a manageable 94. What made the move even stranger was that LOOGY Mike Dunn was brought in, turning Young around to the RH side — any 11-year-old with an internet connection knows EYJr. is a much different, and better hitter from his natural side. As was to be expected, the Mets were thrilled not to have to face Turner any longer, and feasted on both Dunn and A.J. Ramos to take the lead.

My only guess is that Redmond recently read the chapter “Getting Young Pitchers to Feel Good About Themselves” in Terry Collins‘ soon-to-be-released PDF download, Managing One Game At A Time.

Thanks to the combined ineptitude of Redmond and his error-prone club, Collins got away with horrific pitching management. Hefner was left in primarily because Gonzalez Germen was burned the day before in a game that Carlos Torres should have been left out as the sacrificial lamb.

While on the subject of things that baffle me, why do opposing teams do anything other than jam Daniel Murphy inside when he comes to the plate with runners on base? Are there not scouts in the stands writing reports? Murphy stands about eight feet away from the plate because he’s aware of his weakness against hard stuff inside, and with runners on, he ALWAYS stays within himself, looking for the inevitable pitch outside, and flicks the bat just enough to make contact and bloop the ball into the outfield. It wasn’t until Ryan Webb faced Murphy with none on in the 9th that the Fish busted him inside.

How about Marlon Byrd scoring all the way from first on those 35-year-old legs? My, how does he do it??? Gary Cohen really wants to know. Answer: it’s all about that half-hour stretching / warm-up routine, eating well, and getting to bed early. I know there are some whispers about PEDs, but as long as Byrd hustles all the time and shows tremendous leadership with his comprehensive pregame routines, it’s all good.

Ike Davis had a spectacular game. He made all the plays a Major League first baseman is supposed to make, and he drove in the winning run with a double.

I counted at least four legitimate errors made by the two teams combined. Only one was noted on the scoreboard.

The umpires also made several bad calls, with at least a few helping the Mets. It all evens out in the end, supposedly. Hey, if the players can make errors and people look the other way, then it should be the same way for the umps, right? It’s only fair.

Next Mets Game

Game two of this four-game set begins at 7:10 PM on Tuesday night. Zack Wheeler goes against Nathan Eovaldi.

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. crozier July 29, 2013 at 11:41 pm
    I keep reading about how no one would come to Citi to watch Byrd play, that they just want to see him traded. What a heartless bunch of non-fans. Byrd is a pleasure to watch and an inspiration. But no, his value is as a trade chip. Not – of course not – as an example of how to play the game amidst an often otherwise shambling cast of characters. No way could his presence help the young guys learn a few things that could meaningfully contribute to the team’s future; what am I thinking?

    This wasn’t a game to be proud to be a Mets fan, I get that. But Byrd won this game as much as Ike did.

    The relief pitching didn’t hurt, either. It’s been a major difference in the team’s performance since mid-June, like it or not.

    • Izzy July 30, 2013 at 10:15 am
      Hi Crozier. I’m sure Byrd appreciates your support. Most people accept him for what he is. a convicted cheater who like many before him, reap the rewards of a system which punishes too little for the financial gain the player reaps, beofre, after or both sides of the punishment. Those Rutian homers, and no need to rest at age 35 after a basically average at best career, is a pleasure to watch, if you endorse the use of enhancers.
      • crozier July 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm
        Hi Izzy. Always nice to hear from you. I enjoyed the guilt trip.
    • argonbunnies July 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm
      I appreciate Byrd’s hustle too. He’s fun to watch and easy to root for. I just hope we get something from his time here beyond a few bright spots in a lost season. But if that’s all it is, that’s certainly not his fault.

      (Whose fault is it? Izzy, that’s your cue to yell “Failureson!”)

      As for the PEDs, I dunno what to believe, but the specifics of Marlon’s situation aren’t exactly forcing me to choose. He’s not even taking jobs away from young guys, as management clearly prefers bringing in Young to giving Kirk a shot.

  2. ARG July 30, 2013 at 3:12 am
    “My only guess is that Redmond recently read the chapter “Getting Young Pitchers to Feel Good About Themselves” in Terry Collins‘ soon-to-be-released PDF download, Managing One Game At A Time.”

    As an expat living in China who doesn’t get to watch many games, Mets Today is my go-to blog to keep me updated. This is the first time I’ve commented and it’s because I just started cracking up at my airport gate reading that sentence. Awesome.

  3. Dan B July 30, 2013 at 7:28 am
    We are tolLD Byrd won’t be traded because he would only bring back a low level prospect. Okay, I believe everything the Mets say. But why haven’t the Mets traded a low level prospect for a Byrd-esque player? We need more players with power and RBI skills.
    • crozier July 30, 2013 at 9:34 am
      RBIs are a natural by-product of having men on base, which has been a primary issue for the Mets offense. Murphy’s stats look much better than they are because he’s as streaky as they come. Young may or may not be the leadoff guy the Mets have been seeking, though I suspect he’s at best decent.

      Bottom line: if the Mets had leadoff and number two players with .350+ OBP, Wright would have over 60 RBI now, Byrd over 70, and the Mets would possibly be over .500 – consider the high number of 1-run games they’ve lost.

      This doesn’t solve the first base problem, but that’s another tale of woe.

  4. James July 30, 2013 at 8:47 am
    If you look at the Mets recent streak of over 500 ball over the last 40 games or so, reallly closely, you would see that they benefited greatly from the misplays and mismanagement of the opposition. I’m glad Q was bailed out after his error because he has been one of the main reasons for their return to respectability. Ike Davis will probably hit 12 homers and 280 the rest of the way causing one of the great debates in NY this winter providing fodder for WFAN talk all winter long.
  5. DaveSchneck July 30, 2013 at 8:53 am
    Mets have a hard time finding a team that makes more mistakes. Regarding Marlon Byrd, I am of the ilk that the Mets need to deal him, mostly to free up those ABs in order to get some extended play for controllable guys that they need to make a decision on regarding 2014. That said, Byrd is an absolute pleasure to watch and easy to root for. I know about the PEDs, but even so, he has served his sentence and hopefully clean. Nonetheless, on a Met team that makes countless mistakes, Byrd makes the proper play/throw/decision about 99% of the time. It is sad that we have to comment professionals, but that’s just the way it is. I also like the way he takes his glove off, carries it like a football, and runs in after catching the 3rd out. I woould have no problem if they extended him as a 4th OF/PH so long as they still hunt a big bat this offseason.
    • TexasGusCC July 30, 2013 at 9:08 am
      Dave, I agree with you about Byrd and after seeing what’s out there, an extension may not be too bad. However, is Young a starter? If Murphy were more consistent and first base and catcher improve, maybe you can try Young and Byrd again.

      It’s just Murphy batting second with a .310 OBP, hurts RBI chances for Wright and Byrd. Then after them you have Davis and Buck. Therefore, in building your lineup for next year, Byrd’s play isn’t the problem, it’s those guys before and after Wright and Byrd that have disappointed.

      I would but Murphy at #5 and Lagares at #2. Lagares takes more pitches than Murphy, Murphy is more productive than Davis, and that would at least fix the top half.

      • Izzy July 30, 2013 at 10:18 am
        I really hope that the Byrd lovers do not support and applaud the suspensions that lord selig is mulling. I know I know. Our user is a good guy, its all those other cheaters who are evil and need to be punished!!!!!!!
        • crozier July 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm
          Easy, Izzy. Exclamation points are finite resources.
        • argonbunnies July 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm
          Yeah, see, I wanted to end this sentence with one and it isn’t there
        • DaveSchneck July 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm
          What’s up???????????????
          To clarify, complimenting a player on proper play, and stating that he is easy to root for , has nothing to do with PED use or alleged PED use. He may be in the league because he cheated, he may be in the league because of hard work. I don’t think PED use has been associated with increased intelligence, discipline, or concentration during the game. That is what I appreciate about his game. Regarding the PED use, I support anything that gets it out of the game, even if it means 3 urine tests a day. And, if someone gets caught, double or triple the penalty, with noi pay. That applies to the ARods, the Marlon Byrds, the Derek Jeters, the Mariano Riveras, the David Wrights, Mister Met, Jeff Wilpon, and your boy Sandy Alderson.
  6. Dan B July 30, 2013 at 9:16 am
    Hey Gus, how about Wright 2cd and Murphy 3rd? Wright has a 400 OBP, steals, and it would give him an extra 18 abs/year. A lot of teams have rethought the #2 spot and put better hitters there, especially since so few bunt or hit & run.
    • TexasGusCC July 30, 2013 at 11:18 am
      Dan, your suggestion would be easier to implement if there were more competent hitters around Wright. But, usually teams put a better hitter at #3 than #2. Many teams have felt the #3 hitter should be the best hitter on the team.
  7. Dan B July 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm
    i know what teams normally do. The smart ones think more aggressively. Look at lineups around the league, teams are putting better hitters in the second spot. Look at the damage Beltran did at the two spot for Houston. Obviously Mets need better hitters around Wright. But by moving Wright to second, he bats more, sees more fastballs, and he is the best on the team on getting on base. Plus he steals. I’d like him on base with less then two outs more.
  8. TexasGusCC July 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm
    Since we’re talking about Marlon Byrd, I don’t understand why it is inferred that the Mets asking price for Byrd is sky high. They want a team’s #10 – 15 prospect. That shouldn’t be a big deal. Let’s say the foot was on the other foot, and the Mets needed a middle of the order bat that is doing well and motivated for a contract. They wouldn’t give up a Tovar or Mazzoni or den Dekker for him? I hope they would, winning isn’t to be taken for granted.
  9. Colin McKeegan July 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm
    Just started following this blog within the last couple of months, but this is the first time I have commented. As a Pittsburgh resident I don’t have access to watching many Mets games, so I do enjoy the analysis of individual players that you can’t get from a box score. That said the prevailing cynicism that overrides most of these recaps has been a bit off-putting. I am not a huge fan of the current MGMT, however I do think they have set us up for a bright future. An occasional acknowledgement of hope would be a breath of fresh air.
    • TexasGusCC July 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm
      Acknowledge of hope, from a Mets fan? LOL, Colin, that was a good one.
  10. Colin July 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm
    Something positive is being built. If we had even an average major league 1B and SS we would likely be above .500. Obviously easier said then done, but still I see a lot of hope.
  11. argonbunnies July 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm
    Colin, I am desperate for some hope. Please tell me what causes for hope the Mets have that I’m not seeing!

    I see Matt Harvey, and I see David Wright, and I see every other roster spot at every level of the organization filled by someone who is, at best, no better than the next team’s guy. Where’s the advantage over the competition? I like Montero, but every team has a guy like Montero. The good teams also have guys like Heyward/Freeman/Kimbrel/Simmons.

  12. Dan B July 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm
    I think the new wild card format has killed the trade market. Would you give up a top prospect for a chance to get into a one game playoff? Add the loss of compensation for traded free agents not resigned and July 31st isn’t as fun.
    Argon, you forget to add to the list of Met assets a $45ish million payroll next year in a market that could support a $189 million payroll. I mean if our owners weren’t hundreds of millions in debt.