Mets Game 112: Win Over Rockies

Mets 2 Rockies 1

Mets complete their first sweep at home of the season, and firmly hold on to third place in the NL East. Really?

Mets Game Notes

Was this really the first home sweep of the year? Crazy, right? Even crazier is that they’re in sole possession of third place, a full game ahead of the Phillies and only one game behind the second-place Nationals. Granted, the NL East has turned out to be the most surprisingly underachieving division in baseball, but still. How long will the Mets keep this up? Will they actually overtake the Nats and slip into second? What if they had spent a few bucks in the winter on one or two healthy arms instead of gambling on damaged goods such as Shaun Marcum, Brandon Lyon, and Scott Atchison? What if they had acquired a starting pitcher instead of expecting Johan Santana to return? What if they had a manager who managed a season instead of one game at a time?

I know, I know — we can’t dwell on the “ifs.” This is a small-market club, and we should simply be happy and thrilled that they’re currently competing at this incredible level. Just consider: if the Mets win their next eight games, they’ll be at .500, and that could be enough to place them second in the division. Happy days.

As mentioned in the previous post, I couldn’t watch this afternoon ballgame. From the linescore it appears that Dillon Gee executed another masterpiece. I did recognize two names in the Colorado lineup: Yorvit Torrealba (who I remember sued the Mets a few years ago) and Michael Cuddyer. The other seven guys were a mystery to me — but, I don’t play fantasy baseball any more and don’t follow the Rockies, so my ignorance is just that: ignorance. The Rockies have now lost five in a row and are 1-9 in their last ten ballgames. I’m starting to wonder: just who the heck in the NL is winning? This season is redolent of 1973, in that every team seems to be below .500.

In any case, if you watched the game, please provide your comments so we can discuss. Many thanks.

Next Mets Game

The Mets begin a weekend series in Arizona at 9:40 PM on Friday night. Jeremy Hefner takes the hill against Upstate New York native Patrick Corbin.

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 August 9, 2013 at 3:57 am
    Gee’s fastball began at 87, then climbed up to 89-90, but he didn’t need it much. Lots of bait sliders, a nice offspeed curve that got some swings and misses, and probably his best change-up of the season. He threw 4 change-ups in a row to Harrison; all started just above the knees and broke down, and Harrison could do nothing but foul a few off.

    It would have been interesting to see how Gee’s repertoire played against an MLB lineup, but against the weak and free-swinging Rockies, he just changed speed and location in the strike zone and got a lot of quick outs without striking out hardly anyone (besides the pitcher). He was never really challenged.

    Collins’ move to pull him with 87 pitches and 4 outs from a complete game might look weird, but when Gee loses it, he loses it fast, and earlier in the year that often happened around the 90 pitch mark. I like completely games, but I also like anticipation and proactive rather than reactive managing.

    Bringing in Rice with Tulowitzki waiting on the bench was really dumb, though. Rice was nowhere near the plate, and Aardsma looked no better until Cuddyer helped him out by popping an 0-2 hanging splitter up to LF. Cuddyer had a bad day at the plate, chasing a few sliders from Gee that were a foot outside.

    Other things I saw:

    More long ABs for Young. The guy acts like a for-real leadoff hitter.

    Ike’s timing regressed a little. Not as bad as 11 days ago, but worse than yesterday.

    Flores is good at not striking out. Yeah, it would have been better to take that 2-strike slider off the corner, but once he committed to swing, kudos for throwing the bat at the ball to drive in a run. I don’t think the Mets have another hitter who would have made contact with that pitch. On the downside, in 3 games Wilmer has only really barreled up one ball, and is one of the slowest 22-year-olds I’ve even seen in MLB. Even Jim Thome was faster than that once.

    I am officially fed up with Murphy’s hitting. When he’s hot he’s great, but when he’s not he’s an automatic out. What happened to the consistent hitter with a great eye for the outer edge of the strike zone? Today he swung at balls, took strikes, and hit weak grounders on pitches down the middle.

    • argonbunnies August 9, 2013 at 3:59 am
      “Completely games”?

      Complete games.

      Fingers on auto-pilot. Need edit function.

  2. DaveSchneck August 9, 2013 at 7:20 am
    “What if they had spent a few bucks in the winter on one or two healthy arms instead of gambling on damaged goods such as Shaun Marcum, Brandon Lyon, and Scott Atchison? What if they had acquired a starting pitcher instead of expecting Johan Santana to return? What if they had a manager who managed a season instead of one game at a time?”

    Exactly, and why a team should never punt on any season. Not that the Mets should have gone Toronto style, but the issues in your comment above could have been addressed, maybe successfully or maybe unsuccessfully, without mortgaging the future in either dealing prospects or overcommitting money. I sure hope Alderson changes the approach as he says he will.

    • Dan B August 9, 2013 at 9:55 am
      Why would he change the approach this offseason?? He has promised this every off season and every offseason he has let major league players go and replaced them with AAAA players and we are told we need to evaluate them. Until the Wilpons’ financial situation changes (which it hasn’t) fans should expect the Mets to place a premium on cutting expenses over winning.
      • DaveSchneck August 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm
        Dan,
        I am as skeptical as you, however, the situation is changing to a degree. We all know that despite statements to the contrary, Alderson was brought here as a $3 million per year mouthpiece for the Wilpons, and had to tread water for a few years due to ownership’s financial situation and their one and only goal of retaining majority ownership at all costs. There finances aren’t healthy now, but they are much improved from 3 years ago. What is left is to stop the losses directly attributable to the baseball operations. This cannot be done by cost cutting alone – the product needs to be improved AND the brand needs to be repaired in order to restore revenue levels necessary to turn a profit, or as Fred loves to say “break even”. Clearly, significant payroll reduction for non-contributors is about to be realized, so that provides more flexibility since any other year in the Alderson regime. As a fan, my only requirement is that they field the best product possible – not meaning they “go for it” evey year at the expense of future seasons – but to me meaning that they build a team without any glaring holes, and that they add enough depth to deal with adversity that always arises in the form of injuries and performances not measuring up to expectations. That standard should allow for a team that has a shot, at least at the playoffs, virtually every year, with the caveat that there is always a chance that a season becomes an unavoidable disaster like 2009. Bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter what they spend on payroll – a team can be complete at $80 mil or it can have unaddressed holes or exposures at $120 mil. I expect them to spend in order to have a playoff caliber team in 2014. With the core pitching that they have, and the freed up payroll, they have absolutely no excuse, and frankly, from a business sense, it would be dumb to cut corners again. But, as we know, with this ownership, you just never know.
        • DanB August 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm
          Dave, we could debate about next year’s payroll but only time will tell. I hope they are more aggressive next year like you think. Personally, I expect a payroll in the mid 70’s and another losing season. The Wilpons still have major debt problems which has never been resolved. The Madoff settlement helped but it did not fix the bigger problem that Madoff money was masking — a poorly capitalized company. In a nutshell, Nelson Doubleday was right. Am I happy the Mets have a lot of good pitching prospects? Well, it is better then bad looking prospects. But if the Mets become the next Oakland A’s — a small market team with great pitching and no playoff wins — then I will view the Mets management as being failures. They will be even bigger failures when every good player gets traded off before they become expensive good players. I hope I am wrong, but I have never read anything that suggests otherwise.
        • DaveSchneck August 9, 2013 at 8:46 pm
          Dan,
          Definitely agree, Madoff or not, the the Wilpons over leveraged to fund SNY, Citifield, and the team. That was the biggest business mistake, and then it was compounded when the collateral in the Madoff accounts went up in smoke. Like you, I see them at a $70 mil payroll, up to $80. That is fine with me if so long as the start 2014 with a legit #4 hitter, and legit leadoff hitter, an above average SS, and an 8th inning guy that can close if Parnell isn’t good to go.
        • crozier August 9, 2013 at 7:35 pm
          Much as I want to see the Mets being aggressive during the off-season, I’d prefer to see some smart trades, as opposed to reckless free agent moves. Another Jason Bay? I don’t even want Michael Bourn, who currently has a lower OPS than Lagares, is less effective on defense, and is a bust at stealing bases. If Alderson can put together an attractive offer for a good outfielder and either a first or second baseman (depending on what they do with Flores), the Mets will be much closer to competitive.
  3. Walnutz15 August 9, 2013 at 8:19 am
    – Good to see the Mets win.

    – Laughable to see 3 pitchers used in the next 1 & 1/3 by Collins, after Dillon Gee was removed w/87 pitches.

    This is exactly what I mean about Collins. Has nothing to do with “hating him” – as many have suggested on other Met-outlets……any time I discuss him not being the guy the Mets will need when they’re contending.

    Bringing in a left-hander — expecting Dickerson to remain in the game as a LHH — with Troy Tulowitzki (career OPS > .900 vs. LHP) as the very 1st man off the bench?

    Thus “creating a match-up” (Terry supporters love this phrase) of Scott Rice vs. Tulowitzki………*holds back snort*

    ……..smacks of cluelessness. – and little to nothing to do with “the talent he’s been afforded”.

    Actually very scary.

    • Dan42 August 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm
      Cluelessness, combined with some of the talent he’s been afforded is a deadly combination. But since thinly veiled cluelessness was probably the primary talent necessary for the job, I can fully understand why it was a good fit for current management. Go Team!
    • TexasGusCC August 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm
      Walnutz,

      yours truly wrote an article regarding Collins today. Tell me what you think.

      http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/08/mmo-fan-shot-ive-had-enough-of-collins.html

      • NormE August 9, 2013 at 6:14 pm
        Hey TexasGus,
        Just read your article at metsmerized and I thought it was great! However, I fear that if the Mets somehow finish 2nd or 3rd TC will get a new contract. The Mets finishing higher than 4th is really more about the collapse of the Phil and the Nats, but TC will get the credit.
        • crozier August 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm
          I fail to see the distinction between a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th finish this year, and I doubt the front office will either – privately, that is. Publicly, it would be trumpeted like it was 1984, or at least 2005.

          I think Alderson’s positive assessment of Collins is lip service. Collins will be praised for doing a great job of managing during a difficult stretch, but dispatched over the off-season.

          But then, if Alderson prefers a custodian to a decent manager going forward, well…too bad for everyone.

  4. crozier August 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm
    Joe, your “if’s – better bullpen arms and a more reliable starting pitcher – still translate to a mediocre team, given the April/May outfield, Ike, and sub-par catching.

    But what if Marcum had the kind of year Capuano had with LA last year? What if D’Arnaud hadn’t been injured? Hardly unrealistic scenarios.

    True, the bullpen was terrible in April/May, and so were Gee/Hefner/Marcum (and Niese wasn’t so hot either). Since that time the Mets pitching staff has been good-to-great. I take no issue with Alderson testing the young talent in the organization this year, and I see some payoff in the strategy.

    No argument about your Collins comment, though.

  5. TexasGusCC August 9, 2013 at 6:42 pm
    Crozier, I agree. If he wants a puppet, he will have to settle for a manger that will not be an asset but rather a liability.
  6. TexasGusCC August 9, 2013 at 6:43 pm
    Thank you Norm. It’s much appreciated.