Mets Game 114: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 4 Diamondbacks 1

Overall, a fairly nice ballgame by the Mets.

Mets Game Notes

Zack Wheeler wasn’t exactly dominating — yet, incredibly effective, as he pretty much breezed through his six-plus innings of work with only one negative. That negative was a solo homer by Aaron Hill — but so what? Nobody’s perfect, right? Wheeler walked none, struck out four, scattered six hits, and induced ground-ball double plays every time he needed them. A strong outing by the youngster.

The Snakes swing and swing and swing and swing. I’m starting to realize that “aggressive hitters” is more or less the norm regarding National League teams. The Billy Beane style of taking pitches and drawing walks seems to be out the window.

Just prior to putting a hanging curveball into the left-field seats, Aaron Hill popped up in foul ground beyond the first-base line. Ike Davis charged toward the fly, but the ball fell safely about four feet from Davis. My immediate reaction was: “you couldn’t lay out for that? Really?” Moments later the ball went into the seats. Huh. And then there was that bizarre uncaught popup in the first frame, that fell between Davis and fellow drama queen John Buck. Can someone take charge there, please? Kind of funny that Gary Cohen tried to blame the volume of the crowd on the mishap.

Later in the seventh, Wil Nieves singled with one out to chase Wheeler from the ballgame. It was crystal clear that Nieves was very uncomfortable facing Wheeler — to the point where he attempted a drag bunt on the first pitch of the at-bat. Nieves was timing the fastball and hoping to find it on the inside part of the plate — again, this was crystal-clear based on the swings he took and the pitches he fouled off. In other words, he was vulnerable to anything off-speed and/or on the outside part of the plate. Yet, John Buck kept calling for hard, inside pitches, and eventually, Nieves whacked one into left field for a single. I’m guessing there was something in the scouting report that said Nieves couldn’t handle hard stuff inside; I’m suddenly reminded of the book Ball Four, in which Jim Bouton talks about pregame meetings with pitching coach Sal Maglie, whose advice for seemingly every hitter was “smoke ’em inside.”

In striking out Gerardo Parra on a questionable curve to strand the bases loaded and end the eighth inning, Pedro Feliciano looked exactly like the LOOGY the Yankees thought they signed a few years ago.

Look at Wilmer Flores driving in three more runs. He wasn’t immediately promoted upon David Wright‘s injury because why?

On the negative side, Flores ran the Mets out of the fourth inning when he was thrown out — by twenty feet — attempting to go first to third on a single. It was the second time in as many nights that a Mets rookie made the third out at third base. I don’t buy into the “rookie mistake” excuse, because the sin of making the third out at third is taught early in the amateur level, and again taught in the minors — it’s the same game, folks. Flores has played 700 professional baseball games, and Lagares, about 650. If they don’t know by now that making the third out at third is really bad, when will they?

Juan Lagares hit a solo homer to initially put the Mets on the board. That was great, but what strikes me more about Lagares is that his body language exudes confidence — he looks like he feels he belongs in the big leagues. Earlier in the season, he had more of a deer-in-the-headlights look to him.

Next Mets Game

Mets and Diamondbacks do it one more time on Sunday afternoon at 4:10 PM ET. Jonathon Niese is scheduled to make the start against Zeke Spruill.

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. Jon C August 11, 2013 at 9:43 am
    good to see Wheeler maintaining his velocity further through the game this time

    But I still kind of wish they kept him a bit longer until he had command of his offspeed pitches. Hes an above average pitcher right now, but if he had that command he would be elite.

    Joe, whats it gonna take for him to improve in this area? Is it just practice, practice, practice? I’m a bit nervous with all of the talk earlier about the coaches at the bigs messing with his mechanics. Is this something he can figure out in the offseason?

  2. TexasGusCC August 11, 2013 at 11:21 am
    Nice article in comparing Wheeler to Harvey.

  3. crozier August 11, 2013 at 11:30 am
    Quintanilla aside (since I expect nothing offensively anyway), the only Met who looks bad at the plate these days is Buck, and I expect his days are numbered. Has Davis turned a corner? Well, he’s proved he can hit in August and maybe September. That isn’t exactly sufficient to winning consistently.

    Flores last at bat was terrific – after just missing a bases-clearing double, he came through with another big hit. He didn’t try to overdo it; a single would suffice in that situation. I don’t expect him to make Wright’s absence irrelevant, but it’s great having him in the lineup.

    Joe, I agree (obviously) that the Mets shouldn’t be running themselves out of opportunities to score, but it’s still worth noting what others have: the Mets aggressiveness has generally paid off; they’re taking extra bases well above the league average. Isn’t that something we’re looking for from a mediocre-at-best offense? Their efforts are facilitating comebacks, and helping them win games the April/May team would have lost. Yes, they can improve on the basepaths, but don’t ignore the positives.

  4. Dan B August 11, 2013 at 5:10 pm
    The problem with the Billy Beane theory of taking pitches/walk is as good as a hit is that it simply isn’t true. Yes, with the bases empty a walk equals a single. But with runners in scoring position, they are not equal. Maybe that is why leaving runners in scoring position seems up because batters don’t know how to drive that run in. Man on second with no outs require three walks to score but only one hit. Even two ground outs might score him. By giving away one strike, you also reduce the odds of the batter getting a hit since he can only see two more strikes.
  5. Jason M. August 12, 2013 at 11:40 am
    Just looking at OBPs over the past few years shows that the “Billy Beane” school of baseball (which is a misnomer, since the Joe Torre Yankees were doing the same thing years before Moneyball) is gloriously over. When is the last time you saw a team with more than 1 or 2 guys in the lineup sporting an OBP of better than .335? I feel kind of bad for all the statheads who finally got jobs in broadcast booths and started putting OBP up on screen, thinking their moment had finally come… just in time to celebrate the renaissance of the 7 guys in the lineup with the same .275/.330/.395 slash line.