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.
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.