Mets Game 115: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 9 Diamondbacks 5

What’s this? Offense? Not a one-run game? And doing it with the long ball? Bizarre.

Mets Game Notes

Jonathon Niese wasn’t great in his first start returning from the DL, but he was good enough. As usual, he had only one of the cutter/curve working — in this case, it was the curve that was effective while the cutter was flat. His velocity was where it needed to be, though his command was so-so — which was to be expected in his first time back.

Wilmer Flores remains hot, swatting his first big-league homer. Anyone miss David Wright yet? Anyone wonder what the Mets lineup might be like with Wright and Flores? Would we have known, had Wright not injured himself?

Like Keith Hernandez, I am absolutely stunned by the approach to Ike Davis by opposing pitchers. As Keith has said, it’s as if they’re facing Babe Ruth. I understand that earlier in the year, Davis was swinging at everything, so it made sense to never give him a strike. But gee whiz — can anyone make an adjustment? In-game? In-series? Do the coaches and players have their heads buried so far into the stat sheets and scouting reports that they can’t make logical decisions based on what’s happening right now? Forest for the trees, anyone?

Along those lines, I’m curious to know how long it takes for scouting reports to “catch up.” With today’s technology, one would think it would be fairly quick. Maybe advance scouts aren’t being dispatched to Mets games?

The Mets continue their “hair on fire” approach to baserunning, as Mike Baxter was thrown out at home to end the third inning. He started on first base and was attempting to score on a single, and the argument was that the pitcher was the next hitter. Well … OK. Maybe? Niese did stroke a base hit his first time up, so it’s not like he’s Bob Buhl. This no-thought, ultra-aggressive style is similar to what I see at the youth levels — 13U, 12U, 11U — where coaches care more about winning than teaching the game tell their kids to just keep running until you hit home plate, because chances are, the defense can’t execute a relay AND make the catch AND apply the tag. Sure, the kids may always get the extra base and/or score, but what have they learned? That 12-year-olds can’t play defense? That most 13-year-olds aren’t ready for the “big field”? What else? Certainly nothing about baserunning. I’m not saying the Mets shouldn’t take an extra base when there’s an opportunity, but they’re usually taking the extra base with the singular intent of putting the pressure on the defense to execute. Maybe they’re right to do that, considering the horrendously low levels of fundamental skill displayed by “Major League” players these days. Perhaps this is their “Moneyball” edge — exploiting the lack of quality at the MLB level. If so, that’s kind of sad for BeelzeBud’s “product.”

Speaking of aggressiveness, as mentioned in the previous game recap, the Snakes swing early and often — which may have had more to do with Niese’s fairly efficient pitch count through the first five frames than anything special Niese was doing. Ironically, though, four of Niese’s strikeouts came on called third strikes. Go figure. I’ve stopped trying to figure out what the heck is going on inside the minds of today’s big leaguers.

Josh Collmenter seems to have finally found his niche. After failing as a starter, he’s now a long reliever. His “iron mike” delivery and change-up remind me a bit of Tyler Clippard — who knows, maybe Collmenter will eventually develop into a setup man.

I nominate Tuffy Gosewisch as the best name in MLB today. Anyone second it?

Next Mets Game

Mets move on to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers on Monday night at 10:10 PM ET. Jenrry Mejia takes the mound against former Marlin Ricky Nolasco.

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. TexasGusCC August 12, 2013 at 1:59 am
    Um, in the morning this will be all over the place. Why not us?

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/08/jose-dariel-abreu-escapes-from-cuba.html

    Put Flores at second and this kid at first? Wow!

    I ask again, why not us?

    • Sidd Finch August 12, 2013 at 2:52 am
      I wonder if he is really 26. That is the red flag with many Cuban players who defect. If he’s really say, 28, instead then you’re signing a player entering their age 29 instead of their age 27 season, if so by then end of a four year deal said player is 33.

      According to the Grantland writer, Abreu isn’t particularly athletic, so if he did shave a year or two off his age what’s left of his speed would decline rapidly after year two of the deal. Maybe he didn’t lie, and he really is 26. Would you give Puig money to a player five years older and lacking Puig’s athleticism?

      A three year deal or less, sure. But chances are Abreu will want something long-term. If he doesn’t pan out or ages quickly-losing bat speed, etc -after year three then you’re stuck with the type of contract that’s burned this team time and again. I’d definitely kick the tires on Abreu, but as the bidding escalates keeping in mind “buyer beware”.

      Plus a lot of balls would probably get by he and Flores, making the on the right side of the infield an adventure. A creative GM however could get the rights to Abreu and then find a way to package him in a deal to land a power-hitting corner OF and or SS.

  2. Dan B August 12, 2013 at 7:22 am
    if the Mets played in a large market such as the Bronx, they could sign him for four years and just buy him out the last year using their big market muscle.
    • TexasGusCC August 12, 2013 at 9:24 am
      LOL!!! Dan, I loved it!
  3. DaveSchneck August 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm
    Gus, I’m afraid that you know the answer to your question.
  4. argonbunnies August 12, 2013 at 8:21 pm
    – Hill wasn’t even thinking about relaying a throw home, and went to cover second. Parra also sent his throw toward second base. If not for Pennington being heads-up to race over for the relay, Baxter scores without a play.
    – Then Pennington made a quick, strong, on-target throw. If he’s a little slower or up the 1B line, Baxter scores without a close play.
    – As it turned out, Pennington’s throw short-hopped Nieves. If Nieves doesn’t make a nice pick, Baxter scores without a tag.
    – Nieves made a nice pick and Baxter, either reading the play too late or getting no help from the on-deck hitter, slid directly to where Nieves could tag him. If Baxter slides to the 1B side, he’s safe on a close play.
    – And the pitcher’s up next.

    To sum up: good call, Teufel.

    P.S. Yeah, if Hill cuts the ball and makes a 100% perfect throw to Nieves in the air, Baxter’s out by plenty. But really, how often do we see that.

    • Joe Janish August 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm
      See, that’s the thing — at the MLB level, we should see that play executed nearly perfectly all the time. But we don’t. The more I think about it, the more I truly believe the Mets have identified a Moneyball-like exploitation opportunity by uber-aggressive baserunning.
      • argonbunnies August 13, 2013 at 12:24 am
        I can’t ever recall a time watching MLB where the teams that execute that play nearly perfectly every time weren’t noteworthy. I don’t think it’s ever been the norm.

        Yeah, the average team defensive execution definitely took a nose dive some time between 1990 and 2010, but I don’t think 2013 is the worst or that Baxter would have been a sure out in 1990.

        As for the Mets leading the curve in aggressive baserunning, it was a big deal when the Angels did that in 2002. They tried to keep it up every year, but it didn’t work as their personnel changed over the years. So while Baxter and Lagares going for extra bases might be fine, Flores probably needs to stay put.

        • Joe Janish August 13, 2013 at 2:27 pm
          Seriously? You can’t ever recall MLB teams regularly executing something as simple as a relay? College teams do it all the time, MLB teams used to. MLB doesn’t practice these “little things” any more because it’s all about slugging the ball in BP. No time for “little things” that win and lose ballgames.
  5. argonbunnies August 13, 2013 at 12:18 am
    Did anyone else notice that Niese is huge?

    Apparently rehab is a cushy chow-fest. Or Jon put on a six pack over his six pack and added some jaw muscles.

    • Joe Janish August 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm
      Huh … I thought he was wearing extra layers to fight the chilly weather. 😉
  6. Jason M. August 13, 2013 at 9:26 am
    Tuffy Gosewisch is indeed a great name, but should Sicnarf Loopstok ever make it out of the low levels of the Indians’ minor league system, he would enter the MLB pantheon of all-time great names (which also includes Stubby Clapp).
    • Joe Janish August 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm
      Sicnarf Loopstok is a good one. I guess his dad’s name was Francis?

      Dooley Womack has to be on the roster.

      • NormE August 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm
        Clyde Klutz!
        • Joe Janish August 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm
          And his cousin Mickey Klutts!