Mets Game 116: Loss To Dodgers
Dodgers 4 Mets 2
Not even the mighty Mets can dodge the Los Angeles steamroller.
Mets Game Notes
Jenrry Mejia was effective the first two times through the Los Angeles lineup, but the third time was no charm for the young righthander. I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but again I saw a Mets pitcher’s success at least somewhat reliant on an over-aggressive group of hitters. Was Mejia’s stuff that good, or were the Dodgers swinging wildly? Really hard to say, but it began with the very first batter Mejia faced — Carl Crawford, who, leading off with a 2-1 advantage, took a terrible, rusty-gate-looking swing at a pitch that may or may not have been a strike on the outside corner, rolled over it, and grounded weakly to second base. If the pitch was a great change-up, I might understand, but it was a 93-MPH fastball — what was Crawford doing with that pitch? As the leadoff man in the inning, his goal is to reach first base, and he was in a hitter’s count, so he should’ve been looking first for a pitch he could handle really well, and letting it go if it wasn’t “his pitch” or the specific location he was sitting on. Crawford is no slugger, and he’s a spray hitter, so I’m not sure why he would’ve been sitting inside to pull and gotten fooled by the movement of the pitch, nor would it make sense that he’d try to pull an outside pitch. Most of the rest of the Dodgers’ lineup followed suit with aggressive approaches, and as a result, Mejia’s strike count was high and his pitch count low — he threw only 64 pitches through the first five innings, 45 for strikes. Los Angeles hitters swung at about a dozen or so pitches out of the strike zone, usually biting on the slider, in their first two turns against him. The third time, though, a few hitters made an adjustment and made contact (or better contact). Interestingly, the Dodgers weren’t any more patient during their third at-bat — rather, it seemed they were catching on to the movement of Mejia’s pitches.
Mejia’s line might’ve looked better if he had any help from his defense. I counted about 5 Mets errors — 3 in the fateful and ugly sixth inning alone — yet, only a “1” appears in the final boxscore. Remarkable.
The SNY broadcast booth and a few bloggers who shall remain nameless pointed to the “terrible” ball/strike calling by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild as a reason the Mets lost the game — harping specifically on a third-strike call on Juan Lagares with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Well, a couple things there … first, it was only the second out of the inning, so there was still a chance to do something but Daniel Murphy flew out. Second, if the pitch was called a strike, then it was too close to take — especially with runners on base. With no one on base, maybe the hitter should be looking for a walk. With runners on, in a one-run game, you want to be driving the ball somewhere and chasing them home. Normally, Lagares is an aggressive hitter, but I suppose the Mets are trying to tone that down. Bottom line is he should be swinging there. Oh, and third — the pitch was a strike. As in, it was in the strike zone. It was really, really, close, but it was there — on the black, three feet high. It might not have looked that way on TV because the center-field camera is slightly off-center, so you’re not getting a true read on balls crossing the plate. Don’t believe me? Check the Strike Zone Tool on BrooksBaseball.net — a neat tool that shows the exact location of every ball and strike call. Even if that pitch WAS a bad call, I still think Lagares should be swinging. Too close to take, especially considering the situation.
What more is there to say? Mejia pitched well enough to win, but the defense was shoddy and the Mets left 9 men on base.
Sorry for the delay in posting. My eyes shut a few minutes before the last pitch and I had to write this during my lunchtime break.
Next Mets Game
Mets and Dodgers do it again at the ungodly hour of 10:10 PM. Really? These games can’t be scheduled at say, 6:00 PM local time? Everyone in LA gets off work around 3 o’clock anyway. Sheesh. Matt Harvey faces Hyun-Jin Ryu.