Mets Game 117: Loss To Dodgers

Dodgers 4 Mets 2

A rare outing by Matt Harvey — and not in a good way. Though, if players with the last name of “Ellis” were banned from MLB, Harvey might have won the game.

Mets Game Notes

Harvey pitched well enough through the first four frames, but the Dodgers hitters — particularly A.J. Ellis and Mark Ellis — solved him in the fifth and six innings. Harvey just wasn’t sharp — and hey, that happens to mere mortals every once in a while. But there were a few issues that weren’t “right” about Harvey on this evening.

For one, maybe my memory is awful, but he looked like his follow-through was going more toward first base than I remember — which almost always means there’s too much initial rotation during the leg lift. I tried looking for over-rotation, but didn’t see it. Of course, I don’t have the benefit of several angles and high-speed film — only the depressing, useless, off-centered, and over-used center-field camera. I’m wondering if his arm was feeling weak or fatigued (or in pain), and so he was consciously trying to use his lower half more than usual as compensation. I didn’t like Harvey’s body language — it was screaming discomfort, and/or frustration. Even when he had hitters in 0-2 counts, he didn’t have that “rip his heart out and crap down his throat” look that we’re used to seeing when he has his foot on a batter’s neck. Maybe Harvey is hitting a wall as he approaches the 170-inning mark — consider that the 169 innings he threw in 2012 was the most he ever threw as a pro. And/or, maybe that Sunday-football, super-amped mentality he uses as his edge every five days is causing burnout. Maybe he didn’t sleep well the night before. Maybe it was a combination of all those elements, as well as pitching to a team that is currently as red-hot as any team has been in about fifty years.

One thing that prevented Harvey from being as successful as Jenrry Mejia the evening previous — he stayed in and around the strike zone too much. Generally, that’s a good thing, but throwing strikes is never a good thing against a terrible hitter like Juan Uribe, who was as comfortable against Harvey as Bob Uecker was against Sandy Koufax. And why wouldn’t he — Harvey was offering pitches he could reach. The book on the butt-flying-out Uribe is simple: put the ball in the dirt, over his shoulders, or two feet outside, and you’ll retire him consistently. Harvey’s command is so damn good — even on a bad day — that he’s incapable of throwing pitches that poorly. It’s interesting that a pitcher with great command is actually at a disadvantage against this Los Angeles buzzsaw compared to a pitcher who averts the strike zone. Shaun Marcum likely would have gone seven strong against these Dodgers.

Again, the Mets defense was no help behind Harvey, though the mistakes weren’t as glaring as game one. Despite all the praise lavished on Eric Young, Jr. by the cheerleaders in the SNY booth over the past two months, the fact is, he’s not a very good outfielder. He’s fast, and his legs get him to balls that others wouldn’t, and make up for his inadequacy in reading balls off the bat. His legs are his one plus tool, and if an MLBer is going to have only one tool, that’s the one you want, because it helps in every facet of the game and it’s the tool most likely to outlast all the others (despite popular belief — just ask Rickey Henderson or Juan Pierre). Unfortunately, EYJr’s stick is so-so, his fielding fundamentals are awful, and his arm is flat-out bad. His erratic throws in the fifth and sixth allowed runners to score and take extra bases.

By the way, not-fuh-nuthin, but, the Dodgers lineup did not include Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, nor Matt Kemp. Yes, the Mets were without David Wright and Wilmer Flores, but just wanted to point out that fact.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series begins at, yes, 10:10 PM on Wednesday night. Dillon Gee goes against former Met Chris Capuano. I will also be playing a night game, and depending on my mood and clarity, may or may not be watching the Mets and writing a detailed recap. I’ll try to at the very least put up a brief post to get the comments going.

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 14, 2013 at 2:24 am
    I realize this has nothing to do with tonight’s game, but since those of us that stayed up saw a team that just couldn’t hang with the Dodgers, here is an article about a possible improvement:

    http://www.amazinavenue.com/2013/8/13/4613066/mlb-cuba-jose-abreu-defect-first-base-new-york-mets-free-agent

    • argonbunnies August 14, 2013 at 3:22 am
      Depends on the team’s money situation. It’d be awful to put all our eggs in the Abreu basket, but if there’s cash for him and for other upgrades, then it behooves us to take the best talent available (and Abreu appears to be it). The Mets need more premier players, not more “a little better than AAAA” guys.
  2. argonbunnies August 14, 2013 at 3:09 am
    Very poor pitch selection by Harvey and Buck, staying off-speed away when it wasn’t working. When you’re throwing 97, aiming high and inside would work better even if you’re not hitting spots exactly. The Dodgers looked comfortable almost all game, and Harvey never threw a single pitch off the plate inside to a lefty, and only 1 or 2 to righties. I liked watching him more when he was beating guys with fastballs in and at the letters. If that’s no longer his Plan A, fine, but he should still try it when the other plan isn’t working. Major failure to adjust by everyone involved (I assume that includes Warthen). Harvey had the stuff to shut down this weak lineup, and instead gave up rocket after rocket.

    Another note: in April, hitters seemed to have trouble distinguishing Harvey’s slider from his fastball, often missing the slider by a ton. Nowadays, it doesn’t seem to fool anyone. Might he be throwing it differently, or tipping it?

    Very sad about Wilmer,. “How good is our touted young guy?” was one of the foremost reasons to watch this team. I’m sure the Mets will find a way to reinjure or atrophy that ankle, so he’s probably done for the season.

    • Dan42 August 14, 2013 at 9:35 am
      I was flabbergasted when they allowed Flores to stay in the game. He should had an ankle icing immediately to limit the damage. No reason to take any risk with him, especially with Satin available.
  3. argonbunnies August 14, 2013 at 3:14 am
    Also, agreed on Young. His main asset as an OF is not being Lucas Duda.
    • Dan42 August 14, 2013 at 9:29 am
      That is a great example of little value providing a big improvement over negative value.
  4. argonbunnies August 14, 2013 at 3:36 am
    Final wet blanket post from me, about our next game’s starter:

    For his first 18 starts, Dillon Gee had a 4.60 ERA. Over his last 5 starts, it’s 1.53. Has he turned a corner, or simply been lucky? His .180 BABIP over those 5 games would suggest the latter.

  5. Izzy August 14, 2013 at 8:29 am
    Glad to see a real eval of Young. I agree completely. He would be a fine 4th outfielder. If Loserson and his cronies keep him as their marquee find this team will never get over mediocrity. As for Harvey, maybe the crap with the Met organization changing their mind every day about the number of starters is messing up game prep routine for pitchers. And how about that Coillins, leaving the kid Flores in after he turned his ankle because the kid said he felt fine. Its amazing how this lousy manager is allowed to make the same bad decisions over and over, and risk serious injury to player after player, because afterall, they know more about injuries than trainers or doctors. Even the hapless Jerry Manuel knew better. You can’t get any lower than that Collins.
    • Walnutz15 August 14, 2013 at 8:55 am
      When it comes to the discussion of Young, the “problem” I’ve seen from most Met fans wanting to talk about him?

      ……bringing up Jose Reyes, in any capacity. Even if it’s saying, “we haven’t had a leadoff hitter like this since…..” – it’s not only ridiculously foolish….but makes me wonder what they’re even attempting to get at, as an end-point.

      Yes, he’s got good legs, and was able to rip off a nice couple of months since his acquisition — but I can’t see how anyone would think “that’s the guy” he was going to be for his entire tenure.

      It’s a complete and total deviation from what he’s been throughout his Major League career, to date. (A guy who only hit at Coors Field, and was actually pretty poor around the rest of the league.)

      That being said, I don’t see how he’s any worse than some of the 5th outfielder-types that the Mets have kept around for years. I have no problem with him being a 4th outfielder + potential spot starter at 2B, for when our starting guy needs a day. He brings quite a few things to the table as a bench player.

      The (huge) problem would be: expecting him to be a starting outfielder in 2014. That simply can’t happen, and the front office needs to know that.

      Very poor arm out there, which cost them a few runs last night.

      And Bunnies: I totally agree. Buck can’t go on paternity leave quickly enough. (Not sure what kind of game he was calling last night, but it definitely wasn’t workin’ out.)

      The Met-masochist in me wonders when d’Arnaud will suffer his 1st injury at the Big League-level. I mean, we got a WHOLE WEEK of Wilmer Flores before he hit the shelf. (*wink*)

  6. DanB August 14, 2013 at 8:38 am
    I think the Mets could go for a high paid player such as Abreu even if they don”t hve the money to fix their other problems. I am guessing in 2014 the Mets will spend inthe mid $70 mill on payroll. not enough to contend. They might have more money, though, in 2015. If the Mets start aquiring one or two good players now, even if it means AAAA players at other position, in three years they will have a handful of plus players. Also, that means in a few years you have one or two big contracts ending every year, allowing flexxibility to address future problems. Not many teams have been successful in adding a lot of high paid players in one year.
    • TexasGusCC August 14, 2013 at 9:20 am
      Dan, the reason they have to acquire “so many”, two or three is the haven’t acquired any the past three years. However, it is time they started to repair their brand because they are losing customers quickly and often.
  7. DanB August 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm
    Exactly, Gus. The impact of the Beltran and the Dickey trades was dampened by the Mets not adding players to partially replace them. It is like these trades set the Mets development back two years. I am not saying the trades themselves set them back, but the lack of follow up player acquisition. Another reason to add at least one marque player even if it doesn’t put them “over the top” is because the fan base is desperate for more players to root for and spend money to see.
  8. DaveSchneck August 15, 2013 at 12:42 am
    Joe,
    Spot on regarding EYjr. Most paying attention agree he is a 4th OF on a good team, but even so it was a good acquisition since as stated by someone above, the Mets had such a void at leadoff, with speed, and with OF D that he was an upgrade in multiple areas. He still has value in 2014, but the need a better leadoff hitter, at least vs. RHP.

    The Mets brand nosedived the day the Marlins signed Jose. By, that, along with the other purges. I don’t know a thing about Abreu, but what bothers me as a fan is that you don’t even hear a peep about the Mets taking a look. For a team with a badly damaged brand, in a big market (yes Dan B., Queens is still a big market despite the Wilpons), not only should they be kicking the tires on Abreu, they should be doing it with their SNY cameras rolling. When teams like the As and Reds can gamble on Cubans with uncertainty on how their skills translate to MLB, I can’t take the Mets serious until the get into that mix. This team needs to find a #4 hitter somewhere outside the organization.