Mets Game 125: Loss To Braves

Braves 4 Mets 1

Just for the record: the first-base umpire did not throw the game-winning gopher ball. Further, he did not go 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Mets Game Notes

Jonathon Niese pitched as well as could be expected, striking out 9 and allowing one run on 5 hits and 3 walks in 7 efficient innings (106 pitches). In this outing I saw from Niese a rarity: some of the time, particularly in the first 3-4 frames, there was a clear delineation between the release-point arm angles for the cutter, fastball, and curve. On the one hand, there are a few outstanding hitters who can pick up on that and know what’s coming. On the other hand, it’s the only way Niese can throw both an effectively breaking, 12-6 curve and an effective cutter in the same game — and most hitters won’t pick up the difference in arm angles. As has been the case throughout his career, Niese’s motion gradually became a product of his repertoire — i.e., the cutter, a pitch he used as his primary weapon during this ballgame. The slight over-rotation habit he falls into (and fell into as the game wore on), combined with his damaged and fatigued shoulder, was the reason he broke Jason Heyward‘s jaw in the sixth inning. By over-rotating and being a hair slow with his arm speed, his left arm was a bit behind his body, the release was premature, and the ball flew unexpectedly up and in. He threw a few more pitches toward that spot after the HBP in the 6th and 7th, including fastballs that dipped to 88 MPH; it was a sign of fatigue.

Niese was strong through seven innings, though, and it’s hard to argue with success. Short-term results usually outweigh long-term health. He retired the Braves batters with a steady diet of cutters, using the fastball and curve as occasional “show” pitches to keep them honest. Velocity on the cutter was in the 88-89 range, and the fastball was anywhere from 89 to 91, with a handful of 93-MPH pops.

Go Josh Satin! Two-for-four with a solo homer to provide the extent of the Mets scoring. Shades of Jason Phillips, circa 2003?

Daniel Murphy and Terry Collins were tossed from the game in the fateful tenth for sharing their opinion of first-base umpire Jerry Layne’s safe call on a Freddie Freeman infield hit. The replays proved that the call was wrong — though, it was damn close, and seriously, I can’t fault the ump on that one. Seen objectively, it could’ve gone either way when judged in real-time. Seen from a Mets’ fan’s point-of-view, it was a horrible call that made Don Denkinger look brilliant. But seriously, it was really, really close.

And before anyone points directly to that call as the reason the Mets lost the game, I’d like to point out a similarly close call at second base in the the fourth inning, when Andrelton Simmons was called out trying to stretch a single into a double. Juan Lagares made an absolutely brilliant play to cut down Simmons — but I’m not 100% convinced he was definitely tagged out in time. Daniel Murphy’s glove and Simmons’ hand met the second base bag at exactly the same time. The replays weren’t entirely conclusive from my living room chair — though you may disagree. However, that play happened in the fourth inning, when there was no drama. Yet, it was another play that could’ve gone either way in real-time, and the brilliance of Lagares to make a throw that beat the runner may have played into the out call. What if Simmons is safe there? Then it’s one out and a man on second. Maybe the Braves don’t score there — Niese was dealing, after all — but you never know.

Oh and by the way, Freeman’s comebacker that went off Scott Rice‘s glove was scored a hit. You know where I stand on that one.

So, I own a Cincinnati Reds “Janish” T-shirt, but can’t find an Atlanta Braves companion. Go figure. Let me know if you spot one, as I need to continue the collection.

Next Mets Game

The Mets have a day off on Thursday night, then host the mighty Detroit Tigers. Game one begins at 7:10 PM on Friday night, with Carlos Torres facing Doug Fister.

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. Dan42 August 22, 2013 at 6:09 am
    Scott Rice pitched in 6 out of the last 8 games. When will his arm fall off?

    I’d have to go with the Ump on the Simmons call, none of camera angles I saw (home and away) showed him beating the tag, and the Braves’ announcers had no beef with the call, only admiration for Laguares’ 13th? assist.

    • crozier August 22, 2013 at 9:16 am
      11th assist, but no matter; Lagares is now tied for the lead in outfield assists in many fewer games than his chief competition. This was my favorite by far: he took no time to plant, throwing from the side, practically over his shoulder. Jaw-dropping play.

      That said, expect his assists to decrease, as surely as Byrd will never attempt first-to-third on a ball hit in the direction of Puig ever again. But runners showing caution on balls hit to Lagares adds value as well.

      • Dan42 August 22, 2013 at 10:11 am
        Looks to be the converted shortstop that he is.
    • crozier August 22, 2013 at 9:20 am
      Surprised to see no comment from Janish on his namesake’s unorthodox suicide squeeze attempt with 2 strikes.
      • Joe Janish August 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm
        His ineptness with the bat is an embarrassment to Janishes everywhere.
  2. Izzy August 22, 2013 at 8:15 am
    Murphy behaved like a Little Leaguer. I guess it’s Ok because he is not a Valdespin or a Tejada.
    • crozier August 22, 2013 at 9:10 am
      Odd you’d post this comment in Mets Today, Iz – not exactly a wellspring of Murph supporters, let alone apologists. Murph could go 4-for-4 with an unassisted triple play, and I think the MT community response would be “meh.”
    • TexasGusCC August 22, 2013 at 9:46 am
      Obvious to what you are referring, but you should have stopped at Valdespin. Murphy knew the game was lost; so did you, so did I. Therefore, cut out your BS.

      Save it for your Padilla name at metsmerised. Several posters here have defended Valdespin much more than Tejada, because we all saw Tejada in the lineup, but Valdespin in the corner of the dugout. However, Tejada did not perform. If you haven’t noticed, we ride Murphy’s production this year too as being unacceptable.

      • Izzy August 22, 2013 at 7:33 pm
        You want to get personal Tex then shove your retarded comments up you you know what.. That’s where your best thoughts have come from. And to educate you clown, a professional ball player doesn’t’t make moronic gestures to an ump five minutes after a play. But you are too busy defending Alderson based on your total ignorance of the game. You want to watch clowns get paid you and Murphy can join tingling. sorry Janish but if they want personal fights her. So be it.
        • TexasGusCC August 22, 2013 at 9:13 pm
          Izzy, I’m not afraid to tell you straight out that your comment had no basis on what Valdespin or Tejada did. I supported Valdespin, and still do. And I hear it plenty. However, a ball player reacting to a bad call that he knows cost his team the game happens in every sport on earth!! Hellooooooo

          As far as your opinion of my comments, I frankly don’t give a fk.

    • TexasGusCC August 22, 2013 at 10:03 am
      Also, as I think about it, I’m glad Murphy blew up. ABOUT TIME! He’s been kind of moping since hitting an opposite field double to put the Mets up 2-1 in the ninth off Rivera.
      • Izzy August 22, 2013 at 7:37 pm
        Go guard the borders Tes, I know unacceptabtable behavior is only ok for white guys like and murph. So keep me out tex and if kids like Lagares say a word beat on them as we’ll. the bigots rule Mets blogs. Burn your cross Tex while you at the border. Might as well go all out.
        • crozier August 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm
          Izzy: the only one declaring war in this forum is you. If you want to call out the Mets for being racist, there are better ways of doing it than throwing tantrums.

          Also, your inference that people who call themselves “Tex” side with the KKK just because they take issue with you makes you sound like a bigot.

        • Walnutz15 August 23, 2013 at 10:26 am
          Izzy’s been standing at the ledge for quite some time now. Good to see he’s finally taken the plunge!
    • DaveSchneck August 22, 2013 at 10:56 am
      Well we all behave like little leaguers every now and then, don’t we? So, Murph popped off and got tossed. It’s happened about a million times in the history of MLB. Heat of the moment, move on. I’d say Dempster’s behavior was something to be a lot more critical of, and MLB slapped him with a joke suspension that won’t even cause him to miss a start.
      • crozier August 22, 2013 at 9:21 pm
        Every day it looks more like Dempster did the Yankees a favor. Not only did he incomprehensibly make Rodriguez a sympathetic figure, but the Yanks are 5-0 since the incident. If they make the playoffs, it will stand as one of the biggest last laughs in MLB history.
  3. friend August 22, 2013 at 9:46 am
    ‘So, I own a Cincinnati Reds “Janish” T-shirt, but can’t find an Atlanta Braves companion. Go figure. Let me know if you spot one, as I need to continue the collection.’

    The MLB store allows you to customize. I just tested this for the “Atlanta Braves Authentic Font Personalized T-shirt by Majestic Athletic”, and it allowed me to select Janish, 4.

    http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3415172&cp=3306614

    • Joe Janish August 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm
      Thank you. But, I don’t shop MLB.com, as it feels like I’m handing my money directly to BeelzeBud Selig. And besides, what’s the fun of that? My hope is to randomly come upon a “Janish” shirt on the clearance rack of a Modell’s somewhere.
  4. James August 22, 2013 at 10:54 am
    Mets did not lose the game because of a bad call. They didn’t lose the game because of a bad call because there was no bad call. Tie goes to the runner, and maybe with a special slo-mo replay the ball beat him by a millisecond, who the hell cares. I think instant replay will be another nail in the coffin of baseball as we used to know it in 50s, 60s and 70s.
    • Joe Janish August 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm
      Agreed !
    • Wil M. August 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm
      Real Mets fans care, since it was CLEARLY the wrong call, no special slo needed to verify, and it cost us the game. Yea, it was a bang bang play, and thus don’t completely blame the ump for missing it but I think most would prob have gotten it right, these kind of close calls are what replays were made for, can’t wait til next year when ump mistakes won’t determine games anymore.
      • Joe Janish August 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm
        CLEARLY? Maybe through your orange and blue glasses. It was only barely “clear” after viewing on the super-slow-motion replay, and even then, it was the wrong call by only two or three inches. Even the greatest Mets cheerleader of them all — Gary Cohen — wasn’t sure whether it was the right call when it was made live.

        Be careful what you wish for — those bang-bang plays go both ways. Further, even with slo-mo replay, there’s still a human being who has to make the decision, and may not necessarily make the right one every time.

        • Wil M. August 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm
          I agree live it was hard to tell, but it was clear on the replay, and an ump standing a few away should have been able to tell, still like said it was a tough call and don’t completely fault him for missing it. Point was tho that yes any Mets heck baseball fan should care as the game should never be decided by ump calls, regardless of which way it goes. And the odds of the replay guy making a mistake are miniscule, most replays are extremely clear and pretty hard to make a mistake on.
        • Joe Janish August 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm
          Please understand that your opinion is yours and completely subjective.

          I am a baseball fan and I happen to prefer the human element in the game, including umpire calls. If baseball players were perfect and never made errors, I might feel differently, but since robots don’t play (yet), I’m fine with an occasional missed call here and there — it provides argument and conversation.

          I also disagree profusely with your assertion that an umpire standing a few feet away should have been able to make the correct call. It took a perfect angle by a high-speed camera to show that Freeman’s foot was about 2 inches from the bag when the ball appeared to hit the leather of Satin’s glove. You really, truly expect the human eye to see that? I don’t, but then, I may not be as much a perfectionist. What if the first baseman was Freddie Freeman and the runner was Juan Lagares? Would you have a different opinion?

          Are “most” replays “extremely clear”? I’m not so sure. But let’s assume that they are for a moment. If “most” and not “all” replays are extremely clear, then what’s the point of using the replay if there is still the possibility of making the wrong call? If the cameras can’t perfect the process, then I don’t see much reason to waste the time in using them. Just my opinion, of course.

        • Wil M. August 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm
          Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, why someone would want something that is easily correctable tho that would put the game completely back in the players performance as to the outcome is hard for me to understand, but that’s your choice.

          I’ve played ball, and stood next to close calls many times, and yes even close as these can be seen accurately if one is really looking, fact is we’ve seen umps blow calls that were not as close as this one, frankly most of these are inexcusable, the blown perfect game being an example. And, if it went the Mets way I would of course take it thanking the ump, but not the way I would want to win the game.

          So because 1% might be gotten wrong is a reason not to have replay? I think most would disagree with that reasoning.

        • crozier August 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm
          Because it won’t be easy. It will be time-consuming. There will be strategies around when calls get questioned, breaking pitcher rhythm, or allowing relievers additional time in the bullpen. Because – even Terry has called this one out – the neighborhood play, which has protected the health of shortstops and second basemen for decades, stands to be eradicated. Because it opens up a can of worms when a ball is declared dead. And who knows what else.

          Everyone wants the right calls, but thinking this is a smart, easy fix is over-optimistic at best.

        • Wil M. August 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm
          Most replay reviews would take place on plays that would create an argument, which by the time calmed down the call would have come. So amy extension of the game would be minimal, at best. As for the neighborhood play most of the time 2nd is stepped on, anything too obvious the umpires usually call. So not much of an argument here either imo.
        • DaveSchneck August 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm
          I respect everyone’s opinion, but I don’t really get this resistance. Reasonably expanding replay review is frankly one of the simplest things in the world to do. Set the parameters – HRs, fair/foul, catch/no catch, safe/out. Have a 5th ump in the booth. He watches the replays just like GKR and the rest of us. MLB easily knows the average amount of “close calls” per game, so they can estimate an appropriate amount of challenges. By the time the manager gets out to make a challenge, the 5th ump has already seen 2 or 3 replays, lke the rest of us. If he doesn’t see evidence to overturn with 20 seconds, the call stands. Done. It will actually save time, and I’m sure the MLB not only knows the number of “close calls” per game, it knows the number of those that replay is inconclusive. It will be a very small percentage, and these will be accepted as bang bang calls not ruining a game.

          Regarding the traditionalist point of view, I don’t get that resistance either. I fancy myself a traditionalist, love grass, outdoor games, day games, loathe the DH. However, I am for getting calls correct fast and simple. Field umps can keep their jobs, so its no labor issue, the human element will be there. No one complains about technology when we use it to watch the games, blog about the games, keep the playing fields in condition, us it to improve the equipment, the game prep, conditioning, training, analyze human body movements to prevent injury and improve performance, travel to and from the ballparks, etc., so why should the umps be denied some technological assistance to improve the calls if it can be done quickly and decisively?

        • TexasGusCC August 23, 2013 at 9:28 am
          Dave makes some very good points. Every other sport uses replay, even college basketball. It gives a piece of mind that the call will be made correctly. Honestly, if you are the Cardinals or the Royals in 1985, how do you feel about the call at first base, or better yet, how does Dekkenger feel? How does Jim Joyce feel about the Galaragga perfect game?

          I don’t see how improving something is bad for it.

  5. Kiel August 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm
    • Joe Janish August 22, 2013 at 11:21 pm
      Nice! Thank you!
  6. crozier August 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm
    Really enjoying the comments in the last few days. The group is riled up. You’d almost think the games meant something!

    Well, they do, in a way, if you think they have any chance of competing next year. You’ll recall last year at this time the team had hit bottom and was digging for new lows.

    • Joe Janish August 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm
      Agreed re: loving the passion going on here!

      As to a positive season in 2014 … well, let’s see what happens in the winter.

  7. Happy59 August 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm
    I personally prefer the human element of the game, including umps making bad calls. However, I’ve also noticed that the umps are in the wrong position to make the right call. They are trained to take a certain position on the field in relation to the base they are covering, which is fine, unless they can’t see the play properly, then the ump should alter his position in order the see the play more closely. Which they don’t, replays often show this to be true, next time watch the umps position to see the play in relation to how the play actually transpires. You might notice what I am suggesting, umps out of position.
    • Joe Janish August 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm
      If in fact there is a lowered quality of umpiring, it falls in line with the overall lowered quality of baseball playing.

      Is umpiring worse than it’s been in the past? I’m not sure. What I’m absolutely positive of is that the high-tech camera work — and multitude of angles available — make umpires look terrible.

      Here’s my concern, and it goes along with your valid points, Happy — won’t replay make umpiring even worse? Because umpires won’t have the pressure of having to be in the right position to make the right call, since a questionable play will be reviewed by replay?

      • Happy59 August 23, 2013 at 12:20 am
        Joe,
        I don’t believe umpiring has gotten worse over time, it’s just instant replay has brought mistakes to the forefront where everyone can see them, re-play after re-play. Umps are smothered by re-play, nothing they canh do about it without causing union/MLB issues [which they would lose due to the monetary value of TV and it’s re-play].

        As for umps with replay looming over them every play, they have perhaps 2 choices, have pride in trying to get the call right with their initial call, or, get lazy and decide if their call is wrong replay will correct it. Seems it would depend on the individual umps character which choice they make.

        Joe, I just read an article in Bleacher Reports by a writer advocating the removal of divisions all together believing it would make baseball better! Has something to fo with how many times teams play each other with rivalries losing luster due to playing each other 19 times versus a lesser amount. Egad, just play other teams in other divisions more often.

        Seems to me it goes with the issue we discussed a couple months ago about baseball trying to blurr the lines between leagues. I’ll take tradition over “modern” or “progressive” changes in the game.

  8. Dan B August 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm
    Dice K is starting for the Mets tomorrow. I think this a great move by the Mets because without Dice K everyone would stand around and wait for someone to throw the first pitch.
    • DaveSchneck August 22, 2013 at 9:50 pm
      Everyone but Carlos Torres. The thought of him throwing against that Tiger lineup was pretty nasty.
  9. wohjr August 22, 2013 at 10:37 pm
    In the sport that I played (top 5 NCAA bitches!) there were human refs (technically a referee and a marker, one from each team) and let me tell you I blew a goddamn fuse when those guys got it wrong but you know what– I would take the human element over a computer every time. I used the calls that were wrong as extra motivation/adrenaline/gestalt to push my play over the edge. Can’t tell you how many times I won because I was angry. Maybe Greg Burke just needs to get pissed and put that pitch a bit further up or inside