Mets Game 134: Win Over Nationals

Mets 11 Nationals 3

This felt a little like a Mets-Nationals game from 2006.

Mets Game Notes

Wow, Dan Haren really, really stinks these days, eh? He’s just terrible, to the point where it’s a wonder the Nats held on to him this long. I guess he must’ve had a few gems mixed in to keep the faith, and one has to wonder, how did he do it?

In contrast, Zack Wheeler was very good. I stop short of saying “dominant,” because it’s not like he’s overpowering batters or striking out a ton — he just throws strikes and gets outs. Granted, he had a lead from the get-go, and an eight-run lead as of the third inning, so he had a substantial advantage, but still — he did what he was supposed to do given the situation, and he executed.

Ike Davis hit a sac fly to drive in a run, but pulled a muscle in the process. I don’t understand why so many MLBers injure their core / ribcage these days, when one would think they have access to the kind of training that would strengthen and prevent these injuries. I used to take anywhere from 500-1000 swings a day in college, and never hurt anything in my core. Maybe these days they do too much? Or maybe their bodies have too much disproportionate strength (i.e., too top-heavy / too musclebound in the upper body)? Are the bats too light? Do they swing too hard? It really is a mystery.

Just prior to hitting a sacrifice fly to drive in the Nats’ first run, a graphic came up on the screen stating that Jayson Werth had a career .239 AVG with the bases loaded. I don’t understand how that’s possible — a hitter’s highest average should come in that situation, because the pitcher is on the defensive and has to throw three strikes. It makes it all the more baffling when you consider that Werth perennially sees more pitches than most other MLB hitters. He must change his approach drastically, and/or have a different mindset, when the bases are full.

Daniel Murphy remains hot — and dumb on the basepaths. He tried to stretch his second single into a double, and was thrown out by 10 feet on a perfect throw by Bryce Harper. Yeah, the Mets were up by 8 at the time so who cares, and it didn’t mean anything. But gee whiz, there still should be some semblance of judgment in such a situation. Murphy ran hard out of the box, slowed down to a gentle cruise as he approached first base, saw that Harper bobbled, and took off for second. Had Murphy ran hard the entire way, I could understand the gamble — and he might have made it by an eyelash. But once you stop your momentum, the ball has to roll a few feet beyond the outfielder if you have any chance to take second — and that’s if you’re fast, which Murphy is not.

Speaking of stupid, just what the heck was Bryce Harper doing trying to stretch a double into a triple with no outs in the eighth and down by a touchdown? I can almost — almost — forgive him based on his age and lack of experience. But no, I can’t. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Next Mets Game

The Mets go for the sweep on Sunday in Washington at 8 PM. Jonathon Niese goes against Ross Ohlendorf.

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. Joe Bourgeois August 31, 2013 at 10:36 pm
    Harper was trying to make up, in a dumb way, for the perceived lack of hustle last night, I think.
    • Joe Janish August 31, 2013 at 11:10 pm
      I suppose. Still dumb, and still shows his immaturity. But, in his defense, if you’re going to be immature, do it before you’re old enough to drink.
  2. The King September 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm
    A .200 hitter, prone to strikeouts, with few dingers, and fragile to boot? Alas, poor Ike, we hardly knew ye.
  3. crozier September 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm
    Joe, your bile for Murphy borders on toxic. If one’s only source for Mets news was this blog, I can only imagine what they’d think of this iron-gloved moron, as you depict him.

    Right, he isn’t the future, and he makes his share of mistakes. But the numbers don’t lie: his aggression on the bases has helped the Mets more than it’s hurt them. And as long as we’re talking about Harper’s bone-headed baserunning, it was Murphy who jumped to corral Lagares throw, and relay the strike that got Harper. Contrary to your assessment, his value isn’t negative, though it could certainly be considerably greater.

    • Joe Janish September 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm
      Toxic to whom? I find Murphy’s ballplaying toxic — both to me and to youngsters watching the game, who may emulate his actions. It offends me and disgusts me to see someone making millions of dollars a year and playing at the intellectual level of a 12-year-old. There’s no excuse for it. That’s my opinion, and people can take it or leave it.

      To which numbers are you referring, in terms of his “aggression” helping?

      Whether his value is negative or positive is completely subjective, since no stats truly tell the whole story and everyone has a different meaning and perspective of “value.” Therefore we can agree to disagree.

      • crozier September 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm
        “Agree to disagree?” I don’t think that will be a problem.

        What “actions” are you afraid kids will emulate? Being over-aggressive on the bases, leading to outs? Defensive lapses? You’re right that Murphy can be a knucklehead. But knuckleheadedness isn’t behavior the kids will emulate, because you really have to be one to act like one. Now, Valdespin: there’s someone I hope the kids aren’t emulating.

        • Joe Janish September 2, 2013 at 12:05 am
          Yes, exactly — I do fear that kids will run the bases without thinking, because that’s what Daniel Murphy does.

          Maybe I’m being over-reactive. Point is, it drives me absolutely out of my mind that we are supposed to be watching the best baseball players in the world, and they do dumb, avoidable things.

  4. argonbunnies September 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm
    I’m fine accepting Murph’s defensive shortcomings and baserunning blunders if he hits for the .800 OPS he’s teased us with in the past. .700, on the other hand? No thanks.

    He simply isn’t as good a hitter as his hot streaks make him look. You don’t want a .700 OPS guy hitting 2nd, 3rd, or 5th — the Mets are treating him as the player they wish he was, not the player he actually is. In a good lineup, Murph is probably hitting 7th, and no one mistakes a #7 hitter’s mediocre D for “good enough given his offense”.

    I love that Murph plays the game with effort and enthusiasm, and he seems likable in interviews, but he’s not good enough to play every day for a good team.

    That said, I have to agree with those who’ve said that we have other, and bigger, roster problems than 2B.

    • Sidd Finch September 1, 2013 at 5:53 pm
      Excellent assessment of Murphy. He’s super-utility at best, give him starts while his bat is hot type of player, on a good team.
  5. DanB September 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm
    I don’t agree that the Mets have bigger problems then 2B. The Mets problem is that they don’t have position players except for 3B and catcher. They need to upgrade all others. I don’t expect six new players but theior goal should be upgrades at three positions this off season and three the next. Which positions this year doesn’t matter. Just because Murphy is better then the others doesn’t mean he is good enough.
    • Joe Janish September 2, 2013 at 12:09 am
      Agreed. I’ve been tossing around in my head a post titled something like “The Least of the Mets Problems,” because I’m sick and tired of hearing that excuse for poor play from Murphy, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, fill-in-a-name. In other words, just about everyone other than D-Wright and maybe d’Arnaud (we’ll see — so far, so good) are the “least of the Mets problems” and when you add them all up, it’s a big problem — because they stink.
  6. DaveSchneck September 1, 2013 at 11:18 pm
    Pretty much agree with your entire recap. The new moneyball-type edge will lie with the first team that figured out how to avoid intercostal pulls and TJS. Murph has his good points, but his baserunning is up there (down there?) with the worst I have ever seen. Regarding Harper’s out at 3B, age and experience means nothing to me. Making the first out of an inning behind and trying to stretch a double into a triple is inexcusable at any level, even little league, unless the runner incurs an unexpected injury between 2nd and 3rd. It is simply losing baseball and it can be understood by a 4 year old.
  7. chris September 3, 2013 at 11:44 am
    Did anyone else happen to catch on the ESPN telecast the announcer refer to David Murphy as the only player on the Mets you are likely to know? Kind of sad isn’t it?