Mets Game 141: Win Over Indians

Mets 2 Indians 1

Mets win battle of bullpens to avoid a sweep in Cleveland.

Mets Game Notes

Daisuke Matsuzaka had his curveball working early, but not much else. But that was OK, because he was able to work the curve consistently and keep the Cleveland hitters thinking about it through five and two-thirds strong innings of one-run ball. If Dice-K can pitch like this every time out, the Mets might have something.

Danny Salazar looked electric — until he had to pitch from the stretch, which might explain why the flamethrower is not being projected as a short reliever. The kid throws hard and likes to stay up in the zone, which generated lots of breezy swings from the Mets hitters. It was hard to lay off his high heat because he usually kept it just at the top of the strike zone — until he had two strikes, when he’d locate it just a few inches higher.

Justin Turner blasted another moon shot, looking for and timing that high fastball. I’ve said this in the past and will say it again — he’s been the Mets’ best overall everyday second base option over the past 3 years. I don’t know he’d start there for anyone else, he’d never win a Gold Glove, and he’d never win a batting title, but he’s average in every aspect of the game — similar to Joe McEwing in McEwing’s better years. The muppet also was whacked in the jaw on a failed steal attempt and struck out in a very heated at-bat against Joe Smith in the 8th with the bases loaded. Smith threw three perfect pitches to whiff Turner, but it took a total of eight or so offerings before the feisty redhead was retired.

Did anyone expect Frank Francisco to get the Mets out of that 8th inning jam? Was anyone like me, fully expecting the Indians to score 3 or 4 runs within minutes of his appearance on the mound?

Refreshing to hear Keith Hernandez‘s opinion on today’s post-PEDs hitters, and his overall belief that the level of MLB play is down due to watered-down talent / rushing kids to the big leagues before they’re ready. Sure, he’s as much of an old-school curmudgeon as me, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

In terms of hitting mechanics, Keith is spot-on. Over the past 20 years or so, hitters became more reliant on upper-body strength — the result of both spending too much time in the weight room but also the technological advance of non-wood bats at amateur levels. It’s much easier to swing mostly with the upper body because there’s less to think about, and that ease is compounded by bulky arms and feather-light bats. That style of hitting is easier, but not necessarily more effective — especially when a hitter moves to the wooden bat and better pitching. The adjustment for many players prior to PEDs testing was to bulk up even more — it’s easier to get stronger than to change one’s hitting mechanics. Today, though, MLB hitters need to use and properly coordinate their entire body to generate the bat speed necessary for hitting big-league pitching. In other words, they need to know how to incorporate their lower half.

I just figured out why the Mets signed — and continue to send out to the mound — Daisuke Matsuzaka. Because SNY can sell :30 and :45 ad spots in between each of his pitches. Brilliant.

Next Mets Game

The Mets return to Flushing for four games with the Nationals beginning Monday night at 7:10 PM. Carlos Torres takes the ball against Gio Gonzalez.

Mets Item of the Day

Yet another “back to school” item – New York Mets Sandwich Bags (Pack of 50). These baggies have the Mets logo and close at the top with a ziplock, just like the ones you get at the grocery store — and they’re only $4.75 (with free shipping!) for a box.

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. DaveSchneck September 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm
    Damn, this win could prove very costly in the race for a protected 2014 #1 pick. Don’t DiceK and FF know the best way to help the Mets is to play poorly?
  2. James September 9, 2013 at 8:48 am
    Great post. Meaningless Sept baseball is better than no baseball at all. What about platooning Murphy and Turner?
  3. crozier September 9, 2013 at 9:19 am
    John Lennon began singing in my head 3/4 of the way through this post:

    “You may say I’m a curmudgeon,
    But I’m not the only one.”

    No, Joe, you aren’t; at Mets Today you’re the Curmudgeon Overlord, and today we salute you.

    I’m surprised the top of your head didn’t come clean off during this Bizarro-world game. Dice-K the stopper; FF the fireman; Turner the power slugger.

    But as I watched Duda fail yet again with RISP (didn’t he hear it was Opposite Day?), I tuned out. It isn’t even funny anymore. I argued with a stat-dependent redditor for the first half of the year that Duda is worthless with men on base; he continued to insist that it was all luck, and that with enough at bats his balls in play would eventually translate to hits and RBIs. The problem with those who rely purely on stats is that they remove the human element – they basically have to, since it can’t be calculated. But when I see a supposed power hitter with 300 PAs and 27 RBI, I’ve seen a large enough sample size to draw conclusions. Let another team take a chance on Duda next year.

  4. chris September 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm
    Those sandwich bags are perfect for when I am going to puke, like when I read that Jim Bowden said TC “deserves” to stay until the team contends in a couple years.