Mets Game 144: Loss To Nationals

Nationals 3 Mets 0

If there was one game in this series that appeared to be a “gimme” for the Mets, it was this one. Oh well.

Mets Game Notes

Zack Wheeler was very good, perhaps excellent. Unfortunately, he needed to be perfect.

Wheeler got out of a very tough situation in the first frame with two strikeouts, and continued to battle through his seven-inning stint. Other than one-two-three innings in the second and third, Wheeler pitched with stress and from the stretch as the Nats put runners on base in what was a scoreless ballgame until the sixth. But at some point, your team has to give you a run or two, and that never happened as the Mets were shut out for the second time in three days.

Why they could manage only three hits against Dan Haren was a bit of a mystery. It wasn’t as though Haren was slinging nasty stuff — the Mets merely made outs.

Ruben Tejada started at shortstop, making his first appearance since going on the disabled list in late May — and later, demoted to AAA. I’m curious: what did Tejada do to deserve a September promotion? Is he back in the bigs only because he’s already on the 40-man roster? Is it because the Mets didn’t have any other shortstop to promote, and Omar Quintanilla needs a breather that desperately? Or, did Tejada truly earn the promotion based on a change in attitude over the last few months in Las Vegas? I hope it is that final suggestion, because if it isn’t, then the Mets are (still) sending the wrong message to their young shortstop. Based on the recent comment by Sandy Alderson regarding “pulling teeth” when it comes to Tejada, I would think that allowing his season to end concurrent with the 51s would be the best way to motivate him for 2014. Like other youngsters over the past few years, Tejada has been rewarded for negative effort; not a great way to develop young bucks into polished MLBers.

Jayson Werth hit a double in the first frame — or did he? Eric Young, Jr. grossly misjudged the ball off of Werth’s bat, and it went flying over his head and to the wall. Not an error, of course, because Young didn’t get his glove on the ball. Eh, whatever.

The blah-blah about Pedro Lopez was eerily similar to the hype foisted upon Manny Acta way back when. Wally Backman‘s omission from the dugout is telling; expect him to be leaving the organization sooner rather than later. Ron Darling pointed out Backman’s discussion with Mike Francesa as being the beginning of the end for Wally. I’ve listened to that interview several times and didn’t hear the same thing everyone else did — I heard someone who was asked to take care of something, and expressed confidence he’d succeed. In this day and age of GMs micro-managing ballclubs, and preferring brainless yes-men who simply carry out orders, there is no room for a manager who has an opinion, has a brain, and knows how to win. Because it’s not his job to win, it’s his job to nod his head, play the percentages given him on the stat sheet, and agree with whatever the geniuses in the front office have to say. Fine. Baseball’s all about numbers anyway, right?

Next Mets Game

The Nationals go for the four-game sweep on Thursday afternoon at 1:10 PM. Aaron Harang makes his Mets debut against Tanner Roark, who is undefeated but making only his second start of the season.

Mets Item of the Day

Since WFAN has dropped Mets telecasts for 2014, I thought it was fitting to suggest a New York Mets Portable iDock Stereo Speaker. You may as well ditch the AM radio and pony up for MLB radio next year — who needs the extra device, anyway? Just pay for MLB radio, get the app for your iPhone, and dock it when the Mets play.

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. MIC September 12, 2013 at 3:13 am
    ‘Wally Backman‘s omission from the dugout is telling; expect him to be leaving the organization sooner rather than later. Ron Darling pointed out Backman’s discussion with Mike Francesa as being the beginning of the end for Wally. I’ve listened to that interview several times and didn’t hear the same thing everyone else did — I heard someone who was asked to take care of something, and expressed confidence he’d succeed.’

    Joe: The games are NOT worth talking about. They lost that magic in July…..early July.

    BUT what is worth talking about is WALLY BACKMAN:
    For the last 3 months various sources have sung virtuous melodies about TERRY COLLINS.

    WHY! WHY! WHY!…

    WALLY BACKMAN: HAS DONE WHAT THIS YEAR ???
    1. Led LV to playoffs…..with a team of cast offs…AA players rushed because the AAA team he started with was in CITIFIELD….virtually all of it.

    2. HOW MANY PLAYERS HAS HE SEEN PROMOTED?

    3. THE COMMENTS you referenced were made at a time when some openly wondered if WALLY would get more out of IKE than Terry could……….HE DID!!!

    4. MY VIEW: A team of Teufel and BACKMAN might (again) be the sauce this franchise needs….AND BOTH MEN have proved their worth.

  2. david September 12, 2013 at 3:18 am
    I think we all share Joe’s frustration with the Wilpons but let’s start with agreeing that TC has to go. Recently I posted about this and was met with a lot of hand wrigning about the poor players, blah, blah blah. However, Ron Darling may have hit the nail on the head the other night talking about why Davey Johnson was such a good manager – he knew how to use his players. He knew how to platoon certian guys, when to rest others, and who to trot out there every day (eg. Keith, Kid and Straw). Sure, TC doesn’t have the same horses but he definitely does not know how ti use his players to maximum effect. He tinkers, he putters, he stays with the same lousy losing lineups. Ok, want an example tonight – why is D;Arnaud batting lower in the order than Satin / Brown / everyone? Why is Zach Lutz batting 3rd in Cleveland? Why is Lagares being moved to RF when its clear he should be in CF? OK, you want to see Den Dekker but how about platooning the 2 youngsters – there’s an idea! Ok, I feel better now. Rgds
    • Izzy September 12, 2013 at 6:50 am
      I’m glad you feel better, but do you really think it matters if collins is axed or not? do you really think he makes any decisions about who plays and where? As Joe says, he is a yes man. He is a puppet. Is he the problem? sure his in game skills are horrible but who is the problem? Him oir the horrible man who hired him? If Alderson hired collins and extended him for his thrid year, he is happy with his puppet. If he stops liking the puppet what does he do…He brings in a new puppet with fresh strings. You want to rid the team of collins unless you dump the GM you just get Collins with a new name.
      • Joe Janish September 12, 2013 at 11:30 am
        Exactly right. If Collins isn’t renewed, Alderson will find another marionette. Bob Generic … er, Bob Geren would seem fitting.
        • Mic September 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm
          Puppet or muppet:
          Not sure terry is doing the supposed bidding. My read is terry is fighting for wins to make himself look better. For reasons pointed out above terry might not be easy to renew,

          has he developed talent….no!
          Has he done well with players in his watch…not really.
          Do he manage a good game…..Nuff said!
          Does he manage personalities….D-.
          Media…?

  3. MIC September 12, 2013 at 4:32 am
    I have not been a supporter of Alderson, his ‘plan’ has been very slow. BUT his hypothesis is starting to mature and so are his assets.

    UNLIKE the Omar years NO ONE truly knows what Alderson is up to. Some wine and dine Depodesta ands others simply quote ‘the unamed Mets official’.

    Taking the emotions of and evaluating the organizations direction would you continue with TC as coach?

    • Joe Janish September 12, 2013 at 11:37 am
      Slow indeed. Well, depends on how the plan is perceived. If you look at the plan as being “cut as much salary and costs at all levels as quickly as possible to keep the franchise in the hands of the Wilpons,” then the plan was executed fairly swiftly. If you’re talking about the baseball plan, I’m not sure what it is. High OBP and homerun power? Hmm … Stockpile pitching? Gamble on arms coming off surgery? Draft and sign efficiently? Not all that much has changed from 20 years ago. Same public messaging, same incongruous results.
  4. Ms Met September 12, 2013 at 10:53 am
    Right on point about tejada/Blackman. There will be no excuse for next offseason. Without any power hitters ( I don’t count Davis/Duda at this stage) they can’t pops inlay succeed next year. I never saw such a depressing empty ballpark. They can’t even draw with 911/ wheeler. I hope the Wilson’s have had enough
    • Joe Janish September 12, 2013 at 11:40 am
      Reported attendance was 20,151. That is a joke. I’d be surprised if there were 12,000 paying customers attending. And half of them were there for the Shake Shack.
  5. DanB September 12, 2013 at 11:31 am
    David, if the Mets had a good manager, how many more wins do you think they would have? How many more wins do you think the Mets would have with an all star shortstop?
    • Joe Janish September 12, 2013 at 11:42 am
      I wish the Mets had an all-around shortstop like Jose Reyes. Imagine how good he’d be in a big park like Citi Field? He’d probably hit 25 triples a year! It’s too bad the Mets farm system was never able to develop a player like that.

      Oh, wait …

  6. DanB September 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm
    Before someone points out that the Marlins overpaid for Reyes, I am going to point out the Mets could of extended him for a fraction of that the year before when he was coming off an injury. It is like saying don’t dump Davis in case he does wll for someone else.
    • Joe Janish September 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm
      And actually, considering the dearth of offense in today’s game, I would argue that Miami got Reyes for a bargain price.

      Is there a better all-around shortstop with the ability to put fannies in the seats and sell jerseys, who is available for hire or via trade? I don’t think so.

      The new Moneyball is to use money to buy what you need and retain what you have. Alderson’s strategy is 20 years old.

      • NormE September 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm
        Hey Joe,
        Maybe the Rockies will give us Tulo for Tejada and Duda/Davis if the Mets also throw in some new baseballs?
      • DaveSchneck September 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm
        Joe,
        Jose was one of my favorite Mets of all time with his combination of speed and high energy. I also think that Alderson’s handling of Jose was by far his worst action/inaction as Met GM – both in that he did not negotiate with him the year before FA, he failed to trade him, and he whole box of chocolates fiasco. However, the Jose today is not the Jose we all grew to love. This season he has no triples, that is zero triples, in 344 PA. I know he hurt his ankle, but that is alarming. John Niese has a triple this year and I can outrun him. Additionally, his UZR and UZR150 both say he is a below average fielder, and his range is well below average. This is most glaring in 2013, and yes he’s been hurt, but it has been the case now for 5 straight years. I am not one to put too much stock in these SABR stats, but I think there is mounting evidence that Jose is not the player that he has been, and his diminished speed has hurt him on the bases and at bat. While part of me wants the Mets to explore a reunion, given his contract cost combined compared to career trend, I think the Mets have benefitted by not resigning him, and they need to look elsewhere for the desperately needed SS upgrade.
        • Joe Janish September 12, 2013 at 11:23 pm
          It doesn’t matter that Jose is not the player he was in his mid-20s — he’s still better than most, infinitely better than anyone the Mets can put at shortstop, and has the potential to be one of the top 5 players in all of MLB. And yeah, there’s a risk with his injury history, but there’s a premium to pay for someone of that caliber. It’s no different from giving $12M to a schlep like Frank Francisco, other than the cost. Frank-Frank was nowhere near worth that kind of money when Alderson signed him, but that was the going rate for a crappy closer. Similarly, the going rate for one of the best shortstops in baseball was 9 figures — despite what the condescending Alderson has to say. The market is what the market is, and even with all the injury issues, I’d be thrilled to have Jose Reyes on my roster at $88M between now and 2018. Why? Because I can’t get anyone better at that position. Any shortstop with half of Reyes’ talent is getting locked up.

          Further, when a team plays in NY, they should be insulated from risk — be it a large gamble like $100M+ for a unique talent like Reyes or a stupid mistake like Luis Castillo. That’s the whole point and advantage of being in a big market — because you have the opportunity of a large fan base and nearly limitless media / advertising / promotional opportunities, you can spend more money than the majority of other teams. Unless you’re broke, of course.

          Dave, I sincerely respect your opinion and always appreciate your contribution here in the comments. That said, I’d like to hear your explanation re: how the Mets have benefited by not signing Reyes — because, to be completely honest, I’m not seeing anything positive by letting him walk away.

        • MIC September 13, 2013 at 3:04 am
          I agree with Joe: We argued this here ad nauseum. But as this blog points out…money had to be saved, so Jose was let go. The could have saved more by keeping Jose and trading DW, but who would have been Mr Met?
        • DaveSchneck September 13, 2013 at 8:24 am
          MIC,
          My point on Jose is that going forward, I’d rather spend that money on an Andrus type that can bring speed and plus defense 2014-2016, or get a plus defending SS that can hit #8 and spend $20 mil/year on other needs.
        • Joe Janish September 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm
          Great idea, but the only “Andrus-type” that might be available is Andrus. And considering how poorly Jurickson Profar fared this year, I don’t know that Andrus will be on the block. Even if he was, it would take Zack Wheeler at minimum to pry him away from Texas — you want to do that deal? I would, knowing what I know about pitching mechanics, but I doubt many agree with me, especially with Harvey likely out for all of 2014.

          If there’s another shortstop out there who is that good, AND is available, AND can be had for something the Mets can afford to give up, I’m not aware of him.

          Here are the top everyday shortstops by OPS — only 5 of them have an OPS over .700:
          http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/ss/sort/OPS

          Shortstops who provide offense disappeared soon after PEDs testing began (just a coincidence, I’m sure).

        • DaveSchneck September 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm
          Joe,
          Agreed – letting Reyes walk was a debacle
          Agreed – Mets have virtually no shot at Andrus, just using him as an example because he is owed a similar amount as Reyes…today I’d prefer Andrus in his prime
          Agreed – almost anyone would be an upgrade from 2013 SS
          My target would be Alexi Ramirez on the ChiSox. Why? 1. Despite the Mets’ lame hitting, I want a plus fielding SS first. I would even take Brandon Ryan with his bat, as Mets still have way too many runs against. 2. Ramirez is available, would not cost a huge amount in trade chips
          3. $10 mil/yr for 2 years is a little pricey, but it is a bank breaker and allows for needed spending elsewhere 4. Ramirez is still young enough to have an expectation of minimal decline, and the commitment can bridge gap until hopefully an internal prospect like Tovar or Cecchini can prove ready
          Lastly, the word is that prospect Tovar already can provide plus defense in the majors, but has a weak stick. I would rather put him at SS for run prevention than signing some middling MLBer with declining range.