Mets Game 2: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 5 Mets 1

Again, walk away from the ledge, Mets fans — it’s only two games. There is still plenty of time to win 90 games.

Mets Game Notes

Can’t fault Bartolo Colon for this one — after all, he did produce a “quality start”: 6 IP, 3 ER. I’m sure many pundits have predicted that Colon would continue his dominance due to his move to the NL, since it’s generally accepted that the NL has weaker hitters (as well as the pitcher hitting). What also must be considered, of course, is that the weaker hitting works both ways — Colon, this year, doesn’t have the Oakland Athletics offense supporting him. Last year, the A’s averaged 4.74 runs per game to the Mets’ 3.82. And in fact, the A’s did nearly a full run over that for Colon, providing him an average of 5.52 runs every time he started. So while Colon may continue to post a stingy WHIP and ERA, is it going to matter when it comes to wins and losses? I know, I know — wins are overrated. But this year, the Mets want to win 90 games, so, when that’s put into the equation, well …

Hey, the Mets set a new MLB record! By striking out 13 times in this game, and combining that with the 18 on March 31, the sum total of 31 strikeouts is the most in the first two games of a season in MLB history — shattering the record of 28 set by the Houston Astros last year. Nicely done!

Oh, and they set that record without Ike Davis in the lineup, and without whiffmaster Chris Young contributing to the total — Young left the game after the first frame due to the same quadriceps issue that kept him out of Opening Day. The chilly weather cannot be helping his situation.

On the bright side, Juan Lagares remains red-hot; he collected two of the Mets’ three hits on the evening — a double and a triple — as well as scoring their only run.

Ruben Tejada had the Mets’ other hit, and had a shot at scoring their second run, but was gunned down at the plate in a bizarre session of patty-cakes played with Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton. In the postgame, manager Terry Collins explained that Tejada was confused, due to the “new rule” surrounding potential collisions at home plate. Oh boy. I could go off on Tejada here, but I won’t, because of all the brouhaha / nonsense of the “new rule” and how it was “taught” during the spring. No, Tejada doesn’t get the blame — MLB, the Mets, and every other team that paid too much attention to the new language are at fault for confusing the players and making them think, rather than react, as they approach home plate.

(BEGIN SOAPBOX)
The rule was reinterpreted, but has not changed one bit. The runner has the right to home plate, regardless of whether the catcher has the ball. The runner is required to run in the basepath, and on a straight line to home plate. So here’s the way to “teach” the “new” rule to runners: run straight to home plate, just as you always did. If the catcher is in your way, plow him. Again, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The only thing that has changed, is that if a runner GOES OUT OF HIS WAY TO INITIATE CONTACT, he could be ejected from the game. Going out of one’s way means deviating from a straight line to the plate. MLB has only made a perfectly simple rule more complicated, and MLB teams have done a duly horrendous job of teaching it. No one should have been “taught” anything. Maybe a reminder, like, “hey, guys, you know how you’re not allowed to run out of the baseline to destroy a first baseman, or a middle infielder? Yeah, well, you can’t do that to the catcher, either — if you do something other than run straight to home plate, you could get ejected.” Simple. What’s the confusion here? Am I that smart, or am I missing something?
(END SOAPBOX)

Also in the postgame, Collins responded to questions about Curtis Granderson‘s tough start by explaining that changing leagues can be very difficult, and it usually takes some time to adjust to pitchers who a hitter has never seen before. I agree 100%, and suggested as much back in December. And certainly, Grandy only had 3 previous at-bats against Stephen Strasburg prior to 2014, and I doubt he had more than one (if any?) against the Nats relievers. But, that excuse doesn’t fly when it comes to Gio Gonzalez, who pitched four years in the Adulterated League and faced Granderson 17 times previously. Oops.

But hold on — I’m not suggesting that Curtis Granderson will continue to struggle for the rest of the year. I DO think he’ll have an adjustment period through the first month or so, and eventually start hitting. Here’s the thing, though: is it any more reasonable to believe that Granderson is this bad, as it is to believe that Lagares is this good? As much as I’d like to see both players do well, my feeling is that we’ll eventually see regression to the mean in Lagares’ case, and progression to the mean in Granderson’s. I don’t think it’s fair to expect Lagares to remain a dynamic, power-hitting leadoff man AND expect Granderson to figure things out and hit 40+ homers.

Speaking of Granderson and homeruns, had his first two games been in Yankee Stadium, he MIGHT have at least two taters already. Just sayin’.

Oh, and speaking of homeruns, Gio Gonzalez blasted a solo homer to help his own cause. Did you cringe, like I did, seeing Gonzalez sprint full speed around the bases, wondering if he would pull a hammy for no reason? Great hustle, love to see it, but if I were Matt Williams I’d be popping Rolaids. Quite a contrast between Gonzalez’s hustle on a homerun vs. Colon’s casual waddle up the first base line on a groundout, eh?

Did anyone else notice that GKR seemed resigned by the 6th or 7th inning? Their attitude and tone reminded me of the late 1970s, when Lindsay Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner had that kind of “well we know the Mets are going to lose, but we’ll make the most of the time” sound to their voices. Even the ever-enthusiastic, ultra-positive Gary Cohen was talking — in the 8th inning — about Zack Wheeler having the “extra juice” of preventing a three-game opening sweep at home. Could it be that Gary, Keith, and Ron are just as dissatisfied as the Mets fan base, so early in the season?

Not sure if Ryan Zimmerman still has pain in his shoulder, or if he’s dealing with a case of Steve Sax / Mackey Sasser disease, but he’s a disaster making throws, and it’s very, very sad to see, considering what a magnificent fielder he was prior to his arm issues.

Is “Matt Williams” going to be the answer to every SNY trivia question during this series?

Next Mets Game

The Mets look to avoid a sweep at home beginning at 1:10 PM on Thursday afternoon (so set the DVR, if you work a 9-5 job). Zack Wheeler goes to the hill against Jordan Zimmerman.

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. meticated April 3, 2014 at 12:46 am
    of. ..I wasn’t gonna state it in print…but my reptile brain keeps flashing 4-17…4-17…I’ve been doing saunas…calisthenics. ..origami…muff diving…nothing shakes it!…4-17…4-17…In red neon like a film nor flop house scene…help me…
  2. meticated April 3, 2014 at 1:23 am
    I realize I might be overeacting. ..I thought that thought a thousand times…seeking to convince myself. ..it’s only your imagination. ..I told myself. ..they couldn’t possibly go 4-17…they’ve got the three amigos in the control room…owners with advanced degrees and fiduciary responsibility. ..couldn’t happen. ..not 4-17…maybe it’s just April seventeenth. ..or aliens put a chip in my neck…acid flashback perhaps. .maybe I’ve got baseball dyslexia. ..and switched wins and losses around…I pray that’s the case!!
  3. DanB April 3, 2014 at 7:55 am
    I hate feeling this way, but I keep feeling, two games into the season, that I am watching prolonged spring training games. I am into a few players like T d’A or the starters or, of course, Wright. However, Tejada and Davis might as well have numbers in the 70s and 80s on their backs as I don’t see them on the team when the Mets field a competitive team. A decent winning streak might help, but my excitement level is directly related to the Wilpon’s commitment level.
  4. Izzy April 3, 2014 at 8:09 am
    Watched with Nat feed so didn’t get to see the Mets’ guy give up routine, but the game did feel over after it was 3-1. That is pretty sad for game two. Anyway, Bob Carpenter (Nat play by play guy) answered their trivia question first last night. It was 8 ABs. The question was “How long did it take Met fans to boo Granderson?” People say the adjustment is so hard yet only 2 Nats had seen Colon, yet they had no trouble (except Harper)just going with the pitch and hitting bullets). What’s the difference between a great manager and Terry Collins? When a Brave told Bobby Cox he was all better Cox sat him another day or two, while Terry rushes guys back increasing the chances for long term injuries. Guess in Met land that one inning is way more important than a few hundred healthy ABs. Bad news for the NL East. Storen looks like he’s back to 2012 form. I think their pen is a tad better than ours. How come their young ens get outs?They must not understand .
  5. DaveSchneck April 3, 2014 at 9:36 am
    Joe J.,
    Not on the ledge, but I did some quick math…Mets are on a pace to go 0-162, record about 1,630 hits and an all-time K record of 2,511. It is only 2 games but te K rate is simply grotesque.

    I do agree with Dan B, with this 25 man roster 2014 is shaping up as essentially extended spring training for 2015.

    Regarding the “bullpen”, and I use that term loosely, Alderson says he will be “monitoring” the available market and “evaluating” what they have. With all due respect to Mr. Alderson, he either doesn’t have all gis marbles, thinks the fan base has a 30 IQ, or both. Take a look at the arms in the Braves’ pen, the Nats’ pen, the Cards’ pen, the Dodgers; pen, the Pitates’ pen, virtually evey other pen in the NL. The Met pen may not even be considered quality in AAA ball.

    Lastly, paid attendance was announced at 29,146, 69.5% full. Quite hard to believe. In the first inning it looked like no more than 2,900 in the park. The Wilpons and their GM have done a tremendous job of killing the Met brand. Don’t blame that on Madoff.

  6. CleonJames April 3, 2014 at 9:41 am
    This has nothing to do with being only two games. This is the character of a team…really bad starters like Granderson and Davis and Tejada that project to perform really poor for another 160 games. Granderson can’t make contact…I have an open mind but this is worse than Jason Bay.

    The Mets are so bad that this life long loyal dedicated Mets fan is thinking about adopting an “interim” team (such as Cincinnati or Orioles) so that my daughter and I have a real major league team to root for.

  7. friend April 3, 2014 at 10:57 am
    “walk away from the ledge”

    This could be a good name for a new blog. Or, maybe just “the ledge”.

  8. wohjr April 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm
    ok well here is a positive… baserunners are so scared of lagares that Rendon didn’t even score from 2nd on a double in the 7th inning. So theres that
  9. argonbunnies April 4, 2014 at 4:53 am
    I was surprised at Colon living outside. Only threw a few pitches inside all game.

    In spring training, he looked like late-career Greg Maddux. In this game, he looked more like Carlos Silva.