Mets Game 3: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 8 Mets 2

It was a fairly interesting game until the seventh inning.

Mets Game Notes

Zack Wheeler produced the Mets’ second straight “quality start,” only to see the effort go for naught thanks to a combination of a lack of offense and a miserable bullpen. Though, maybe the bullpen gave up five runs because they knew it wouldn’t matter — if a team can only score two runs, wins will be hard to come by.

For the record, I don’t place much value in the “quality start” — but I’m trying to be positive in these first three debacles games.

Wheeler wasn’t great — he allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in every inning he spun — but all things considered, the fact he allowed only three runs is either luck or a testament to his ability. Wheeler threw 114 pitches before exiting, following Bartolo Colon‘s 110-pitch effort in game 2, and suggesting that Terry Collins (or the Mets front office?) may be establishing a precedent for their starting pitchers. I’m fine with higher pitch counts than we’ve seen in the past 15 years, but, at the same time, there are two things to consider: first, it’s the first week of the season, and I’m not sure that any of the starters are truly ready to throw 110+ just yet. Second, it’s not the pitch count with which to be concerned, but the amount of rest after the outing. If Colon and Wheeler will get a full 5 days of rest — which is possible considering the unusual schedule and unpredictable weather in April — then, OK. If they will be getting only four days’ rest before their next start, well, that’s not enough.

How much pitching do the Nationals have, for goodness sakes? Ross Detwiler came in relief in what seemed to be an insignificant role — he was a pretty decent starter not long ago, and would right now probably slot in as the Mets’ #3 or #4 starter if he pitched in the orange and blue.

In contrast, are the Mets relievers simply in a rut, or do they really stink? Hmmmmm … I’m going to be really fair and forgiving and suggest that it’s too early to tell. But my brain and my gut have different opinion.

Ryan Zimmerman is some kind of hitter, isn’t he?

On a positive note: Curtis Granderson mashed two doubles. He needed that.

Another positive note: the Mets hitters whiffed only 8 times. With every game, they strike out less.

Juan Lagares remains hot — he hit a double and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. But, why the heck was he batting 6th and not leadoff? Because Eric Young, Jr. runs fast? Lagares is on fire — it makes sense to give him as many at-bats as possible until he cools off. Young, meanwhile, is still looking to reach base for the first time in 2014.

Daniel Murphy stroked a single in his first game of the year, and turned two double plays, but he also committed a throwing error (one that might not have been, if a more talented athlete were playing first base). No brain locks on the basepaths, but the Nats did take advantage of his weak arm when Bryce Harper scored from second on a deflected single into shallow RF. I’d say his plus-minus is even.

Speaking of not-so-talented athletes playing first base, Lucas Duda makes one good defensive play for every three not-so-great, but not-charged-with-error plays. And he’s not doing much with the bat. That said, his plus-minus is currently in the negative.

It’s only three games, Mets fans. Please keep in mind that the 2005 Mets began the season 0-5, and they still managed a winning season. It wasn’t 90 wins, but they did win more than they lost.

Mets pitchers have thrown 180, 160, and 174 pitches in each of the three games, an average of 171 per game; the NL average thus far is 144. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s interesting — right?

Next Mets Game

The Mets host the Reds for a three-game weekend series in Flushing beginning at 7:10 PM on Friday night. Jenrry Mejia goes to the mound against Mike Leake.

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. TexasGusCC April 4, 2014 at 12:21 am
    Terry Collins will supposedly announce tomorrow that Duda will be the full time first baseman so the team can see what he can do, since he has never had a chance in the past. While I cannot see where Isaac Davis will be a sure thing if he played instead, I just never saw athleticism in Duda’s defense and wonder what to expect.

    In other news, while we are still looking for our savior at 1B, Jose Abreu has started out hitting .455. Only three games, so let’s see…

    Lastly, I have only seen one complete half inning so far (the top of the ninth on Monday when Parnell blew the save) and bits and pieces of at bats, mostly Nationals. I must say, is it me or is there a lack of energy throughout the stadium; from the players, to the announcers, to the fans.

  2. mike April 4, 2014 at 12:51 am
    We dont have a catcher,firstbaseman,shortstop,a closer or an ace pitcher and only one outfielder.
    This season is over…….trust me
  3. norme April 4, 2014 at 1:01 am
    Whatever Terry Collins shortcomings as a field boss, at least he stood up for Murphy against the numbnuts at WFAN.
    This debacle in the making (yeah, I know about 2005) is to be blamed not on TC but the front office, and that’s from the owners on thru Sandy Alderson and his staff. But TC will be the sacrificial lamb some where down the road.
  4. meticated April 4, 2014 at 3:34 am
    ok,only 4-14 to go….prove me wrong…spawn of wilpon
    • Joe Janish April 4, 2014 at 10:20 am
      Curious, did the 4-17 just come out of the blue? Or is it significant of something?
  5. meticated April 4, 2014 at 3:37 am
    maybe a Kekich for Peterson redux…our team and organization straight up for the Astros…catchy name…cool unis…got a future apparently…large market town
  6. argonbunnies April 4, 2014 at 5:08 am
    I was happy to see Wheeler throw some fastballs by people. His curve still looks like he’s just learning it, though — some didn’t break, some missed by several feet, etc. I hope he throws the pitch a ton in bullpens etc. until it becomes reliable.

    The only reason the Nats got as many hits as they did is because they had the luxury of sitting dead red the whole time. They were so locked in on the fastball that Wheeler’s change-up was pretty effective, despite no movement and a modest speed differential.

    If he doesn’t walk Leon, we’re looking at 6 innings and 1 run, so I have hopes for improvement.

    I also looked at some of SNY’s slo-mo replays and tried to pause it to check out his motion. I think his arm wasn’t as late as we’ve seen it previously; or, at least, not on every pitch.

    • Izzy April 4, 2014 at 8:55 am
      He did walk Leon,a guy targetted for AA ball. That is horrid pitching. He wants to be Harvey, he needs to protect a 2 run lead when he works for a team that isn’t scoring runs. And if Span wouldn’t have lost the popup Wheeler couldn’t have won no matter because Zimmerman hit a pitch a mile that, by the way wasn’t a fast ball so maybe DC wasn’t sitting dead red afterall. Every game has lots of IFS. They don’t mean anything because ifs are wishful thinking and ignore what happened.
    • Joe Janish April 4, 2014 at 10:28 am
      I took some high-speed film of Wheeler, will look at it over the weekend. What’s bothersome is that he loses noticeable velocity as gets further into a game — which could be a symptom of putting too much stress on the arm. It could also be conditioning, but, I’m going to go on a limb and guess that he’s in tip-top shape after 8 weeks of spring training (and, he had this velocity-drop issue last year as well).

      Velocity WILL drop when a pitcher tires — and that’s an immediate signal to remove him from the game. But Wheeler goes from 95 to 93 to 91 within 75 pitches, and he shouldn’t be getting tired after 75 pitches.

      On another note, Jeurys Familia’s mechanics are downright frightening. No one should be surprised when he has another arm injury.

  7. DanB April 4, 2014 at 10:23 am
    I actually see some positives. Seriously. I ignore SS, 1B, right field, and the bullpen because they are placeholders, like the guys who sit in the chair at the Oscars when the stars go to the bathroom. Wright looks good, Granderson got off the snide. My opinion of Lagares is starting to change. Murphy is back. I have not given up on T d’A like some. Starting pitching hasn’t been bad. My real disappointment has been Parnell. 2014 Is spring training. . Only 12 months to opening day of 2015!
  8. friend April 4, 2014 at 10:48 am
    “Mets pitchers have thrown 180, 160, and 174 pitches in each of the three games, an average of 171 per game; the NL average thus far is 144. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s interesting — right?”

    When they hit their pitch count for the season they can just call it quits?

  9. gary s April 4, 2014 at 11:08 am
    Still only 90 wins from our goal..I expect to wake up any day now and hear that Alderson was admitted into a mental institution..