Mets Game 4: Win Over Reds
Lucas Duda 4 Jay Bruce 3
One down, 89 to go.
Is it safe to say that Lucas Duda at 1B was the right decision — at least, for this game?
Mets Game Notes
Duda’s two taters were the complete sum of Mets production, and it was enough to beat the Reds, whose runs were driven in by Jay Bruce. Maybe they should’ve just conducted home run derby between the two?
The Mets received yet another quality start — they’re now 3-for-4 — as Jenrry Mejia spun six innings of one-run, four-hit ball.
Tough night for baseball — I LOVE baseball as much as anyone, but I always hated playing in cold weather; the only thing worse was playing in cold, wet weather. It was mentioned by GKR that the pitcher has the advantage on such a night, but at the same time, it’s very difficult to get a good grip on a wet baseball and make it do what you want it to do with light rain falling — even a 100-MPH fastball gets wet in the rain.
It was mentioned by Ron Darling that on a night like this, “the pitcher and the catcher are the only ones staying warm.” Not entirely true. Speaking from experience — both on the mound and behind the plate and at other positions on the field in crappy conditions like this — yes, it may be warmer to be part of the battery as opposed to a fielder, but not that much warmer, and, more importantly, because you are constantly handling the ball, it’s more of a challenge. Sure, standing out in right field, you’re feeling colder and stiffer, but how many balls are coming your way? Maybe two or three on a cold night? Handling the baseball in cold, wet weather is a major challenge — and you do it more than anyone when you are the pitcher or catcher — because in addition to the ball being slick, your fingers get wet from the rain and go numb from the cold. Imagine having to handle the ball 90-150 times when you can’t feel it.
Curtis Granderson hit another double — his third in two games — but it wasn’t exactly a blast. The Reds had a severe shift in place, and he dribbled what would’ve been a routine grounder to third had the defense been positioned in conventional alignment. Lucas Duda followed with his two-run homer. I wonder how much that turn of events plays into the statistics behind defensive positioning? In other words, are the hits and runs given up due to shifting considered when teams figure out their defensive strategy?
Granderson also hit what would’ve been homerun #3 in Yankee Stadium when he lofted a fly ball in the sixth that was caught near the warning track in RF on a nice play by Jay Bruce.
The home plate umpire had an EXTREMELY tight strike zone for Mike Leake, and not quite as tight for Jenrry Mejia. I thought it was me, until GKR expressed the same observation. Though, I’d be curious to see the QuesTec report (do they still do that?), because part of that feeling could be due to Leake constantly working on the corners, and close to the corners — maybe he really was just a few inches off the plate. But, I have to say that Mejia was getting MANY pitches called strikes that seemed to be below the knees — to Joey Votto in particular. Then again, that could’ve been a function of Votto taking so many pitches.
Speaking of Votto, LOVE seeing him choke-up with two strikes. Kids, do you even know what “choke-up” means? Ask your dad. If he doesn’t know, tell him to ask me in the comments. Very old-school, and very effective — just ask the single-season and career homerun leader (or, Rusty Staub).
If the umpire was giving Mejia an advantage, it didn’t prevent him from allowing 5 bases on balls. However, it certainly helped him rack up the strikeouts — there were several 1-1 counts that turned into 1-2 counts instead of 2-1 on pitches that looked borderline low, and that’s a HUGE difference. Mejia had a MLB career-high 8 Ks.
Early on in the SNY broadcast, the new Kevin Burkhardt (Steve Gelbs) did a feature on the “underrated” Jay Bruce. As a result, something came to my attention: the Reds have three legitimate position-player “stars” in Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and Bruce; last year’s Cincinnati club had a fourth in Shin-Soo Choo. The Mets, in contrast, have David Wright. I suppose Curtis Granderson could be considered a star, IF he goes back to where he was two years ago. But that’s it. Further, it doesn’t appear that the Mets have any potential stars coming anytime soon. Maybe Travis d’Arnaud? Though, that’s a stretch — I see d’Arnaud evolving into a very solid, two-way catcher, but not quite a star. What do you think? Is this a problem? Does a team need stars to get to the postseason?
Speedster Billy Hamilton wasn’t in the starting lineup, presumably because he struggled in his first three games. Though, I wonder if the decision had anything to do with Roger Bernadina‘s dramatic efforts against the Mets over the years? He’s only a .240 career hitter vs. the Mets, but those game-winning homers are well-remembered by most Mets fans.
We did, however, see Hamilton pinch-run in the 8th, and he was thrown out attempting to steal for the second time in his MLB career — the first time was also at the hands of the Mets.
GKR is so accustomed to seeing Terry Collins change relief pitchers based on same-handed matchups, they were flummoxed by Reds manager Bryan Price‘s decision to stick with lefty Manny Parra when David Wright came to bat in the 7th. Yes, guys, it’s completely within the rules to allow a reliever to face a batter of opposite hand.
Interestingly, Price did remove Parra with two outs and no one on in the 8th and Juan Lagares coming to bat. I wonder if it had as much to do with creating a righty-righty matchup as much as it was Parra reaching 20 pitches — a count that, according to science, is near the limit before a pitcher needs a full day of rest. Is it possible Price is aware of scientific research that tells us pitchers can go back-to-back days so long as their pitch count stays under 25? Or is that wishful thinking?
Daniel Murphy had two more hits but another error (now 3 of each in his two games). The error, though, didn’t matter, so I suppose his plus-minus is still in the positive.