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.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Reds do it again on Saturday afternoon in what should be more pleasant weather. Game time is 1:10 PM, pitching matchup is Dillon Gee vs. Johnny Cueto.

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 5, 2014 at 1:48 am
    Want to mention EY’s great over the fence grab of Brandon Philips shot to rob him of a homerun. Still hitless on the year, but helping in other ways.

    I really feel it would help Granderson moving to the #5 spot. He has never been a #4 hitter, and the homeruns have come as a result of being comfortable. Now at #4, he has pressure to homer. Would like to see Murphy #3 and Wright #4, or flip flop Duda and Granderson.

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if Duda could break out?

    Lastly, the Mets are still looking to trade Isaac Davis, but what can they really get for him, especially now that he has been benched?

  2. Wohjr April 5, 2014 at 2:35 am
    We need more nasty types, and I mean attitude wise, in the pen. Farnsworth may be over the hill but he is mean.
    Scott rice is the nicest leftie you’d ever want to meet: his face says ‘sorry’ every time he throws inside. Torres too. This pen needs more crash Davis in the worst way, rice, Torres, Lannan are all fired and gg is on probation in my book.
  3. Izzy April 5, 2014 at 7:22 am
    So Met nation now has to proclaim TC the best manager in franchise history. What do you get for Davis one asks? You get a guy another team is dumping. You want more, he’s not getting traded. He’ll be a FA next Winter when he is non tendered.
  4. DaveSchneck April 5, 2014 at 9:06 am
    If Grandy hits 20 HR and 50 2B that will be fine, I don’t see it as such a big deal on the Citifield effect as I expect Grandy to change his approach a little. That said, if one of the musical 1B ever steps up, like the Dude, that is the more natural #4 hitter, at least vs RHP.

    That was a seed thrown by Recker, very nice play and important as well.

    I wonder who will close today should the Mets be protecting a small lead. I know, Farnsworth and Valverde. Until Terry burns them out by April 30.

    Both Met LOOGYs have been horrible, albeit small samples. Good thing Alderson built some depth there. Oh, wait, forget that comment.

    Should the Mets manage to pull to .500 before they hit the road, they will likely begin casting statues of Collins and Alderson on Izzy’s behalf.

  5. Dan B April 5, 2014 at 10:08 am
    Glad you brought up the number of stars issue. Since there are 30 teams, you can think of players as being in the top ten, middle ten, and bottom ten of their positions. I think it might be more important to avoid players in the bottom ten then to acquire players in the top ten. The reason I see the Mets as a 75 win team is that their lineup is filled with bottom ten players. Why should a pitcher fear David Wright when he knows he can pitch around him? So what if Granderson hits a double if nobody behind him can move him along let alone drive him in? By the way, before we give up on d’A , I remember Molina being a terrible hitter when he came up for St. Louis. You might not know this Joe but catching is a hard position and they need more time then the other fielding positions to develop.
    • Joe Janish April 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm
      I don’t think anyone is giving up on d’Arnaud. I like him, a lot. I just don’t see him as the next Johnny Bench. And I don’t see him developing into a star just yet.

      If I think his ceiling is John Stearns, is that giving up on him? I hope not — Stearns was one of my favorites back in the day.

      A few years ago I stated that Ike Davis’ ceiling was Adam LaRoche, and many people (not you) thought I was giving up on Davis, and being negative. Imagine if Davis could have turned into LaRoche?

    • argonbunnies April 6, 2014 at 2:46 am
      ESPN ranked top 10s at every position. All the good teams and playoff favorites lead the pack — Dodgers have 7 top-10 players, Tigers and Nats have 6, Cards have 5, etc. The Mets are one of 6 teams with fewer than 2 (Wright joins Chris Sale, Joe Mauer, Chase Headley and Dexter Fowler as the only positional top 10 on their respective teams; the Cubs have nobody).
  6. NormE April 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm
    I just want to mention a play by Lagares in the 9th inning.
    On Phillips single Juan charged the ball and made a neat pick-up before firing to third, thus keeping Bernardina at second where he could not score on Votto’s fly ball. If Bernardina gets to third a sac fly by Votto would’ve tied the game.
    I love this kid in CF.
    • DaveSchneck April 5, 2014 at 6:58 pm
      Great point. This kid needs to play every day, as he earns it day in and day out.
  7. argonbunnies April 6, 2014 at 2:41 am
    A lot of plays not made by Tejada and Murphy. 2 DPs not turned, the pop fly to shallow right that Murph over-ran, and the error on a routine DP ball — that’s 5 outs the Mets’ D handed the Reds.

    The thing that upset me most, though, was d’Arnaud giving Mejia the “nice pitch” glove jab on a 2-1 fastball to Pena that was just a bit outside. You’ve got a lead and you’re facing the #7 hitter with no one on. Aiming for the corner and just missing is actually BAD pitching — right there, it’s better to throw a strike than be too fine. Next pitch was ball 4 and the Reds had a rally underway. If TC cares about a winning mentality, he needs to talk to Travis about this ASAP.

    Speaking of d’Arnaud’s catching, has anyone else noticed how few inside pitches he’s called for so far?