Mets Game 8: Loss to Braves
Braves 4 Mets 3
Mets lose, but do what they can to make it exciting at the end.
Mets Game Notes
It didn’t seem like the Mets had any chance at all to win the ballgame. Then Fredi Gonzalez started thinking, which is never a good thing for the Braves.
Tough night for Zack Wheeler, who was throwing 95-96 out of the gate, but reduced to around 93 by the third inning. He was getting plenty of swings and misses, but it’s hard to say whether that was due to his stuff or due to the nature of the Braves hitters, since we saw the Braves missing tons of pitches against Bartolo Colon as well. Regardless, missing bats wasn’t enough to keep Wheeler in the ballgame beyond frame five, because for every 5-6 misses, the Braves were torching a ball into the outfield.
I’m wondering if that’s a guided approach from the Braves batting coach — to take ferocious swings, all the time. In other words, the old Woodie Held philosophy of “swing hard in case you hit it.”
Someone should check Ervin Santana‘s bright, glossy red bat to see if it’s actually aluminum. Wood shouldn’t look like that, should it?
Jason Heyward saw twice as many pitches before his leadoff homer than all three Mets hitters saw in the top of the initial inning.
Heyward appears to be out of his slump. He’s an unbelievable athlete. His swing is not pretty by any means, and he does a number of things that should prevent him from hitting the ball well — closed stance, striding toward the plate, looping swing, excessive head movement — but somehow, he’s able to hit the ball hard. In many ways, he’s a throwback to the days before Charley Lau, high-speed film, and perfectly efficient swings — if he went into a time machine and was dropped into, say, 1978, he’d fit right in. In approach and body type, he looks similar to a young Dave Parker, though his performance thus far has been more like a young John Milner. It will be interesting to see how far his athleticism will carry him forward — will his fate be Milner, or Parker, when it’s all said and done?
Juan Lagares made only one spectacular, extra-base-robbing catch in this game. No need to be alarmed, though — he may be one of the Mets shaking off the flu. I’m sure the Human Highlight Film (all apologies to Dominique Wilkins) will be back on his game soon enough.
I keep waiting for Walden to fall flat on his face in the middle of his pitching motion. That hitch in his delivery is downright bizarre.
I’ve been saying Fredi Gonzalez is an awful manager since his days in Florida. I stand by my words. Why have Walden start the ninth if you intend on having Kimbrel warm up behind him? And why remove Santana after 88 pitches, when he was cruising and showing no signs whatsoever of tiring? Baffling. Either let Santana start the 9th, or have Kimbrel start the 9th with a clean slate. It’s nonsensical to put Walden out there and pull him at the first moment of panic.
It was good to see the Mets fight back in the ninth. Another positive: they struck out only nine times for the second straight game! Baby steps.
In Kevin Burkhardt’s spot on Daniel Murphy, he reported that Murphy was 15th-worst in MLB in frequency of bases on balls in 2013 — and proceeded to mention that some “good ballplayers” such as Torii Hunter and Manny Machado were even worse. Hmm. Well, OK, but, Hunter and Machado bring more to the ballpark than Murphy — Murphy’s SINGULAR tool is his bat. Hunter is a former Gold Glove centerfielder who is still pretty decent in the OF, and Machado’s glove is a strength. Further, both Machado and Hunter hit for more power, and had higher OPS totals in 2013. Just sayin’ …
Anyone else notice the high school kids texting like mad from the premium front-row seats right behind home plate? Why don’t real baseball fans ever sit in the best seats in the house? Something wrong with that.
Jordan Schafer looks like the frat boy at the bar who you want to punch in the face, doesn’t he?
John Lannan looks like the guy who will take the swing for you, doesn’t he?
Interesting bit of trivia: Freddie Freeman was a 2nd-round pick in 2009, 14th chosen in that round and 78th overall. The team choosing one slot before? The Mets, who chose pitcher Scott Moviel. The player chosen right before Moviel? Giancarlo Stanton. Wow. For what it’s worth, the player chosen right after Freeman was Zack Cozart. Pretty decent second round that year — it was about as productive as the first (which included, among others, David Price, Travis d’Arnaud, Matt Wieters, Madison Bumgarner, and, of course, legendary pitchers Eddie Kunz and Nathan Vineyard).