Mets Game 9: Win Over Braves
Mets 6 Braves 4
Are the Mets this good? Are the Braves this bad? Or is it a function of it being April?
Mets Game Notes
Mets starter Jenrry Mejia was not quite as dominating in this contest as he was against the Cincinnati Reds. Mejia allowed 4 earned runs on 6 hits and 4 walks in 5 innings; I winced at around 94 of his 98 pitches, because his arm was chronically behind the rest of his body and his follow-through is a mirror-image of Oliver Perez. The only thing that comforts me about his frightening mechanics is that they’re not as bad as Jeurys Familia‘s — for whatever that’s worth.
In truth, Mejia was lucky to get out of five frames allowing only four runs — he was in trouble nearly every inning, and if the Braves hitters had any idea about situational hitting, they might have scored 6 or 7 before Mejia exited.
In contrast, the Mets hitters showed exemplary situational hitting skills, cutting down their swings with two strikes, going the other way, and looking to make contact with RISP instead of “going for the downs” every single swing. If they can keep this up, they just might win 75-80 games — maybe 82.
Before you get on me for being negative for stating that, remember that the Mets haven’t won as many as 75 games since 2011, and have done it only twice since 2008 (which was the last time they won more than 80). I’m being positive and generous, whether you realize it or not.
I get that the Braves’ approach is to pitch well and hit homeruns, with little-to-no concern for any other part of the game. And I get that there will be times when too many players are slumping for that formula to result in wins. But it’s boring as heck. Further, if this is the formula that Sandy Alderson seems to be trying to re-create, and if he’s successful in doing so, I may have to give up on watching altogether. Home runs are soooooo 1999.
I’m glad Ron Darling finally asked Gary Cohen if he had remembered seeing so many swings and misses on pitches over the middle of the plate. I was beginning to wonder if I was crazy (well, I may be, regardless). The number of swings and misses in this series by Braves hitters has been astonishing to me. Again, I know their modus operandi is to swing from their butts and hope for the best, but to miss this often, against less-than-stellar pitchers, is puzzling and unexpected from what are supposed to be Major League hitters. The Braves seem to be swinging more aggressively and breezing more often than the young Marlins clubs from a few years back — and this is a reigning division champ. Should I be giving more credit to Mets pitching? Or, again, is it a function of it being so early in the season? Hard to say.
Speaking of Mets pitching, the SNY radar gun had Carlos Torres humming at 93 MPH, and clocked Kyle Farnsworth as high as 96. Was it a fast gun? If not, where is that velocity coming from, especially from Farnsworth, who was struggling to hit 90 MPH in Florida just two weeks ago? Something fishy.
Leading off the bottom of the ninth, down two runs, slugging Ramiro Pena popped out weakly on the first pitch delivered by Jose Valverde. Really? You’re not taking a strike there? Care to explain why not? Even a juiced-up Barry Bonds is taking a strike in that situation. As Ron Darling said, “I blame the manager.” Agreed. That’s atrocious. Of course, I also blame the player for being that stupid. On the one hand, the manager shouldn’t have to tell a player to take a strike, but shame on the manager for not stating the obvious. It only took three years for Fredi Gonzalez to completely obliterate everything Bobby Cox built over 20 years. Can you tell bad baseball annoys me?
The Braves batters finally beat the Mets in strikeouts, whiffing 11 times to the Mets’ 9.
Next Mets Game
The Mets head west to face NJ native Mike Trout and the California Angels for a weekend series. Game one begins at (cringe) 10:05 PM
EST RCT (Right Coast Time). The pitching matchup is Dillon Gee vs. Tyler Skaggs. Thank goodness it’s not a school night so we can sleep in on Saturday morning.