Mets Game 12: Loss to Angels
Angels 14 Mets 2
Perhaps the exhaustion of this Left Coast trip finally caught up to the Mets, as they were clobbered by the Compton Angels. Unfortunately, there are still three more games to go on this western swing.
Mets Game Notes
Not a good day for Bartolo Colon. Hey, it happens. Everything Colon threw, the Angels hit. If Def Leppard had a hit that was the opposite of “Foolin‘”, it would have been Colon’s theme song for this ballgame.
On the one hand, you could argue that the Mets could have easily won this series, if only something had broken right on Friday night. On the other hand, you could argue that the Mets could’ve been swept, had only something broken right for the Angels on Saturday night. Hmm …
There’s been buzz asking, “should you be worried about David Wright? Should you be worried about Curtis Granderson? Should you be worried about Dillon Gee?” Etc. You know who Mets fans should be worried about? Scott Rice. One of the feel-good stories of 2013, suddenly Scott Rice is not the lights-out LOOGY he was in his long-awaited rookie season. When the Angels loaded the bases against him in the sixth inning, and Raul Ibanez came to the plate, I thought, “hey, here’s a great situation to bring in Scott Rice — and he’s already in the ballgame.” Rice quickly got ahead of Ibanez 0-2, Ibanez fouled off a few pitches, then before you knew it, it was full count. Sure, there was one pitch that MIGHT have been called strike three during the at-bat, but it was definitely borderline, and, Rice threw three other balls in addition to that one en route to walking Ibanez and forcing in a run. Rice, like most LOOGYs, has a decent-enough slider to get swings and misses from lefthanded hitters, but he doesn’t have anything else — not velocity, not great command, not a secondary pitch to compliment the slider. I think he’s going to have a tough go, especially as he faces NL teams who saw him last year.
David Wright and Daniel Murphy were thrown out of the game by home-plate umpire Toby Basner after Travis d’Arnaud struck out looking in the 7th. Wright and Murphy provided some constructive criticism from the dugout regarding Basner’s strike-zone judgment, with which Basner respectfully disagreed. There’s no doubt that Basner’s strike zone was large, and at least a few strike-threes against the Mets were not just questionable, but likely wrong. However, there were similarly borderline calls against the Angels hitters, and, from my view, Basner’s zone was fairly consistent — he was calling strikes at the bottom of the knees all day. As a player, I have experienced some very wide and questionable strike zones by both decent and awful umpires through the years — and it’s something that I have learned to adjust to, when necessary. Why? Because the reality is this: the strike zone is not necessarily what it is as defined by the rule book; the strike zone is whatever and however the umpire that day defines it. It’s stone-headed and unhelpful to continue to expect the strike zone to be something other than what the day’s home-plate umpire is calling. If a guy is calling the low strike, you know what? You make an adjustment, and protect against that pitch when you have two strikes. Bottom line is this: Basner may have made several bad calls, but he wasn’t the reason the Mets didn’t score enough runs to beat the Angels in this particular game.
Speaking of the strike zone, Mets hitters struck out another 11 times in this ballgame. They struck out 14 times on Saturday night, and 9 times Friday night, so that’s 34 times in 3 games — an average of over 11 per game. Granted, both Friday and Saturday night’s games were extra innings. But still, striking out 14 times in 13 innings (on Saturday) is not good.
Travis d’Arnaud has been allowing a number of balls get past him recently. I don’t necessarily blame him; I think part of it is the lack of command of Mets pitchers — particularly Jeurys Familia.
Speaking of Familia, he should not have been pitching in this game — not after throwing 51 pitches on Friday night. Once a pitcher reaches 40 pitches, he requires a minimum of two days of rest — that means, no throwing from the mound for two entire days. And while we’re on the subject of rest, John Lannan had no business being on the mound the day after tossing 33 pitches (actually, it was more like 15 hours after) — a pitcher needs one full day of rest after throwing 30 pitches. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Lannan shat the bed in this ballgame (whether anyone noticed or not is irrelevant). These numbers come from that mysterious voodoo land called “science.” Yes, all individuals are different, and therefore some may not necessarily apply to these numbers. But here’s the thing: the science is not based on performance, it’s based on how long it takes for the body’s muscle fibers to heal, and, generally speaking, we’re all pretty much the same when it comes to that detail. Add in the fact that both Lannan and Familia have incredibly inefficient and dangerous mechanics that put undue stress on their arms, and you have the makings of a disastrous situation. Yes, I know the Mets played two straight extra-inning games, and someone had to throw those innings. Here’s a wild idea: bring up an arm from AAA Las Vegas for Sunday’s game — they were playing in Fresno, which is less than a 4-hour drive / 1-hour flight from Orange County. Egregious irresponsibility by the Mets in not having a fresh arm available after Colon exited the ballgame. By the way, as of this writing, there still had been no announcement of the promotion of a AAA pitcher. And guess what? If the Mets recognized the importance of rest (rather than obsessing over pitch counts), they’d know that Lannan, Familia, and Scott Rice (who threw 34 pitches in this game) are all unavailable for Monday’s game. So, that means Terry Collins has to figure out a way to get 9 innings out of his starter, and has only Jose Valverde, Kyle Farnsworth, Carlos Torres, and Gonzalez Germen to work with out of the bullpen. I know, four relievers should be plenty, but, a) this is “Matchup Man” Terry Collins we’re talking about; and b) what happens if Zack Wheeler has a day tomorrow like Colon did in this ballgame? Uh-oh.
Next Mets Game
The Mets move on to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks in a three-game series. Game one begins at 9:40 PM Right Coast Time (RCT), and pits Zack Wheeler vs. Josh Collmenter.