Mets Game 14: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 9 Diamondbacks

Mets mash Diamondbacks early and don’t let up. This, my friends, is what we call a “laugher.”

Mets Game Notes

A three-hit shutout for the Mets. Are the Mets this good? Are the D’backs this bad?

Remember when Bartolo Colon had a bad afternoon a few days ago? That’s what happened to Bronson Arroyo in this ballgame. And the Mets hitters took advantage.

Arroyo threw 3 1/3 innings of BP — I’ve never seen him this awful, and have to wonder if he has an injury or if it was simply one of the worst nights of his life. The Mets were ultra-aggressive in the initial inning, with three of the first four batters attacking Arroyo’s first pitch; by the time the half-inning was over, the Mets had a three-run lead. Strangely enough, despite Eric Young, Jr. reaching base on an infield single to begin the game, it took two more singles and a fielder’s choice to score him. How many more times will you see that anomaly?

Jenrry Mejia had excellent results, but left after five frames and 77 pitches due to what was described as a blister on his middle finger. Good thing it was a blowout, but the Mets bullpen didn’t need the extra work. We’ll have to see if this issue will affect his next start.

In a rout like this, details mean little, but I have to take issue with Keith Hernandez‘s criticism of Travis d’Arnaud on Eric Young, Jr.’s bloop single in the fourth. d’Arnaud was on third base with none out, and the ball was hit in the air to short left field. As Keith mentioned, Omar Quintanilla (on second base) got a good read on the ball and took off right away, while d’Arnaud went back to third base to tag. Keith said of d’Arnaud, “… he almost gets run over. That’s just not good right there, he did not read that good at all, he almost got embarrassed — you don’t want to have someone running up your back.” I disagree, strongly (not just with Keith’s butchering of the English language, but also with his baseball opinion). With the ball in the air, even if you think for sure the ball is going to drop, as long as it’s deep enough for you to score once it drops, you go back to the bag. The worst thing that can happen is not that the runner behind you is “up your back” — the worst thing is that the fielder makes a diving catch and you didn’t have time to go back to the bag and turn that out into a run. My opinion, anyway, and the way I was taught back in dinosaur times.

On the other hand, Keith echoed one of my strong feelings during the game, suggesting that MLB should get rid of four teams and “what a league it would be,” by eliminating 100 players from “the pool,” and, ergo, the true “cream of the crop” would be left in MLB. Heck yeah.

Oliver Perez now kind of, sort of, reminds me of Jesse Orosco. But not really. The Luis Tiant / Gene Garber spin is a nice touch. Now that the Mets aren’t paying him a crippling $36M contract, he’s entertaining, in a circus clown sort of way. Though, he remains a sh*t show.

Juan who? Who needs Juan Lagares when you have Kirk Nieuwenhuis? Nice to see Nieuwenhuis back in the bigs and making contact and making diving catches. Remember when he was the Mets’ center fielder “for many years to come”? Remember when Matt den Dekker replaced him in that role? Well, Captain Kirk is back. Can he keep it up? We’ll see soon enough.

Kevin Burkhardt did an interview with Zack Wheeler, and, while Wheeler said all kinds of exciting things regarding starting his hands over his head, using a three-quarter arm angle, setting up hitters, yadda yadda yadda, he sounded to me like a kid discussing he and a pitching coach walking around in a dark room, having no idea what he should be doing, with the pitching coach offering reassuring, but empty advice. It’s a shame that pitchers can be so clueless and have zero valuable direction provided by their management and ownership, which has millions of dollars to find the answers yet continue to rely on handed-down hearsay. Some day, maybe, MLB teams will consider getting advice from qualified people regarding the pitching motion. Though, probably not until the number of Tommy John surgeries increases from 30% to 75%. /off soap box

Eric Young, Jr. kept his streak going by striking out in the top of the fifth — he’s struck out at least once in every single game he’s played thus far. That strikeout was looking, and while it may have been a bad call — it looked like the pitch may have been outside, but Miguel Montero did a nice job of catching the left side of the ball — I’m getting really, really tired of Mets players beefing with the umps after seemingly every single called strike three. I don’t mean to single out Young here, because it’s endemic to the entire club, and, to an old-schooler like me, it’s annoying. Might the umpire make a few mistakes? Sure. How about you? When Young misplays a fly ball, does the umpire bark at him? May he without sin cast the first stone, the good book says. Beyond that, there is nothing positive that a player can do by arguing with an umpire — only negative. People who become MLB umpires do not have the type of personality that is susceptible to inspiring self-doubt — quite the opposite, actually. You’re called out on a bad strike three call? Turn around, away from the umpire mutter under your breath if you must, and walk directly to the bench. Do not confront the umpire and offer him your point of view. Do not “ask” where the pitch was — it was in the strike zone, per the man in blue, and you’re out. At some point in that game, or later that season, you’ll get a call that goes your way — if it didn’t happen already. Will you argue when the umpire calls a strike as ball four? /off soap box #2

The Mets struck out 10 times, yet again. But they won, so who cares, right? Hmm …

I have to admit, I turned the game off after the seventh inning. It didn’t seem like the Snakes were interested in fighting back, which is alarming and a shame considering that manager Kirk Gibson was known for the fire in his belly above everything else. Gibby must be completely exasperated. But jeez, so early in the season to go in the tank?

Next Mets Game

Mets go for the sweep — and the way the Snakes have looked in the first two, a sweep should be expected — as they send Dillon Gee to the mound against Brandon McCarthy on getaway day. Game time is 3:40 PM Right Coast Time.

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. argonbunnies April 16, 2014 at 4:01 am
    I’m curious to see if the Mets stay hacktastic against McCarthy. He throws a ton of strikes, so maybe not a bad idea, but if his sinker is working, that might be a lot of quick outs.

    Joe, you missed the Gonzalez Germen show! He looked great, hitting the glove on more pitches than not.

    Here’s a comp: Jose Veras. One nasty strikeout pitch, good fastball velocity, can be dominant at times, but sporadic wildness keeps him from being elite.

    I liked the old-school 3-inning stint to save the rest of the ‘pen. Could TC actually be thinking outside the box a little bit here? I’ve often said, “The more relievers you bring in, the higher the chance that one of them will have an off day, so if one looks good, keep him out there at least one time through the lineup.” If Terry agrees with me, I’d be ecstatic.

    • argonbunnies April 16, 2014 at 4:20 am
      I just looked through Germen’s minor league stats and it’s hard to get any clue there of what to expect. He spent most of age 20-22 in rookie ball or inactive (injuries?). At 23 he was pretty good in A ball, at 24 he was decent in AA, and at 25 he was converted to relief in AAA and then promoted to the majors after 44 innings. So, who knows?

      If nothing else, he probably has more room to grow than your average 26-year-old. Today marked just his 213th inning above A ball.

  2. DaveSchneck April 16, 2014 at 8:25 am
    Second night in a row that Keith opined consistent with you – do you think he is a daily reader of your blog? Could he really be Izzy?

    Regarding Arroyo, he was one of 4 “candidates” for Alderson, the others being Hudson, Colon and Kazmir – guys that were somewhat legit and could be had for one or two years. My preference was Kazmir or Hudson, as Colon is a huge risk given his age/mileage and Arroyo has done it so long with smoke and mirrors that I find him a risk in general.

    Good point by Argon, Germen in this low pressure spot was throwing unhittable pitches. He is a nice piece in the pen. Likely Alderson will rationalize not upgrading the bullpen, and one cannot judge the Mets based on how they look vs. the lost Diamondbacks, but…if he added a legit back end arm, lets say a healthy 2012-like Hanrahan, and a legit LOOGY to replace Rice, and sent Familia to Vegas to be a closer all season, they pen then becomes legit, with various weapons and looks. Upgrade as SS, trickle in the SP talent from AAA, and the team is respectable at a minimum, should be competitive, and dare I say entertaining.

    • DanB April 16, 2014 at 9:23 am
      Dave, I just got off the phone with Jeff Wilpon. He says he loves your ideas except for the parts where you add payroll and start the arbitration clock on young, talented players. They taught him to keep costs low at Palm Beach Community College. I think he missed the class where they taught that nobody buys a bad product.
      • DaveSchneck April 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm
        LOL. Real funny, and so true.
      • DaveSchneck April 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm
        I forgot to ask – did you pick up your 1964-priced tix for this weekend’s series vs. Braves? You know, the “in honor of the 50th anniversary” promo using retro ticket pricing, unofficially know as the “we have to match the Stubhib rate” pricing.
  3. argman April 16, 2014 at 8:34 am
    Agreeing with the above comments about Collins sticking with Germen for 3 innings – this on top of giving Torres multiple innings in Monday’s game. Now the question is will TC have the nerve to try this type of approach in a closer game?
  4. Colin April 16, 2014 at 10:04 am
    Cant wait to see them back home v braves / cards / Marlins. I think this upcoming home stand is going to teach us a lot about the club. Its a bit of a yard sale out there, but my god, they play hard.
    Ya gotta believe.
    • argonbunnies April 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm
      The formula of recent years has been something like: battle the Braves in some close games, losing a few more than they win; get destroyed by the Cardinals; embarrass themselves against the Marlins. Any deviation from this would make me very happy.
  5. argonbunnies April 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm
    Re: d’Arnaud’s tag from 3rd, I’ve always wondered — why doesn’t an OF ever throw a runner out at home on that play? Francoeur can throw out a guy at home who’s tagging on a fly out 20 steps deeper, so why couldn’t he do it on a shallower ball he catches on a bounce? I’ve never seen it happen, but still, if I’m that runner, I’m probably aware that he could throw me out if I tag up on a single.

    Not that it mattered in this game, as Mark Trumbo is not Jeff Francoeur.