Mets Game 15: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 5 Diamondbacks 2

Look at that — not only do the Mets sweep the Snakes in Arizona, but they also rise above .500 for the first time in 2014. 90 wins, here they come!

Mets Game Notes

No kidding — if most of the teams the Mets play are as bad as the D’backs are right now, the Mets will cruise to 90 victories. Talk about catching a team at the right time. Though, might Arizona be this bad for the entire year? It wouldn’t seem so, on paper, but you never know.

Dillon Gee figured out a way to get past the sixth inning — pitch efficiently. No worries about opponents’ batting average against him after 90 pitches, if he gets through seven frames tossing only 72 pitches. As I’ve mentioned previously during this series, was that efficiency due more to Gee’s effectiveness, or Arizona’s ineptness? Maybe a combination.

Did you think Gee should’ve gone out for the eighth inning? I think he could’ve wrapped up one more frame and still stayed under the 90-pitch ledge of no return.

Several times in this series, former first baseman Keith Hernandez criticized catcher Miguel Montero‘s footwork, saying that Montero lacks mobility. First off, I’m not sure how Keith is an expert on the catching position, since he never spent a day behind the dish. Second, Montero was stopping just about everything. Third, Montero does something VERY GOOD that most catchers don’t — he goes after the ball with his hands, and allows the rest of his body to follow behind them. Unbeknownst to 90% of MLB catchers and catching coaches, that’s the body’s most natural and efficient way to block balls in the dirt. Wherever a human being places his or her hands, the body will naturally follow — and further, your body’s internal balancing system (i.e., the inner ears) forces the body to center itself behind the hands. So when reacting to balls in the dirt, it makes sense to move the hands first, and let the body follow. Most catchers, though, start moving the feet — hence, the misconception that catchers need “good footwork” when blocking balls. Truth is, moving the feet first will almost always be a slower and less natural way of blocking pitches. (By the way, when I talk about a catcher’s footwork, I’m referring to his throwing the ball to second base.)

If I were Gerardo Parra going for two on the popup in the sixth, I might’ve considered plowing Dillon Gee instead of sliding into second. It would’ve been completely within the rules, and would’ve been safer (for Parra) than getting toppled by Gee. And had Parra taken that route, Gee likely would’ve been seriously injured. Gee made a great play there, but he put himself at considerable risk. Am I saying he shouldn’t have done it? No, just pointing out that he’s lucky that most MLB players are gentlemen.

It was nice of Jose Valverde to give the Arizona crowd some hope and entertainment at the end of the game — much to the chagrin of Mets fans. He’s a kind and giving soul, that Valverde — a fitting gesture, considering that this is Easter week.

Next Mets Game

The Mets take the day off on Thursday to travel back home and start a series hosting the Braves at 7:10 PM on Friday night. Jonathon Niese goes to the mound against Aaron Harang.

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. meticated April 17, 2014 at 1:15 am
    Come to Australia and train the abl players. I’m serious!!
  2. argonbunnies April 17, 2014 at 5:07 am
    I don’t know where else to post this, so I’ll put it here, and then follow with something on-topic.

    I was just watching some Pedro Martinez highlights, and I noticed something.

    When I think of little guys who throw hard, I think of long strides and dramatic pushes off the mound, almost leaping at the batter. Billy Wagner and Tim Lincecum are the most extreme examples, but there are tons of pitchers (most?) who do something similar.

    Pedro was not one of them. Pedro had a very quick stride, not particularly long, and still had some weight on his back foot right around the time his front foot landed (a little before? a little after? not sure). The powerful push off the rubber only became visible after his front foot was down, and that leg push flowed directly into his upper body catapulting over the front leg. The arm and torso moved as one*, and at release, the arm was nearly straight and parallel to the shoulders, with the angle being supplied by the torso tilt**.

    Was Pedro special for being able to throw this way? Would most guys pop a lat if they tried that violent torso launch? Or is this something more pitchers should be trying to do?

    *This is what makes Rafael Montero’s delivery pretty, in my opinion.

    **Something Mike Marshall teaches. I believe he claims it’s key to not stressing the elbow. Pedro never had elbow problems, did he? Another pitcher who released with his arm relative straight and relatively parallel to his shoulder: Randy Johnson. Again, no elbow problems.

    • Joe Janish April 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm
      There is no “push off the rubber” (though nearly every pitching coach believes differently). What happens is the back foot plants hard into the ground to provide a stable base from which the back hip can turn and provide power — it’s not unlike hitting in that regard. Velocity comes from the speed of shoulder rotation, which should be powered by the entire body.

      In short, velocity is about timing and efficiency. Pedro had both.

  3. argonbunnies April 17, 2014 at 5:07 am
    Nice to see Scott Rice get an out, although he may not have earned it, with Parra swinging at a borderline pitch after two balls.

    Interesting to see Gee yanked by the eye test (D’backs hit more balls hard in the last 2 innings than in the first 5) rather than the pitch counter. In general, I love that approach, but man, 72 pitches is pretty low. With a 5-run lead, this might have been an opportunity for Dillon to practice righting himself once he’s started to lose it.

    • argman April 17, 2014 at 9:16 am
      Except he only had a 3-run lead when they yanked him.
      • argonbunnies April 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm
        Oops, my bad. The D’backs were struggling so badly it felt like more, but I guess that’s iffy.
  4. Colin April 17, 2014 at 9:27 am
    Nice to take the broom out on the lowly D-Backs. Good teams beat bad teams. Just secured tickets to Monday night v The Cards. I hope jenri’s blister is fixed by then. Would love to see him go.
    Great road trip. Now we have to play well at home.
  5. AC Wayne April 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm
    Collins taking Gee out of the game after throwing just 70 pitches is one of a number of Collins’ absurd juxtapositions, ‘we have a so-so BP, we have a starter pitching a shutout, a veteran starter, after 7 innings, take out the starter’ or ‘we have a RP, Familia who’s pitching in his 3rd inning of relief in extra innings, let’s have him intentionally walk the bases loaded’ (I wouldn’t be surprised if Familia plunked Conger just to spite his manager) or maybe this one, ‘Ike Davis hits a walk-off GS, then goes 2-for-4 the next day, let’s nominate Lucas Duda as our starting first baseman,’ wha?
  6. gary s April 18, 2014 at 10:48 am
    There is a good reason Collin’s has never won as a manager at any level in his entire career. I get reminded of it anytime i watch a Met Game..Please fire this clown already..
  7. The King April 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm
    Maybe I’m Old School–well, I am–but what happened to the days when a pitcher would tear a manager’s head off if he tried to take him out after 7 innings of shutout ball?