Mets Game 17: Loss to Braves
Braves 7 Mets 5
Mets rally in the ninth but fall short as they lose the game and the series. However, there’s still a chance to salvage one on Sunday.
Mets Game Notes
Bartolo Colon pitched well — seven innings and three earned runs is a quality start — but not well enough as Ervin Santana pitched just a bit better. Since both bullpens allowed four runs, the game was won by the better starting pitcher.
Why is Fredi Gonzalez playing the infield in with one out and a man on third in the first inning of a scoreless game? And David Wright at the plate? And Eric Young, Jr. on third? No sense, no sense at all. If he doesn’t think his club is going to score at least one run in the next 8 innings, he should pack it in. As it turned out, Wright hit a hard grounder that almost certainly would’ve been an easy 6-3 groundout. The only way the Braves prevent the speedy Young from scoring is if Wright hits a bullet right at someone — there can’t be any lateral movement whatsoever, lest Young scores. Give up the run, take the out, assume your team can score at least one or two in the final eight frames.
An inning later, with Lucas Duda on third and Travis d’Arnaud at the plate, Gonzalez played the infield halfway. That made more sense, because by playing halfway, there’s a little more coverage, and further, Duda is not fleet of foot. As it turned out, d’Arnaud bounced a ball to Andrelton Simmons, who picked cleanly and fired home to start a rundown that eventually put out Duda.
Agree with Ron Darling‘s criticism of Ervin Santana lazily jogging down the first base line on a routine groundout — it’s unacceptable. At the same time, how about something other than laughter when Bartolo Colon does the same thing? I don’t care that Colon is slightly larger than a zeppelin — he’s a world-class athlete, and there’s no reason for him to be so grossly out of shape that he can’t run 90 feet once or twice a week. Of course, I’m an old-school guy with the opinion that baseball is a sport where each participant plays both offense and defense — which is why I watch the National League and not the Adulterated one.
It wound up being irrelevant, but Ruben Tejada made a terrible decision in anchoring at first base when a ball when in the dirt in the seventh. Travis d’Arnaud alertly took third, but Tejada never checked to see what d’Arnaud was doing, neither did he seem to be anticipating a worm-beater. The score was 3-1 at the time with two outs, and Tejada represented the tying run. Eric Young, Jr. wound up bouncing into a fielder’s choice, but what if he had struck a single? It would’ve been 3-2 instead of the tie game it should’ve been.
By the way, Young has kept his streak going — he’s struck out in every single game he’s played this year. On a positive note, he reached base three times — twice on walks and once on a HBP that according to the rule book, should’ve been merely a ball since he didn’t try to get out of the way. He also scored once, and has a .352 OBP thus far.
Jose Valverde pitched really well in the top of the ninth, other than letting that bunt go through his legs and allowing the monstrous 3-run homer over the center-field fence to Justin Upton. Maybe Papa Grande doesn’t perform well in non-save situations. Perhaps he would’ve pitched better had he known it would be a win situation.
Surprised to see Craig Kimbrel throwing so many sliders in his outing, especially when his fastball was hitting 97-98 MPH. I don’t understand throwing sliders in the strike zone at any time, by any pitcher — it’s a “chase” pitch that should be used on the outer edge of the plate, preferably out of the strike zone. When you can throw over 95 MPH, why “speed up” the opponent’s swing by throwing a 85-MPH slider over the plate?
Kimbrel’s shoulder has been ailing, which was why he’s been out for a week; the time off may have had something to do with his lack of command. His mechanics are flawed — his arm is waaaaaay behind at foot strike — so it’s no surprise that he’s having shoulder issues. He’ll continue to have arm issues, since no one on Atlanta’s payroll is capable of fixing him.
Another positive for the Mets: only 8 strikeouts by Mets batters. Their per-game average is now below 10 Ks (9.76).
Chris Young was hot in spring training, hot in his AAA rehab assignment, and went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI in his first game as a Met.