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.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series begins at 1:10 PM on Easter Sunday. Zack Wheeler takes the hill against David Hale.

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. Steve S. April 20, 2014 at 8:40 am
    No thoughts on not pinch hitting for Tejada? He stinks, and shouldn’t be starting. Tovar would be better; maybe even Flores now.
  2. gary s April 20, 2014 at 9:01 am
    Let’s see..When the season ended last year, we had a black hole at ss, first base, catcher and right field..Now we are 17 games into the season and the same weaknesses still exist. Plus we have no closer due to the Parnell injury and the Front Office sitting on their hands since the injury. We will be completely irrelevant by Memorial day or sooner..Nice job, Alderson!!
  3. gary s April 20, 2014 at 9:07 am
    Big headlines on mets Blog says Valverde may lose closer job and Jason Granderson aka Curtis Bay may be moved out of clean up spot..Gee, why would Collins think of that..Just because Velveeta has allowed 4 home runs in last 3 innings or that Granderson is hitting .140 ?? Velveeta should be released..He is a min wage Sandy special..Granderson never should never have been batting clean up in the first place. Collins makes me ill..
  4. DanB April 20, 2014 at 10:16 am
    Gary, I absolutely agree with you in general, but I disagree with two of your points. I would not give up on T d’A. Catchers take longer to develop and I prefer he focus on defense. I’d like to see him move to eigth and replace Tejada with a better hitting SS (I’d settle for Flore’s glove). As for the closer, Alderson failed in the offseason to backup Parnell. To get a closer now would require trading assets. Why bother? This is prolonged spring training.
    • Steve S. April 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm
      d’Arnaud is looking better. He needs to start generally. Tejada is a backup only, with Quintanilla belonging in Vegas. Flores or Tovar should start, if Alderson doesn’t acquire a SS. Why not bring back Black and let him and Farnsworth setup and close for awhile?
    • gary s April 20, 2014 at 8:27 pm
      I would like to see TD succeed..Right now, there is a lot more hype than talent showing..Would love to see him get a little closer to home plate..3 starters under .200 is just pathetic..
  5. Craig April 20, 2014 at 10:58 am
    I refuse to give in on the season so soon, however, as long as Collins is still around I don’t see much chance of progress. Sigh…..
  6. AC Wayne April 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm
    Confirmed, Farnsworth annoited the closer. Agreed, Grandy isn’t a clean up hitter but moving him up won’t make a difference, his bat speed is lacking. Also, don’t like Murphy in the clean up spot. As for Tejada, that was a terrible decision not to take 2nd, Mets need to strongly consider finding another starting SS.