Mets Game 18: Win Over Braves

Mets 4 Braves 3

Mets outlast Braves in a 14-inning snoozefest.

Mets Game Notes

Curtis Granderson had the “walk-off” sacrifice fly to end the ballgame. It’s been over 15 years of that term, but I still can’t get used to “walk-off” as an adjective for every type of offensive play that wins a ballgame. In any case, I’m personally happy for Granderson, as I like him very much and want him to do well. At the same time, Mets fans can’t get too excited about this “breakthrough,” for several reasons. First off, the Mets would not have been playing 14 frames had Granderson come through in one of several previous at-bats. Secondly, he was facing the Braves’ worst pitcher, who was pitching in an unprecedented fourth inning of work. Grandy’s fly ball was hit on Gus Schlosser‘s 46th pitch of the afternoon; Schlosser’s previous high pitch count was 25. I mean, yeah, thank goodness Granderson lifted that fly ball, to finally see him do something positive and so that everyone could tear into their Easter ham, but I can’t mark it as any indication of future success for Grandy. Granderson went 0-for-6 and is now hitting .127.

On a positive note: in addition to the final fly, Granderson also lifted a long fly in the first inning that advanced Eric Young, Jr. from second to third; Young scored moments later. So, Grandy DID hit two effective fly balls.

Speaking of Eric Young, Jr., he reached base once and scored once, and proceeded to go 0-for-6 the rest of the way. Yes, he did strike out once to keep his streak going, and is leading the Mets in Ks. He does currently have a .343 OBP, though.

Until that 14th inning, it seemed as though the Braves were trying to give the Mets the game, but the Mets weren’t interested in taking it. Thanks to several Braves errors and walks to the bottom of the Mets’ lineup, the Mets had a few situations in which to break the game open — but couldn’t get the “big hit.” Mets hitters were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Speaking of errors, Dan Uggla made two. I’ve always been a huge fan of the hard-playing Uggla, but if he doesn’t turn around quickly, I can’t see how the Braves can continue to run him out there — he’s providing absolutely nothing on either side of the ball — especially with Closter, NJ native Tommy LaStella tearing it up in AAA with a .390 OBP. If Uggla continues to struggle, and LaStella stays hot, the Braves have to consider bringing up the lefthanded-hitting LaStella to at least platoon with Uggla (Uggla’s hitting .300 with a .900 OPS vs. LHPs in a small sample size this year; strangely enough, his career splits are better against RHPs — maybe because he’s one of those rare breaking-ball hitters?).

Actually, I wonder if the Braves will bid on Georgia-born Stephen Drew after the June draft, and make him their starting second baseman? It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

Zack Wheeler shut out the Braves through the first four frames, then allowed three runs in the fifth. He hit 95 MPH on pitches 60 and 61, but lost his command as he walked Gerald Laird leading off the inning. Wheeler threw almost exclusively off-speed pitches between that walk and the 93-MPH fastball on pitch #73 that B.J. Upton hit to the wall for a run-scoring double. Pitch #74 was a 94-MPH fastball that Freddie Freeman bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double; both pitches were over the middle of the plate. According to, Wheeler threw 55 fastballs, 4 change-ups, 21 sliders, and 10 curveballs. I’m not sure how accurate those counts are — it seemed to me that he threw far more curves and change-ups — so I’m going to go with the idea that 35 of his 90 pitches were non-fastballs. What does it all mean? No idea. What I can say for sure is that Wheeler’s command — of all pitches — definitely needs to improve. It looked to me that he began to fatigue on the fastball at pitch #80, when he threw a 93-MPH fastball up and in to Uggla (which Ron Darling suspected was a purpose pitch, but I believe was a mistake and due to his arm falling even further behind than it usually does).

The Mets struck out 11 times, but the Braves beat them by whiffing 14 times. As a team, the Mets have 177 strikeouts, or 9.8 per game. Last year, the Mets and Braves tied for the most Ks in the NL, with 1384 each — that’s 8.5 per game. For what it’s worth, the Braves now have 164 Ks on the year, so they’re catching up.

Innings 9 through 13 were particularly painful to watch, as the batters had extreme difficulty seeing the ball through the late afternoon shadows. For at least two innings, the SNY broadcast team spoke excitedly about Daisuke Matsuzaka‘s effectiveness in relief — while simultaneously blaming the shadows for the Mets’ hitters ineffectiveness over the same frame — until finally acknowledging, in the 13th, that both sides were affected.

Dice-K, by the way, threw 44 pitches — after throwing 18 on Saturday night. The Mets better hope that Jenrry Mejia has no more blister issues on Monday. Who is the back-up if the blister does flare up? I’m guessing Jeurys Familia, who wasn’t used in this game and hasn’t pitched since a 17-pitch inning on Friday night.

Next Mets Game

The Mets open a four-game series in Flushing against the St. Louis Cardinals. Game one begins at 7:10 PM on Monday night, with Jenrry Mejia going to the mound against lefty Tyler Lyons, who will be making his first MLB start of 2014. Lyons is starting in place of Joe Kelly, who suffered a hamstring injury. Lyons started 8 games for St. Louis in 2013 and was 2-0 in 3 starts for AAA Memphis this year.

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. NormE April 20, 2014 at 8:15 pm
    It should be noted that the Mets scored in both the first and last innings without a hit. What a juggernaut!

    The bidding on Drew in June could be very interesting.

  2. gary s April 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm
    Joe, you might think i’m crazy, but what do you think of moving David Wright to the lead off spot for a period of time, especially since his ability to hit home runs has been so messed up by the brilliant design of citifield. He is always going to hit around .300 and have on OBP of .375 to .390 every year. I am so tired of watching Eric Young ‘s pathetic flailing and strikeouts..david would score a lot of runs..When Lagares comes back, put him in the 2 hole, Grandy 3, Duda 4, Murphy 5, darned 6, sign Drew and bat him 7, EY or CY eighth and the pitcher.. One more thing, Juan Lagares is so much better than CY in centerfield..How could Collins ever consider playing him over Lagares in CF ????
    • Joe Janish April 20, 2014 at 11:16 pm
      Gary, I don’t think you’re crazy. In fact, if you look back to previous posts, somewhere, you’ll find that I also suggested that David Wright bat leadoff, based on his always having the highest and being the Mets’ top offensive player (and fitting into my theory that a team should try to get their best offensive player as many PAs as possible).

      What do the Mets have to lose by trying it?

      • crozier April 21, 2014 at 9:34 am
        I didn’t think the 1-3 spots were a problem, at least so far this year. Young and Murphy are getting on base, Wright hits for power. Nothing to change here unless Young and Murphy cease to set the table. Duda hits for power and gets on base; why bat him 6th? Put his .800 OPS in cleanup.

        As to Granderson in the #2, well…that’s just bizarre.

  3. gary s April 20, 2014 at 8:41 pm
    Of course i am batting Grandy third on the assumption, he recovers from the jason bay disease in the next few weeks..
    • CleonJames April 22, 2014 at 7:50 am
      It’s not the Jason Bay disease, it’s the Jim Fregosi disease, and the George Foster disease and Mo Vaughn/Roberto Alomar disease and that of most messiahs brought in to help the Mets offense. Notable exceptions: Rusty Staub, Carter and Hernandez, and Mike Piazza. If you just look at free agents, then I would call it Jim Fregosi disease. Even Carlos Beltran, who can hit in his sleep with his eyes closed with one hand tied behind his back also had an awful first year playing for the Mets. Now the opposite works too. Just look at Ike Davis hitting .400 (and to the opposite field!!!!) now that he has been freed from Mets hitting slavery.
      • CleonJames April 22, 2014 at 7:51 am
        Should say “if you are just looking at free agents than I would call it George Foster disease”.
  4. AC Wayne April 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm
    As I mentioned in the comments for the previous post, Grandy has to hit further down in the lineup, 6th would be ideal, you don’t reward a player for batting under .150 by putting him up in the order, I don’t care how much money he’s making or how TC wants to allow his GM to save face as noted by another commenter in the previous post as well…as for Stephen Drew, I agree, I could totally see the Braves picking up a guy like Drew for the stretch run, but the Tigers have to be the front-runners seeing as their SS situation is in dire straits with the latest release of Alex Gonzalez…on a final note, how do you guys feel about the pending promotion of Bobby Abreu? was he really the stick that broke the camel’s back on the Ike trade?
  5. argonbunnies April 21, 2014 at 2:06 am
    Since we know that batting order barely matters in terms of statistical run expectations, maybe managers aren’t insane for going by psychology instead of numerical logic. If some hitter is crazy enough to only hit well in the #5 spot, then hit him 5th, whether he’s a speedster or a slugger.

    Last year Duda was red hot in the #6 spot and tanked as soon as he was moved to #4. Early in his career, Wright was great at #5, #6, and #2, but overswung at #3 or #4, uppercutting everything.

    Forget about the “see more fastballs” fallacy; hit Granderson #2 if that helps him mentally. If it doesn’t, and he really is the chill guy he appears to be, then here’s my complete opposite proposal:

    Ignore players’ career trends and construct today’s batting order based on who’s hot right now. If Duda’s going through a phase of long ABs, lotsa walks, and not too many fly balls that could turn into HRs, bat him leadoff. If Wright’s hitting singles, bat him #2. Ice cold Granderson should be #8; your cleanup guy might be Recker thanks to the recent HRs.

  6. argonbunnies April 21, 2014 at 2:20 am
    Has anyone else noticed that Granderson looks pretty bad in RF this year? He’s not the lumbering goon that some teams put in a corner OF spot, but he’s not exactly a stellar athlete either. He’s played two routine fly balls into doubles with bad reads (not counting the one lost in the sun), and he’s taken extremely cautious routes on singles in front of him and balls down the line, letting any runners on base easily take an extra base. He kinda looks like he’s converted from another position out there.

    And then there was Saturday’s throw to exactly halfway between home and third…

    Chris Young also looked bad in the OF… well, in comparison to Lagares, anyway.

    On a positive note: Duda stolen base to put the potential winning run in scoring position with 2 outs in the 13th!

    • argonbunnies April 21, 2014 at 2:22 am
      I thought perhaps “troll” was the key banned term, but I guess not. Maybe “bad reads” sounds like poker? Anyway, just wanted to alert you to the double-post, Joe.
    • DaveSchneck April 21, 2014 at 8:32 am
      Agree. Not to pile on Grandy, but his play in RF is diappointing, and his throwing is a huge concern. I can understand a few bad reads since RF is new to him, but I have yet to see him even make a decent throw, and most have been downright awful. That includes watching him in person for a game at Citifield.

      Regarding the batting order, I agree in general. I would hit the best hitters at the top of the lineup and alter the RH and LH batters based on the opponents’ starter and bullpen options. Not sure about the “psyche” of a professional hitting in a specific position, to me it is hogwash, but at that level if it bothered a guy so much whether he was hitting 4th ot 6th I would strongly concern finding someone that could handle the mental aspect of being a pro better.

      • argonbunnies April 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm
        I certainly think pro hitters should be able to hit wherever the manager puts them… put I also feel that way about pro relief pitchers, and MLB culture clearly doesn’t agree.
  7. DanB April 21, 2014 at 6:31 am
    I always thought Wright was the perfect number two hitter, similar to Beltran circa Houston Astro days. But I like Argon’s point of finding a hitter’s comfort zone. As for Abreu, unless he can be traded at some time, it only reflects on how bad the Met roster is and the Mets obsession with walks.
  8. gary s April 21, 2014 at 10:54 am
    My main point is that i want DW getting as many AB’s as possible and Eric Young getting as few AB’s as possible..
    • crozier April 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm
      EYJ is tied for second in NL runs scored. I don’t see the strategy in limiting his PA’s.
      • gary s April 23, 2014 at 12:23 am
        Also leads the league in strikeouts and has zero power..Bad combination