Mets Game 20: Loss To Cardinals

Cardinals 3 Mets 0

After being handed a shutout loss in game one, the Cardinals return the favor by shutting out the Mets in game two.

Mets Game Notes

This time, there was no switch-flipped, sudden disaster at pitch #90 by Dillon Gee. Instead, it happened around pitch #40.

It took Dillon Gee 28 pitches before getting an out in the fourth frame; it took well over 30 pitches to complete the inning. How he found his way out of that mess allowing only two runs is a story for the ages, and a testament to his intestinal fortitude. He followed it up with an 8-pitch fifth — something he absolutely had to do to stay in the ballgame.

Interesting play in the fourth, with bases loaded and a grounder to David Wright. Wright threw home to force out Jon Jay, but Jay went out of his way to take out Travis d’Arnaud and prevent d’Arnaud from completing the potential double play. Terry Collins didn’t argue, but did go out to discuss the play with the home plate umpire. On the replay, it was clear that d’Arnaud was blocking the plate PRIOR to receiving the ball from Wright. GKR stated that d’Arnaud provided a clear path, and he did — AFTER receiving the ball. It was also crystal-clear that Jay went directly for d’Arnaud — he changed his running path to take him out. I have to wonder if part of the reason that Collins didn’t ask for a review is because d’Arnaud was, technically, breaking the rules by blocking home plate without the ball (he was straddling the third-base line. And/or, does the take-out rule not apply in a situation where the catcher already has the ball, and is attempting to make a second play (such as we always see with the second baseman / shortstop on double-play attempts at 2B).

Matt Holliday, of all people, made an outstanding catch above the left-field wall to rob Chris Young of a two-run homer that would’ve tied the ballgame in the fifth.

The two runs St. Louis scored came on grounders up the middle that were just barely out of a diving Omar Quintanilla‘s reach. I have to wonder if Ruben Tejada would have made one or both of those plays and possibly halted that rally earlier?

Adam Wainwright left the game after 7 innings and only 79 pitches, seemingly due to an injury to his right leg on a broken-bat bouncer to the right side by Chris Young that ended the seventh.

It looked to me like Young could’ve been safe on that play, had he hustled out of the box and ran hard down the line. He hesitated in the box after getting fisted, then didn’t seem to run quite 100%. Could his leg still be bothering him?

Congrats to Curtis Granderson, who set a personal high by going 0-for-22; he never before in his career went hitless in more than 21 consecutive at-bats. Great to see him continue to bat in the #2 spot in the order, where he has a guaranteed opportunity to extend that streak in the first inning.

Jose Valverde did a nice job of keeping his 92-94 MPH fastball on the corners and at the knees. Except for that one over the middle of the plate and at the waist that Holliday rapped into right field to drive in the third Cardinals run.

Bobby Abreu made his Mets debut as the 2014 version of Rusty Staub to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and flied out to left field. Not the most auspicious debut, but one likely to be forgotten.

What’s up with lights-out closers who suddenly can’t make pitches, much less outs? Trevor Rosenthal was exhibiting shades of Rick Ankiel in the ninth. Rosenthal’s facial expressions and body language were showing fear and bewilderment. I can see a pitcher walking Granderson — even a slumping Granderson — but to walk Eric Young, Jr., with a three-run lead, on five pitches? You know something is terribly wrong.

Somehow, miraculously, Rosenthal threw an absolutely perfect “pitcher’s pitch” to strike out David Wright looking for the second out — it was exactly knee-high, just inside the black on the outside part of the plate. How he pulled that pitch out of his backside, after looking like he was about to implode, was remarkable.

Get this: the Mets struck out only FOUR TIMES in this game — the lowest total thus far this season. However, they saw only 110 pitches, so I guess their strategy to avoid strikeouts was to swing and make contact prior to three strikes. In contrast, the Cardinals struck out 7 times and saw 154 pitches.

The Mets managed only four hits and walked twice. Hard to score when you don’t get anyone on base. Though, there are always solo homers.

After striking out in every one of his first 17 games, Eric Young, Jr. has now gone two straight games without a K.

Gonzalez Germen through 42 pitches in two shutout innings of relief. That pitch count means he needs at least one day of rest before touching a baseball again, and he was three pitches away from needing two full days’ rest before getting on the mound.

Next Mets Game

Game 3 of this four-game set begins at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night. Jonathon Niese faces Michael Wacha.

As an FYI, I’ll be working late, so there’s a good chance I’ll miss the contest and will need some help with the recap. Your contribution is appreciated.

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. DanB April 23, 2014 at 6:20 am
    When was the last time a Met hit a home run? I feel like it was Wright on opening day. Opposing pitchers must have no fear of walking Mets as they know it will take two hits to drive them in. I think Granderson still leads the team in extra base hits!
    • DaveSchneck April 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm
      Dan,
      It might have been Ike’s granny. Wait, that was for the Pirates. Or was it for the Mets? Or was it just a dream?
  2. hiro April 23, 2014 at 8:17 am
    I clearly root for Dillon Gee. I followed him since his days in Binghampton. I mean it is so easy to root for guys like Harvey (or Kershaw) etc. – but Gee not having harveyesque stuff anyway and then clearly not even having his best stuff yesterday and still limiting damage – actually it is easy to root for guys like Gee. Or should be.
    • There is no "P".... April 23, 2014 at 10:16 am
      in Binghamton.
      • hiro April 23, 2014 at 10:22 am
        in Bingo;-)
  3. Steve S. April 23, 2014 at 8:33 am
    Interestingly, the Mets’ announcers did not comment on Chris Young not running hard.

    Eric Young DOES appear to be swinging less on balls out of the strike zone. A good development?

    The Mets lack of HR power is alarming. Hopefully, Duda, Wright, Granderson, and Chris Young (who almost had one) will step it up.

  4. DaveSchneck April 23, 2014 at 5:03 pm
    Joe,
    Out of curiousity – regarding Germen’s pitch count – you referred to 42 pitches which I assume are the game pitches that counted. I take it he had 8 warm-ups each inning, plus his warm up in the pen. Do/should teams factor that in as well? Would it matter whether he threw that 42 pitches in one inning vs. two innings?
    • TexasGusCC April 24, 2014 at 1:17 am
      Dave,

      Warmup pitches aren’t usually thrown with 100% effort, and also, if a pitcher throws 42 pitches in one inning, the continuous duress will make a pitcher have to be removed for his own good. Over two innings is ok because there was a break allowing the body to rest a little bit.

    • Joe Janish April 24, 2014 at 11:56 pm
      I say they should count every single pitch — as well as throws to bases. Science counts only in-game pitches, which is something I disagree with; the argument is that pitching in a game results in more effort, more stress, and the juices flowing.