Mets Game 28: Loss To Rockies

Rockies 10 Mets 3

After it not happening all season, the Mets starter couldn’t complete five full innings for the second straight game.

Mets Game Notes

Zack Wheeler was topping out at 97 MPH, touching 99 (according to the radar readings displayed on the SNY broadcast) with the fastball, but his secondary pitches were completely ineffective. When that’s the case at Coors Field, against a hot-hitting Rockies club, bad things happen. For Wheeler, it resulted in the shortest and worst outing of his young MLB career. Hey, it was bound to happen at some point, and Colorado is a difficult place to pitch for many reasons. Let’s see how he responds in his next start.

Maybe it’s the high socks, but there’s something about Jorge De La Rosa that reminds me of Oliver Perez — when Ollie was going well. Their motions are similar — particularly the pause at leg lift — and maybe that’s a function of what’s taught in Mexico?

De La Rosa was cruising until he hit a wall in the sixth, right around pitch #80. I’d suggest it was the thin air, but he’s used to that, considering that he’s one of the best pitchers at Coors Field of all time. Curtis Granderson blasted a line-drive, two-run homer into the right-field seats, but the Mets could score no more that inning.

Granderson’s blast was, of course, a positive outcome. However, he’s been far ahead of everything thrown at him, and the rare times he makes contact, it’s usually a sharp grounder right at the first baseman. The solution is crystal-clear: wait a little longer, let the ball get deeper. He doesn’t necessarily have to hit the ball to right field; he could wait just a hair longer before committing, and focus on hitting the ball up the middle (see a somewhat related topic below).

The Rockies were 5-for-10 with RISP. That’s pretty good.

Six of the eight position players in the Rockies starting lineup had a batting average of .300 or higher; four of them were .340 or higher. That’s also pretty good.

Daniel Murphy‘s consecutive stolen-base streak ended at 28 when he was picked off by de la Rosa while trying to steal third base — in the first inning, in the midst of a rally, with no outs, with David Wright at the plate and the middle of the order following. Could it be that the man who is always running the bases like his hair is on fire has finally run out of luck? Terrible, terrible, terrible decision by Murphy. And dumb. And irresponsible. And illogical. And inexcusable. Did I mention it was a terrible decision? Of course, had De La Rosa balked, Murphy likely would have been lauded by Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez for getting into the pitcher’s head and forcing a mistake. Am I right?

I’ll be kind and not discuss in detail the several balls that skipped past Murphy for base hits — if you watched the game, you know what I’m talking about. To his credit, though, Murph did make a diving “web gem” in the 7th, when the score was 10-3. He can pull off the spectacular, but still struggles with the routine.

Speaking of spectacular, Nolan Arenado is. He’s at least a step above where a young Ryan Zimmerman was, and in Graig Nettles territory. Maybe better.

Keith didn’t like the big swings being taken by the Colorado hitters, and suggested that in the old days, a pitcher would respond by making batters “move their feet” (I was waiting for the Junior Senior reference, but Keith didn’t give it). I’m in agreement, and, apparently, so was Zack Wheeler, who “sent a message” to two Rockies hitters during that same inning. I’ve said it before and I maintain: one of the biggest reasons (beyond PEDs) that hitters have more prolific numbers than in the past is because they have absolutely no fear of getting hit by a pitch. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. If I’m Aroldis Chapman, or one of the other pitchers in the past few years who were crushed by comebackers, I might think it’s not so good. Don’t misunderstand — I’m not suggesting that hitters purposely try to hit pitchers with line drives (despite the fact every hitter is taught to “hit it back through the middle). Rather, my point is that getting hit by the baseball should be a legitimate fear regardless of where you are on the field (or in the stands — it amazes me that more knuckleheads texting in the first row don’t get clocked). The batter, like every fielder other than the catcher, should have that fear somewhere in the back of his head to be prepared to move, just in case — it’s not fair for him to be so comfortable, while the man 60 feet and 6 inches away is so vulnerable. There needs to be some kind of balance. Further, don’t get the idea that I advocate head-hunting — all I’m saying is that batters today are as comfortable as they were in the late 1800s, when they could tell the pitcher where they wanted the pitch placed, and that comfort was a factor in changing the dynamic of the game, for better or worse.

One of Kevin Burkhardt’s features was focused on Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen, and Burkhardt stated “In all the years I’ve been doing this job, I never had one single pitcher that hasn’t raved about him behind the scenes.” Hmm … did Burkhardt start after John Maine left the club? And I suppose the Asian pitchers who have passed through Flushing never understood English. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

During the broadcast, a TV camera focused on a food stand boasting “Rocky Mountain Oysters.” Keith’s response — as would be mine: “I’ll pass.” For the uninitiated, they’re not oysters, and not from anywhere near the sea.

Juan Lagares remains hot — he had two more hits, including a double.

Charlie Blackmon‘s entrance music, “Your Love,” shot me back to high school — which was the last time I heard that song — and the time when my life was desperately seeking to escape innocence. Why in the world would he pick that song? Blackmon wasn’t even BORN until the year after the song came out. I guess because the band is called “The Outfield,” and he’s an outfielder? Can’t think of any other reason. Regardless, it made me chuckle and recall various crushes from my teens every time he came to the plate.

By the way, it always befuddled me that “The Outfield” clearly referred to baseball, and they had several baseball references in their song and album titles, yet they were British. Apropos of nothing …

Next Mets Game

Game 3 (of 4) begins at 8:10 PM RCT (Right Coast Time) on Saturday night. Jenrry Mejia takes the mound against Franklin Morales.

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.