Mets Game 29: Loss To Rockies

Rockies 11 Mets 10

The Mets jumped out to a big lead early on, then fell behind, then tied it up, then fell behind, then tied it up, then went ahead, then lost. Did I get that right?

Mets Game Notes

For the third straight ballgame, the Mets starting pitcher couldn’t complete five innings.

Jenrry Mejia pitched well through four frames, but fell apart in the fifth. Mejia’s sudden drop in performance is mysterious — it began on pitch #49, when Ryan Wheeler led off the inning with a solo homer on a fat change-up over the middle of the plate. From then on, Mejia’s pace was plodding — he took Steve Trachsel-like delays in between pitches, shaking off signs, seeming to over-think each decision. Is it possible that the thin air got to him? Maybe. Something else I noticed in that inning: the Rockies hitters were sitting on, and crushing, his curveball. I wonder if he’s telegraphing it, or if the Rox were stealing signs, or if Mejia was giving away some kind of pattern. Drew Stubbs jumped all over a curveball for a single, and Nolan Arenado destroyed a curveball for a grand slam — Arenado hit it like he knew it was coming.

Should Mejia have been hooked prior to the grand-slam? Prior to facing Tulowitzki? Even earlier? Maybe, though it depends on Terry Collins‘ true intent. If he truly is trying to win as many games as possible, if his goal really is 90 wins, then, yeah, Mejia should have been removed a few batters earlier than he was. But if this is yet another season of “development,” then I can understand why Mejia was left in there — to see how he would respond to adversity, and to teach him how to work out of a difficult situation. Except, he didn’t.

Is Curtis Granderson out of his slump? Or does it have something to do with playing in Colorado?

Juan Lagares was 1-for-6 with 3 strikeouts, but his one hit was an RBI single to give the Mets the lead in the top of the ninth.

It was mentioned that Colorado reliever and Brooklyn native Adam Ottavino throws his slider 51% of the time, a stat that astounded Gary Cohen. I can think of one other MLB pitcher who threw the slider even more frequently — Sparky Lyle, who relied on the pitch almost exclusively. Lyle probably threw it at least 90% of the time, and did so because his Red Sox manager Ted Williams told him it was the most difficult pitch to hit, and Lyle figured, if the best hitter in baseball history can’t hit it, everyone else will have trouble with it as well.

Daniel Murphy was 4-for-6 with three extra-base hits, three runs scored, and a stolen base, but I’m not sure all that offense made up for the defensive deficiencies — particularly the balls he didn’t get to and threw too high in that fatal fifth frame. I’ll just leave it at that.

Mets hitters saw 178 pitches (!) but struck out 12 times. Lagares saw 27 pitches in his 6 at-bats.

The loss breaks the Mets’ perfect record with Anthony Recker behind the plate; they’re now 6-1 when Recker is the starting backstop.

Troy Tulowitzki is hitting .400. Seems like his average should be even higher, no?

Mets pitchers are extended a new modern baseball record with each out they make — they are now 0-for-49 to start the season.

Next Mets Game

Mets will attempt to avoid a sweep starting at 4:10 PM RCT. Dillon Gee faces Jhoulys Chacin.

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. Corey Gorey May 4, 2014 at 12:53 am
    Joe, lemme put here what I posted to my social media accounts (slightly edited for those with weak hearts in the face of street talk):

    If there is anyone on planet Earth who had faith in Kyle Farnsworth’s performance tonight, meaning that he wouldn’t blow a one-run lead in the bottom of the 9th in Denver, this person is:

    – A.) Very, very stupid
    – B.) Very, very young (let’s say 4)
    – C.) a member of Kyle Farnsworth’s immediate family
    – D.) A dirty liar

  2. argonbunnies May 4, 2014 at 4:58 am
    Very frustrating to see Warthen, Recker, and the pitchers fail to make any adjustments. Low and away, low and away, all day long. The problem is that, although a perfectly executed pitch in that spot would work, there was zero margin for error — the Rockies were crushing anything that was a little up or a little over the middle. Meanwhile, the ump was calling a very high strike, as well as inside to righties. The Mets’ pitchers could have lived up and in and cruised.

    After we saw Recker take charge with Gee last week, he failed to do so with Mejia, letting Jenrry shake him off multiples times per pitch, even after Warthen’s trip to the mound. Disappointing.

    I didn’t see Mejia giving away his pitches with anything in his motion; Arrenado simply knew he was getting offspeed away because every pitch was away and all the shaking off indicated something other than a fastball.

    I’m enthused about Mejia’s stuff, but man, he’s pretty raw for someone who’s been in pro ball for 7 years. Perhaps lost time from (a) injuries, (b) being rushed to the majors and (c) being juggled to and from the bullpen, account for that. Does 74 minor league starts and 16 major league starts qualify a player as “just learning”?

    • Joe Janish May 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm
      Excellent points, Argon. I wonder if the lack of in-game adjustment had to do with Warthen insisting on sticking to a game plan, Mejia being too stubborn, or Mejia lacking confidence in throwing inside — or maybe a combination of all three?

      Many people inside and outside the Mets organization have long envisioned Mejia as a reliever, and maybe we’re seeing why. While his stuff can be nasty at times, he can’t seem to keep it going.

      You know my take — his mechanics are dangerous and going to result in yet another injury sooner rather than later. Maybe it would be best for him to be a late-inning reliever — both for performance and also to get as much longevity as possible out of him before his arm goes again.

  3. Seymour May 4, 2014 at 5:55 am
    Check out Troy T’s home away splits. The guy’s cartoonishly good at home.
  4. Seymour May 4, 2014 at 5:58 am
    Granderson has always been a low AVG, low OBP player, so it’s only going to take a hot streak for him to get to his those stats to their usual level. The real issues going to be his power
  5. Kent May 4, 2014 at 7:27 am
    My take on last night’s game (and certain points in the article)
    I know Joe is not a big sabermetric guy and defensive sabermetrics are pretty unreliable in the early goings, but Daniel Murphy is becoming an average-ish 2nd basemen (UZR -0.5), it’s still not very good, but it’s not atrocious. (unlike, say, a -13.5 UZR two seasons ago) Yes, there are some misplays in the last night’s game that turns out to be important, but the second basemen is not the reason that Mejia gave up 8 runs in the 5th.
    Kyle Farnsworth is known for giving up Home Runs, so seeing him coming in to protect the one run lead in Denver is like hoping a bomb won’t explode while you are there. a side note, when Farnsworth is not giving up HRs (like in 2011 with the Rays) he’s pretty good, but obviously having to rely on Farnsworth as a closer is not a good plan.
    It’s silly to talk about a pattern on just two starts, but Jenrry Mejia’s metldowns in these two games are exactly the same: cruise through in early goings–give up a HR to somebody–suddenly loss the ability to pitch. I don’t know if it’s a confidence issue or he starts to tipping of pitches or something, but I really think it’s in the mental aspect of the game and it got to be improved.
    Joe (or anybody else), what are you take on David Wright’s struggling thus far. Yes he had a good night last night but Wright seems to have little power (HR or gap) this season so far and he seems to be missing a lot of easy pitches.
    • Joe Janish May 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm
      I agree that Murphy WAS looking better — in fact, I’d say “adequate” — through the first month of the season. Key word: “was.”

      This is where I have a problem in defensive stats: they don’t necessarily tell the whole story.

      Defense wasn’t the reason Mejia allowed 8 runs? Maybe not. But, GOOD defense might have prevented a few of those runs. Such as, a better throw from Murphy on the double-play attempt. The SNY announcers focused on Lucas Duda’s inability to catch the ball, but had the ball been thrown chest-level instead of a foot over Duda’s head, there are two outs in the inning with a man on third — a very different situation from reality.

      Additionally, there have been a few grounders in this series that bounced just out of Murphy’s reach, that many other MLB second basemen would have gloved — each single keeps the rally going (is that factor measured by UZR?).

      Prior to this series, I was starting to believe that Murphy could be an average second baseman, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s the thin air and near-beers throwing him off.

      • Kent May 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm
        Hi Joe, thanks for replying
        Yes, UZR do measures “there have been a few grounders in this series that bounced just out of Murphy’s reach, that many other MLB second basemen would have gloved”, it is a composite stat that is a composite of Outfield Arm Runs, Double-Play Runs, Range Runs, and Error-runs, so whether it’s a double play that he should be getting or a ball will be get to by the better 2B is accounted for by UZR.

        However, UZR does not stabilized until after certain amount of sample sizez, thus my comment of “Defensive sabermetrics are unreliable in the early stage of season”.

    • Joe Janish May 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm
      As for David Wright, I feel like we go through this at some point every year. The big swing thing started when Citi Field opened, and it makes him prone to mini-slumps. He’ll be fine, because when the rut gets too long he fixes himself with better pitch selection, letting the ball get deep, going the other way, and saving the big swings for certain counts.

      I’ll be surprised if D-Wright finishes the year with less than a .290 AVG / .370 OBP. / .850 OPS. He may never again hit 30 HRs, but he’ll still be among the top all-around offensive players in the NL.

      • Craig May 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm
        David Wright’s stats have dropped every year since he was in the All Star Game home run contest [I forget the year], I suggest he altered his swing to hit homers and never got back to his normal batting swing. His homer, RBI and batting average has been slowly declining since then. Perhaps he should look at some old tapes and analyze his swing.
        • argonbunnies May 4, 2014 at 11:14 pm
          Incorrect. Wright was in the HR derby in 2006. His best year was 2007, especially late. The over-swinging began in 2008, when he put up good stats but became less adept at hitting the pitch away, dropping his RISP average 70 points. He was then either red hot or ice cold for most of 2009-2011, before raking for several months straight to begin 2012 and then ending with a long slump. 2013 was probably his least streaky season since 2007… and then Terry let him tear a tight hamstring.

          Anyway, the difference between Bad David Wright (who twists away from the pitch and raises his back elbow, before taking a spinning uppercut) and Good David Wright (who does none of those things) are crystal clear, and have been for 6 years now. The only mystery is how he gets from one to the other.

  6. DaveSchneck May 4, 2014 at 8:06 am
    I believe the answer to Corey Gorey’s multiple choice is #4. DW is missing a lot of hittable pitches. I also immediately thought of Sparky and the William’s slider story. Maybe someone should study his mechanics as he may have thrown more sliders than anyone in the history of baseball.
  7. Craig May 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm
    It’s getting tough to watch yet another meltdown by a tired veteran pitcher. When will they release/trade Valverde, Farnsworth, Matzusaka and Abreu and go with younger players to gain experience for the long term team goals?

    Recker is hitting better than d’Anaud, why isn’t he starting more? Yes d’Arnaud gets all the press, however maybe he’s should be the back-up for awhile or even trade bait.

    No excuse for Met pitchers being so absolutely futile at the plate, geez.

    I must say watching Arenado making those plays at third, I instantly thought of Brooks Robinson’s plays in the World Series of the mid to late 60’s I didn’t look up the dates, but my memory is intact. Not comparing him to Brooks career wise, but the plays and throws were great.

    Maybe Mejia would be better off in the pen, bring up another younger starter to start earning his hash marks.

    I still believe that Collins and Sandy have little ability to evaluate players.

    • Kent May 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm
      I see no reason why should Mets get rid of Abreu or Matzusaka right now. Abreu can take a walk and have some decent amount of pop which made him a great candidate for pinch hit, right now he can do that better than any of our young player. Dice-K in a small sample size has been pitching really well, I see no reason to get rid of him right now. Especially since none of our young relief pitchers show any indication that they can do anything remotely good in the Major League level (unless you are talking about bring up deGrom to pitch in relief, this could be a good idea) To be clear, I do advocate to trade them later, but not right now.

      Sandy Alderson was the GM of Oakland Athletics from 1983-1997, he drafted/signed a lot of guys that is integral to the Athletics success in the late 1980s and the early 2000s. He also was CEO for the Padres during 2003 to 2007 and forsaw quite a few player transactions during which Padres are relatively successful, so I respectfully disagree that Sandy have little ability to evaluate players unless you are suggesting he is too old and out of touch which it’s hard to prove either way.

      • Joe Janish May 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm
        The A’s were awful from 1993 to 1998 — does Alderson get fault for those six years?

        Alderson was GM of the Padres from 2005-2009. Their cumulative record during that time was 397-414. In the four years immediately after Alderson left, the Padres finished second, fifth, third, and fourth, with a cumulative record of 313-335. Other than a fantastic run from 1988-92 with the A’s, and two first-place finishes with the Padres (which came immediately when Alderson arrived — so, was it all his doing?), it’s very difficult to argue that Alderson has been successful in developing winning ballclubs. If identifying talent has anything to do with success and winning, then Craig has a point.

        • Kent May 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm
          Yes, Alderson definitely do get some of the blames, but the baseball teams generally follow a natural cycle of success and failures, unless you are the Yankees (and Yankees have these two lengthy draught as well). But I have to disagree with Alderson not been able to identify talent, as he drafted plenty all-star caliber players such as Mark McGwire, Walter Weiss, later Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, signed Miguel Tejada as international FA, signed Dave Stewart for basically nothing. In Padres, he drafted Mat Latos, Evereth Cabrera, Chase Headley which become integral part for the Padres team right now and contribute to that 2010 Padres team that won 90 games (and would be in playoff if not for a late collapse against the Giants). Granted the development personal is responsible for some of the success, but these are a lot of talent to be ignored in my opinion. Compare this to, say Omar Minaya, the most valuable player that Minaya drafted seems to be, um…Daniel Murphy? Mike Pelfrey?

          Look, I’m not trying to say Sandy Alderson is one of the best GM, but to say he has “little ability to identify talent” is not giving credit to where credit is due in my opinion.

        • argonbunnies May 4, 2014 at 11:35 pm
          A variety of interesting things happened near the end of Alderson’s time in Oakland, but they all got more interesting under Beane (e.g. letting Peterson loose on Hudson and Zito).

          As evidence for Alderson currently being a poor judge of talent, we have some bad acquisitions in Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez, Frank Francisco, etc.; some failures to know when your own guys are over-performing and sell high (Mike Pelfrey, Ruben Tejada, Ike Davis, etc.); and some iffy drafting (if you’re gonna go high-risk with a high schooler, it’d better also be high-reward, not some role-player like Cecchini).

          The talent Alderson’s acquired in trades has impressed many scouts, but the jury is still out on Wheeler, d’Arnaud, Syndergaard, and Dilson Herrera. Perhaps the Giants, Blue Jays and Pirates knew something Baseball America didn’t.

        • Craig May 5, 2014 at 11:31 am
          Agreed, using the term “little talent ” was a somewhat harsh. We know Sandy is restrained by financial concerns, however, his choices for free agent pitching has been disastrous.

          Perhaps some players have little desire to play for the Mets and over price themselves to see if they will bite.
          Paying Colon $10 mil a year seems outrageous to me, unless it was hoped he would succeed enough to be able to trade him in July for more prospects.

          He seems to have done well in trading vets for minor league pitching prospects. Time will tell.

          Maybe there is “interference” from ownership in player selection.

          Minaya did wonders while running Expos/Nats, but having money to spend apparently clouded his judgement and common sense with the Mets. Olly Perez and $36 mil?

          The Mets need vision right now and I don’t see Alderson and Collins as visionaries.

          Thanks for the debate, always a learning experience.

        • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 2:27 pm
          Minaya drafted Matt Harvey, and he turned out OK. He also signed or drafted Carlos Gomez, Joe Smith, Dillon Gee, Jonathon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Juan Lagares, and several others who have done well in MLB.

          I mean, if you want to go tit for tat, we could do this all day. Looking at Alderson’s drafts overall with the A’s and Padres, they’re not tremendously better or worse than anyone else’s drafts. Hudson was a sixth-round pick in an Oakland draft that was otherwise devoid of everyday MLBers. Other than McGwire, Jason Giambi in 1992, Eric Chavez in ’96, and Hudson, it’s not all that impressive a record of drafting. Some first-round picks by Alderson over the years include the immortal Brent Gates, Stan Royer, Lee Tinsley, Scott Hemond, Stan Hilton, Don Peters, Dave Zancanaro, Mike Rossiter, Benji Grigsby, John Wasdin, Willie Adams, Ariel Prieto, Chris Enochs, Eric Dubose, Nathan Haynes, and Denny Wagner — many of whom never sniffed an inning of MLB. And yes, he did well in selecting Chase Headley, but the first two picks ahead of Headley were Cesar Carrillo and Cesar Ramos. First rounders in his next three drafts — including a bunch of supplemental picks — were Matt Antonelli, Kyler Burke, Nick Schmidt, Kellen Kulbacki, Drew Cumberland, Mitch Canham, Cory Luebke, Danny Payne, Allen Dykstra, Jaff Decker, Logan Forsythe, and Donovan Tate. Luebke is the only one to make an impact at the MLB level (10-12 career record before tearing his UCL for the second time).

          The winning percentage and drafting record speak for themselves, and neither make me believe that Sandy Alderson is some kind of genius when it comes to talent evaluation. If anything, he’s about average.

        • Kent May 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm
          I’m not claiming he is a genius, I am, actually, saying he is “average”, and I absolutely agree with you on that, what I disagree with is Craig said “Sandy has little ability to evaluate talent”. This doesn’t sounds like he is saying he’s average to me
        • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 11:52 pm
          Fair enough.

          If one is merely average at anything, I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. One could describe that as having no remarkable skill, or enough skill to be average. Glass half-full or half-empty.

          Thanks for engaging in, and adding to, the conversation. It’s why this blog exists.