Mets Game 30: Win Over Rockies

Mets 5 Rockies 1

Mets step aside from the broom to salvage one win against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

Mets Game Notes

Dillon Gee continues his dominance, running his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 16, and tossing at least six innings for the 27th time in his last 29 starts. As he’s been doing since last May, Gee kept the Rox off-balance by using all four quadrants of the strike zone and changing speeds. One needn’t throw 95+ MPH to succeed in MLB after all — who’da thunk it?

Meanwhile, Joulys Chacin — in his first start of the year — was awful. I was mildly surprised to see Chacin still in the game after the third inning, but not necessarily because of his poor performance. More alarming were his mechanics and location — he was pulling his body toward first base, putting strain on his shoulder, and missing up and in to righties / up and a way to lefties. His timing was off, and I bet it’s why he suffered shoulder problems this spring. If I’m right, it’s clear his flaw wasn’t fixed, and he’s going to hurt his shoulder again. If the Rockies had someone on staff taking high-speed film of Chacin, and who could identify the problem, they could have either corrected him in-game or, at the very least, had the sense to pull him out before he hurt himself. Instead, they’ll probably give him a cortisone shot. Who cares about the root of a problem if you can cover it with something, right?

Several times during the game, Daisuke Matsuzaka was warming up in the bullpen — despite throwing 41 pitches the night before. Why? Gary Cohen mentioned that Terry Collins once said “we can throw him every day — he’s going to throw every day anyway, on his own.” That’s what’s called dumb and dumber. Here’s a wild idea: insist that a pitcher take one day off after throwing 27-44 pitches, and cite science as the reason — because science says you need at least one full day off the mound after that kind of workload, to allow your body to heal. Yes, I realize that throwing every day, and throwing as often as possible, is part of the Japanese culture and a source of pride for Dice-K. Guess what? The Mets pay his salary, therefore they can tell him what to do. If smacking him in the head and saying, “hey, this is how you blew out your elbow the first time, do you want to blow it out again?” doesn’t do it, management can force him to take a day off. I know in my job, I can’t just do whatever the heck I want. For example, maybe I don’t believe writing press releases is an effective form of public relations — but if my boss says, “Joe, I want you to write a press release about this news and send it out,” guess what? I’m doing it, because my boss has the power to stop paying me. But, the Mets (as well as most MLB clubs) don’t know — or perhaps ignore — the guidelines for recovery. MLB coaches and management know better, after all. Their ignorance of science, I’m sure, has NOTHING to do with the growing epidemic of arm injuries over the past few years. Right.

Next Mets Game

The Mets move on to Miami on Monday to face the Marlins for a three-game set. Game one begins at 7:10 PM and pits Jonathon Niese vs. Nathan Eovaldi.

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. Kent May 4, 2014 at 9:01 pm
    The final score is actually 5-1, Morneau hit a HR in the bottom of the 9th.

    I think most Japanese pitchers have this kind of problem that because of their culture they want to throw everyday. Mets could warn him and force him to take days off, sure, but nothing really prevents him to workout/throwing when he is not in the ballpark, and he probably would do that too had Mets forced him to rest while in the ballpark/training ground.

    I really think the inability to adjust to MLB working routine/stubborness is keeping some Japanese pitchers from been more succesful than they are right now, and I believe this is why (althoug admittedly a very small sample) Japanese pitchers in MLB tends to lose effectiveness after 2 or 3 seasons. (Hiroki Kuroda is an exception)

    • argonbunnies May 4, 2014 at 11:48 pm
      Given how poorly MLB manages pitchers, my guess would be the opposite — some Japanese pitchers struggle over here because they’re prevented from using the routines that worked for them in Japan.
      • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 12:36 am
        I disagree. Some of the reasons Japanese pitchers performed better prior to coming to America (not to be confused with African princes) include the smaller baseball, the fact that most Japanese hitters are nowhere near as good as MLBers, and the dangerous routines didn’t catch up to them while still in Japan.
    • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 12:31 am
      Oy! Thanks for the correction on the score; I was too itchy with the submit finger.

      As for the Japanese culture and MLB routines, there is just one more thing: MLB has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA when it comes to recovery. Having starters throw off a mound on the second or third day after a start is one of the major reasons that there are so many arm injuries — I’d guess it’s second to flawed mechanics.

  2. AC Wayne May 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm
    I’m assuming you were watching the game on SNY. I thoroughly enjoyed Gary’s play-by-play of Rockies OF Corey Dickerson’s annoying rituals before he stepped into the box (I believe it was Dickerson), the fixing of his pant legs before each pitch, the opening and closing of the Velcro on his batting gloves.

    SNY also ran a short interview with Latroy Hawkins showing his displeasure of how MLB has been trying so hard to speed up the game which instant replay has coincidentally made it slower. I’m still wondering where this gripe comes from? I personally, don’t mind that games seem longer than they should. Is there really this universal concern that baseball games are too long. It almost seems to me that the slow pace of the game is just as distasteful to some as PED use. Are MLB games too long or slow-paced?

    • argonbunnies May 4, 2014 at 11:44 pm
      Yeah, it was Dickerson, and I just wanted Gee to drill him in the head. Doesn’t the home plate ump have the power to tell a batter “get in the box”? I think umps are actually supposed to let the pitcher pitch if a batter delays too long. I’ve seen hitters with obsessive routines before, no problem there, but Dickerson was just so lackadaisical about it. With no baseball to watch, I found myself going over the likely suspension Gee would face for throwing at Dickerson during his stupid routine. The ball’s not live, so it wouldn’t be an HBP…
      • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 12:38 am
        Agreed. It’s ALMOST acceptable when you’re Nomar Garciaparra and one of the best 5 players in baseball. When you’re Corey Dickerson? No — that’s about as acceptable as Josh Satin rolling eyes at umpires.

        If the ump won’t make him speed it up, stick it in his ear, I say.

  3. argonbunnies May 4, 2014 at 11:55 pm
    Joe, I don’t know the role of Japanese baseball culture for Dice-K specifically, but SNY did quote him as saying that he’s warming up every day because he needs to be ready for relief, having no prior experience at getting loose quickly.

    The equivalent here is if your boss said, “Hey Joe, you’re good at writing weekly press releases; now write us viral marketing copy once a day maybe except for the days when we tell you at the last minute we don’t need it. Normally we’d train someone for this job, but you’ve been writing such good weekly press releases, we didn’t bother.”

    To which you replied, “I’m gonna need to come in earlier than the other marketers,” and your boss said, “Well, okay, if you have to.”

    I assume that if the Mets ever tell Dice-K “you’re a reliever for good” and he gets used to it, the lengthy daily warm-ups will cease.

    • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 12:47 am
      I don’t like the comparison, because writing viral marketing copy probably won’t hurt me to the point I can’t work anymore. Whereas, a pitcher throwing when he’s supposed to be recovering WILL eventually cause injury — it’s not a question of if, but when. Further, a pitcher will perform better when he’s had proper recovery. It’s not theory, it’s not guesswork, it’s proven via science.

      In regard to recovery, pitching a baseball is no different from lifting weights, cycling, or competing at a track meet. If you don’t get enough rest in between, you won’t perform at your best and you put yourself in danger of getting injured. It’s like pulling an all-nighter and then trying to go to class or work the next day — there’s no way you’ll perform your best, even with 5 cups of coffee.

  4. argonbunnies May 5, 2014 at 12:01 am
    I was confused by Gee today. His change up looked a bit flat, but the threw it at the right time to fool guys. His curve looked different — both slower and with a shorter, sharper break. SNY listed him as throwing a ton of cutters — I didn’t spot any, but maybe they had just enough late movement to induce some of the weak contact we saw. His high fastball was extremely effective, but didn’t seem to be intentional. He nibbled a lot, but only walked one.

    Doesn’t sound like Plan A, but it was nice to see Gee making it work, and mixing pitches and locations. I hope Mejia was taking notes.

    • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 12:51 am
      You and I saw similar things from Gee. I also didn’t see many cutters, and his curve wasn’t working until about the 4th or 5th inning — even then, it wasn’t working well, and I figured it had something to do with the dry climate and thin air.

      As for the high fastball, I thought to myself, “wow, Gee is throwing his fastball just a few inches above the strike zone, and they’re chasing it — that’s pretty smart.” But now that you mention that it may not have been intentional, I’m second-guessing myself. Is Gee THAT smart and does he have THAT good command of his fastball? Hmmm … if so, he’s Greg Maddux Lite.

      • DaveSchneck May 5, 2014 at 8:12 am
        I didn’t see the game but the notion of Gee as a Greg Maddux lite has crossed my mind. He is quietly and methodically starting to compile more than a small sample of significant success. Whether those FBs were hitting their spot or not, 6 shutout inning vs. the red hot Rockies lineup in Colorado is another impressive performance for the quiet Texan. This guy knows how to pitch and that is refreshing in the time when the radar gun gets more attention than pitch selection and command.
      • argonbunnies May 5, 2014 at 6:07 pm
        I thought the high fastballs were unintentional because of Recker’s target at the knees.

        There were a small number of times (two?) during the game when Recker presented a high target, but Gee threw those pitches too high to induce chases.

        So I guess it’s possible that Gee and Recker realized that, on this particular day, aiming a 4-seamer for the knees would put it at the shoulders, and stuck with the low target… but I doubt it.

        Gee’s fastball is his strangest pitch — there are times that it’s pinpoint on the knees with sink, other times when it runs off the outside edge to lefties (see that famous Yankees game), other times when it’s up and flat and results in HRs (every bad outing in 2012). I definitely have the most confidence in him on the days when his change up is great and batters worry about it enough to keep them off the fastball.

        On the positive front, Gee’s gotten great results this year (2.51 ERA) without his best stuff or command. On the negative front, he’s walking too many, striking out too few, and that .227 BABIP doesn’t look remotely sustainable. (And don’t try that “master of weak contact a la Maddux” argument — Greg’s career BABIP was .286.) He needs to pitch better to continue his success; I think he probably can, but I’m crossing my fingers a bit.

        • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 11:39 pm
          Damn you, Argon! I was getting comfortable with the idea of believing in, and rooting for, one Mets player for the first time in six years.

          OK, I did root for Harvey, and maybe a few others, but I enjoy being dramatic on occasion.

          So what happens when both Gee and Lagares regress to the mean? Will Granderson’s ascent to the mean be enough to keep the Mets above .500? Hmm … I smell a post brewing …

  5. Joe Bourgeois May 5, 2014 at 12:03 am
    The time to trade Gee is now; we should be able to get at least three promising second graders for him.

    Sure, those kids won’t have played much organized ball, but we’re still a few bats short in our otherwise promising farm system.

  6. Vilos May 5, 2014 at 9:07 am
    I’m a day late with this coment/question, but Joe or anybody else, maybe you can help me out.

    There had been a lot of talk of Mejía as a closer, from the days of Jerry Manuel to your thread yesterday. If it is a real possibility, then it makes sense.

    There has also been a lot of talk about the Cardinal way of bringing up prospects as relievers and then shuftling into the rotación.

    Even if both processes seem to be on oposite sides, Mejía to closer is more an ocurrance or maybe an opportunity while the Cardinal Way is more a process.

    Joe can you or anybody else, give us more Depth into the Cardinal Way.

    • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 11:44 pm
      The “Cardinal Way” of developing pitchers is not unique — it’s essentially the same program that was used in MLB from about 1900 to at some point late in the 20th century.

      The best pitchers were always starters. The others were relievers. If a young phenom had enough stuff to get MLB hitters out, and was mature enough to handle being in MLB, but needed more development, he would be brought along slowly by filling a bullpen role. Somewhere in the midst of relief specialists and arbitration / super-two contract considerations, teams moved away from promoting young starting pitchers until teams were absolutely sure they were ready. It’s been more about economics than anything else, in my opinion. Ironically, the Cardinals promote young arms because, over the short term, they’re cheaper than veterans. I’m not sure why more MLB teams don’t follow their lead.

  7. Vilos May 5, 2014 at 9:08 am
    I forgot to add: Thanks!
  8. Colin May 5, 2014 at 11:23 am
    That Colorado series was like watching a beer league softball tournament. I guess the silver lining from the Colorado Black Cloud is that we got the bats going.
    Lets see if the Mets pitchers can get back on track and keep one of the best bats in the bigs, Mr. Stanton, quiet. With the Braves dropping a few it would have been nice to at least split the Rockies series….oh well.
  9. NormE May 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm
    While I have a high regard for Gee as a competitor, the key to this win was simple—-Tulo was on the bench.
    • Joe Janish May 5, 2014 at 11:47 pm
      Details, details …