Mets Game 34: Loss To Phillies
Phillies 3 Mets 2
This felt like a 25-inning game on the Left Coast. And that’s how it felt in the 6th inning.
Mets Game Notes
Yet another close game lost by the Mets due to an inability to conjure offense. It was a marathon of ineptitude for both clubs.
What made it somewhat funny was that Jenrry Mejia was removed from the game prior to finishing five frames, despite allowing only two runs. It was apparent that early on that the Mets wouldn’t be scoring many more runs, so when the Phillies crossed the plate for the second time, it pushed the Mets into a state of desperation — only halfway through the ballgame. Crazy, right?
Oh, there was the matter of Mejia’s pitch count (he was removed after his 101st pitch). But it was less about fatigue (Mejia didn’t show any signs of fatigue to me) and more about that “third time through the lineup” thing. Terry Collins was confident about one thing — that his club wouldn’t be scoring more than two runs in this ballgame, despite facing the Phillies’ worst starting pitcher. Jeez, good thing the Mets will miss Cliff Lee this time around.
I would hate catching Mejia. He shakes off more than half the signals he’s given, and misses the target more than half the time. Those two things drive me crazy — the former much more than the latter.
Both offenses struggled mightily to get the big hit with runners in scoring position. Additionally, both start pitchers wasted the advantage of many 0-2 counts, often running the count full. As a result, the pace of the game was snail-like. This is what happens when you throw poor pitching at bad hitting – ineptness vs. ineptness.
How bad was it? There were 20 men left on base by both teams in the first five innings. That’s hard to do. By the end of the game, the total LOBs, combined, were 32 — 15 by the Mets, who were 1-11 with RISP.
Mets batters struck out a dozen times, as did Phillies hitters. However, Phillies hitters walked 11 times, while Mets hitters drew 5 bases on balls.
GKR compared Mejia’s afro to the big hair of old-time guys like Oscar Gamble, Jose Cardenal, and Cliff Johnson, which brought back fun memories. In all seriousness, if I were Mejia, I’d keep my hair clipped a bit tighter, because the black background of his hair can only help the batter see the ball as it comes out of his hand. I know, it’s a tiny detail, and may not mean a thing, but why take a chance at the MLB level? Better yet, maybe I’d keep growing that afro to Gamble /Ludacris / Bob Ross / Pam Grier / Darnell Hillman proportions, and bleach it white to perhaps make the ball disappear. There’s nothing in the rules against it, after all, and every little edge counts.
Contrast in situational hitting approaches: Jimmy Rollins vs. Domonic Brown. In the second inning, with the bases full, down one, and two out, Rollins chased a 1-0 pitch that was up and away. It appeared as though he was looking to pull the ball, and may have been guessing location middle-in. Bad choice, bad approach in that situation, as Mejia was working most batters away. In the third inning, with a man on third, one out, and still one run down, Domonic Brown inside-outs a middle-in fastball into right field for a single to score Chase Utley. Had Brown been taking a “normal” approach, he might have driven the ball for an extra-base hit. But, he chose instead to take a situational hitting approach, and more of a “contact swing” — thinking, “I must get this run home.” He guessed that Mejia would be pitching away — a good guess, since that’s what Mejia had been doing, particularly with RISP — and while the guess was wrong, it was OK, because Brown still had time to react and poke the ball into left field. It was a similar approach / process that Daniel Murphy takes with a man on third and two out, and, while it may completely eliminate the possibility of whacking an extra-base hit, it also increases the chances of getting the run home, which should be the priority when the game is tied or your team is behind by three runs or less.
Wilmer Flores had his bell rung on a throw to second on a stolen base by Chase Utley. Gary Cohen described as “a really bad spot.” If you never read Ball Four, “… it’s called ringing the bell, which rhymes with hell, which is what it hurts like. It’s funny, even if you’re in the outfield, or in the dugout, no matter how far away, when a guy gets it in the cup you can hear it. Ding dong.” Lesson for the kids: ALWAYS wear your cup, mmmm-kay?
Phillies reliever Jake Diekman is a classic case of “throwing across the body,” and as a result, I don’t share any of the excitement / hype around him. Even if Diekman manages to throw enough strikes to be successful, as long as his front foot lands so far toward 1B and, in turn, closes the hips, he’ll have wildly inconsistent command and always be in danger of blowing out his arm. I don’t understand how pitchers get this far along without someone, at some point, correcting the mechanics to be safer and more efficient. Fear of failure and blame, I suppose.
How in the world does Antonio Bastardo walk Daniel Murphy on four pitches with two outs, up by one, David Wright on deck, in the 8th? Remarkable, but it explains why Bastardo’s numbers are so ugly thus far this year.
Speaking of time flying, back in the day — and by that, I mean the 1970s — low-scoring games like this would take somewhere between an hour and fifty minutes to two hours and twenty minutes. Today, a 3-2 game takes almost four hours. Go figure.
Jose Valverde is tipping his pitches. When he lifts his leg, if he looks back past 3B, it’s a fastball. If he keeps his head mostly locked on to the catcher / only turns it slightly, it’s a forkball. Every time. Not sure how long he’s doing it, I just noticed during this game. Is there enough time for a batter to also notice it and adjust / anticipate accordingly? I think so.
Several heavy sighs were heard from Keith Hernandez, particularly in the 11th inning. I guess modern microphones don’t have a “sigh button.”
Can’t really blame Keith, though — I caught myself snoring at least four times in the final three innings. I kept pushing the fast-forward button on my remote, hoping that perhaps I was watching a DVR delay of the game.