Mets Game 35: Loss To Phillies

Phillies 5 Mets 4

Mets lose their fifth straight to take sole possession of last place in the NL East.

Mets Game Notes

Terry Collins removed Dillon Gee with the Mets up by one after 6 innings, 3 ER, and 81 pitches. His rationale was that Gee struggled in the first inning, several Phillies batters had a history of hitting well against Gee, and lefty hitters were coming up. Was it the right decision? Up for discussion. If you think Gee was about to hit that wall near 90 pitches that he’s hit before, then perhaps it was. If you thought Gee was cruising along just fine and would continue to, maybe not.

To me, it seemed as though Gee was having a heck of a time with his command. Even when he was throwing strikes, it was clear from Travis d’Arnaud‘s reaction behind the plate that Gee wasn’t hitting intended spots.

A rare baserunning mistake by Chase Utley in the 7th inning — he was picked off attempting to steal third base with Ryan Howard at the plate. It’s shocking to see Utley make any kind of mistake on the ballfield — only ten minutes previous, I was thinking, “this guy never, ever makes a mistake.” The mistake was getting caught, and I wouldn’t put it in the same category as Daniel Murphy trying to steal third with no men out (to which Gary Cohen casually referred). I kind of get why Utley took the chance — tie game, one out, Howard up with first base open. Utley likely figured that with first base open and LOOGY Scott Rice on the mound, Howard wouldn’t be getting anything to drive over the fence — but he might get something to loft deep enough for a sac fly. And even though Utley was thrown out, the inning was still alive with a homerun threat at the plate. Not making any excuses for Utley’s getting thrown out as the go-ahead run — only going through the logic. Whereas, I often have no idea what’s going through Murphy’s head when he takes chances on the bases.

Big play of the game: Phillies pitcher Mike Adams threw one intentional ball to Eric Campbell in the 8th with men on second and third, tie ballgame, then Utley raced in to discuss the matter, and Adams changed course and pitched to Campbell — eventually striking him out looking. At first, I wondered if this was Utley overriding manager Ryne Sandberg‘s decision, or Utley correcting the communication provided by Sandberg, or the Phillies messing with Campbell’s head. As it turned out, it was a group decision to intentionally walk Campbell, and then a group decision to change their minds after the first pitch. Carlos Ruiz saw Bobby Abreu grab a bat in the dugout, he looked at Utley, and they were on the same page, so they convinced Adams to change gears. It made sense — why NOT go after the rookie righthanded hitter in that situation? As much as people criticize the Phillies for being too old, at the same time, the nucleus playing together so long, knowing each other, and having extensive experience can at some times be an advantage.

I also wonder if Adams wound up walking Campbell anyway, would it still count as an intentional walk? If a pitcher falls behind 3-0 and then throws the fourth ball intentionally, I think it counts as an IBB — but what about the other way around?

Steve Gelbs relayed a conversation with Larry Bowa contrasting the treatment of today’s ballplayers with those from the old days. Bottom line is that modern players are much more sensitive to negativity from authority and more friendly / “gentlemanly” with their opponents. I’d have to agree on both points, and can’t really say whether the changes are good or bad — I suppose it depends on one’s perspective. Bowa — as well as Ron Darling — mentioned that managers would routinely browbeat players in front of teammates, and that’s something that doesn’t play today. I remember similar treatment back in the day, though, I specifically recall watching film on the Monday after a high school football game. Nothing — absolutely nothing — I ever experienced in baseball compared to the dressing down and humiliation from the head football coach during those films. Maybe it had something to do with me being a less than fantastic football player; though just about everyone in the room would get ripped a new one at some point in the afternoon. Compounding the coach’s criticism was the replay of the film, over and over, on a mistake you made — be it a missed block, fumble, bad snap, whatever. Am I a better, tougher person for experiencing that public humiliation as a teenager? I don’t know. Maybe? Did it motivate me to not make mistakes the next week? Sure — and it certainly motivated me to work harder in practice.

As a coach today, I NEVER, EVER berate a kid in front of teammates. In private, sure, I’ll absolutely address mistakes, but try to be as positive as possible. Maybe I’m that way because I hated the feeling of humiliation, but mostly that’s my style because it seems (to me) to garner faster results. Negative motivation is an interesting topic, and even today, research hasn’t definitely proven its effectiveness or ineffectiveness one way or the other. It’s still the method of choice in military training, for example.

Next Mets Game

Mets and Phillies do it one more time on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 PM. Jonathon Niese takes the ball against Cole Hamels.

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. Kanehl May 11, 2014 at 12:11 am
    If we’re going to run Farnsworth or Dice-K out there at the end if the game, there’s really no,point to playing the first 8 innings. Time to move Meija to the pen, release Farnsworth and Valve red, biting up Montero and deGrom making one of them the 5th starter and the other in the pen. Vic Black too.
    • DaveSchneck May 11, 2014 at 9:34 am
      The GM has assembled a team without a legit leadoff hitter, cleanup hitter, ace, or closer. Rearranging the deck chair is unlikely to solve any real issues.
  2. meticated May 11, 2014 at 1:55 am
    I believe it’s browbeat but the fact remains that these are professionals and motivation isn’t the issue…granted some managers possess a gift for getting inside the heads of ballplayers effectively. ..question would John Mcgraw make a difference when presented with the Mets circa 2007-2014…we simply lack the resources and cohesion to win consistently. ..If we hit, then the bullpen is miserable. ..If we put men on, then we seem unable to plate them ..either the parks too big for our hitters strength or we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like seasoned losers. .i feel that somehow nearly all of baseball has eclipsed us..even the Marlins have developed a farm that gets recognized. .The astros, pirates, and even the pathetic cubs are positioned to bring excellent manpower imminently. ..I’m exhausted by the mets and the constant infighting between us versus them..give me a break …I simply want to be competitive and encouraging and not endure another summer of shame!
    • Joe Janish May 11, 2014 at 11:47 am
      It IS browbeat — what was I thinking? Thanks for the correction.

      I wasn’t suggesting that the Mets need a Larry Bowa type guy in the dugout. I agree, motivation can only go so far at this level. Rather, I was posing the subject for possible discussion among parents and coaches of kids.

      Trying to fix the Mets through this blog is an exercise in futility, but sometimes we can pull things that happen in the games that can genuinely help others after they click away from here.

  3. david May 11, 2014 at 2:25 am
    I saw the end of this game, not much else which is either fortunate or not, depending on how you look at it. I saw a look on David Wright’s face at the end of today’s game that seemed to reflect his realization that he played yet another game lost by a faceless veteran reliever, breezing through on their way to a financial planners course, with a healthy dose of failing to get a timely hit. I commend management for acting quickly this year to try and address glaring performances on the field. However, on-field management has to warrant concern. At what point do you justify re-hiring the hitting coach on this team (spare me the spiel, please) or the bullpen coach. Manager is another topic for another time, suffice to say ‘think of the message you send to players re-upping the guy who can’t get past 75 wins.’ Hmm . . .
  4. Tripp May 11, 2014 at 8:40 am
    Saw the PSL A team last night in Jupiter. No one on that team looked like anything more than “organizational depth” except for Nimmo.
  5. Stephen May 11, 2014 at 11:11 am
    There is no debate. The removal of Gee is the final nail in the coffin for me with TC, if that’s possible.
    Saying 81 is close to 90 makes me think, heck, let’s stop him at 70, 60, etc.
    That his pitches were moving too much is hysterical.
    Simply put, he gave up one hit, ONE, after the 2d and should have been allowed to continue.
    He’s your “ace” if there is on, and you take him out to put in a career minor leaguer and your 11th best pitcher?

    I have simply never seen a worse handler of pitchers than TC and that includes infamous staff destroyers like Billy Maritn.

  6. AC Wayne May 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm
    I understand that the Collins argument can seem useless. Simply put, he gets the most out of his players when the team wins. He has a bad roster when the team loses. All his bases are covered, no pun intended.
  7. argonbunnies May 12, 2014 at 4:50 pm
    Gee did what a good, smart pitcher does on a day when he doesn’t have his good command — mix pitches and locations, avoid free baserunners, hope your fielders make the plays. It wasn’t awe-inspiring, but it was good enough, and “good enough” is more than one could safely expect from the relievers Terry used instead.

    Rice is so wild and so bad against righties that he really needs to never allow a hard-hit ball by a lefty to have any value. He’s recently failed at that, so I dread seeing him in close games now. Same with Farnsworth and Valverde — either guy can hold a 3-run lead just fine, but a 1-run lead is far from safe.

    As for browbeating players, I’m not sad to see it gone, but at the same time, I wish today’s players didn’t demand so much comfort and coddling. I can’t help but think that “don’t yell at me in front of my friends” is part of the same package with “don’t pitch me in an unfamiliar situation” and “don’t bat me in a new lineup spot”. Winning players put winning first and comfort far behind. Think of the toughest players you know — would any of them have a problem with any of that? I’m not saying any player should like getting berated, but it shouldn’t be such a huge deal.

    Re: Utley starting too early on his steal attempt, he’s been going on first move for his whole career, and his near-historic success percentage proves that it works for him. I’ve seen him steal the base on pick-off throws, that’s how huge his lead and jumps are. Utley’s play looked ugly, but once you factor in that he steals it standing up if Rice doesn’t turn there, it’s really no different than a guy getting thrown out by a laser from the catcher.

    • Joe Janish May 12, 2014 at 11:08 pm
      Gee’s been a helluva competitor since the first time he came up to the bigs, and it’s, for me, what makes him so fun to watch. It’s remarkable that scouts / executives / coaches / managers continue to drool over knuckleheads who throw 95+ MPH, when guys like Gee are who will win them ballgames.

      Regarding your coddling remarks — you mean, kind of like how Jenrry Mejia has made clear he doesn’t want to be a reliever? Hmmmmmmm….

      • argonbunnies May 13, 2014 at 4:41 pm
        Well, see, I intentionally used examples that weren’t about salary. Jenrry knows that middle relievers make peanuts, closers make decent money, and starters make fortunes. He doesn’t want to give up starting until he’s truly proven he can’t, and he’s absolutely correct that 7 starts is proof of nothing.

        Also, Mejia seems to have noticed that the Mets use their relievers with no concern for their health, and doesn’t want to blow out his elbow again.

        Re: coddling, I’m thinking more of the guys who say things like, “I prefer to hit second. But the manager wants me to hit third, so I’ll do it for the team. It’ll be a big adjustment and I’ll work hard and do my best,” in a sullen voice. Or the relievers who say “the most important thing is having defined roles” as if that’s their right.