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.