Mets Game 38: Win Over Yankees

Mets 12 Yankees 7

Mets beat the Yankees in the second game of the subway series, and for the sixth straight time that the two teams have met.

Mets Game Notes

I’m not going over all the scoring, so hopefully you saw it. To be completely honest, I was distracted by other things while this game was dragging on, and those other issues plus the snail’s pace of the game drained my energy. So what’s here is what I randomly typed up during the contest. Not much different from what I usually do, but, for those wondering where all the stuff is about the runs scoring, well, check the highlights on ESPN, I guess.

Except one thing, for Crozier: Daniel Murphy hit a majestic homerun off the right field foul pole to put the game away. That blast was the last nail in the Yankees’ coffin, as it took all the air out of whatever energy they brought to the ballgame. Further, the homerun was the result of smart hitting — I know this because Keith Hernandez said so.

Zack Wheeler was up to 90 pitches by the start of the fourth frame. It took over an hour for the first two innings to complete. Gee whiz. If this is how Adulterated League games go all the time, I don’t know how fans muster the strength to sit through them. Snoozefest for me, no matter how many balls fly over the fence and baserunners cross the plate.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected after the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes. I’m convinced he did that purposely, so he could escape the agony of slogging through the second half of the marathon. By that point, the game was already more than two and a half hours old, and on pace to finish 9 innings in more than five hours.

After handing Wheeler big leads in several of the first five frames, the young phenom responded by walking the Yankee leadoff batter in the bottom of the inning, and letting the Bronx Bombers back in the game. At the beginning of the contest, the excuse was jitters and nerves associated with pitching in Yankee Stadium for the first time; understood. But when he walked the leadoff batter of the fifth, with an 11-4 advantage, well, something is seriously wrong. Why is Wheeler’s command so bad? I can assure you that he has a few mechanical flaws that are both preventing him from throwing strikes and also causing damage to his arm; I hope to discuss them in more detail in the coming weeks. Could it also be a mental / emotional / confidence thing? Maybe.

Also of note, Wheeler began the game smoking the radar gun at 96-97 MPH, and by the time he worked beyond 100 pitches, his velocity dipped to 92. Ron Darling said he “wasn’t concerned,” and I understand why — he’s looking at it from a game-performance standpoint. However, I’m looking at it from a physical-performance and safety perspective. To lose that much velocity is an indication of fatigue — a red flag that a) he needs to exit the game; and b) something is happening to cause the fatigue. Regarding the latter, is it a question of conditioning? Or is a mechanical flaw accelerating fatigue?

By the time Wheeler left the game, he had thrown 118 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. That’s awful. It’s so awful it makes Jenrry Mejia‘s 101-pitch, 4 2/3 inning effort seem not so bad.

In these two games in the Bronx, and the final game against Philadelphia, Ruben Tejada is hitting as well as we have ever seen him. That’s great to see, and simultaneously distressing, because it appears as though he’s motivated by being benched — and if that’s the case, will he ever be internally motivated? I do believe that there is a confluence of issues at play — it hasn’t hurt, for example, that he’s faced a few AAA pitchers. But throughout his career, Tejada has chronically required external motivation (a.k.a., kick in the keister).

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Yankees move on the Flushing on Wednesday night at 7:10 PM for game three of the subway series. Rafael Montero makes his MLB debut against Yankees rookie Masahiro Tanaka.

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. meticated May 14, 2014 at 1:26 am
    Are the visual cues better in Yankee Stadium than citifield?…being that when Tejada gets hot it’s got to be an anomaly. ..and my friend, if you, in all due respect, can identify bio mechanical flaws and the Mets have access to the lab in Alabama and sophisticated recording tech and analysis, then why in the name of science are they missing such obvious flaws and dangerous mechanics?…possibly they are troglodyte slow to adapt or, is it don’t change it if it isn’t broken philosophy?…almost every other day a ucl tears and no one says wholesale review is mandated!
    • Joe Janish May 14, 2014 at 10:33 am

      “… don’t change it if it isn’t broken philosophy”

      MLB managers and coaches are concerned with results. Plus, they don’t understand enough about human kinetics to make changes. Nor should they be expected to. Baseball teams need to recruit more help from the scientific community.

      • chris May 14, 2014 at 11:47 am
        This is not a rhetorical question; when is it going to change? The arm issues are not new, but baseball is more popular than ever, in large part due to the exciting young pitchers. If you have guys like Strasbourg, Harvey, and Fernandez going down, along with a plethora of non-bright light names, year after year, when is the game going to notice? Is anyone aware of these mechanical issues on the teams? From a perspective of finances if nothing else, it needs to be fixed. I know baseball is generally run by reactionary old codgers, but my god, someone wake them up from their nap.
        • Joe Janish May 14, 2014 at 10:42 pm
          MLB’s official response: “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …..”
  2. meticated May 14, 2014 at 1:38 am
    and I do recognize that junior baseball is encouraging youngsters to power pitch with immature physiques and debatable physics
    • Joe Janish May 14, 2014 at 10:37 am
      Junior baseball is not encouraging power pitching. MLB is signing pitchers based purely on radar-gun readings. So every pitcher is motivated to “dial it up.”

      Further, while I agree that children with developing growth plates may be putting their bodies in danger today, this idea that MLB is purchasing “damaged goods” because all the wear and tear is happening while pitchers are amateurs is complete bunk. OK, maybe it’s a tiny part of the problem. But amateur wear and tear doesn’t explain SECOND Tommy John surgeries, does it?

  3. NormE May 14, 2014 at 9:43 am
    The best thing about the game was that I had no qualms about switching over to the Rangers-Penguins game.

    What would happen if Wheeler dialed back on his fastball at the beginning of the game? Would it improve his stamina? Does he not have confidence in other other pitches?
    Back in the day (love that phrase) you would have pitchers like Seaver, Jenkins, Gibson, Marichal who all seemed to get stronger as the game went on. The feeling was that you had to get to them early or you were in trouble. Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay may have been two of the last of that breed.
    Some of the blame goes to the radar gun, the huge amounts of money and the vulture player agents. I’m sure there are many other valid components in the blame game.

    • Joe Janish May 14, 2014 at 10:47 am
      Dialing back the fastball likely won’t change the mechanical flaw. In fact, it might make it worse. The mechanical flaw is what’s accelerating fatigue. It’s also likely that he’s been conditioned to throw only 100 pitches. And it’s also likely that his recovery schedule is dangerous, because it seems that nearly every MLB pitcher follows a useless recovery program — most go into their next start not fully recovered from the previous one.
  4. Gabriel May 14, 2014 at 10:22 am
    Under all that explosive offense d’Arnuad still struggles to get hits. Last night he was completely lost at the plate and it seemed he wanted to finish his at-bat quickly.

    Joe are you concerned with Travis’ lack of production?

    • Joe Janish May 14, 2014 at 10:57 am
      Hey the kid hit a homerun the night before! Yeah it was a cheapie but it was still good hitting in that he went with the pitch and drove it.

      I’m not concerned about d’Arnaud. He shows skills that to me suggest he’ll be a .270-.280 hitter with some pop — maybe 10-15 homeruns a year as he matures. He may not show that production this year but he will eventually, in my opinion.

  5. crozier May 14, 2014 at 10:49 am
    Yeah, okay, Joe, I get it: Murphy and his “smart” hitting. I think his upper deck bomb kind of embarrassed him.

    But seriously. We’re a quarter way through the season, and David Wright’s numbers are positively anemic. He’s hitting well and driving in runs, but his .736 OPS has to be one of the lowest for a #3 guy in the league. Murphy’s OPS is 100 points higher. I suppose it would be unimaginable to flip Murphy and Wright in the order. Or would it?

    And has anyone paid attention to EYJ’s numbers? His OBP isn’t stellar at .338, but it isn’t horrible, either, and he’s currently fourth in runs scored, despite significantly fewer plate appearances than anyone else in the top 10. For what it’s worth, his 1.4 WAR tops the other three Met OFs. Last night’s performance – 0 hits, 3 runs – may not be typical, but it didn’t surprise me. I dunno; I’d look to keep him in the lineup as much as possible for the time being.

    Joe, I completely agree (in case you wondered if we agree on anything; we do, actually) about AL game length; it’s atrocious. But more than anything else, this game’s potential for enjoyment was ruined by pitch counts.

    • Joe Janish May 14, 2014 at 11:13 am
      Contrary to what I often communicate, I do look at stats for reference on occasion. However, I don’t get too excited about small sample sizes, and I think it’s still too early in the season to let most offensive (and all defensive) stats influence judgment of a player — be they good or bad stats. I’m still relying 99% on my eyes at this point.

      That said, I’m concerned with D-Wright’s big arm swing and this new thing where he collapses his bottom half Reggie Jax style. I also don’t like his approach and pitch selection most of the time. He seems obsessed with jacking the ball.

      As for Eric Young, Jr., I see a streaky hitter who can play well in spots, but with regular play, his flaws will show ugly. His offense would play fine for me if he was a shortstop — it would recall old Cub/Phillie Ivan DeJesus. But as a left fielder on a team that’s desperate for offense? I’m not sure it makes sense.

      It’s funny to me to hear Terry Collins talk about his “dilemma” of having three OFs for two spots. It’s not like he has Puig, Kemp, and Ethier — it’s three flawed players who, in the end, are maybe average, maybe mediocre, yet all equal in their mediocrity. It’s like choosing between a bologna sandwich, chicken salad, or PB&J, when other people are choosing among steak, sushi, or chicken paillard for lunch.

  6. DaveSchneck May 14, 2014 at 10:58 am
    I’m out of the country and did ‘t see the game but glad to see a Met win even if Adulterated. Wheeler’s line in combination with the pattern of lost velocity is quite concerning. Like Mejia, I am still not sold on him as a starter. And back end bullpen arms need to throw strikes not just throw hard
    • Joe Janish May 14, 2014 at 11:16 am
      Remember when Zack Wheeler was talking about being the Opening Day starter?

      Seems eons ago …

      • DaveSchneck May 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm
        I understand everyone isn’t going to come up and perform like Matt Harvey. Wheeler is still young and is entitled to have some growing pains, but the motion, erratic control, and diminishing velocity are concerning. We’ll see how Montero does, but command guys like him (potentially) and the more accomplished Gee are vastly underrated.
        • Joe Janish May 14, 2014 at 10:43 pm
          Agreed 100000000000000000000%.

          But tell that to the GMs, executives, scouts, coaches, managers, etc., who continue to drool over radar readings.

  7. meticated May 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm
    Well. ..everybody’s upbeat in here for the moment…If only…
  8. Garett May 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm
    there must be some more consideration by Sandy or management of bringing fences in more or moving field out next year… the Citifield dimensions seem to just be a psychological thing for our hitters. it trickles down to the pitchers when we can’t hit the long ball…. I think we need to give ourselves 10-15 more feet all the way around and make some of our fly balls home runs. Something needs to give here, even if it’s for the eye of the hitter.. we need more runs at home.
    • Joe Janish May 14, 2014 at 10:46 pm
      Or, here’s a wild idea: build a team on speed, defense, and pitching, and hold a home-field edge over the competition.
      • Garett May 15, 2014 at 9:24 am
        2013 New York Mets National League 74 88
        2012 New York Mets National League 74 88
        2011 New York Mets National League 77 85
        2010 New York Mets National League 79 83
        2009 New York Mets National League 70 92

        Records since the Mets moved into Citi Field…..

        I know we are built to win in 2015, but ya still gotta hit & score runs.

        Do we wait for 10 years of below .500 ball to do something different?

  9. Garett May 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm
    our guys at Yankee Stadium were aggressive and popping them out left & right… we have home run hitters if we just gave them a fighting chance! Polo Grounds dimensions need to be forgotten
  10. John May 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm
    So based upon the results, Colon and Wheeler will join Meija in the bullpen, right?