Mets Game 41: Loss To Nationals
Nationals 5 Mets 2
Daniel Murphy very nearly tied the game with the last swing of the ballgame, but it was just a little short. After the ball fell safely in Jayson Werth‘s glove, the Mets lost their third straight and sunk to 19-22 as the Nats improved to 22-19.
Mets Game Notes
Aside from the heart-racing excitement of the top of the ninth, the Mets didn’t really do much of anything offensively, and fell behind early due to poor pitching matched by equally poor defense.
Jonathon Niese completed only 4 frames, allowing 5 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks, tossing 84 pitches. He struggled mightily with his command, and his facial expressions / body language suggested that he was either frustrated or possibly in pain. Ron Darling identified the fact that he was “dragging his arm” but didn’t really understand why, despite a lengthy and detailed explanation on what was happening and how it could be fixed. Somewhat contrary to Darling’s theory, Niese doesn’t need to “cut through the zone” (I’m not sure what that means), nor will “sitting back,” “getting balance,” “keeping the front shoulder in,” or “trying not to fall toward third base” help him fix the issue. I don’t know how Darling believes he’s qualified on body movement, and have no idea how he thinks he can see issues like “dragging the arm” without the benefit of high-speed film. I don’t mean to pick on Ronnie, but rather single him out as an example of a larger problem — that every former pro pitcher thinks they know about the pitching motion; they don’t.
Niese’s problem is twofold: first, he’s been landing with his front foot in such a way that it closes and cuts off the hips; second, because of the closed-hip issue, his arm has had to take on the full brunt of creating velocity, and so there’s been no help from the legs and hips to generate shoulder rotation. As a result, he’s been tearing up his shoulder, it’s being weakened, and it can no longer rotate fast enough to keep up with his lower body. Two things need to happen to “fix” Niese: first, his shoulder need rest and rejuvenation — i.e., strengthening exercises. Second, he needs to fix his stride so that his front foot lands more in line with his back foot and on a straight line to the plate.
GKR spent considerable time focusing on the little things not executed, especially in the first few innings. It was almost as if the MetsToday community was calling the game, and a breath of fresh air. They also went into a lengthy discussion about the Mets offense, and how the team’s runs per game average does not accurately describe the reality. Well done, GKR.
Expanding upon the runs-per-game discussion … the Mets have scored 3 runs or less in 16 of their 40 games, and have scored 7 runs or more in 7 games (and 6 runs or more in 11). Take it for what it’s worth.
Via Kevin Burkhardt, per Steve McCatty: “… Look, it’s really hard to explain … take for example Harvey on the Mets, I think his mechanics are almost flawless, so then how do you explain it? … at the youth levels, at an early age, they’re infatuated with the radar gun … who knows, maybe there was a lot of fat on the guys back then … (referring to pitchers like him, who completed games in double digits every year and threw 225-250 innings).”
Ron Darling’s opinion: “… in regard to the youth leagues, pitching off any kind of elevated surface at a young age is a bad idea. Throwing any breaking balls before a certain age — everyone knows that — always, is a bad idea. … the radar gun … guys know now, if you throw 90+, you’re gonna get a contract … if you can throw hard, you’re good, it doesn’t matter if you can pitch or not. The last one … they’ve done such a great job with the shoulder — in my day, it was the shoulder that always went first — and they’ve done such a great job with band work, stretching, and exercise, to build up the capsule around the shoulder, that you seldom see shoulder problems. But you can’t build up any part around the elbow to protect that ligament, it’s always gonna be exposed because there’s not enough muscles there. You can work your forearm, you can work your bicep/tricep, but it’s never gonna be enough to take the strain of throwing the ball at 95 MPH.”
Gary Cohen responded with: “But the corollary to what you’re saying is because they’ve done such a good job of strengthening the muscles around the shoulder, that enables pitchers to throw that much harder, and because they’re throwing that much harder, it puts that much more stress on the (elbow) ligament, which is still the same strength that it was before. That’s a problem.”
So all of these quotes above via McCatty, Darling, and Cohen? Complete, absolute bunk. None of these people are qualified to speak on the topic. That’s the problem with this issue — NOT ONE PERSON who has been talking about these pitching injuries publicly is qualified to do so (including myself). Just because one has experience watching or playing baseball and has a microphone in front of his face doesn’t mean he can talk about the subject of human kinetics.