Mets Game 43: Loss To Nationals
Nationals 6 Mets 3
Yet again, Wilson Ramos is a one-man wrecking crew as he powers the Nats past the Mets.
Mets Game Notes
Wilson Ramos LOVES to hit against the Mets; in this game he drove in 4 runs; I think his average against the Mets is about .370. He’s like Gaby Sanchez 2.0. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Not a great day for Zack Wheeler, as he allowed 5 runs — 3 earned — in 6 innings. He wasn’t helped by spotty defense behind him, but at the same time, he was saved by brilliant defense on at least two or three occasions. Wheeler was not fooling anyone, and even when the Nationals were hitting foul balls and outs, they were hitting the ball hard. Part of Wheeler’s problem was throwing his fastball over the middle of the plate; another part was being unable to throw his curveball for a strike until the sixth inning. Few MLB starting pitchers can enjoy consistent success without some kind of off-speed / secondary pitch. Bartolo Colon is the only one I can think of, off the top of my head, but even he can get secondary pitches over the plate every once in a while to keep the batters honest.
The Mets ran themselves out of a rally in the first inning. Actually, it wasn’t the entire team, but Daniel Murphy, who was caught returning to third base by Ian Desmond on the tail end of a double play grounder. It was a very close call, and I think what happened was third baseman Anthony Rendon pushed Murphy’s hand off the bag (which is a clean and legal play). Maybe Murphy was safe, but the point is, what the heck was he doing so far off the bag in the first place? Oh, you know how I hate to single out Murphy for a poor baseball decision, but it seems like he disappoints us at least once a game. On the bright side, Murphy wouldn’t be making baserunning mistakes if he wasn’t on the bases, right? He kept his hot streak going with a 1-for-4 day.
I agree with Keith Hernandez: Murphy has become as good a second baseman as he possibly can. I also agree with Gary Cohen, in that it’s very hard to measure Murphy’s overall effectiveness — i.e., his offensive production vs. everything he does outside the batter’s box.
A few innings later, Juan Centeno ended a rally with poor baserunning, when he attempted to take second base when an outfield throw went to third base after he hit a single. Centeno had two hits and two RBI, but that baserunning blunder and an overthrow negated his offensive contribution.
Tough game for rookie umpire Jon Byrne, the first Australian umpire in MLB history. Fascinating to me that he made his MLB debut behind the plate — you’d think they would have broken him in on the bases. He made some questionable calls for/against both sides, and it probably all evened out in the end. One glaring miss in particular was in the 7th inning: Jeurys Familia had two strikes on pinch-hitter Zach Walters, and quick-pitched a fastball over the middle of the plate for what should’ve been strike three. Byrne called it a ball, and I’m not sure if he called it a ball because he thought it was, or if it was because he was surprised and not prepared to call it due to the quick-pitch, or if Byrne was sending a message not to be quick-pitching.
During the SNY broadcast, there was discussion of the possibility that a MLB team might someday move to Montreal, prompting Keith Hernandez to suggest that some “jiggering” would be needed to balance the divisions. The conversation led to a beautiful discourse by Gary Cohen that went as follows:
“… You’d have to move Houston back to the National League, where they belong. I mean, fifteen teams in each league is silly in the first place. This whole having to have interleague play every day of the entire season … somebody’s fool notion.”
You go Gary! If Gary Cohen weren’t so classy, and on air, I bet stronger words would have been used. And oh by the way, Gary, that “fool” of which you refer is named Bud Selig.
Cohen also brought up former MLB pitcher Mike Marshall, which became another interesting discussion suggesting that he might have some ideas on how to keep pitchers healthy. Marshall has some very extreme theories on how a baseball should be pitched. However, he’s been trying to prove his theory for about 30 years now, and has yet to produce a pitcher using his theories who can throw effectively enough to succeed consistently at any pro level. I suppose because Marshall once won a Cy Young in a year in which he pitched in 106 games / 208 innings, and he’s an anti-establishment kind of guy, the general public wants to rally behind his theories. Well, here’s the thing: MLB pitchers CAN be much healthier, if they’d just make MINOR adjustments to their mechanics, and follow proper recovery guidelines — they don’t necessarily need to completely overhaul their motion and use Marshall’s methods to stay safe. All they have to do is follow established, researched principles regarding conventional over-arm throwing.
Terry Collins was overly defensive about criticism thrown his way regarding the absence of Juan Lagares from the lineup for a few days. Well, Terry, as mentioned here before, it’s not like the guys you’re juggling in the outfield are named Puig, Kemp, Ethier, and Crawford. Heck, it’s not even Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, Art Shamsky, and Ron Swoboda (with Amos Otis waiting in the wings). As long as Lagares is playing a Gold-Glove centerfield and hitting .300+ with a .800+ OPS, he is in the lineup, especially on a club that desperately needs to prevent runs and plays in an enormous ballpark. How do you take playing time away from Lagares and give it to Eric Young, Jr., Chris Young, or Curtis Granderson? I get giving Lagares a day off here and there, but two days in a row is one day too many. Now, if Lagares falls back to Earth and hits in the .250 range, I understand. But as long as he’s swinging the bat well, and flashing that glove, why would you ever remove him from the lineup?
The Mets are still ahead of the last-place Phillies in the standings, but they’ve lost one more game than Philly. You can always win more games, but you can’t lose less.