Mets Game 45: Loss To Dodgers

Dodgers 4 Mets 3

Mets collect 13 hits, but few when (only one, actually) they were needed. Meanwhile, the Mets limit the Dodgers to five hits, and, yet, did you see the final score?

Mets Game Notes

Jacob deGrom was again impressive in his second MLB start, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings. Not spectacular, but good enough to keep the Mets in the game, and you can’t really expect much more from a fill-in / AAA callup.

However, the Mets offense couldn’t push enough runners across the plate against Hyun-Jin Ryu and the LA bullpen. Though they cracked 13 hits, the Mets walked only once and struck out 10 times as they left 9 runners on base and were 0-for-3 with RISP. The Dodgers weren’t any more efficient, but hit two more homers. Ironically, the Mets seem to have built their offense around putting guys on base and getting them home via the long ball; they just haven’t managed to execute that plan often enough to be a winning team.

A few things about Jacob deGrom’s mechanics. I noticed he lands with his front foot completely open — by that, I mean his toes are pointed directly toward home plate. By doing that, he opens his hips early and loses velocity. A huge factor in velocity is remaining “sideways” — with the front hip pointed toward home plate — as long as possible. He also strides too long — so long that it causes him to release the ball further away from, rather than closer to, home plate. Nearly every pitching coach teaches pitchers to over-stride, and it often causes more problems than it provides advantages — but they continue to teach it, because in their past history, some other former pro pitcher told them that extending stride length was “important” or would “create more velocity,” or “get the release point closer to home plate.”

Also, while breaking down a slo-mo replay of deGrom’s motion, Ron Darling remarked that deGrom’s “long arm action” is the reason “the ball moves so much.” I don’t know where Darling gets that from, because a “long arm action” has nothing to do with ball movement. How the ball moves after leaving the hand is a function of how the ball is released — it doesn’t matter how long or short the arm action is. Pitchers who know how to move the ball a certain way deliberately use grip, the seams of the ball, and finger pressure at the moment of release to make the ball move.

In the first inning, Gary Cohen asked Keith Hernandez to discuss “take back” by the hitter while waiting for a pitch. Another way to describe the action of “take back” is to call it “striding and loading.” I understood Keith’s answer — he said it was “a natural thing” and that it would change depending on the pitcher. However, Keith didn’t give much advice in when to “take back,” so, for the kids, parents, and coaches out there, I’ll do it for him. Very generally speaking, you can “take back,” or begin your stride and load, when the pitcher goes back. Follow the pitcher’s motion with your eyes looking for the baseball, and when you see the ball go back, that’s when you go back. Again, this is a general rule that can help a young batter figure out how/when to “go back,” or stride, “naturally.”

A half-inning after GKR discussed the struggles of the Mets in their home park, and in particular, how the dimensions might affect their approach and psyche, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez went profundo in back-to-back at-bats.

Speaking of going deep, Eric Campbell did it for the first time as an MLBer — great to see. How can you not root for that guy?

Jacob deGrom extended his hitting streak to two games. If not for him, Mets pitchers may very well still be looking for their first hit of the year.

For those who glaze over execution and the “minor” details that come up in a baseball game, I hope you noticed the lack of communication in the top of the 8th inning, when a tailor-made, inning-ending DP grounder back to Jeurys Familia became merely a fielder’s choice and resulted in the Dodgers’ fourth run scoring (a.k.a., the “winning run.”) After Familia gathered the ball, he turned to throw to second and found both Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy moving to the bag. Ron Darling was critical of Familia, saying he should have “let the ball fly” and allow to happen what would happen. That’s easy to say, but difficult to do in the heat of the moment, particularly when you’re expecting only one person to be there and instead, you have two people moving in different directions to the same spot. The blame goes to either or both of Flores and Murphy for not making clear between each other who was covering. It’s a very basic play that is taught at the lowest levels of baseball — we teach the open or closed-mouth behind the glove communication to kids as young as 10 years old — so I’m not going to excuse the mistake to something like “Wilmer Flores doesn’t have much experience at shortstop at the MLB level,” or, “Flores and Murphy haven’t played together enough.” It doesn’t matter how long one has been a big-leaguer, nor how long a keystone combination has been together — deciding who will cover second base in that situation is one of the most basic and easiest responsibilities / executions of playing up the middle.

Other than the aforementioned issue with his teammate Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores has thus far shown to be capable in the few games he’s played at shortstop in the bigs. It’s a tiny sample, for sure, but I’ve yet to see any indication that Flores would be a significant vulnerability at the position. Again, it’s early, but I’d like to speak something positive for once.

Curious, does anyone remember what was discussed about Dee Gordon here, here, or here? Imagine if, somehow, the Mets had been able to acquire him and put him at shortstop.

Is not OK to say “duck fart” on cable TV? I’ve heard much worse on Law and Order SVU, and have been told there’s been coarser language expressed on Felicity — both of which aired on prime time television.

Agree with Gary Cohen: if you live in the NYC area, or visit it for an extended period, one thing you must experience is Korean barbecue. Of course, you want to try an assorted spread of kimchi to light your palate on fire, and then douse it (or inflame it?) with a taste of soju. If in Flushing, find your way to Murray Hill and pick a place. In Manhattan, walk along 32nd Street — at any time of the day or night.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series begins at 7:10 PM on Thursday night. Jonathon Niese looks to avoid the sweep facing Zack Greinke.

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. david May 21, 2014 at 11:37 pm
    This makes 6 out of 7 losses, following an 8 out of 9 losing run in the beginning of May. In Terry’s 3+ years, it seems these are frequent events. Eventually the Mets right the ship, win a seriess or 2, and move on but they have not – to my recollection at least – put together too many impressive winning streaks or long periods of exceptionally good performance to offset all those losing runs. It is a mark of Terry’s tenure and I expect it to continue, or not to occur in the case of waiting for a 7 game win streak. Mets are on pace to have a worse record than last year, but hey there is still plenty of baseball to be played. Vegas is 20 games over .500 and has played well even post Montero and Degrom, and if you saw Wally’s explanation about playing 4 outfielders on the 40 man roster it was a damn sight better than Terry’s failure to manage THAT situaiton.
  2. The King May 22, 2014 at 12:18 am
    The screw up at 2nd was inexcusable, as have been the baserunning blunders, the enormous number of strikeouts for a team with no power, the inability to move runners up (and in), and numerous other examples of losing baseball. The manager and his staff are responsible for these correctable problems. Replacing them won’t make this team good–but it could make them average which, at this point, I’d take.
  3. DaveSchneck May 22, 2014 at 8:29 am
    Agree with the King. This team, for the fourth consecutive season, is painful to watch. 5-14 in their last 19 is Arizona-like. It isn’t simply wins and losses, but it is the continued lack of execution both offensively and defensively. I’m sure other MLB teams make their share of mistakes, and don’t have any basis for comparison, but the Mets must be close to leading the league in “unforced errors”. In this age of stats, I wish I saw that stat somewhere. Nice to see 13 hits, but in watching this team regularly, it seems that there isn’t a player in the Met lineup (that includes Mr. Wright) that can’t be pitched to and beaten when needed.

    Some other comments – Juan Lagares is the best player on the team until proven otherwise. He needs to play daily and lead off vs. LHP (I know everyone but Collins and Alderson realize this). Flores absolutely has to play SS every day. It is obvious that Alderson has once again lied to the fan base (where are you Izzy) and that 2014 is an exhibition season, so play this kid every day until he drops to see what you have. Campbell is easy to root for, and he looks like this year’s version of Josh Satin. However, with his swing he may be better suited to part time play, plus he can play more positions, so he could be a nice find.

  4. Bat May 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm
    Joe, I agree that Flores is not as bad as I thought he’d be. He made a kind of awkward stop on a ball towards the middle followed by an awkward flip to Murphy, but he has made the plays and you have to believe he would only get better – until he gets old, of course – if the Mets would just leave him there for awhile.

    Which leads me to my second point. How is it possible that the Mets recall Flores and say something to the effect that he will get the bulk of the playing time but then he is sick for something like two days and then bumped to second string – or at least part-timer – with Tejada?

    I agree wholeheartedly with Cerrone’s comments on MetsBlog earlier today where he said it feels like spring training. The Mets flip flop so quickly on players that it doesn’t feel like any of them will ever feel comfortable enough to know their role.

    Let Flores play every day other than the occasional break for rest for at least two months and let’s see what we’ve got.

  5. Bat May 22, 2014 at 5:29 pm
    And now, if we haven’t had enough of people playing out of position, Collins is starting Eric Campbell in left tonight?

    Is that necessary when you’ve got Lagares, Granderson, and the two Youngs and you already can’t seem to make a decision between those guys on a daily basis (and for unknown bizarre reasons Lagares seems to be sitting more often)?

    • Joe Janish May 22, 2014 at 11:49 pm
      Would you like me to delete this comment and pretend it never happened?


  6. Bat May 22, 2014 at 11:52 pm
    I admit I thought of my comment when Campbell made the diving catch, but let’s not forget Murphy made a couple diving catches when he paid leftfield – and guys like Todd Hundley did in left field – but were, all in all, not measuring stuff by one play but over the course of weeks and months, a disaster playing out of position.