Mets Game 52: Win Over Pirates
Mets 5 Pirates 0
Mets remain undefeated in The Lamar Johnson Era.
Mets Game Notes
I breezed through this game on the DVR, and don’t have much to discuss. It was a 5-zip shutout win, so there were positives. But what would this blog be if I didn’t dwell on the negatives?
Such as, what in the heck was Juan Lagares doing trying to steal third and getting picked off instead with David Wright at the plate and two outs in the fifth inning of a 2-0 game? These baserunning gaffes are endemic on this club, so I’m not going to blame Lagares — I blame the Mets organization as a whole for being so completely negligent in baseball education.
Speaking of baserunning, only Daniel Murphy can get away with running around the bases like a 9-year-old and come out smelling like a rose, as he did on a routine ground-ball out to third that turned into a little league triple in the third inning. I’m continuing to think that Murphy is on to something with his no-thought, run like crazy at all times strategy, because it works more often than not, and as a result, his remarkably irresponsible decisions are rewarded by advanced metrics. This could be the new Moneyball advantage: leveraging the fact that many defenders are sloppy and lacking in skills and/or fundamentals.
Pedro Alvarez was the guy who threw that ball away to start Murphy’s whimsical tour of the diamond. Alvarez, the once-stellar defender, a man who many believed was a Gold Glove candidate, who now has a dozen errors less than one-third of the way through the season.
If I’m a MLB starting pitcher, I would be very happy to pitch in these afternoon getaway games, because it seems that most hitters are half-asleep and just going through the motions. Though, Charlie Morton seemed to need some NoDoz, “red juice,” or “special coffee” himself.
It’s a good thing these sloppy weekday afternoon games happen in the middle of the day, so few people witness them.
While we’re on the subject, the official attendance was reported to be 34,839. Say what? Based on what the SNY cameras were showing, at least 20,000 of those people were either in the rest room, hanging out next to the big “42,” or waiting in line at Shake Shack.
Lucas Duda showed bunt in the 6th with Chris Young on first, one out, and a full shift against him. I loved that idea, and would have liked to have seen him follow through with it. I’d like to see him and more players lay one down when the adverse shift is put on them, because it is an easy hit — and that’s the goal, right? To get a hit / get on base? Take what the opponent is willing to give you.
That’s all I have … sorry, again, I zipped through and was mostly distracted. Please post your thoughts and reactions in the comments. I apologize for the incomplete, crappy commentary.
Next Mets Game
On Thursday at 7:05 PM in Philadelphia, the Mets begin a 47-game series with the Phillies in an epic battle to command the NL East basement that will extend into late August. Game one features Zack Wheeler and David Buchanan. Rip Van Winkle is expected to wake minutes after the series’ final contest.
Colon nicely mixed the straight 91-93 mph fastballs with the running, sinking 87-88 mph fastballs. He wasn’t on the knees, but he was at least on the edges on both sides of the plate. The Pirates’ bats gave him some help — against a decent lineup, this probably would have tiptoed on the edge of “quality start” results. I’m a little concerned by Colon — I thought part of what we were getting was consistency, but he’s been all over the place.
On the plus side, Familia finally showed an ability to throw strikes in a situation that called for it (5-0 lead). Perhaps his usual wildness is a result of being too careful, and will improve with experience.
Lagares is becoming a better breaking ball hitter. I’d like to see him turn on a few more fastballs, but still, it’s a positive sign. I just looked through his minor league history, and it’s odd. His hitting stats were pretty awful from age 17-21, then all of a sudden he broke out at age 22 and hit .350 across two levels. Moving up at age 23 he struggled again, but repeating AAA at 24, he was again hitting .350 before joining the big club. I’m not sure what to make of that, but one interpretation is that he doesn’t have the most raw, natural hitting talent in the world, but is capable of making pretty significant adjustments. So the best may still be yet to come.
Eric Campbell seems to have cooled off. Very few guys can stay hot with irregular playing time, and it seems Soup is no exception.
I have a hard time watching a game on DVR when I already know the end result — and some knucklehead gave me the news before I left work (yes I would have avoided sport talk radio on the ride home and watched the game w/o knowing the final score). Even though I don’t necessarily care who wins, there’s something about knowing what’s going to happen that makes it difficult for me to focus closely on the action — UNLESS, there’s something specific I want to see, such as a pitcher’s mechanics. But I already know what I need to know about Bartolo Colon — somehow, some way, he’s managing to pitch with absolutely frightening arm action (throwing darts), and not blowing out his shoulder, his elbow, or both. Luck? Tarot cards? Pain killers? PEDs? No idea.
So once I knew it was a 5-0 final score, I tended to other things while the game was playing in the background.
To give you full disclosure, I spent most of last night discussing Noah Syndergaard, Jenrry Mejia, Terry Collins, and Mets’ management of their pitching staff in general with my friend the scientist. More on that coming soon.
Sometimes [Murphy] thinks he’s invisible and you have to remind him, “People can see you.”
Great commentary on Murphy, and Wright’s quote really sums it up. I do think that MLB players are at an all-time low as far as baseball intelligence is concerned, at least since I began following in the early 70s. And, I agree that exploiting that ignorance can create an advantage. Collins should instruct his infield to let every infield fly rule hit the ground, and they can up their double play stats as a result.
I also agree 100% that the Dude (and Grandy) should not only show bunt, but drop a few. Of course, it does require some baseball intelligence in order to do it at the right time – down or up a few runs, but I suspect that a few well-timed bunts would change the shifting and increase the likelihood of getting a hit in full swing situations.
Agree with Argon on Lagares at the plate. He still has a way to go, but he reminds me somewhat of a young Jose Reyes maturing in that you can see the small steps and more importantly see that he is trying to modify the approach to maximize success in the bigs. I could never fault a kid coming from a poverty-stricken place for hacking his way into a big league contract, and as Joe has noted, it is hard for any guy to change what got him to the bigs, so increasing selectivity for a guy like Lagares is a big deal, he should be both nutured and commended. Despite all the nonsense with Met ownership, watching guys like Lagares makes it worthwhile for me to continue to follow the team and the game. I’m hoping to see more of the same as kids like Nimmo and Dom Smith (hopefully) find their way to Flushing.
Agree with you about the hope of Lagares and such as deGrom, Montero, Familia and hopefully Nimmo, Smith and others in the near future.
I lived thru the frustration of M. Donald Grant and remained a Mets fan. I can do the same with the Wilpons, but I’m much older and would like to see the Mets as winners some time soon.
PS-I left Harvey off my list because I think he will not stick around when he hits FA. There’s too much money out there and it ain’t comin’ from Fred and li’l jeffy.
Really, that dark period only lasted from about 1976 to 1979, ending with the sale to Doubleday.
Today, the economics of baseball are quite clear, yet there’s no indication that ownership realizes they’re out of their league. Further, Bud Selig promotes and celebrates the socialist notions of parity and profit-sharing, so there’s little motivation for ownership to sell.
Curious – in what year do you believe the Mets will have a legit shot at making a run at the NL East crown? 😉