Mets Game 58: Loss To Cubs

Cubs 2 Mets 1

Zack Wheeler pitches well enough to win, but Mets LOOGYs fail in their singular duty of retiring lefthanded hitters.

Mets Game Notes

Jake Arrieta reminds me a bit of Gil Meche, in that he’s a pitcher who appears to have great stuff, yet nibbles too much, throws too many pitches, and may never “put it together.”

Zack Wheeler, on the other hand, has been “putting it together” in his last two starts. Is it because he’s suddenly spectacular, or because the lineups he’s faced have been less than spectacular? Or is it a mix of both?

Brian Schlitter, because of his physical appearance, reminds me a little of a Cubs reliever from the past — Bruce Sutter. But does Schlitter throw a splitter?

Usually, Daniel Murphy runs like his hair is on fire and finds success with that approach nine times out of ten. Remarkably, in the third inning, Murphy seemed to stop and think about what he was doing when Curtis Granderson seared a base hit to right field that should’ve scored Murphy from second fairly easily. But Murphy thought, hesitated, and advanced only to third. He was forced out at home moments later when top offensive free-agent signing Chris Young grounded to Anthony Rizzo. But I don’t want to get on Murphy for making minor mistakes on the basepaths, because little things like that rarely are the difference between winning and losing a ballgame.

Granderson was 3-for-3 and drove in the only Mets run with a sac fly, by the way, scorching the ball all over the place.

Matt den Dekker had two hits and scored the Mets’ only run, but admit it: you were wondering why he was batting leadoff, right?

Getting back to Chris Young, in the postgame, Bob Ojeda suggested that while Young is struggling, perhaps he should bat lower in the lineup, rather than in the middle of the order. Well, sure, but, who do you bat fifth in the meantime? It’s kind of like the late 1970s, when the Mets would bat Steve Henderson fourth or fifth — he was far from the ideal RBI guy, but the alternative was Bruce Boisclair or Joel Youngblood. So, sure, put Lucas Duda fifth instead of Young. Twelve of this, dozen of that.

Interestingly, the middle of the Cubs’ order makes the Mets’ “meat” look like the 2009 Yankees in comparison.

Do the Cubs have any righthanded hitters on their roster, other than Starlin Castro?

Back in the day, when most MLB games were decided 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, pitchers were much better than hitters. Today, hitting mechanics are light years ahead of pitching mechanics, and as a result, hitters are better skilled in general than pitchers. But today’s hitters don’t use their skills as efficiently as those of the past, in my opinion. It’s not just the Mets who are clueless in regard to situational hitting — most MLB hitters have no idea how to (or refuse to?) cut down their swing and protect the plate on two-strike counts, hit-and-run, purposely go the other way, get the runner in from third, etc. Even the single by Nate Schierholtz that won the game was more about Scott Rice failing to locate than good hitting by Schierholtz. Had Rice spotted the slider on the outside half of the plate, the last pitch of the game would’ve been strike three. But because it was down and in — right in Schierholtz’s kitchen — it was a game-winning, walk-off single.

When is someone going to give Keith Hernandez a reality show? Listening to him discuss his traveling trials and tribulations alone is enough for a half-hour show. It’s not as though SNY has any worthwhile programming to keep it off the air. But then again, SNY shot down Wally Backman‘s reality show, so maybe providing quality entertainment is not the goal. Hmm … sounds similar to … oh, never mind.

So, here was the lede I wrote after the 7th inning:

“Mets win 1-0 in Wrigley for the first time since September 11, 1968, when Jim McAndrew, Bill Short, and Cal Koonce combined to beat Ferguson Jenkins. Jerry Grote drove in the lone run of the day with a double that knocked in J.C. Martin. Martin and Grote had 4 of the Mets’ 5 hits against Jenkins that day — Ken Boswell had the other. In the 1968 contest, the Mets were 1-for-7 with RISP and 6 LOB.”

Oh well. It would’ve been fun to open with that.

For what it’s worth, in THIS 2014 game, the Mets were 1-for-9 with RISP, and left 10 men on base.

Next Mets Game

Mets and Cubs do it again at 8:05 PM ET on Wednesday night. Daisuke Matsuzaka faces Edwin Jackson.

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 June 4, 2014 at 12:54 am
    Pity, I was going to post that the Mets were putting together a real nice winning run to offset the disaster that was most of May. I think Wheeler’s improvement is partially due to competition – he sees De Grom and Montero and realises his place in Cooperstown is not yet guaranteed. Wonder why Duda bats less than .130 with the bases loaded? Maybe Lamar can work that out but Duda is the anti-Ventura. I’d like to see CY ride the pine tomorrow, and suspect I am not alone. I know at some point he will get hot and hope we trade him at the right time. He is not a winning baseball player.
  2. Wohjr June 4, 2014 at 1:59 am
    I put it to the sages: wheelers arm slot looks lower to me tonight. It that the away camera? Chris young is a fraud and I do not care to seem him again.
    • Dan42 June 4, 2014 at 6:00 am
      I wouldn’t call him a fraud, he is what he’s been, which is a declining player who couldn’t resist Alderson’s 7.5M contribution towards his retirement plan. Delusional on Alderson’s part, but nowhere near as glaring as gifting Granderson twice the pay and 3 more years, a good part of the available payroll until 2018.
  3. DanB June 4, 2014 at 9:18 am
    Hernandez has a better chance at a show on Yes. I have heard the Mets are not fans of his criticisms of Met players. Kill the messenger mentality. Thanks for the Steve Henderson referrence, he was one of my favorites in the 70’s. He had one game winning HR that felt like the starting point for the climb out of the dark ages which was Mets baseball in the 70s.
  4. JoshMosk June 4, 2014 at 9:38 am
    LOL oh man, You hit the nail on the head when it comes to Keith Hernandez. Every game he is in the broadcast both he must always resort back memories of his playing days. I mean, its good to hear from back in the past (RIP Ralph Kiner) But Jesussss!!! He just makes you laugh with his self centered often disgusted comments as if he would’ve been able to successfully accomplish what the mets playing at that current moment could not. Good to see he holds himself in the highest regards.
  5. JoshMosk June 4, 2014 at 9:41 am
    Also, still trying to figure out why the Mets decided to go with CY over Nelson Cruz. Why oh Why did we not go after him with basically the same contract offer? Not even an offer.. Nobody can say that they thought Cruz would bat .190 with less than 20 home runs on the season…Its the 4th of May and he has 21!!!

    I’d very much rather have EY out there than CY. Just no No NO!!!

    • JoshMosk June 4, 2014 at 9:42 am
      4th of June 🙂 would be pretty impressive if anyone had 21 homeruns by the 4th of May
      • Walnutz15 June 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm
        Hell, I’d settle for 12 from someone by the ASB.
    • DaveSchneck June 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm
      Mets signed C Yooung very early in the winter. At that time, Cruz was asking for $75 mil, so it wasn’t C Young or Cruz for the same $$$ at the same time. Additionally, when Cruz settled for $8 mil to play for the Orioles, there was no chance he would sign with the Mets at that time for anything close. Once Cruz couldn’t get his asking price, his goal was a one year deal in a crackerjack box ballpark in the adulterated league where he could get extra ABs as DH, put up huge numbers, and get his big contract this coming winter. The Wilpons, owning an NL team with no DH, having a big home ballpark that is not HR friendly, and being cheapskates. couldn’t offer Nelson what he was looking for.
  6. DaveSchneck June 4, 2014 at 9:46 am
    That was a tough loss from the Met perspective, but it could be sensed way before the final outcome. Wheeler looked good, and was fairly economical with his pitches, but it seems that starter are maxing out at 7 innings in today’s game give the pitch counts. so the pen has to close the deal.

    Yes, the Mets were 1-9 with RISP, somewhat the usual, but last night they seemed to drill a lot of hard hit balls right at people, especially Flores’ line drive into the pitcher’s glove with the bases loaded.

    I would lead off den Dekker every game vs RHP until Lagares is back or until he kills the team. I think this kid may be a little better than Capt. Kirk, more speed, more pop, better D. Can’t hit LHP, but could be a plus player as a 4th OF/platoon, and with the up-the-middle approach he employed last night, could provide badly needed OBP in that leadoff spot.

    I though Schlitter looked like Jason Werth’s twin brother.

    • Victor Chu June 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm
      Dave Schneck — are you the same Dave Schneck that played for the Mets in the early ’70s?

      Joe — another good set of sound bytes as usual. Do the Mets have the most men LOB or the lowest team BA with RISP this year in the MLB? Or, is it just me??? Either way, another exasperating game.

      • DaveSchneck June 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm
        No, not “the” Dave Schneck, just using his likeness in name to honor him and the other players like him that, while not sticking in the bigs very long, accomplished a great feat by getting there, and helped inspire kids like me to follow the American pasttime.
        • NormE June 4, 2014 at 6:49 pm
          Very nice sentiment!
      • Joe Janish June 4, 2014 at 9:08 pm
        Hi Victor, thanks for chiming in!

        Believe it or not, the Mets are tied for tenth in the NL (with the Braves) in batting average with RISP, hitting a robust .235. Pretty bad.

        They are second in the NL (the Cardinals are first) in runners left on base with 439, or about 7.5 per game.

        However, the Mets do lead the league — by a significant margin — in walks with 216. They also lead the league — by a significant margin — in strikeouts with 507.

  7. chris June 5, 2014 at 10:38 am
    Little late commenting here, but I assume your Murphy comment about little things not winning games is sarcasm, after all this time reading your writing and views.

    However, are you worried that he DID stop and think and it didn’t work out? That can only reinforce his “hair on fire” mentality going forward, right?

    I was excited to see this series given the lack of national tv for the Mess, but I sadly realized that Miami Beach must be the only place in the continental US that doesn’t get WGN.

  8. murph June 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm
    Murph’s base-running was the key factor in the outcome of this game. As Keith Hernandez would say, “fundies!”