Mets Game 59: Loss To Cubs

Cubs 5 Mets 4

Cubs win battle of the bullpens and the series.

Mets Game Notes

C’mon guys, 3 hours and 40 minutes? Ugh.

Bad baseball is tough to watch. It has nothing to do with lack of offense. It’s just bad baseball. Bad, slow baseball.

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched poorly, but, in comparison, didn’t seem as awful as Edwin Jackson. But, somehow, Jackson “earns” the win and Matsuzaka walks away with a no-decision. Go figure

Do you recall what I stated about Jake Arietta in the previous postgame, how he reminded me of Gil Meche because he has good stuff but may never figure it out? Ditto for Edwin Jackson, who continues to be a mind-boggling enigma after a dozen years in the bigs. After a long, 33-pitch initial inning, Jackson continued to nibble around the corners and jerk around with his curveball to the bottom of the Mets order in the second, walking both Dice-K and Matt den Dekker before miraculously inducing a double-play ball from Daniel Murphy to end the inning. Luck, is what that’s called.

In the fourth, Dice-K received similar grace from the baseball gods. Unable to throw a strike, and with men on first and third and one out, eighth-place hitter John Baker swung on a 3-0 pitch and rapped a bullet back through the box that was slowed down by Dice-K’s leg and turned into an easy, inning-ending double-play. And yes, I agreed 100% with Baker swinging there, with the pitcher on-deck.

Slugging Ruben Tejada continues to blast the ball over fences. He reminds me — a lot — of Troy Tulowitzki, or a young Ernie Banks. No he doesn’t. More like, a poor man’s Rey Ordonez. Are you old enough to remember when Rey-Rey thought he was a homerun hitter? And when he couldn’t decide on a uniform number (though, that’s not relevant to this conversation)?

Mets were 1-for-8 with RISP and left 10 runners on base. The Cubs were only slightly better — 3-for-10, 9 LOB. And if you look at the final score …

The two teams combined for 15 walks and 19 strikeouts but only 327 pitches. With those K/BB numbers I would have expected closer to 400 pitches.

Why do I prefer NL baseball — a.k.a., “real baseball”? The top of the fifth inning. Bases loaded, two outs, Edwin Jackson soiling the bed, but he’s leading off the bottom of the inning so the decision is made to leave him in the ballgame and cross fingers. After pushing the count to 3-1, he somehow manages to get Anthony Recker to pop up in foul territory outside the first base line to end the inning. That kind of strategy, thought, stress, and edge-of-the-seat anticipation just doesn’t happen in adulterated leagues. Oh, that’s right — because only home runs are exciting.

Though, it was bizarre to see Darwin Barney pinch-hit for Jackson at the bottom of the frame, considering that Barney is hitting worse than most pitchers this year. But, the Cubs no longer have guys like Scot Thompson, Gene Clines, Larry Biitner, or Ken Henderson sitting on the bench and waiting for a chance to swing the lumber.

Mets reliever Dana Eveland did an outstanding job of interpreting the “fireman” role of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Not so good in replicating the Goose Gossage interpretation.

LOVED Keith Hernandez‘s commentary during this ballgame. As usual, it was the main entertainment of the broadcast. If there were “web gems” for announcers, I would nominate Keith’s use of the word “milieu” in the third inning, when describing Dice-K’s, um, milieu. OK, it wasn’t a perfect use of the word — “specialty” was probably more appropriate — but who uses the word “milieu” in everyday conversation? Or ever, for that matter?

Also enjoyed Keith discussing random Chicago Bears trivia, such as mentioning running back Willie Galimore — who had the same kind of talent as Gale Sayers but was killed in a car accident at the age of 29. Here is some neat video footage of Galimore.

Another entertaining bit during the broadcast was a fast-motion video of the path from the clubhouse to the dugout underneath the stands of Wrigley Field. It reminded me of the old Atari 2600 game called “Warlock.” Oh man I hope someone knows what I’m talking about.

RIP Don Zimmer, former Cub manager, original Met, and Pedro Martinez sparring partner, among other roles.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series begins at 7:05 PM on Thursday night. Jacob deGrom will try again to win his first MLB game against Travis Wood.

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. Izzy June 5, 2014 at 8:20 am
    Hmm, lets see,a man dies, a man who spent maybe 60 years in and around major league baseball, and all you can do is make one very not funny comment about one moment in his career, that he and Pedro both have publicly stated how much they regret. We;ll ask Kith to come up with one word to describe you. Maybe disgraceful, hapless, pathetic, abhorrent…… We all know you are bitter because the baseball world changes without your approval and ha left you in the dust.But, please, show a little respect for the dead, at least for 24 hours. Bye bye. You won’t get any more hits.You don’tdeserve the extra pennies.
  2. Walnutz15 June 5, 2014 at 9:12 am
    You’re a clown, Izzy. Have another, and maybe mix in a typing class or twelve – while you’re at it.

    I honestly don’t have a clue who would even want to dedicate almost 4 hours to watching this brand of boring baseball. Thank the TV Gods for DVR…..and for the regular write-ups, Joe. They are always appreciated.

    – 7 hits
    – 6 pitchers in 8 innings (attaboy, Terry)

    …………at least Rube Ruth went yard, AGAIN. Call The Hall!

  3. meticated June 5, 2014 at 9:16 am
    whoa…slow down a lot..we all remember that moment…It’s human nature to recall the aberration and not the typical contributions of a person’s life..like Clinton’s misadventures with the intern…A lot of distinguished men had their less than stellar moments. ..but I done believe for a single moment that Joe meant any disparagement…just like you didn’t when you posted your invective…perhaps you’re having a moment of your own..and I for one will still be here and supportive…methinks it’s probably the Mets and their effect on one’s psyche more than anything personal is the cause of your consternation
  4. Joe Janish June 5, 2014 at 10:05 am
    Holy cow, not in a million years would I have thought that comment about Zimmer would offend ANYONE!

    I hope no one else was offended, there was absolutely no malice intended. But if anyone else believes I’m out of line, please speak up, as I have no intention of disrespect.

    BTW, re: the “pennies” comment, if anyone thinks I actually make money with this blog, I don’t, not even close. The ads and links and occasional Amazon plugs offset about 70% – 80% of the monthly web hosting fees.

    As for my bitterness, yeah, I’m bitter. If MLB is the very best baseball in the world then baseball has gone downhill significantly. The games often bore me to tears, the socialist goal of parity is depressing, the closed-minded ignorance is appalling, and the lack of simple fundamentals is disgraceful. Soon enough, the DH will be implemented in the NL and Bud Selig’s complete transformation of “the product” will be realized, chasing away the last bastion of ornery curmudgeons such as myself. Well, there’s always cricket and rounders.

    • DaveSchneck June 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm
      Joe,
      I didn’t see your Zim/Pedro reference as anything negative. Zim led a great life, and in his later years became a loved treasure of the game for many baseball fans, including myself. If anything, his bull rush of Pedro and subsequent apology and actual defense of Pedro garnered him more love and respect, who could appreciate a 70+ guy getting lost in the competive moment and then apologizing the next day.

      Regarding baseball in general, I agree on the lack of fundies, and surely hope that the DH is not inevitable in the NL, as there are better solutions that could please most fans as well as the MLBPA and owners. I am not quite as pessimistic, because I suspect that as teams continue to look for edges. someone will figure out the main reasons why the fundies are so poor in the best baseball league in the world, and implement improvements. These guys are human, and humans make mistakes, it is just that the frequency of “dumb” mistakes has grown to the point that it needs to be dealt with.

      Lastly. I agree that Collins is managing for his life and killing the pen as a result.

  5. Bat June 5, 2014 at 10:13 am
    For better or worse, one of the defining moments of Zimmer’s career was the Pedro fight – I don’t think there is any harm in Joe mentioning that because I am certain it will be mentioned in every news article about the man other than his obituary.

    Some of Joe’s posts are sometimes a little too negative and condescending but I found nothing to criticize (at all) about these words about Zimmer.

    On another note, I have to reiterate again that I don’t think Collins has done a very good job this year. I was not one of those people calling for his head in previous years, but this year…not good, especially the bullpen management which Walnutz highlights above.

    Maybe he feels like his job is on the line and that is why he is constantly changing pitchers like it is Game 7 of the World Series rather than a 162 game season? Just watching Collins warm up all of these relievers and then run most of them out there game after game – that alone makes me think he is not the right manager for the job and there is other stuff in addition to this some of which Dan on this comment board has said he believes is attributable to the front office (perhaps) but again I am not impressed with Collins this year.

    • Joe Janish June 5, 2014 at 10:35 am
      I think you hit the nail on the head – Collins’ job is on the line, and was from the moment the Mets brought up the 90 wins goal. Collins had ZERO expectations in his first three years, and now, his bosses want — at the very least — a winning season. I am stunned that the team is only 3 games below .500 right now, considering the talent level.

      What I’m seeing is a manager who is desperate to win every single game, like it’s late September and the team is two games out of first place. The bullpen and the players likely will be burned out by late July.

  6. chris June 5, 2014 at 10:51 am
    Personally, I come here for the sarcasm and wit as much as pointed commentary. It’s a needed counterpoint to the cheerleading blogs, though I think Joe is deluding himself in thinking he is not still a Mets fan under it all.

    Rey Ordonez was my favorite player in high school. I remember thinking he and Alex Ochoa were going to be Rizzuto and Mick. The day I got both their autographs on my hat at a game was more exciting than it should have been in retrospect. I even tried to convince people my middle name was Rey. Those were as sad of times for the Mess as are todays.

    For all the people who pen tomes about the statistical lack of existence of “clutch” hitting, I would suggest they follow the Mess. They prove that clutch hitting exists nightly by proving they are incapable of it.

    • Joe Janish June 5, 2014 at 12:04 pm
      Ha! I remember to forget the “O Boys” days!

      The Mets fan lurking inside me would probably emerge if the Wilpons sell the franchise.

      Good point on the clutch hitting. Agreed.

      • Walnutz15 June 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm
        Any word on whether or not Jeff will be performing “Wanksta” on stage with 50 Cent on June 14th?

        ……….would be apropos.

  7. chris June 5, 2014 at 10:53 am
    Oh, and I don’t get the people who whine about people whining about long games. As Joe said, this is not cricket. I have other things to do. I think most people cannot devote 3+ hours to a game. If you can, maybe you need some hobbies. Games need to get to a reasonable time frame, period.
  8. Bat June 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    Joe, we are in full agreement on this one – “the win every game regardless of whether I have to empty the entire bullpen” strategy is going to really backfire later in the season as the players tire mentally and physically of this.

    Plus, what about injuries? There was concern about Meija’s ability to withstand more frequent usage as a reliever, but Collins sure hasn’t broken him into this role delicately.

    I have a lot of issues with Collins this year other than the bullpen management though. I mean, even these stupid statements of yesterday where he says he can’t bat Abreu leadoff because he “drives in run”…I’m no master sabermetrics guy ,but if the guy is one of your leading OBP guys and doesn’t run like Adam Dunn(key), then I think leading him (here, Abreu) off makes more sense than (for example) Ruben Tejada hitting leadoff just because “Abreu drives in runs”.

    If you didn’t see the article I am referring to above, here it is:

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/is-bobby-abreu-the-answer-for-the-mets-leadoff-spot-1401846080?

    Plus the sitting of Lagares, the “Flores is the shortstop, oh, no, he isn’t”, the refusal to give Wright or Murphy a day off (fine if it is April when there are days off anyway, but as the season goes on, might want to consider this especially when they’re not swinging the bat well), have me down on Collins as well.

    Also in respect of Chris’ comment above, the humor is often good, I agree. I laughed at the comparisons above in respect of Tejada. But did he just need motivation and the addition of Flores to the club has provided it? Seems to be a much different player lately. I don’t want him aiming for the fences, that’s true, but I am glad to see him hit the ball with authority.

  9. DanB June 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm
    Chris, correct me if I am wrong, but are you whining about people who whine about people who whine about long games? How much whine do you need to qualify for a case discount? (by the way, I agree with you)
    • chris June 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm
      Indeed! Though if it is Mets whine, I wonder if we are prohibited from using the discount at Sterling Vineyards.
  10. Bat June 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm
    The Tejada reference in Joe’s post was great…I don’t want him trying to hit homeruns, but good to see him hitting the ball with some authority.

    Has the Flores promotion motivated him to be the player some of us thought he could be a couple years ago?