Mets Game 60: Loss To Cubs

Cubs 7 Mets 4

Cubs sweep an opponent for the first time all year, and sweep the Mets at Wrigley for the first time in ten years.

Mets Game Notes

Jacob deGrom‘s dominance came to an abrupt end — and wouldn’t you know it, it ended on a day the Mets finally scored a few runs? Not enough runs, but runs nonetheless.

I like the way deGrom spots his fastball just at the edge of the upper strike zone, and just a few inches above it — it’s a stark contrast in elevation from his sinker, which makes both pitches more difficult for batters to judge. He didn’t really pitch badly, and if it hadn’t been for the umpire review system, the stat line would have looked decent. Oh well.

The NL really needs to implement the DH, so we don’t have to suffer through watching pitchers try to hit. Oh, wait…

Do we need to discuss the fact that the Mets had multiple opportunities to mount rallies and score runs, but squandered them? Nah, just listen to this song:

For the second time this year in a game started by deGrom, we saw an overthrow of 3B that resulted in a play at the plate. Anthony Recker appeared to be giving the runner an inside lane to the plate, up until just before he received the ball — when he put his right leg down in front of the plate. His tactic wasn’t that much different from Russell Martin‘s in Mets game #50, and I’m surprised it wasn’t reviewed by the umpires. I’m not sure it would’ve been overturned, but it seemed close enough when watched live to consider. More concerning to me was the way Recker positioned his right leg — he had the side of his foot in front of the plate, and the inside of his leg exposed. Had the runner gone right for his leg, he might’ve blown out Recker’s knee. Ideally, a catcher has the front of his knee facing the runner, to best and most safely absorb a blow from contact. But with this new interpretation of the rule, ironically, there isn’t enough time for the catcher to get himself into a safe position. The rule is supposed to be making the play less dangerous, but if the runner went right toward the plate, and busted through the side of Recker’s calf, it would’ve been completely clean and legal but Recker’s season likely would’ve been over.

Similarly, in the play at the plate in the second involving Travis d’Arnaud, it looked eerily similar to the play that knocked out Buster Posey. Like Posey, d’Arnaud put himself into a dangerous position by diving back toward the plate to stop the runner. Luckily, Luis Valbuena was sliding off to the side, but had he been going straight for home plate, and sliding hard into it, very bad contact between the two players could have resulted. I don’t know — was it the players observing the new interpretation of the rule that saved them from injury, or just dumb luck?

As a Mets fan, surely you’re wondering why Andrew Brown spent the last month and a half in AAA.

On a positive note, slugging Chris Young walked twice from the leadoff spot. Baby steps.

Geez, the Cubs didn’t even need their closer to finish up the sweep. And they beat up on the Mets’ current closer. One would never guess Chicago is 11 games below .500.

Like Keith Hernandez, I was disgusted with the lack of fundies in this ballgame, and particularly upset in the top of the fifth, when two bad things happened on the same play. With one out and men on first and second, David Wright lifted a fly ball to center field. Both runners tagged up, and the throw from Chicago center fielder Justin Ruggiano went toward third base. Why? Why, why, why? An alert Starlin Castro cut off the throw and flipped it to Darwin Barney, but Barney, instead of simply placing his glove down in front of the bag and waiting for Curtis Granderson to slide into it, chose to lunge after Granderson’s sliding body. Bad decision by Ruggiano, poor execution by former Gold Glover Barney. Not that it mattered, as the Mets couldn’t take advantage of the two-out, men on second and third situation.

Highlight of the game — hands-down — was Keith’s telling of the story when he almost died because of a bumblebee. Does Mark Burnett watch Mets games? Clearly not.

Three hours and 16 minutes and game over before 10:30 was refreshing. Still too long for a ballgame, for me, but compared to what we’ve been enduring lately, it was most welcome.

During the postgame, Bobby Ojeda suggested that Travis d’Arnaud be sent down to the minors to figure things out. Something to consider, I suppose, but the issue is that d’Arnaud has pretty much proven that he can hit minor league pitching at all levels. Now, he needs to learn how to adjust to MLB pitching, and that can’t be done in the PCL. Tough call, and I’m not sure where to stand on this, but my inclination is to keep him in the bigs. At the same time, Recker has been the better overall catcher so far this year, and the Mets are supposedly gunning for 90 wins so …

What’s your thought?

Next Mets Game

The Mets lick their wounds and move on to San Francisco to play the Giant. Oh damn, more late nights. Ugh. At least it’s the weekend, so we can sleep in. First game begins on Friday night at 10:15 PM Right Coast Time. Jonathon Niese faces Matt Cain.

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. Wohjr June 5, 2014 at 11:32 pm
    I agree joe, Travis looks lost and let’s see what mr plawecki can do. Bad timing for joel Sherman although I agree with the sentiment. What is the alternative– get swept by the cubs and say we are waiting for 2016 on beyond. As a fellow Dartmouth graduate I am positive sandy knows the definition of “sunk cost” I reiterate my strong objection to Chris young and I say again that I do not care to see him sporting the colors again. Don’t get me started on batting first. I saw one catch that hit his glove and was not reeled in. Even if den deck goes 0-4 that catch is worth more. The mind boggles and we are headed to a buzzsaw in SF including Mr Pagan… Remember that guy? Batting .310
    • DanB June 6, 2014 at 10:05 am
      Wohjr, the problem is not that Dartmouth grad Alderson doesn’t know the definition of “sunk cost”. The problem is that Community College of Palm Beach graduate Jeff Wilpon might not know the definition of “sunk cost” and, following the patterns of Met decisions since he took over, I believe Jeffy is making a lot of the decisions and he absolutely positively doesn’t know the first thing about “sunk cost”:.
  2. david June 6, 2014 at 12:48 am
    I am glad to see you wrote about TDA, since that question was on my mind from the moment he flew out with the bases loaded. I think the better view is to accept this year is his rookie year and it takes all players, especially catchers, time to develop (posey being an exception). TDA looks like he can hit, but has not yet figured out how to succeed at MLB level. I reckon let him play 70% of the games, with Recker playing 30%. Did you notice Aumont go to water in Philly after he almost hit TDA with a curveball at 0-2 and TDA barked at him? TDA’s walk prceded Duda’s GW HR. Little things. I was going to give Terry a nickname a couple weeks back, but abstained. It is Tailspin Terry. Work it out. Another refreshing thing about tonight’s game is they broke the mold, you know – Mets score early, then lose late. Just a thought but Mejia in the 8th of a losing game makes no sense at all.
  3. Walnutz15 June 6, 2014 at 8:12 am
    I’m not someone who thinks d’Arnaud should be “banished” anywhere, especially if they do place a good amount of stock in him someday cementing into the backstop they always wanted him to be.

    (……………’s not like there’s ever a question as to whether or not he could hit Triple-A pitching, especially in a fake environment like Las Vegas.)

    I think it’s more of a question as to, “What Travis d’Arnaud do we actually have right now?” — the one acquired from the Jays came with a reputation, and a high rank on the prospect chart.


    The one we’ve seen has been oft-injured, and now multiply-concussed. Is this a sign of things to come, for his career – or does he have the chops to turn things around as the starting catcher for the NY Mets?

    Those are the questions for me. Stand-alone, ideal image: “Solid defensive catcher who can definitely hit enough to shoulder the everyday load, and provide some XBH’s in the process” — sign me right up.

    All of the other stuff? – definitely knocks me down a few rungs.

    The really strange thing about thinking I’d known enough about d’Arnaud to formulate a decent opinion on him is, I never knew that this was his 3rd instance of being concussed.

    – Knew about the knee stuff.
    – Knew about the back problems.
    – Knew about the most-recent foot injury from last year.

    All that, alone – would have you thinking you’re going to have a rough go, in just attempting to get him to stay on the field. With all the stories circulating over the past few years, with d’Arnaud injuries…..there weren’t many write-ups that honed in on past concussions.

    I’m not saying that d’Arnaud isn’t ever going to reach his full potential at the Major League-level, or that I don’t like him/wish him well……….however – I really question, more than ever, what we can truly expect over an (expected) 162-game schedule.

    He’s not off to a good start on many levels.

    • Walnutz15 June 6, 2014 at 8:15 am
      I’d definitely give d’Arnaud all of this year to play regularly, then let him share time with Plawecki – as early as late-summer.

      ………….from there? Winner-take-all – with the loser becoming secondary backstop. Could potentially become a nice tandem — but definitely not what the Mets were envisioning upon trading for him.

      And by no means am I writing d’Arnaud off, due to anything we’ve seen so far — however, it does seem like there’s almost always going to be “something” lingering over him (whether it be “can he produce here?” or “will he stay healthy enough?), to the point of almost not meeting expectation.

      ………….which was probably too high for most, anyway.

      I’m more than open to a someday (productive) d’Arnaud/Plawecki tandem. Hopefully, Plawecki continues to develop in his own game.

  4. DaveSchneck June 6, 2014 at 8:16 am
    Given that Alderson has done nothing to prove 2014 is anything more than spring training for 2015, they should let TDA play. Problem is, since his “executive” declaration, the manager is playing for his life, or at least it looks that way. TDA is an enigma, and may if fact turn out ot be a bust, but it is too soon. With all the focus on him, C Young, Tejada, and Duda, I think many are looking over the biggest concern. David Wright has been lousy, with a career low .729 OPS in now almost half a season. He was 0 for Chicago and killing the team in the 3-hole. And, they have big money committed to him through the decade. And again, this notion that he is the “only” hitter on the team and not seeing any good pitching is bunk. I don’t watch every inning (too painful) but I have seen his swing through more hittable fastballs and in some cases get just blown away more than ever. The biggest problem woth the Met offense right now is that their #3 hitter is playing like a 7/8 hitter. By the way, No HR on the road, so the Citifield excuse doesn’t fly either. With his play and C Young not delivering, the Mets have nothing from the right side of the plate. This is why Andrew Brown needs to play every day and bat #5, and #4 vws. LHP. He is no stud, but at least he provides the threat of power from the right hadn side.
    • NormE June 6, 2014 at 12:48 pm
      Dave S.,
      I agree with your concern about DW. Is he on the downward slope? Is he tired/hurt? Is love distracting him? Who knows? Whatever the case, I believe that you are correct in your assessment.
  5. Bat June 6, 2014 at 8:39 am
    Joe, I actually thought of you when Keith was telling the bumblebee story and thought “Like me, I think Janish is going to think this story is the highlight of the night!”

    It was pretty funny.

    Then Gary later brought up Keith’s inability to speak Spanish even though his last name is Hernandez and Keith said “I know, leave me alone.”

    Keith is a pretty funny guy.

  6. DanB June 6, 2014 at 10:00 am
    Joe, great baseball discussion here about TDA. I have always been an advocate of moving TDA to the 8th spot and telling to focus on defense (even if Tejada hits 7th since he is not long for this team). The debate on whether to move him to AAA should center on his approach. If he is down and discouraged, then he should go down. But if he is still upbeat and taking a good approach to the plate, then what do they have to lose by playing him? I’ve seen Plawecki play and like the look of him but he still needs seasoning.

    By the way, is it too soon to judge the R.A. Dickey trade yet? With TDA not being the star that we were told he would be and Syndergaard still in the minors, is the trade as good for the Mets as many (including myself) thought it would be? As a reminder, the Mets also got Wuilmer Becerra who seems to be a minor league throw in and John Buck who brought back some value in the Byrd trade. The Mets gave up Mike Nickeas who has only played one game in the bigs for the Jays and Josh Thole who is actually having a decent year as the backup catcher. Dickey is 20-17 so far for the Jays with an ERA around 4.23. Dickey has not been great for the Jays, but he could of brought one very important element to the Mets — excitement. I know I would be excited to watch him pitch this year. What do the Wilpons keep blaming for their lack of financial investment in the Mets? Lack of interest by the fans. Nobody is watching the games, nobody is listening to the games, nobody is buying tickets. Dickey might of brought a few more fannies to the seats if he was still pitching for the Mets. Is that enough to regret the trade? I don’t think so but it makes you wonder if this “no-brainer” trade was so much of a no-brainer especially considering Alderson’s inability to acquire players that generate excitement in ticket buying fans.

  7. Est. 1986 June 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm
    At least we got Conforto right guys last night wasn’t a complete waste
  8. Bat June 7, 2014 at 12:24 am
    Conforto sounds a lot like Billy Butler of the Royals or, to offer a Mets analogy, like a Wilmer Flores with more power.

    Seems to be a guy who can put the bat on the ball and may have 20+ homer power, but no speed and defensive position highly in doubt because he’s a poor defensive player across the diamond.

    I thought the Mets could have done better at #10 overall.