Mets Game 70: Loss To Cardinals

Cardinals 6 Mets 2

Jacob deGrom is no longer the bomb.

Mets Game Notes

Rough game for deGrom, as he was battered for 6 runs on 12 hits and 2 walks in 4 1/3 innings.

During the pregame, Ron Darling was effusive in his praise for deGrom, saying, “he has been outstanding all season, all of his starts have been great, some of them have been real good, some have been excellent …” Wait, what? Even before this ballgame, it would be a stretch to call deGrom’s season “outstanding,” and to describe “all” of his starts as “great” or “real good” (sic). Mind you, I really like deGrom, but I’m also grounded in reality. I would describe his season as “pleasantly surprising,” “encouraging,” and maybe, “occasionally showing flashes of brilliance.” Yes, deGrom’s MLB debut was very good, maybe, excellent. His second game was good — it was a “quality start.” His third start looked nice in that he threw 6 2/3 shutout innings, but he also allowed 10 baserunners (5 hits, 5 walks). The next start was mediocre, and the start previous to this one was so-so. Am I being too harsh? I don’t know why things like this annoy me. Maybe it’s because I wonder how we are supposed to describe performances that truly are “outstanding.” For example, if deGrom was “outstanding” in his first six starts, how might we describe Fernando Valenzuela‘s first six MLB starts — which were 6 complete games, including 4 shutouts, and only two runs allowed in total? I feel like our society has turned superlatives into not-so-super terms. Louis CK explains how I feel here.

Terry Collins debuted his “pitcher batting eighth” lineup — which he threatened to use during spring training — citing it as a way to have a “second leadoff man” in Eric Young, Jr., and also because deGrom is one of the Mets’ best-hitting pitchers. OK. Whatever. It didn’t work this time, but Collins may do it again. The way the Mets are hitting this year, I’m not sure it matters either way.

The Mets were 2-for-8 with RISP, while the Cardinals were 6-for-9.

Mets hitters were uber-aggressive early on, particularly in the first frame, when they went down 1-2-3 on 5 pitches. In contrast, in the bottom of the first, the Cardinals made deGrom throw 21 pitches before sitting down.

Interestingly, both teams saw exactly 145 pitches.

Because the pitcher bats eighth, Ruben Tejada bats seventh. Not sure how I feel about that. Though, it’s better than Tejada leading off.

Next Mets Game

Mets and Cardinals do it again on Tuesday night at 8:15 PM RCT. Jonathon Niese faces Michael Wacha.

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. DaveSchneck June 17, 2014 at 8:31 am
    Agree that the fawning over deGrom is a bit much. I like the kid, and he is allowed some growing pains, but please. He is likely a 4/5 starter or potential bullpen arn, which is nothing to complain about, but let’s give the fans a more realistic assessment.

    I can only take spot viewing of Met games these days, so I only saw a small piece of the game. Anyhow, a couple of observations. Not to jump ugly on David Wright, but he whiffed in one AB with a runner on 3rd and 2 outs where he actually looked scared hitting, jumping back on a strike right down the middle and then waving at pitch a foot outside. He looked like Colon, which is very scary given he represents a minimum of 25% of the payroll through 2018 (maybe more as the payroll shrinks every year). Also, with deGrom coming up hitting 8th with the bases loaded and one out, and Darling criticizing the batting order, I actually had more confidence than if Tejada was coming up. After deGrom lined out, I was quite sure that EYjr would not even put the ball in play, and for sure, he looked incredibly overmatched against the Cardinal emergency starter. Not that this was a big prediction, given the whiff rate of Met hitters, but I think Collins should have treated EYjr like a pitcher and given him the take sign, even with two strikes. A BB was by far the best chance the Mets had to score in that spot. Oh, and lastly, Wright whiffed on 3 pitches vs. a minor league lefty in his first big league game, in another AB that he looked completely non-competitive.

    Not sure what Collins can do about it, but DW doesn’t look anything like a #3 hitter all season. I like Grandy leading off, at least vs. LHP, but Duda should be hitting 4th vs. lefties. He is the only thing remotely close to a cleanup bat, and given Alderson’s most reason babbling to the season ticket holders, since they won’t be acquiring any players until they have new owners, it’s time to let the Dude sink or swim at #4. How about Grandy-Abreu-Murphy-Duda-DW vs LHP? Why not?

    • Victor Chu June 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm
      Dave – are you the same Dave Schneck that played for the Mets in the ’70s?
  2. Bat June 17, 2014 at 8:54 am
    I like deGrom’s poise. He seems more composed on the mound than (for example) Montero did in his brief cup of coffee – but if he look at the advanced metrics deGrom has been kind of lucky this year.

    I think deGrom’s got potential but I don’t think he’s been great thus far – slightly above average with some luck that has made his traditional stats look better than they are.

    So Joe I agree with you – Darling’s praise was over the top and incorrect.

  3. Dan B June 17, 2014 at 10:49 am
    As you might guess, I liked deGrom batting eighth with EY batting ninth. But for it to really work, the Mets need better pinch hitters. If nothing else I was mildly interested in the bottom of the lineup. But for all the talk of lineups,though, it has the feel of shuffling deck chairs on the Titantic. The ship is going down no matter what.
  4. Dan B June 17, 2014 at 11:14 am
    By the way, I was quite sad to hear about Tony Gwynn. We all know that he hit 294 in 1994. He also never hit lower then 353 over a five year period. Lesser known was that there was a 162 game period between two years that he hit over 400. But what he should be remembered for the most was that while he played he was considered the nicest and most liked player by those involved in baseball.
  5. Craig June 17, 2014 at 11:34 am
    Due to poor hitting Mets pitchers realize they have to pitch shutouts to win leading to putting excess pressure on themselves. Particularly the young ones. After 6 starts with little run support what can deGrom be thinking when he takes the mound?

    Why is Chris Young playing? Maybe the Mets hierarchy is allowing him to play his way off the roster or perhaps hoping he’ll suddenly get hot, yeah right.

    Why isn’t Campbell playing instead of Chris Young? He has shown he can hit. Maybe Collins wants him on the bench for pinch hitting. I’d rather see him in the line up getting his hits. He’s not a Collins favorite.

    Abreu is hitting well, but as a starter it’s a crap shoot whether he drives in more runs than he allows with his limited range in the outfield. I don’t blame Abreu, he’s 40.

    Why is Collins still running this floundering club? He lost it when his buddy Hudgens was relieved of his duties. He’s finally feeling the pressure, and rightfully so. Player comments seem to be showing their lack of belief in his in game moves, his inability to motivate them, inability to properly manage a bullpen, the constant line up configurations. Players coming to the park don’t know if they are in the line up or where they will be batting, the constant in-and-out and the up-and-down in the line up must bug them silly. How can any hitter be comfortable not knowing who will be batting before or after him in the line up? The line up needs stability.

    The players are feeling the pressure because they want to win, but little seems to be going right.

    Definitely time for a manager change, just to shake things up. Collins can be reassigned elsewhere in the organization so the cheapskates don’t have to eat his contract.

    • Joe Janish June 17, 2014 at 5:55 pm
      From what I’ve heard, the Mets promised Chris Young a certain amount of playing time this year, and they’re earnest in fulfilling that promise.

      I can’t explain why Collins is still in charge, mainly because I never understood why he was hired in the first place.

      • Craig June 17, 2014 at 6:40 pm
        Joe, I understand the promise to play situation, however, was that promise for the entire season? We are nearly halfway through the season and he still hasn’t begun to hit or play good defensive ball. Keeping promises is important, but let’s be more careful giving them in the future.

        I know I mentioned Collins “loosing” it last season and it didn’t happen. This year he seems to be a tad closer to a meltdown.

  6. Craig June 17, 2014 at 11:39 am
    Tony Gwynn will be greatly missed. Not only a great player, but a wonderful classy individual who loved the game. Where the game meant more to him than the money, not many players feel that way. RIP Tony………..
  7. Dan B June 17, 2014 at 11:40 am
    Just a few more Gwynn stats…in his first season he batted 289. In the next 19 years he never batted less then 309. In 2440 games, he got a hit in over 75% of those games. He got multiple hits in 951 games. He had multiple strikeouts in only 34 games. And in 20 seasons he only once struck out three times in a game.
  8. Bat June 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm
    Craig, I am thinking the Mets are playing Chris Young a bit just to see if he can show anything at all so that they can trade him.

    Just my impression and I think the combination of not only weak hitting but also weak defense this year gets him released rather than traded in a month or so, but I cannot help wondering if that is the rationale behind the Mets thought process – that they want to flip him for a prospect before the trading deadline.

    • Victor Chu June 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm
      Interesting thought, Bat? You may be right … but, once Juan comes back, you gotta bench him against except against tough lefties (where you can give Curtis a rest).
  9. Chris B June 17, 2014 at 4:10 pm
    Guys, long time reader, new poster here… Anyway, I read all and I am going to cut both David and Jacob some slack. This is coming from the fan perspective and not as an analyst.

    First David… He has carried this pitiful team for 5 years by himself, giving this franchise some credibility when it deserves none. If he is struggling, I’m willing to look the other way until he figures it out. I’m more apt to blame the others who were brought in as saviors who are not producing (CY, Duda, Tejada, et all).

    deGrom is probably starting to feel the desire of getting that first win and may be pressing to be a perfectionist (given the state of the offense) and it is hurting his pitch selection and location. I understand the long term plans for him, but all in all I have been pretty satisfied. I wonder what he would be like if his record were 3-1 vs 0-4.

    • Joe Janish June 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm
      Chris, thanks for reading, and thank you for joining the conversation.

      I’m with you on D-Wright, in that I’m willing to cut him slack after several years of being “the guy.” This year is similar to the first in Citi Field — I think he made a decision to be more than he’s been before, possibly feeling responsibility due to the big contract or maybe because the Mets’ goal is 90 wins. Whatever it is, he’s trying too hard, and once he goes back to being who he is, he’ll be fine.

      As for deGrom, again, I really like him, mainly because he’s shown to be a tough, cool, competitive customer, in the same mold as Dillon Gee and Jon Niese. However I don’t think there’s anything special about his ability. What I see is very ordinary stuff. But, it’s good enough to be MLB average, and when combined with the right drive, it can lead to above-average success. We’ll see how it goes; I’m rooting for him.

      • Victor Chu June 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm
        Joe – I agree with you and Chris on DW … it is painful to watch though …

        I also agree with you deGrom … yeah, he’s had quality starts up until his last outing, but I wouldn’t call them all outstanding or real good … just good enough to keep the team in the game … which has just given us fans a lot of false hope since May.

        Chris B – just one correction … I don’t think that Duda and Tejada were “brought in as saviors” by any means … they just happened to be the default options, unless the Mets were prepared to pay up for Peralta/Drew and/or Abreu (and I don’t mean Bobby on the latter) …

  10. wohjr June 17, 2014 at 5:02 pm
    karma is coming back to bite degrom for refusing to take a selfie with me between innings in Tacoma last month. I mean come on, he hadn’t even been called up yet!