Mets Game 71: Loss To Cardinals
Cardinals 5 Mets 2
Mets find yet another way to lose. They’re running out of ways.
Oh, by the way — with this loss, the Mets are now in sole possession of last place, and have two more losses than the phourth-place Phillies. You can always win more games, but you can never lose less. Just sayin’.
Mets Game Notes
It’s hard to harp on one particular play, or inning. All I can say is that throughout the entire game, from the initial inning, it felt like the Cardinals were in command and the Mets had little to no chance of coming away with a victory.
Jonathon Niese’s stat line didn’t look bad — 3 ER on 8 hits in 6 innings. But it belied the fact he was scorched by Redbirds batters in the fifth and sixth (the second/third time through the order). Most of the St. Louis hits came in those two frames, but they were also ripping numerous foul balls — they were hitting Niese’s pitches squarely, and hard. I still believe that Niese is pitching in pain, and gutting through every start, and will be surprised to see him finish the season without a DL stint.
Niese didn’t get much help from his defense, and none from the offense. Physical errors, mental errors, brain locks … you name it, the Mets did it.
At one point in the game, I feared for Daniel Murphy‘s safety. An errant, softly hit baseball was trying to sting Murphy as a hornet might. Murphy covered his face, tried to sidestep it, and ultimately avoided contact with it, thank goodness. After the blooping beast of a ball came to rest in the grass, Murphy picked it up and was about to throw it to first base, but Lucas Duda — well aware of the danger of that particular piece of horsehide — was nowhere near first base. Instead, Duda pulled an iPhone out of his back pocket and took a nice video of Murphy avoiding the ball, which he posted on Snapchat and Instagram. You can watch it if you follow @dumbbaseball.
During the postgame, Terry Collins explained that Duda did not necessarily need to be covering first base, because if the ball got by Murphy, someone needed to cover second base. That’s RIGHT! I had forgotten that the shortstop is always removed from the game in the sixth inning. Collins went on to suggest that Niese needed to retire the next batter. Ouch.
A few minutes later (and with that baseball safely removed from the field of play), with men on first and third and two out, the man on first attempted to steal second. Anthony Recker made a perfect throw to nail the runner by about five feet, but Murphy cut off the throw in front of the base and threw a seed to third base in an attempt to retire the runner who was straying too far from the bag. I’m not sure why Murphy thought a more complicated out at third base was more preferred than an out at second, but, that’s the way the play went. Moments later, an infield hit scored the man on third. No error could be scored on that play, and I have no idea how such a decision is tallied in advanced defensive metrics — maybe a stathead can enlighten me?
I recently watched a movie featuring Matt Dillon and realized THAT’S who Daniel Murphy reminds me of.
I know, you think I’m a “hater” on Murph. I’m really not. I believe he tries very hard, and I’d never, ever question his effort nor his desire. Further, I give him MAJOR props for answering the questions during the postgame, and taking full responsibility. He admitted to simply dropping the fluttering badminton ball, and on the steal attempt, he admitted to making “… a bad decision.” He’s a standup guy. But that doesn’t make the situation on the field any better, unfortunately.
The Mets scored both of their runs on solo homers. They were 0-for-9 with RISP. But they only struck out 8 times, so there’s that.
Terry Collins astutely pointed out that the Cardinals were getting big hits — and not necessarily home runs — to drive in runs, and inferred that his Mets needed to emulate that strategy. Hmm … I think that goes against his boss’s theory that stacking the lineup with high-OBP guys and homerun hitters is the road to success. Could there be a difference in philosophy?