Mets Game 88: Win Over Rangers

Mets 8 Rangers 4

Mets win a series!

Mets Game Notes

This game, to me, resembled a AAA game. Mediocre, dumb hitters overmatched by mediocre pitching – but a few mistakes hit out of the park. Ho hum.

To Terry Collins, this game must have resembled the World Series. That’s the only way I can understand some of the micromanagement and panic moves made.

Surely, there are game recaps published elsewhere lauding Zack Wheeler’s performance. He did, after all, post a great line and kept his velocity up through 100+ pitches. What I saw, though, was a pitcher struggling somewhat with command, yet facing hitters who were intent on retiring themselves. Plenty of bad swings on counts and pitches that displayed lack of thought / approach. Yes, Wheeler on occasion made very good pitches, but more often than not, Texas hitters put themselves into tough positions to succeed.

Meanwhile, Nick Tepesch was terrible. Considering he’s a control pitcher, and had zero command in the first three innings, I’m guessing he’s injured, not used to pitching in the daytime, was hung over from a wild night in the big city, or a combination of all three.

Like much of what we’ve been seeing in MLB, the Rangers hitters are a collection of thoughtless hackers. Down by five early on, just about every Ranger was swinging from their heels on first pitches and on 1-0 counts – and it wasn’t as though Wheeler was throwing delicious pitches. Adrian Beltre reached for a slider off the plate and in the dirt to start his 4th inning at-bat, and jammed an inside pitch to bounce out on a 1-1 count. Then in the sixth, down by four, no one on base, Beltre got ahead 2-0, and got jammed again in flying out to left. Really? What’s the strategy there? How about taking a strike and making the pitcher work a bit? Wheeler was far from sharp, despite the lead and a home plate umpire calling everything from the bottom of the knees to the top of the letters. If the Rangers simply took a strike once down by five, they might have knocked Wheeler out by the fifth based on pitch count. Robinson Chirinos hit a solo homer hacking away later that inning, so I guess that was Texas’ plan – to hit six solo homers to win.

Baffled by the decision to have Wheeler sacrifice bunt Ruben Tejada to third with one out in the 4th and Mets up by 4. Wheeler is a decent athlete, Tepesch was awful all afternoon, and there’s little benefit in moving the runner to 3B with two outs. One out, sure, but two? Because he might score on a wild pitch? At a park with very little room between home plate and the stands? Let Wheeler rip there – if not there, then in what situation will he have an opportunity to swing away? But who cares? The Mets won, right?

Even though there was a four-run gap going into the ninth, I feel like Jenrry Mejia should get a save. After all, a four-run Mets lead is not as safe as it is for other teams. And lack of a save makes Mejia’s emotional outburst after notching the third out on a strikeout seem overindulgent.

Next Mets Game

Mets host the Braves on Monday night at 7:10 PM. Daisuke Matsuzaka might take the mound against Mike Minor.

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. Kent July 6, 2014 at 9:21 pm
    I believe Wheeler was trying to bunt for hit in the 4th. Gary and Keith seems to think that as well.
  2. Mike B July 6, 2014 at 9:55 pm
    Playing the Rangers makes me think of Nelson Cruz. I am sure glad the Mets signed Chris Young for 7.25 million instead of wasting another 750,000 and getting Cruz.