Mets Game 89: Win Over Braves

Mets 4 Braves 3

Mets avoid the possibility of being swept at home by beating the Braves in game one of a four-game set.

Mets Game Notes

Prior to this game, Terry Collins said this series was “huge.” I guess most things are huge to Terry Collins, especially lately.

Great game by Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was nearly matched pitch for pitch by Mike Minor. Dice-K couldn’t win, though, because the Mets bullpen shat the bed. Thankfully, though, Curtis Granderson made up for the firemen throwing gasoline on the fire and in the end, it was Ruben Tejada who came through with yet another walk-off game-winning hit.

Tejada clearly was motivated by being snubbed from the All-Star game roster — he’s playing like a man on a mission, laser-focused on proving Mike Matheny wrong.

Mets were handed a gift in the bottom of the ninth, when the umpires misinterpreted a neighborhood play and put it under replay review. Per the newfangled MLB rules, the neighborhood play is not subject to replay review. Hmm … Anyway, the play was reversed, I’m guessing because the on-field umpires decided that it was NOT a neighborhood play, and therefore, the play was judged by the replay umpires as something else. Once the play was overturned, the Mets had men on first and second and no outs. So what does Terry Collins do with this gift from the gods of baseball? He sends Lucas Duda out to pinch-hit and swing away. Hmm … No bunt there, Terry? Really? Nope. Three outs later the Mets returned to the field and the Braves came to bat to start the top of the tenth.

What I liked about that ninth inning: the Braves playing it straight — in other words, not intentionally loading the bases to create a force at home, which some (many?) teams might have done. As you know, I hate, hate, hate putting runners on base, and really hate putting the pitcher into a situation where he cannot make a mistake.

From the Gee I Wonder Why There Is A Tommy John Surgery Epidemic? department: Carlos Torres pitched the top of the tenth, with only two days’ rest after tossing 81 pitches on Friday night. Huh. ASMI recommendations, based on hard scientific evidence, insist on a minimum of three days’ rest after a pitcher throws at least 62 pitches. In fact, the cutoff for four days’ rest is 89 — only 8 away from Torres’ last outing. So it’s not like Collins / Dan Warthen were bending the rules a little bit — they were bold-face spitting on them. So, again, why is there a rash of pitching injuries lately? Well, it can’t have anything to do with breaking rules, because rules were made to be broken, right? And/or, Major League pitchers are not human, and therefore not subject to rules for humans based on decades of evidence-based research. Nah, let’s just keep twirling our thumbs and coming up with nonsense theories based on nothing but opinion, such as, “pitchers throw too hard,” or, “youngsters should be playing other sports, not baseball all year,” or, “the mound is too high.” Gee whiz. Is MLB EVER going to wake up? Nah.

Since Torres pitched well through his 22 pitches / two innings, the science is worthless, right? Of course. Torres obviously has a “rubber arm” and doesn’t have to follow the rules. Thank goodness!

Ironically, one of the reasons Torres was in the game was because Collins was trying his best to keep Jeurys Familia out of the contest. Familia threw 12 pitches on Sunday, and 45 pitches on Friday. For those unaware, a 45-pitch effort requires a minimum of TWO days rest; Collins gave him one. Where’s the irony? Had Collins given Familia the requisite two days rest after Friday, he would’ve been fresh and ready for this game. But the Mets won so what’s the difference?

Collins mentioned in the postgame that “… yesterday when we brought him in, his velocity was down … I talked to the pitching guys today and they said, ‘listen, if you can give him a night, give him a night, because he can use it’ … if you think about it, he didn’t pitch much in April, now he’s like third in the league in appearances, so I’ve been pitching him like crazy and I have to back off a bit … he didn’t say anything, but when he’s usually 96-97 and yesterday he was 94 …”

Hmm … sounds pretty loosey-goosey to me. No rules at all, just some vague suggestions by “the pitching guys,” who I suppose are checking the pitchers’ horoscopes or biorhythms (or maybe The Farmer’s Almanac?) to figure out when to rest guys. My guess is that most other MLB pitching staffs are run similarly.

Collins is right in that Familia was used quite a bit after April — he appeared in 18 games in June. But it’s not necessarily about the volume over a period of time — it IS about how much rest and recovery a pitcher is given after outings. If a pitcher throws less than 20 pitches, he can throw every day, without rest. But once he gets to 27, one day of rest is needed. At 45, two days. 62, three days. 89, four days. These numbers were not picked out of a hat.

By the way, the Mets added reliever Buddy Carlyle to the roster when they put Jonathon Niese on the DL. Carlyle did not pitch in this game.

Pedal to the metal, baby!

Next Mets Game

Mets and Braves do it again at 7:10 PM on Tuesday night in Flushing, NY. Jacob deGrom faces Julio Teheran.

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. meticated July 8, 2014 at 6:23 am
    regarding rest and recuperation, methinks Collins throws yarrow stalks into the air and when they’re at their apex delineates the I-ching of their random configuration, once he reads the inherent trigram pattern, he disregards entirely it’s meaning and instead lets the baseball genius ghost of Rasputin inform him..then TC proceeds to get a gorilla to throw darts blindfolded at a corkboard with lineup choices…to determine the in game strategies he rolls his eyes upwards into his pineal gland, puts a conch shell up to his ear and intones a mantra given him personally by Edgar Cayce…all While clicking his heels rapidly and declaring mentally repetitively” this isn’t Anaheim…This isn’t Anaheim”
  2. Kent July 8, 2014 at 7:22 am
    Re neighborhood play reviewing, the rule book stated that the force play at second is non-reviewable if it’s a double play. Since in the 9th it’s not a double play, it’s reviewable.

    After this play Mets has 1st and 2nd no out, there really is no reason why Braves would intentionally load the bases as you can get force everywhere. Had that been 2nd and 3rd, then I bet Braves would do just that.

  3. Kent July 8, 2014 at 8:02 am
    On the topic of elbow injury, “pitcher throw too hard” is not as nonsensical as you say. Mayo clinic did a research in 2012 that shows there are statistically significant association between elbow injury and pitching speed. Same thing with playing multiple sports. Of course the researchers might not follow proper statistical procedure thus damaged reliability of result, but unless someone prove they did something that violate statistical procedure I choose to give them benefit of doubt and accept these are valid findings. (Pitching mound height, however, is shown to have no statistical significant association with elbow injuries)

    Moreover, almost all of these studies (include Dr. Andreas’s statement) acknowledged that fatigue and not get proper rest is most strongly associated with elbow injury, so a lot of these professionals agree with you, Joe. They said speed is a factor, playing (or not playing) multiple sports is a factor, but nobody (at least nobody in Mayo or ASMI) saying they are the most important factors, in fact they all pretty much said fatigue/no proper rest is. It’s when people that has no understanding of statistics and taking statistical results out of its context that we have a problem, and you know who these people tends to be: coaches, commentators, media personals, etc.

    • friend July 8, 2014 at 9:51 am
      “when people that has no understanding of statistics and taking statistical results out of its context”

      BINGO! Crypto-metrics!

    • Joe Janish July 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm
      Andrews’ statement is filled with problems and misconceptions — be careful in how you interpret it.

      Remember that Andrews is a surgeon and has SOME knowledge that is very important to keeping pitchers healthy, but he is nowhere close in having ALL the answers.

      To keep pitchers healthy we need to use knowledge from several groups from the medical and science communities. The fact that Dr. Andrews is being seen as the sole voice of reason and knowledge is dangerous.

  4. DaveSchneck July 8, 2014 at 8:28 am
    With the trend in MLB over the last several decades to use bullpens more, and starting pitchers averaging less innings pitched, the glaring problem is that a manager doesn’t have enough pitchers to follow the scientific “rules” should they be inclined. As I’ve commented on previously, I think the 25 man roster is outdated based on the evolution of the game. The expansion of the roster could solve two of baseball’s biggest problems if the union and mgmt could come together. Add 3 to each roster, mandate a certain quantity of pitchers, and eliminate the DH. I’d be willing to be tthe union would entertain the elimiation of the DH if it meant 90 more jobs. I’d bet the owners would go for adding the pitching jobs, along with mandating some rest guidelines, if it mean less DL time, where the owners pay MLB salaries for guys that can’t contribute anyhow. And, if 3 players are added, each team can carry another bat to “make up” for the loss of the DH bat.
    • Joe Janish July 8, 2014 at 10:50 pm
      Dave, I mildly disagree with your proposition to expand the rosters — UNLESS MLB culls 5-6 teams, which they will never do.

      The talent level is already too watered down to the point where we see too many AAA players (and AAA teams) in MLB.

      Teams don’t need more pitchers on the roster, they need to learn how to manage them. Following ASMI recovery guidelines is step one. Step two is understanding that it’s not the pitch counts, but the recovery after specific pitch counts, that matters. If MLB teams ever understand that a starting pitcher can and should go to 110, 120, 130 pitches — as long as they have efficient mechanics and are given proper recovery afterward — then less relievers will be necessary. Further, a relief pitcher can get into 15-20 games a month without concern so long as, again, recovery guidelines are STRICTLY followed (and again, mechanics are efficient).

      • DaveSchneck July 9, 2014 at 8:31 am
        Thanks for the reply. Despite my droning against Met management, I am usually a glass half full person, so I’ll take your mild disagreement as a mild agreement. I know we share a total disdain for the DH and adulterated baseball, and while we’ll never get the “perfect” solution, unlike others I think there is a way out that can be a win-win, but it will take adding jobs. I don’t necessarily agree about the “watered down” talent aspect…perhaps that can be fodder for the offseason or when we go through another Met-less offseason.
  5. Kent July 8, 2014 at 9:38 am
    Unfortunately as more and more leagues deploy DH or some kind of equivalent (like high school’s DP) in the United States, other baseball countries, and international competitions, I highly doubt that majority of baseball personnel would want to get rid of DH now, especially since there is really no compelling reason of doing so. I do think it’s time to expand the active roster though.
  6. friend July 8, 2014 at 9:47 am
    “I guess most things are huge to Terry Collins”

    Simple explanation, Collins has contracted macropsia.

  7. Walnutz15 July 8, 2014 at 11:23 am
    – Potential winning run on second base
    – Nobody out
    – 9th inning, coming off an overturned call – that could potentially have been called a “gift” (before MLB stepped in to “clarify” their ridiculously vague “rules” – in fairness, it’s a bit clearer than the mud that is the “Buster Posey Rule” at home plate…

    ……………go ahead and swing away! – even though not 1 guy in your lineup has looked comfortable at the plate all night.

    Really smacked of Willie Randolph’s decision to let a pinch-hitting Cliff Floyd swing away vs. Adam Wainwright in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. Whether or not it was he or Jerry Manuel who decided to go that route? – it just tells you about the baseball minds continuously employed in the Met dugout, to this day.

    Needless to say, we were treated to your typical Met squandering afterward – complete with baserunning blunder (by Campbell) to provide more comic relief amidst an otherwise “ripe for the taking” situation.

    …………but they managed to pull it out a couple of innings later, sweeping some dirt over the whole thing.

    Another “solid job”, Terr.

    ***** Disclaimer: In that I fully acknowledge that there are more than a few problems with the construction of the roster, where Collins is hand-cuffed a bit in his options. Heck, he can’t even think of pinch-hitting for Tejada late in a game, anyway…….due the lack of an actual-competent back-up SS.

    It’s just a bizarre “brand” they’re attempting to get people to subscribe to, IMHO.


    Back to the baseball, I guess:

    For all the crap I’ve given Ruben Tejada this year, he’s been better than a “complete zero” for the past month or so. So, to that point, I tip my cap…..and give him “his due”.

    Though, by picking up last night’s spare in the 11th……he probably spared Collins from getting the boot, for at least another few weeks, past the ASG.

    I was thinking that last night would have given them plenty of backing, presuming they wanted to go that route – post 9th inning. So, kudos Rube…….you may have given him another few chances to show us what an awful manager he is.

  8. argman July 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm
    Was there a reason Collins “had to” pinch hit for Kirk shortly after putting him in with a double switch? Or was it just because the Braves had put in a lefty? If he was going to not hit Kirk against a lefty, shouldn’t he have made the double switch with EY in the first place? He has a short roster to begin with, he can’t squander his subs like that.
    • Walnutz15 July 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm
      Collins isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, in case we haven’t seen that proven – time and again – by now.

      Foresight is one of his worst issues….especially in knowing what’s available to the opposition (either through their bench, or sitting out in their bullpen).

      Usually very diplomatic about my critiques of baseball players or personalities – but Collins is (and has always been) terrible.

  9. Patrick Pelayo July 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm
    Joe, they really need to abolish this “Neighborhood Play” altogether (and the Buster Posey rule for that matter too, but that’s a different topic).

    If the middle infielder is off the bag, then he’s off the bag and the runner is safe, period. This is MLB. It shouldn’t subject itself to high school or college or amateur rules. If the middle infielder gets nailed by a sliding baserunner so be it. That’s professional baseball. Why should the middle infielder be given the latitude of a half-step advantage to throw the ball to first without having to place his foot on 2nd base to get the force out? It only gives the defense the advantage of having an extra half second of throwing the ball to first base to complete the double play. A lot of times, the hitter gets called out at first on a bang-bang play on the back end of the double play. If you take the “Neighborhood Play” out of the equation and force the middle infielder to, I don’t know, actually put his foot on the second base bag, then maybe more hitters beat out the double play, which is the fairest way to play the game. In football, if you get 9 and 3/4 yards, guess what? You are not awarded a first down. You actually have to get the entire 10 yards. In basketball if you shoot the ball and it rolls around the rim and bounces out, the refs don’t say “hey, close enough we’ll give you the basket.” The same should be said for Major League Baseball. Middle infielders should have to physically touch the base to record the out. Period.

    • Joe Janish August 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm
      Pat, nice to hear from you again, hope all’s well.

      My apologies — your comment got caught in the spam trap for some reason (I have no idea why) and I just saw it today.

      I’ve never completely understood why the neighborhood play was allowed / accepted for so many years. I’m with you on it.

  10. Kent July 9, 2014 at 7:01 am
    @Joe yes. I understand Dr. Andrews doesn’t know everything about how to keep pitchers healthy. I just want to point out that the association between pitching velocity and elbow injury and playing multiple sports and elbow injury both been researched and unless someone proved to me otherwise I’m going to accept that the finding is valid.

    Beware that association doesn’t mean causation, I bet the report did not say that higher pitching velocity caused elbow problems, it just say it’s shown statistically you are more likely to get elbow injury as your pitching velocity gets higher. As for why that’s the case might be a lot of reasons, it could be because faster pitches add more stress on the arm, it could be because faster pitches pitcher might tends to stay in the game longer so their body (because teams right now are not following proper guidelines) has even less chance to heal, it could be faster pitcher’s pitching mechanics tends to be worse, or any other things, that’s for other researchers to find out.

    The problem nowadays is that media people report on these findings don’t always understand statistics and how it should be interpreted, when they saw “there is an association between pitching velocity and elbow injury”, they interpreted as “pitching at higher velocity caused more elbow injury) NO, this is NOT what those reports said. And Dr. Andrews certainly did not put it as this way.

    So while Dr. Andrew’s statement might contain some misconceptions (could you point the out if you get a chance?) the examples you give in your blogpost are not one of these problems (unless someone showed me that these researchers violate proper stats procedure), and it’s the proper interpretation of these findings that are problematic.

    • Joe Janish August 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm
      “I just want to point out that the association between pitching velocity and elbow injury and playing multiple sports and elbow injury both been researched and unless someone proved to me otherwise I’m going to accept that the finding is valid.”

      This is an unfounded statement. I’ve seen no significant, legitimate research associating pitching velocity and elbow injury, nor any valid research connecting multiple sports and elbow injury.

      Please point me to the research for both, as I’ve not seen either anywhere. Thank you.