Archive: June 10th, 2010

Mets Game 60: Win Over Padres

Mets 3 Padres 0

Niese was nice.

After the ace messed the bed, the young lefty made it. As a result, the Mets took a series from the former first-place team in the NL West — in the process knocking them out of that division’s top spot.

Game Notes

Jon Niese was spectacular, following fellow farmhand Mike Pelfrey’s lead and going a full nine innings to earn his first MLB shutout. But it wasn’t just a shutout — it was a one-hit shutout that was a Chris Denorfia doink away from being a perfect game. That’s right, Niese allowed just one measly hit, walked none, and struck out six in nine frames, expending 108 pitches in the process.

Like Ace Santana before him, Niese didn’t get much offensive support — the Mets managed just 3 runs on 8 hits against Padres pitching, which also had a fairly efficient pitch count of 121 over 8 innings. But unlike Santana, Niese pitched well enough to win instead of good enough to lose. Though, maybe the Padres hitters were simply worn out after expending their energy against Johan earlier in the day.

Jose Reyes was 3-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, so I guess his mini-slump is over. Not that I was ever worried, but it was beginning to become “buzz” in some spheres.

Niese walked twice and scored a run to help his own cause.

Ike Davis went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Chris Carter hit a double and scored a run in a rare start.

Next Mets Game

The Mets travel south to Baltimore to play the Orioles on Friday night to begin an interleague weekend series. R.A. Dickey continues his real-life dream sequence against Jeremy Guthrie. First pitch is at 7:05 PM.

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Mets Game 59: Loss to Padres

Padres 4 Mets 2

After a game like this, you really have to wonder if Johan Santana is indeed the Mets’ “ace”.

Because an “ace” should chew up a lineup like the Padres like a buzzsaw, spit it out, and step on it on the way to an easy victory.

Instead, Santana pitched just well enough to lose.

Game Notes

Johan Santana allowed 4 earned runs on 8 hits and 4 walks, expending 108 pitches in 6 2/3 innings. His velocity was down, and — as usual — he “didn’t have his best stuff”. Of course, we’re not really sure what Johan’s “best stuff” IS any more. Yes, the Mets’ offense disappeared after Henry Blanco’s two-run homer in the second inning. Yes, an ace deserves more run support. But an “ace” doesn’t allow a team like the Padres to reach base nearly twice per inning.

Blanco was the entire story on the offensive side for the Mets. He was 1-for-2 before leaving the game for pinch-hitter Jesus Feliciano in the 8th. No, I’m not sure why the only Met to do anything all afternoon was the one who was removed from the lineup. Was he injured?

Padres pitching retired 22 consecutive Mets after Blanco’s blast.

Next Mets Game

Is already over … post coming shortly.

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Afternoon Mets Links & Doubleheader Open Thread

The Mets (31-27) take on the Padres(34-24) in a day/night doubleheader at Citi Field. Game 1 will pit Johan Santana (4-2, 2.76) against Matt Latos (5-4, 3.26). First pitch at 1:10pm.

The Mets’ lineup for Game 1:

1. Jose Reyes
2. Angel Pagan
3. Jason Bay
4. Ike Davis
5. David Wright
6. Jeff Francoeur
7. Alex Cora
8. Henry Blanco
9. Johan Santana

Game 2 will see Jon Niese (2-2, 4.28) take on Jon Garland (6-3, 2.68), first pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm.

And here are the afternoon’s Mets links:

MetsToday – In case you missed it, Joe Janish has done some analysis on Mets first-round pick Matt Harvey. Check it out.

MetsToday – Matt Himelfarb takes a look at Mets minor league catcher – and German export – Kai Gronauer.

Planet Hardball – I had the opportunity to interview Andy Fleischacker a few months back… Andy is the head coach of Germany’s Soligen Alligators… The Alligators were Kai Gronauer’s team in Germany.

Baltimore Sun – The Orioles are looking for a new manager and they seem to have the Mets on their mind. Among the candidates to replace interim skipper Juan Samuel are Bobby Valentine, Bob Melvin, Davey Johnson and Clint Hurdle.

SNY – Michael Salfino gives the Mets high marks for minimizing their risk by drafting college players.

NBC – Josh Alper says the Mets have been successful this year because of talent. It sounds like Alper is giving credit to Omar Minaya, but he also heaps praise on Jerry Manuel for his calm demeanor.  I guess there is plenty of credit to go around when you are sitting in third place.

Queens Courier – Joe Pascullo is excited about the Mets again.

And here is video of Kai Gronauer getting his number retired (I think) in Germany:

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Thursday Morning Mets Links

OnTheBlack – Kerel Cooper explains who the most valuable player has been for the Mets so far this season. And he does it from under an umbrella outside Citi Field. That’s committment!

NY Daily News – John Harper discusses the likability of this year’s team. He also points out that the Mets had a better record at this time last year.

Hardball Talk – The Royals selected Shoeless Joe Jackson’s great, great, great nephew in the 50th round of the draft. Sure, it’s not Mets-related, but it’s still interesting, no? [via Amazin’ Avenue]

TampaBay.com – With their 50th round pick, the Mets selected 6′ 5″ catcher Bobby Eveld. He is expecting to play football (quarterback) for the University of South Florida this fall.

Paul’s Random Stuff – A brief – yet amusing – look at “Former Met of the Day,” Choo Choo Coleman.

And in honor of Shoeless Joe, here’s a clip from “Eight Men Out”:

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Analysis: Matt Harvey

With the 7th overall selection in the draft, the Mets chose Mystic, CT resident, Scott Boras client, and North Carolina Tar Heel Matt Harvey.

Was it a good pick? Who knows? There have been some comparisons to Mike Pelfrey, which I don’t get — at least, not based on the video I’ve seen.

Generally, it’s difficult to analyze a player on video alone. But, I didn’t have the opportunity to trek down to Chapel Hill this spring to see Harvey in person (strangely, Rudy Terrasas did not invite me to his cross-check — go figure). So my amateur analysis will have to be based on two youTube videos.

First, this video from May 2009, which you may have seen a few days ago here:

This video scares me. What I see is a kid who is simply throwing — and using his arm almost exclusively to put mustard on the ball. He is standing straight up throughout the delivery, and not taking advantage of his tall (6’4″) frame and all the benefits of leverage, gravity, and stride length that could come with it. All the pressure is on his shoulder and arm speed, coupled with upper body rotation, but little if any power from the lower body.

Now, a more recent video from this past May — and almost exactly a year to the day after the previous video:

In this video it appears as though he made some slight adjustments to his motion — namely, it looks like he made a conscious effort to try to incorporate his lower body a bit and also use his height (what Nolan Ryan calls “tall and fall”). He bends over a bit more at release and in the follow through, which is a start, but it doesn’t look like he’s really using his legs to drive off the mound. On some pitches, he over-rotates a bit, resulting in a follow-through that reminds me somewhat of John Maine — whereby his head is tilted and body moving toward first base. But that’s only occasionally; most of the time he seems to be getting his momentum going toward home plate.

Bottom line is that Harvey has an electric arm — a god-given ability to make his hand and arm move faster than most mortals in propelling a baseball. Generally that’s all a scout cares about, but as a pitching coach / instructor, my concern is using the entire body to not only help with velociy but also with the deceleration of the arm. If Harvey were my student, I’d work on him extending the stride and collapsing the front knee to transfer some of the stress of acceleration and deceleration from the upper body to the lower body; as it is now he usually “cuts off” the follow-through, which puts considerable strain on the shoulder.

It is possible to “fix” this issue and improve his mechanics — especially since he appears to already be working toward a more efficient delivery. This kind of a power arm is rare, so it’s understandable why the Mets drafted him. With the right guidance, he could develop into a seriously nasty flamethrower some day.

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