Mets Game 65: Win Over Indians

Mets 8 Indians 4

Tin soldiers and Niese was pitching, we’re finally scoring runs
This summer I hear the drummin’, four runs in O-HI-O.

OK, that was lame. No offense to anyone who found that offensive. But that CSNY song was running through my head.

If you think “CSNY” refers to a William Peterson police investigation TV production, please move on to another Mets blog … don’t make me feel old.

Game Notes

Ohio-born-and-bred Jon Niese pitched masterfully in front of his hometown fans, spinning seven innings and allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. Not nearly perfect, but perfectly acceptable nonetheless.

I liked Niese’s pace; he worked quickly and seemed to be pitching with a purpose. I still don’t love his varied arm angles and inconsistent release points, and don’t at all like his early collapse and sideways drive to the plate, which completely negates any advantage he has from his tall 6’4″ frame. Only rarely does he really use his height and get on top of the ball, dropping and driving a la Jerry Koosman — a style that would bring the sharp bite back to his curve and provide more leverage and sink to the fastball. Sometimes I think his learning the cutter was a step back in terms of long-term success, even if it helped create short-term success. Also I fear for the health of his elbow … sorry if I’m harping on that subject.

One of these days I’m going to force a “professional” pitching coach to explain to me why he allows pitchers to step sideways in starting the windup — and thereby going against all of the laws of motion and physics established by Sir Isaac Newton. Eh, they know more than Newton, I guess.

Speaking of “pro” coaches who have changed the game for “the better” … SNY showed a clip of Bob Feller during the 4th inning. If you paid attention, you would have seen that Feller used his arms over his head to initiate the generation of front-back-front momentum to propel the ball toward home plate. Somewhere along the line, pitching “experts” decided that it made more sense to keep “moving parts” to a minimum, and focused the delivery on hip rotation, which is side-to-side — and go against all the laws of motion and physics. The end result? Pitchers who don’t finish games, are limited to 100-pitch counts, have higher ERAs, lower win totals, and need annual surgeries. Go figure.

Offensively, the Mets jumped out to a five-run lead in the third inning and never looked back. Angel Pagan had a big day, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, a double, his 14th stolen base, and a run scored. Carlos Beltran can take all the time he wants getting back into shape.

Jeff Francoeur, Jason Bay, and Ike Davis each contributed two hits and an RBI, and David Wright hit a two-run double to round out the scoring.

Travis Hafner is a shell of his former self, and not nearly resembling the scary slugger he was before MLB starting testing for PEDs. Not to suggest that he had any “help”, just pointing out a coincidence. In fairness, Hafner has been struggling to fight injuries over the past four years, and injuries are rarely associated with PEDs.

I may never understand the universal praise for Manny Acta — aka “Connie Macta”, as Michael Kay likes to say. Despite a reputation of “being good with young players, his Nationals teams never took a step forward, were generally lazy, and lacked both fundamentals and discipline. Similarly, his Indians have gone backward. Even though Cleveland’s problems have something to do with injuries, I still felt like I was seeing a team similar to what we’ve seen in Washington the last few years. It’s not fair to judge Acta based on the small sample and the personnel, but there is definitely a familiarity from my view. Anderson Hernandez in the leadoff spot? Hmm ….

This was one of those nice games where the result was never in jeopardy … perhaps partially because Francisco Rodriguez had the night off.

Next Mets Game

The Mets go for the sweep in Cleveland at 7:05 PM on Thursday night. R.A. Dickey goes to the hill against future Met Jake Westbrook. Woops … did I say that out loud?

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. gary s. June 17, 2010 at 2:45 am
    wow. the orioles and indians are horrible teams.angel pagan could be the first half mvp.he seems to get better from game to game.nice work by dessens.why is mejia still on the team?are they trying to destroy any future he might have??
  2. metstoday June 17, 2010 at 3:16 am
    No question, the Mets can beat AA teams that happen to be playing in MLB parks.

    Good point on Mejia. Clearly, it is because he has "a live arm" and Jerry Manuel likes that. Otherwise, no logical reason for him to be languishing in an MLB pen when he can be developing his repertoire as a starter in the minors. But, remember, this is all about Jerry keeping his job — long-term success for the organization has no place in the decision-making process.

  3. Nick June 17, 2010 at 4:01 am
    Can anybody explain what pitching out of the stretch means? I assume there is something called a windup and pitching without the windup (is this out of the stretch?) If this is so, why would anyone even use a windup?

    And, WOOOOOOOOO Mets! Hottest team in the leauge! Pshhhhhtttttt, it burns!

  4. isuzudude June 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm
    I'm no expert, but pitchers generally pitch out of the windup when there are no runners on base, and out of the stretch when there are runners on. The change to the stretch with runners on base because it shortens their delivery to home plate, thus making it harder for baserunners to get big leads and jumps on stolen base attempts. However, the pitch out of the windup with no one on because it generates more velocity on their pitches, and probably helps with control too. That's what I've come to learn, so if I'm wrong someone please set me straight.
  5. isuzudude June 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    I thought it was a joke when Gary and Ron started talking about getting Pedro Feliciano up in the 8th inning as the Mets were sporting a 5-run lead. But low and behold, a camera shot in the bullpen in fact revealed Feliciano warming up. Unbelievable. Earth to Jerry – if you don't want Jenrry Mejia throwing wildly and walking the ballpark, you might want to consider using him more than once every 2 weeks. This bullpen management is insane, but I'm afraid it's only going to get the attention it deserves if the Mets start to hit the skids and start losing games as a direct result of bullpen meltdowns.

    Regarding Manny Acta, I hope a bouquet of flowers was sent to his office this morning after he decided to play half his team out of position in last night's game. Jhonny Peralta couldn't get anything 2 steps away from him at 3B, and Shelly Duncan looked like a twirling ballerina in LF.

  6. Joe June 17, 2010 at 3:59 pm
    'dude you are correct.

    The problem with most of today's pitchers, however, is that they do not take advantage of a full windup's potential for generating power. 90% of pitchers throw with the same velocity from the stretch as they do from the windup, because they don't know how to use their whole body and momentum. Most pitchers rely almost completely on arm strength / arm speed to generate velocity.

  7. gary s. June 17, 2010 at 7:33 pm
    dude, the same thing went thru my mind when i saw pedro warming up.than they announced that dessens went 8 days without pitching.unreal.i will always say they win despite manuel, not because of him.he is an idiot.but if we keep facing the o's and the the tribe, even an idiot like manuel can get us into the playoffs.. the bronx will be a little different over the weekend ..
  8. Nick June 18, 2010 at 2:26 am
    Thank you for the reply. It makes sense, I guess I could have figured that. I'll go look for video of pitching out of the stretch, cuz for some reason I can't picture it.