Mets Game 62: Win Over Brewers

Mets 4 Brewers 1

A pretty win for Jonathan Niese.

Mets Game Notes

You can’t ask for a better outing from Jon Niese, who put together one of the best performances of his young career. The key? The curveball, which he consistently threw for called strikes and swinging strikes throughout the ballgame.

By the way, did you see any cut fastballs? Me neither. How long have I been pining for Niese to forget the cut fastball and concentrate on the curve? Now you know why. A cutter is a decent shortcut for a reliever who can’t get movement on his fastball, or for a starter who already has a good change-up, but for a guy who throws one of the better curveballs in MLB, it makes little sense. By eliminating the cutter, Niese rarely falls into that bad habit of using too much sideways momentum and allowing his arm angle to drop. When he uses the curve, four-seam fastball, and sinker, he has to focus on staying on top of the baseball at release, and gets good downward movement while also maintaining command. He’s turned a corner. Now, if he can start to work in his change-up a bit more using that same focus, he could develop into a serious front-of-the-rotation starter — a solid #2 on a championship club.

Meanwhile, the Mets beat up on Yovani Gallardo in the early innings, poking 9 singles and a triple in the first four frames to chase him from the game. Gallardo threw plenty of strikes, but the Mets essentially singled him to an early exit.

Jason Pridie was stellar filling in for Jason Bay, who was resting his head. Pridie drove in a run, scored another, and made a few sparkling catches in left field.

Perhaps the most newsworthy item of the game in regard to the Mets offense: Jose Reyes was hitless — and the only position player not to reach base safely.

Yuniesky Betancourt may be the worst hitter in MLB. He swings at everything, and goes to the plate with no plan, no approach, no idea — just the thought to swing. It is beyond comprehensible that Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke bats Betancourt ahead of Jonathan Lucroy, who at least looks like he has a clue.

The Brewers supposedly have a powerful lineup, but from what we saw in this series, it appears as though Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are the only hitters they have. Betancourt and Carlos Gomez are automatic outs. Rickie Weeks hit the ball hard a few times but right at people, and neither Corey Hart nor Casey McGhehee were anywhere near the hitters they were last year. Were the Mets just lucky to catch the Brew Crew while half their lineup was in a slump, or is Mets pitching that good? Hard to say.

Francisco Rodriguez earned his 18th save, and it was of the four-out variety. He also finished his 25th game, so he has only 30 to go in the final 100 to pick up the pot of gold.

Next Mets Game

The Mets move on to Pittsburgh and back into Eastern Standard Time to face the Pirates on Friday night. Undefeated Dillon Gee faces Charlie Morton in a 7:05 PM start.

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. ChrisXL June 10, 2011 at 12:23 am
    I was at the game, and it was a pretty win. Only the Mets should have scored more runs for all those hits. What was the idea sending Murphy home on that short fly to right?

    So did Bay’s wife have another baby?

    I think Gomez is a worse hitter than Betancourt. He habitually swings at pitches in the dirt and takes called strikes. For the first quarter of the season he batted second, which was nuts. He and Betancourt suck the air out of the Brewers offense.

  2. Joe June 10, 2011 at 8:48 am
    The Brewers hitting suggests perhaps why the Mets can manage as well as they are without Wright, Davis or Bay (doing much). The fact Brewers lost 2 of 3 show the limits of it. Still, clearly Tejada has a good chance in the bigs if his defense remains very good and his hitting adequate (long term).

    You know your starter is going well when there isn’t a pinch hitter. The only knock would be a failure to lay down a bunt.

    Off topic: I notice fewer three man booths on SNY. Did they cut back Darling’s (or Keith’s, though he seems to be around more lately) hours or something?

    • Joe Janish June 10, 2011 at 9:43 am
      The three-man booth started becoming rare last year — it could be part of the cost-cutting measures necessary to keep the franchise afloat.
      • Joe June 10, 2011 at 10:05 am
        Thanks. Yeah, that will help a lot. (/snark)
  3. JoMama June 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm
    Should have swept them, really. Second game was well pitched our pen couldn’t get 6 outs with a 4-run lead. Pathetic. Either the Brew crew isn’t that good or the Mets were playing better than expected. No matter, they are still just a .500 ballclub at best.
  4. Mic June 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm
    Should be on a 10 win stretch, counting the atlanta melt, pitt melts and now milwaukee meltdown.

    AND look what we are doing it with….no wright, no ike, no bay, no young, no santana, no bucholtz, izzy and beato are ragged too.

    We call up duda but no arm?