Mets Game 130: Win Over Braves

Mets 6 Braves 0

Irene may have been on everyone’s minds, but it was Chris Capuano who blew away the Braves like a hurricane.

Mets Game Notes

Chris Capuano completed his first game and pitched his first shutout in five years; it was the fourth CG and third SHO of his career. Additionally, he established a career high in strikeouts with 13. Allowing only two baserunners –one single, one double — it was easily Cappy’s best performance of 2011 and the best pitched-game by a Met starter all season. To top it all off, it was the first nine-inning complete game by a Met in 2011 and the first shutout of the year as well. What else is there to say? He was spectacular.

How did he do it? Mainly by getting the Braves hitters to chase the slider and the change-up below and outside the strike zone, then mixing in just enough chest-high fastballs to completely confuse them. It seemed like the Braves were looking for the fastball and getting fooled by the slider and change early in the game, then when they started looking for the offspeed and breaking stuff, Capuano shocked them with the fastball. A masterpiece of mixing pitches.

Meanwhile, the usually difficult-to-hit Tim Hudson was very hittable; he allowed 11 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs in 6 1/3 innings. What is it about the Mets — or is it New York? — that causes Hudson to be so ineffective? Is it intimidating to have a river and a county the same as his namesake just a few miles away? Is his mind on hitting the Shake Shack after the game? Does he suffer an upset stomach from kimchi at a pre-game Korean BBQ?

Along the same lines, Jonny Venters also seems to struggle more against the Mets than he does against the rest of the NL. And why he was inserted into a 4-0 game is anyone’s guess.

The Mets offense was ignited by Angel Pagan and Ruben Tejada at the top of the order; they combined to go 6-for-10 with two doubles and two runs scored. Lucas Duda did his job in the cleanup spot, going 3-for-4 with 2 runs and 2 RBI.

Next Mets Game

Due to some chick named Irene crashing the party in Flushing, the Mets-Braves games on Saturday and Sunday have been canceled. The next scheduled game is part one of a doubleheader against the Marlins on Monday. More news when it comes. In the meantime, stay safe, friends.

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. Steve S. August 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm
    Wow, I know it’s only one game, but I suddenly feel a lot better about the Mets’ chances next year. They’ve got money coming off the books, and–if the injured players come back OK–they might field this team in 2012:

    Starting pitchers: Santana, Dickey, Niese, Capuano, and a free agent (I’m hoping for C. J. Wilson).

    Relievers: Parnell, Beato, Carrasco, Acosta, Byrdak, and some new arms, including a second LH.

    A great infield, hitting-wise: Davis, Murphy, Reyes, and Wright.

    An OF of Duda, Pagan (for one more year, if he doesn’t put a good season together), and, sigh, Bay.

    C: Thole and Paulino will do for now.

    Bench: Evans, Hairston, Turner, and a LH infielder/PH.

    • Joe Janish August 27, 2011 at 2:04 am
      Hate to be a negative Nellie but from what I understand the money coming off the books is staying off the books because the Wilpons are broke. I don’t see Capuano staying, especially if he puts together a few more quality starts — he’ll be coveted in the winter. I also don’t see Santana returning, and if he does, he will be a shell of his former self — certainly not a frontline ace. Byrdak likely won’t be back for the same reason as Capuano — someone else will bid higher this winter. Acosta and Carrasco have you excited? Meh … they’re both filler material. If Davis comes back and Wright isn’t dealt we won’t be seeing Murphy in the infield very often, though you can fill him into your blank for LH infielder/PH. Will Reyes return? Highly questionable.

      But don’t get me wrong, I’m not all negative. I’m excited to see if Duda can keep improving, and I love Justin Turner and Nick Evans. I’d like to see Beato move into a starting role, though that might mean he’ll be in the minors for a few months. I also think Parnell could evolve if he grows a mean streak. And if Dickey sticks around, well, how is it possible not to like him? An awesome guy AND he throws the knuckleball. Finally, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Reese Havens can stay healthy so we can see him climb the ladder.

      • Mike August 27, 2011 at 8:59 am
        Joe I am considerably less worried about the Mets finances as long as they resign Reyes and rework the bullpen/bench (that should happen almost every year for every team). The FA market is not inspiring and I’m okay with holding on to cash for “flexibility”. I’m also a huge fan of building from within so I’m okay with another meh year if prospects are held on to and possibly more added via trade. We likely wont see any significant pitching prospects play in Flushing in 2012, so why spend this off season? See what we have going into 2013 and then decide how to spend the extra cash.

        Either way Steve is way too optimistic about league average players. He’s super excited about a bad bullpen and an okay bench but not excited about Pagan, who has no obvious replacement and is one of the top CFers right now in baseball considering the lack of quality at the position (and way better than the FA options). Is this really how Mets fans think?

        • mel August 27, 2011 at 9:32 am
          Have you watched Pagan this year? He is a horrible fielder, he is a horrible base-runner, he is has horrible instincts in every regard. Right now I would gladly have a part time player like Mayberry replace him. At least Mayberry knows how to play the game correctly. I’d take Bernadina who the Nats have soured on. He has more speed better arm and just as much if not more offensive prowess than Pagan. and these are mediocre players. That’s what Pagan is. Not one of the best, not even average. A fourth outfielder. Do you compare Pagan with a kid like McCuch on the Bucs? Rep;acing Pagan is a piece of cake. It doesn’t take a star just a totally average guy who plays the game correctly.
        • Steve S. August 27, 2011 at 9:45 am
          Well, the Mets did spend more for draft picks and every indication is that they’ll spend to keep Reyes, with some money left over to sign some free agents. I can see Capuano staying for $3m or so. The Mets could spend a bit more to keep Byrdak and even add an Okajima as a second LH reliever without spending too much for him. I am more the optimist, but you guys are a bit too pessimistic, I’d say. Yes, the jury is out on Santana, but let’s see how he pitches soon. He knows how to pitch, and could very well come back, even without the same fastball. Acosta has looked OK lately and Carrasco has too. Why won’t Murphy be at 2B? I don’t agree that he’s a lost cause there.

          I don’t think the Mets are that far away from contending, given a healthy Davis, Reyes, Murphy, and Wright, and Duda playing for a full year. Add some pitching, that’s all.

        • Joe August 27, 2011 at 10:58 am
          Murphy at 2nd? Why? So he can be hurt a third time? Tejeda and Turner make a whole more lot of sense there.

          As to Pagan, he is having a bad year, but long term, he wasn’t “mediocre.” He was an average third/fourth OF with moments of greatness. I’m pretty sure he’s replaceable. But, a marginal improvement there isn’t going to improve the team that much.

        • Steve S. August 27, 2011 at 11:16 am
          Murphy is a decent infielder and with enough time at 2B can be serviceable there, I believe. He has been moved around too much, although that has been understandable, given the injuries. And it’s hard to keep his bat out of the regular lineup. He was on pace to hit 40 doubles this year and had an OPS+ of 124 (Wright is at 116 now, and Pagan is at 99).

          Speaking of Pagan, I agree that he’s worth another year’s look. His batting is coming around, although his fielding, especially his throwing has been down this year. This is evident in the fielding stats and also to anyone who watches Mets games.

        • Joe August 27, 2011 at 11:24 am
          I don’t recall him being hurt being a corner infielder. I think that seems to be where he’s comfortable and it would take a long time for him to be comfortable at 2nd. Tejeda gives you a credible bat AND good defense there.

          Net, I don’t think Murphy helps the team at 2nd Base and I’m worried about him again being hurt there. I don’t think Murphy can be in the OF either. There’s one slot there, and it is Duda that fits the best. Now, who knows if Ike will be back? But, if he is, I think it could be best to trade Murphy, who has value, instead of forcing him into a role he isn’t suitable for over someone else or even just to have him on the bench.

        • Steve S. August 27, 2011 at 11:48 am
          You might be right, Joe. I, for one, however, would like to have Murphy play only at 2B, really learn how to play that position, and get lots of reps there. There’s no reason to think he’ll get injured there again, just because he was in the past—provided all of the above happens.

          There’s also a good chance (although I hope not) that the Giants or some other team will give Reyes a monster contract, and Tejada will be the starter at SS.

  2. gary s. August 27, 2011 at 7:09 am
    How can the mets be broke , Joe?You mean to tell me that fans don’t like to overpay for tickets, parking and food to see lousy ballplayers?The Wilpons think this is a great business plan.Of course, they thought Madoff and getting 12 per cent on your money forever was legit too.
    • Florian August 27, 2011 at 10:33 am
      From what I gather out of the New Yorker article earlier this year, Madoff was a friend of the Wilpons from way back. So their emotions blinded them to reality. If that is how the Wilpons make decisions, there will be more bad business directions ahead. We can only hope they have to give up their majority share.
  3. Joe August 27, 2011 at 7:53 am
    Seriously, it is weird that Hudson keeps on losing to the Mets – as with the Phillies starter that the Mets keep on beating, there should be some kind of explanation. It does help the “even lousy teams have to win a game now and then” statistics.

    The Mets are in a lousy place now but games like yesterday still are fun. We can complain and be cynical, often quite rightly, but a game that has no effect on the standings or really changes much at all is fun. And, I’m going to pretend they won the series. 🙂