Mets Game 122: Loss to Rockies
Rockies 3 Mets 1
The Phillies have finally caught up to the Mets. Will they pass them?
Mets Game Notes
R.A. Dickey supplied his usual tremendous performance — 7 IP, 1 earned run, 3 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Mets offense provided feeble support, scoring one measly run against starter Alex White before being completely shut down by four Rockies relievers.
Beyond their offense, poor fundamentals beat the Mets on this evening. The Rockies scored the go-ahead run when Jonathan Herrera scampered home on a passed ball by Kelly Shoppach that wasn’t entirely his fault.
First to discuss, though, is how Herrera found his way to third base. Herrera led off the inning with a drag bunt down the first base line — the direction opposite of where the lefthanded Josh Edgin follows through. Edgin tried to scoop the ball and shovel pass it to first base, but instead the ball went wild past Ike Davis, allowing the fleet-footed Herrera to continue on to second base. If Edgin had a better follow-through, maybe he fields the bunt cleanly. If he holds on to the ball, it’s simply a single. If someone is backing up first base, maybe Herrera doesn’t make it to second. If Ike Davis is more aggressive with his charge and fields the bunt instead, maybe the play turns out differently. Many things wrong with the play.
Herrera then reached third on a sacrifice bunt, also fielded by Edgin. The thing is, Edgin fielded that bunt perfectly, and had a really good shot to get Herrera at third base — Herrera was about 25-30 feet from the bag when Edgin picked up the ball. However, Edgin wasn’t overly aggressive in getting to the ball, and when he looked briefly at third, David Wright was pointing toward 1B, so Edgin chose to throw to first. Maybe Edgin didn’t feel like he could get Herrera at third, and/or maybe he was nervous about making a bold decision after throwing the ball away on the previous play. Why is David Wright providing direction there? Probably because he’s been the infield leader all year. The leader is supposed to be the catcher, because the catcher has the play in front of him. Though, if Edgin reacts more aggressively from the get-go, rather than playing it so routinely, maybe Wright calls for the ball. Again, many things wrong with that play.
On the next pitch, Herrera scored. It looked like a slider by Edgin that didn’t slide. A catcher on a new club needs time to get used to the way the pitchers’ pitches move; in the meantime, the catcher has to rely on athleticism and anticipation. In that case, Edgin was supposed to throw a slider toward the outside part of the plate, and instead it stayed inside. Shoppach was set up middle-out — his right foot was planted behind the middle of the plate and his left foot way out beyond the plate. However, he was keeping his body in the middle, about to lean out to his left, so that the batter wouldn’t get a clue as to location. As Edgin came forward to deliver the ball, Shoppach began to lean to his left, anticipating the pitch to break outside, but it never did, and by the time he realized it wasn’t breaking, he couldn’t move his body and glove fast enough to capture the ball. Should Shoppach have caught that ball? As a catcher, I don’t think he had much of a chance. As an official scorer who doesn’t understand the nuances of the position, I can understand why it was scored a passed ball.
The Mets had a chance to tie it up in the 8th when Jordany Valdespin came to bat with the bases loaded and two out. Valdespin hit a slow roller up the first base line and was thrown out by an eyelash as he slid headfirst into first base. Had Valdespin remained upright and run through the bag, he would’ve been safe, the game would’ve been tied, and the bases would still be loaded. Fundamentals.
After Valdespin was called out, he immediately got in the umpire’s face and screamed at him. Stay classy, ‘spin. Meh. It’s not bad enough that Valdespin does something so stupid as to slide headfirst into first base, but he then has to disrespect the umpire? An embarrassment.
Has Colorado manager Jim Tracy lost his mind? A four-man rotation? Four-inning outings by starters? 75-pitch limits? Batting Andrew Brown cleanup? Desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose.