Mets Game 144: Win Over Brewers

Mets 7 Brewers 3

A little time away from home is all some need to get themselves feeling good again.

Mets Game Notes

If all you did was look at the boxscore, you might believe that Jonathon Niese pitched well. After all, his final line was 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 109 pitches. Pretty good, right? But in truth, he struggled in the early innings, and was damn lucky to get out of what could have been a big inning for the Brewers in the second. Though, that’s pretty much Niese’s modus operandi — he gets into difficult situations, and either bulldogs his way through, or slips out unscathed thanks to a bit of luck or timing. It was no cakewalk for Niese, but he hung in there and earned a well-deserved win.

What was most surprising was that the Mets offense kept on scoring — something we haven’t seen since, well, it seems like forever. Part of it came as a result of the Milwaukee defense falling apart in the sixth inning, though the Mets started their onslaught before that. Brewers rookie Mike Fiers was hit hard and couldn’t put out any, um, fires. His pitching mechanics are absolutely horrifying; they resemble a cross between Jim Palmer and Chris Young. Fiers has a windmill-like motion where his glove side goes way up to the sky and his shoulders tilt severely. The result is he wraps his right arm behind his back and lags behind during the delivery; it’s a few milliseconds away from where it needs to be at foot strike, and then there is an awkward movement to get the right hand into proper firing position as the front side is already starting to drive forward. This motion puts his hand into an extreme overhand position that is useful for getting good curveball spin, and might throw off some hitters briefly, but otherwise doesn’t do anything helpful for any other pitches. Further, because of the timing of his mechanics, all of the strain of the pitch and the deceleration phase is placed on the arm; the lower half barely is involved. Expect to see this kid deal with chronic arm issues in his career.

Daniel Murphy hit a homerun, and it was the result of the most forceful, aggressive swing I’ve seen Murphy take all year. Either he was guessing correctly, Fiers was tipping his pitches, or Murph just decided to take a BP hack for the heck of it. It was a refreshing contrast to his usual waving, slapping, and poking at the ball that has transformed him into a poor man’s Pete Rose.

Lucas Duda also hit a homerun, as well as a booming double. He needs to do lots more of that in order to stay in MLB.

There’s something about Travis Ishikawa that I really like, but can’t put my finger on what it is, exactly. He’s a big, strapping guy with a smooth, effortless swing and he seems to have a good idea of the strike zone (which is not necessarily the same thing as plate discipline). I see guys like him bounce around and never quite “make it,” and it helps me put guys like Duda in perspective. In other words, there are many talented offensive players littered throughout baseball — but few of them are in the Mets organization.

Speaking of someone who used to be in the Mets organization, Carlos Gomez has not changed much since he wore the orange and blue. It looks like he’s filled out a bit and has hit a few more homers than most expected, but otherwise, he still swings at everything, is faster than a deer, and can play the outfield better than most. He’d be the Mets starting centerfielder, but we’d likely be frustrated by his over-aggressiveness at the plate. Grass is always greener, or something.

Were the Mets acting as “spoilers” by beating the Brewers? Eh, I’ve never really liked that term, because while you may be spoiling one team’s chances, you’re simultaneously most likely helping someone else’s. Case in point: by beating the Brew Crew, the Mets succeeded in helping the Phillies gain a game on Milwaukee in the Wild Card standings. Six of this, half-dozen of those.

SNY Talking Points

If you watched the telecast, then you were regaled by banter in the booth that sounded like it was forced into the in-game conversation. It goes on all the time — and I’m sure there’s a list of talking points for every game — but for whatever reason (constant losing? meaningless games? dismal outlook?) it seemed like some of the talk was especially inorganic; almost like a Snapple promotion injected into a Seinfeld episode. Among them …

Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez mentioned that Jenrry Mejia has made clear that he is insistent on wanting to be a starting pitcher, rather than a reliever, and wants a fair shot at the rotation next year. Why does anyone care what he wants? He’s not even finished recovering from Tommy John surgery and he didn’t prove much of anything above A-ball before his injury. Sure, he looked like he had potential, and electric stuff, but he didn’t accomplish anything as a starter above the Florida State League over a sustained period. This is unlike the Aaron Heilman situation of the previous decade, when Heilman (after reverting to his college mechanics) pitched very well as a MLB reliever, pitched well as a starter in several MLB starts, pitched well as a starter in winter ball, and then made his intentions clear (not that it mattered) to management. In contrast, Mejia has done nothing other than show some brief spurts of exciting stuff and hurt himself thanks to horrendous mechanics. Who the heck is he to make any declarations on what his role should be going forward? Mejia has had a bit of a cockiness that has turned me off ever since his first spring training with the Mets. I like and admire confidence, but there is a fine line between being confident and being unjustifiably cocky — well, at least, in my mind there is.

There was also discussion in the booth about Daniel Murphy as a “long-term solution at second base.” Please. Seriously. Part of the argument was that Murphy is seventh among all MLB second basemen in offensive production, “… and that’s pretty good,” according to Cohen. Um, no, it’s not. It just means that there are a lot of offensively challenged second basemen in baseball this year. It also is an indication that there may be a paradigm shift in MLB: one that perhaps values defense over offense. Since PEDs have been pushed out, power numbers are down, and pitching and defense have become more valued again — because mental errors and miscues aren’t as easily erased by the long ball. Murphy might be acceptable as an everyday second baseman on a championship ballclub if he had Dan Uggla‘s power or — maybe — the on-base consistency and prowess of Rod Carew or Pete Rose. Otherwise, his role on a winning team is as a super-sub and pinch-hitter. You can’t make up below-adequate defense with adequate offense at a middle-infield position — there’s simply too much given up / not enough taken over the long haul, especially on a club that is littered with barely adequate players.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Brewers do it again at 7:10 p.m. EST on Saturday night. Jennry Mejia gets his start against Shawn Marcum.

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. Tommy2cat September 15, 2012 at 5:41 am
    Mejia pitched well as a starter for AAA Bisons. The Mets have every reason to give him a shot at the rotation before relegating him to the bullpen.

    My take is this: If he’s THAT insistent on being a starter, give him the opportunity and see what he does with it. If he succeeds, great. If he doesn’t, then he cannot complain about being shifted to the bullpen. He’s likely to be more accepting of a role in the bullpen if he believes the Mets gave him a fair shot at the rotation.

    From a practical standpoint, next year’s rotation – from , will look something like this:

    Santana, Dickey, Harvey, Niese, with Gee & Mejia to compete for the 5th slot. Expect Wheeler to emerge if and when Santana falters.

    Our bullpen is likely to be much stronger next year:

    Righties: Francisco, Rauch, Parnell, Edwin Ramirez, Familia & Mejia (perhaps)

    Lefties: Edgin, Carson

    One final thought: While I am not advocating this position, could you imagine Matt Harvey as a closer? Holy Moley!!!

  2. Izzy September 15, 2012 at 7:03 am
    Every pitcher in the minors should be given a chance to be a starter, as it is harder to be a starter than a reliever and they are more valuable. Back to the game…. Did TC proclaim his genius after the team won a game? Did SA have a presser to announce who his “championship caliber” players are? I had to watch in the Brewer telecast where they tried to announce the game. Guess I missed SNL. on SNY
    • DaveSchneck September 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm
      Izzy, as he routinely does, makes a good point. Both Mejiaand Familia need to continue to get reps as a starter. They are 22 and Mejia in particular has not thrown enough. Even if they eind up in the pen, as most project, they need to refine a 2nd pitch as well as command of the fastball. I woul include one in an offseason trade only if they were part of a deal that brought back a controllable OF bat tat is sorely needed. Otherwise, let them start with Wheeler at AAA, and pray to god it is not in Las Vegas.
  3. Joe September 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm
    I don’t know, not being an expert or anything, what exactly it means, but being 7th among of all of baseball to me is kinda good. Being “7th” isn’t that good really, it is after all “7th,” but it isn’t like totally lame or anything.

    The OP spells why we can’t be that excited about it but I’d need more really to see how it is “just” because of those two reasons, one hedged with a “may.” But, if you want to half empty things, go ahead.

    Keith at one point said that hes for the whole team to be on the table and Murphy is surely there. I think you can find a few people that shouldn’t be traded (Tejada, for instance, or Matt Harvey … you know, unless they would take Bay or something), but the sentiment is basically correct. Still, until this team is capable as a whole, Murphy will do — this is not exactly high praise, but I’d worry about CF or catcher or relief before him.

    And, yeah, nice to know the kid wants to start and all, but let’s see that you can first. With Gee, Harvey and probably some other maybe showing up in ST, there isn’t that much room there.

  4. Andy September 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm
    I think maybe the Murphy discussion is an indication that the Mets don’t expect to be a championship ballclub any time soon. I think we’ll be lucky if they are in contention in September 2015 . . .
    • James September 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm
      2015 sounds about Wright. Maybe David will get some glory before it’s all over.