Good morning, Mets fans!
Crazy game last night. Or this morning. I’m not even sure anymore. Anyway, as far as losses go, it wasn’t that bad. The Angels have a pretty imposing roster and we fought with them in a back-and-forth battle for 11 innings. What I think cost the Mets in this game, and what is definitely on my mind this morning, is New York’s inability to understand its strengths and weaknesses.
I’ve been watching the Knicks, the team with the lowest Basketball IQ I’ve ever seen, for the past 6 months. So seeing the Mets make several foolish decisions in the first couple weeks of the season hasn’t really been too much of a shock. But there was a lot of foolishness from our Mets last night, coming from both the coaching staff and the players.
First of all, Dillon Gee just isn’t a 100-pitch pitcher. He really starts to lose steam after the 5th or 6th inning, once he gets around 85, 90, maybe 95 pitches. The 3rd time around the order is usually worse than the first 2, and by the 4th time he sees a hitter, he usually has a lot of trouble getting the guy out. The Mets simply have to accept this and start pulling the plug on Gee earlier, instead of leaving him in to ruin what usually starts as a solid outing.
Second of all, Jeurys Familia is here because of his “stuff”. So when he comes in and waits until his 3rd inning of work to throw something other than a fastball, that’s a problem. When that first slider, his 36th pitch, bounces in the dirt and moves the winning run into scoring position, that’s an even bigger problem. Familia was basically throwing 100% fastballs, but even the heater was impossible for Jeurys to control tonight.
So with a wild pitcher on the mound, what did the Mets do? They intentionally loaded the bases, putting their young, erratic reliever in a situation where he could not walk a batter. To Familia’s credit, he did not walk Hank Conger. He hit him with the pitch. Game over.
So yeah, there were some frustrating decisions made on our side in this one. Why leave Gee in? Why would Familia stick with one pitch, when it wasn’t even working? Why would we force a young pitcher who can’t throw a strike to be in a situation where he has no safety net for his wild arm?
I get that we want to have Gee try to eat some innings and save the bullpen, and I get that walking the bases loaded sets up a force at the plate. But the bullpen, if managed correctly, should be able to last long enough to replace a tiring starter after 5 innings. And having runners on the corners isn’t that much different than loading the bases… you can still turn the double play and you just need 1 extra split-second to tag a runner if the play goes to the plate.
Anyway, like I said, while it was a frustrating loss, it wasn’t too bad in the end. There were definitely some positive signs. Travis d’Arnaud hit his first homer of the year and the bullpen was solid from innings 6 to 10. We’ll get ‘em next time.
Infuriating fact of the day: The Mets forfeited the 24th pick in the 2009 MLB draft as compensation for signing Francisco Rodriguez. Mike Trout was the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB draft. If it makes you feel any better, the Yankees sent the 25th pick to Anaheim when they signed Mark Teixeira.
Have a good day, Mets fans. Let’s get some revenge on the Angels tonight. Game time is nine or midnight, or something like that.