May 31

Jon Niese Struggles, Mets Fall to Marlins

I imagine the secret to a successful 6-man rotation is having six pitchers capable of starting at the Major League level.  It’s one thing to announce to the world that you’re saving your starters roughly three starts over the course of the year with an extra arm, but if the bullpen has to pitch at least half of the innings in one of those starts, maybe it’s just a better idea to use a 5-man rotation with an occasional spot start from a long reliever. In an attempt to not say anything too snarky about another poor Jon Niese start, I’ll just state that Erik Goeddel looked great in relief and by the sixth inning I was wondering why the Mets ever converted him from a starter in the first place.

Could Goeddel join the 6-man rotation until Steve Matz is ready? At the rate Niese is going, Goeddel might as well stay loose from the second inning on. Could the two alternate innings until the seventh? I’m perfectly willing to bend the rules here. May hadn’t been particularly kind to Niese this year (making it far crueler than April, thank you T.S. Eliot) as his ERA for the month was 5.10 with the last three starts being particularly painful as he’d allowed 18 runs, 16 of them earned, in 16 innings pitched. Over those last three, batters were hitting .343/.410/.571 with three home runs. Let’s just say on Saturday, things didn’t improve all that much. Over four innings, Niese allowed five runs, four of them earned, on seven hits in four innings pitched.

The good news, if there’s such a thing here, is that the homerun Niese allowed to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth didn’t travel quite as far as the bomb he hit against Alex Torres in the ninth. According to ESPN, the one Stanton hit off of Torres traveled 466-feet. baseballsavant.com didn’t have it traveling that far, but Stanton’s max of 455 feet was still best for the day. His average of 112.5 mph on batted balls was also best for the day.1

It might have been worse than that. It felt worse than that. By the fourth, when Niese made this face after a Dee Gordon single, it sort of summed up his day. I know how you’re feeling Jon. I felt the same way.

Jon  Niese is not particularly happy with a Dee  Gordon single.

Jon Niese is not particularly happy with a Dee Gordon single.

Maybe things would have gone better for Niese if Wilmer Flores makes a routine throw to first to nab Christian Yelich in the second. It was an easy throw. I’m fairly certain my toddler and I made that throw in my living room this evening with a large, pink bouncy ball, but my daughter seemed fully committed to the game. Flores didn’t, Niese seemed only half-interested in the outcome after the Marlins plated a pair on a Donovan Solano double, and the Mets were down 5-1 by the home half of the fourth.

That the Mets tied it was something of a surprise. The team looked less than enthusiastic, and it seemed as though failing to add any runs in the first, after loading the bases with no outs, carried over into the following innings.

One decision I thought debatable was Terry Collins asking Ruben Tejada to bunt with runners on first and second and nobody out in the bottom of the sixth. Marlins reliever Bryan Morris had already walked John Mayberry and Curtis Granderson to open the inning, and his pitches really weren’t that close. He was all over the place. Tejada already had two hits on the afternoon, had driven in three with a bases clearing double in the fourth, and if he was ever to see a good pitch to hit it would be on Morris’ first pitch following the two walks. Instead, Tejada twice fails to execute a sacrifice bunt, nearly grounds into a double play, and the Mets are lucky to have runners on first and third with one out.

I didn’t really get the logic. It’s the sixth. The Marlins top of the order is coming up, and the Mets relievers are likely to see the top three in the order at least twice. Why not try to add multiple runs? Why bunt? The Marlins were sure to counter with Mike Dunn to face Lucas Duda (which they did).

Maybe it’s because I hate bunts. Anyway, in the seventh the Marlins scored two, then in the ninth Stanton prepped for his post-baseball career with NASA.

  1. I love this site, by the way. How much fun is this?

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