Mets 3, Braves 2

New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – April 17, 2011 – ESPN.

So, both sides of Tommy Hanson showed up today. Unfortunately, the offense did not. Four of the first five Mets of the day reached against Hanson, and before everyone was settled into their seats, it was 2-0. But then he struck out nine Mets in five innings of work.

The Braves could have taken control in the second inning, when they had the bases loaded and nobody out, with one run already in on a Dan Uggla triple and a Freddie Freeman single. But Matt Young, getting the start in center, popped up, and then Fredi did something completely bizarre. With two strikes on Hanson and the bases loaded, he called for a squeeze play. If nothing else, he had the element of surprise. Not surprisingly, Hanson struck out and Eric Hinske was tagged out easily. And that was it for sequential offense from the Braves.

The Mets got another run in the fifth, when Jose Reyes singled, stole second, and came home on a single. The Braves got to within one when Jason Heyward hit a solo shot in the eighth. But despite baserunners in each of the last three innings, they couldn’t get a run home.

74 thoughts on “Mets 3, Braves 2”

  1. I’d have to say that this was the first game we’ve had that Fredi could have made things a lot more simple by using common frickin’ sense. The squeeze play was inexcusable.

  2. Mets announcers pointed out that the managerial call was doubly insane, because with a slow runner on third, it would be fairly easy to get the force out at home, if not a double play.
    This manager sucks.

  3. No doubt a truly bizarre call for the squeeze with Hanson… But Hanson has to make contact. It was the perfect pitch to bunt and he just flailed.

    Also, unmentioned elsewhere, when Reyes singled back through the box before scoring the 3rd run, that was a ball that should have been fielded. A good fielding pitcher would also have fielded Thole’s single that scored Reyes, but a standard run of the mill major league pitcher should have fielded Reyes single too.

    I know that they can’t all be Greg Maddux, of course, but being a good pitcher but a bad athlete is going to lose Hanson a lot of games like this in his career.

  4. When Mets announcers are commenting on how absurd things are, then things are pretty f****** absurd.

  5. That game exposed a lot of flaws that need to be addressed during the season.

    1. Stupid managing. Besides the lunacy of the second inning, there’s the “let’s bunt the runner over to second with the mighty Matt Young coming to the plate”
    2. Heyward and Chipper are the only hitters that will consistently take a walk.
    3. Our bench is really weak. Pinch hitters today included Brandon Hicks and Brooks Conrad with a spot start by Matt Young.

  6. I’ve actually found Hernandez and Darling to be level-headed and even-handed in their criticism of both teams. I didn’t watch the Met’s broadcast for today’s game, but they are about as good as anyone at calling what they see.. Rich Wertz and Tommy Hutton they ain’t. (Marlins announcers, if I remember their names correctly.)

  7. The problem with the world today is people like Brian Jordan defending decisions like Fredi’s squeeze play.

    There is no hope for any of us.

  8. I think I’m still in shock over everything that just transpired. It’s hard enough to win MLB games without having to do so in spite of your manager.

  9. Who cares what announcers say?

    I already know that Fredi’s squeeze call wasn’t great. The risk/reward wasn’t worth considering. Too many things can go wrong there. Having Prado hit with 2 outs & the bases loaded isn’t so bad.

    He obviously needed Hanson to make contact. A bunt on the ground probably (but not necessarily) means a run, good. A foul ball = strikeout, OK.

    Missed pitch (ball) = an out, very bad. Missed pitch (strike) = DP, disaster. Pop-up bunt = DP, disaster.

    Fredi had a rough game & we didn’t swing the bat worth a damn today, wasting a pretty good mound effort. Let’s hope things get better with this week’s late-night action.

  10. I learn much more about baseball listening to Hernandez and Darling than any of the Braves announcers. When the Braves play the Mets they are by far my preferred choice. They’re constantly second-guessing Mets managers and players, and explaining what the correct though process is and why.

  11. Managing won’t matter that much if Heyward, Prado, and whoever plays center field all hit under 250. Braves seem to be experts at hitting solo HRs. Heyward making a better case for leadoff man than #2 or #3. I mostly see ground balls to second base from him.
    Something is missing. New batting coach?

  12. @11

    Same for me. They’re one of my favorite announcing teams (along with one man crew Vin Scully). Yesterday when Murphy tried to steal 3rd and was out by a mile, they didn’t hesitate to flame him. And they won’t mind questioning the coach’s choices too, be it the Mets’ one or the other team’s one. And they don’t just say “he’s wrong”, they try to prove their point, and they’re usually convincing.

    Cohen and Hernandez >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Chip and whoever.

  13. Heyward’s batting under 250, but he’s still OPSing 847 at the start of today’s game…no doubt that will go up after the HR. J-Hey isn’t the problem.

    Uggla is really killing us with his 45 OPS+, and Prado isn’t hitting as well as we’re use to (82 OPS+)…McLouth is Mclouth, but to me it looks like he’s swinging better…but I’m not an expert

  14. Hanson is a BAD bunter. This is well-known. Hinske is a SLOW baserunner. This is also well-known. Martin Prado is a GOOD hitter. This, most of all, is well-known.

    How you add up these three things and come to the conclusion that calling the squeeze play rather than just telling Hanson to take 6 pitches and not make two outs is beyond me.

    There were other bizarre choices, like having McCann stealing for ANY reason in that spot. But the squeeze was the biggest.

    Sure, you can say that it was the players who screwed it up, so it’s their fault, and on some level that’s true. But Gonzalez is responsible for putting his players in situations to excel, and he singularly failed at doing that today. Wow. Frustrating.

  15. 17 – Don’t forget the A-Gon sacrifice bunt in the 9th, which put Chipper in scoring position for… wait for it… wait for it… Matt Young and Brooks Conrad.

    Fredi Gonzalez managed this game like a drunken lunatic today. It’s been an odd start to the season. So far, I’ve been mostly happy with his bullpen management but otherwise unhappy with everything else.

    Meanwhile, the Nats are about to move above .500. It’s really, extremely, significantly early, but being behind the Marlins and Nats irritates me to no end.

  16. Delightful Fredi quote: “It’s one of those situations where early in the ballgame…Nobody missed a sign. That was a squeeze; we just missed a bunt. It’s one of those situations where the worst thing that could happen is he swung through it and when you’re not scoring runs you’ve got to try to make something up. That’s why they call it a suicide squeeze. It didn’t work this time.”

    He’s got to try to make something up, apparently. Not sure how having to make something up explains the term “suicide squeeze” though.

  17. The bench is abysmal. Henski and of course, David Ross are ok, but there is no sane reason which explains why Young and Hicks are in the Major Leagues . . . and Brooks Conrad owes me a World Series — so I’m hating the bench . . . and if Fredi asks any of our pitchers to do a squeeze play again . . . .

  18. @18, And yet he pinch hit for Freeman in a critical spot. That move didn’t really bother me at the time, but if I were Freeman, I would wonder why Gonzalez has more faith in Young and Conrad than in the guy responsible for the first RBI of the day.

    I know we’re beating a dead horse here, but piss poor managing. And here’s an equally asinine quote from our new skipper:

    Gonzalez has heard that some fans are wanting him to move Heyward out of the sixth spot of his lineup and bat him second to increase the number of plate appearances he’ll record this year. While he understands the theory, Gonzalez has often responded with something like, “Well then, why don’t we bat [Albert] Pujols leadoff?”

  19. @19 That’s not really a fair poll Mac. The result would be obvius. It’s not like TP has lots of fans here to begin with when he was the hitting coach!

  20. I had a nightmare like this once. DOB was the manager and after every stupid move was questioned he responded with a typical snarky DOB comeback.

    At least Fredi doesn’t seek internet validation by subtly trying to get people to approve of his taste in music on his sports blog?

  21. The sky is falling!

    Seriously, the squeeze call was abysmal, and anyone chiming in to say so is entirely justified. I hope those who do will stick around to give credit where it’s due when the team plays well and the manager makes the right move, because that happens sometimes too.

  22. I freaking hate fantasy baseball. I try to change my lineups and the roster moves never stick. Now I remember why I quit after a week the first time I tried it.

  23. I wish I could be as eternally optimistic as some posters here.

    Just because Fredi might make a good decision here or there doesn’t mean we should start writing letters of congratulations and asking Wren for a lifetime extension. With his short tenure as Braves manager, Fredi has been beyond awful. Not only has he shown no comprehension of tactics other than “hurr ima manager sos i gotta manage huh DOB SQUEEZE!”, he’s also already started to come dangerously close to insulting anybody in the fan base who dares to question the manager. Not a good way to earn shit, and certainly not respect or goodwill after one measly “right call.”

    Especially not after the abomination that was today’s game. The squeeze call was only the cherry on top of the Hot Fail Sundae that was Fredi’s game today. There was also the bunt call with one of the few hot hitters on the team just to rest the game on the shoulders of .100 Matt second (AFTER a four pitch walk), there was the IBB of the frightening Brad “DFA” Eamus just to pitch to the pitcher who will probably end up with better offensive numbers than Eamus, and there was even a smattering of ordering McCann of all people to steal second.

    Is there a reason Fredi is the Braves manager? Yeah, but it’s not because he’s a good manager. It’s because of the “good ol’ boy” politics that have been the (unfortunate) hallmark of this organization forever.

  24. I doubt Fredi had anything to do with McCann stealing. He seems like the kind of baserunner who picks and chooses his spots and he just happened to pick wrong today.

  25. @17,

    Mraver, gret point. Hannson is a terrible bunter. I would almost under stand the play if Glavine was the one up there and Furcal was on third.

    Anything Fredi dose bad is going to be magnified. It is a hard job being the guy who replaces an icon.

  26. It’s not eternal optimism, Downcaster. It’s just refusing to rush to judgment. You’ve staked out a position already that seemingly doesn’t allow you to enjoy rooting for this team or organization as currently constituted, and you’re filtering everything through that lens. So anything that goes wrong confirms your diagnosis, and anything that goes right is in spite of it. Honestly, why bother?

  27. The good news is that the run prevention has been there so far. The Braves are actually giving up fewer runs per game than any other team in baseball. The problem, of course, is the offense.

    Considering the enormous disparity between the Braves’ efforts on the field and at the plate, it’s unclear whether I should feel relieved or frustrated that they are only 7-9.

  28. I’m coming around to the opinion that 7-9 is a pretty good way to weather a bad offensive swoon. The pitching is really good, and somehow the defense hasn’t killed it. The manager does seem to be fairly dim, but maybe he’s just slumping and he’ll settle into a groove once his nerves calm down. Surely he’s at least capable of learning from his own mistakes.

  29. Once again, not panicking. We did just win a series, guys, chin up. With how bad the offense has been, things could be a lot worse. Heyward, Uggla, Prado and hopefully Freeman will warm up as the season goes and we will be fine.

  30. Uggla and Prado are killing us right now. Once they turn it around (and they will) our offense should score a lot of runs. Freeman’s looked really good at the plate lately, which is encouraging. I’m not concerned about Heyward because, although his batting average is low, his OPS is still .917.

    If Fredi can get out of his own way, then we’ll be a pretty good team. Also, it’d be nice if he didn’t come across as an arrogant prick sometimes.

  31. I’m starting a band called Hot Fail Sundae; the opening track of the self-titled debut will be titled, “Brooks Conrad Owes Me a World Series;” and the opening verse to that track will be, “When Mets announcers are commenting on how absurd things are, then things are pretty f****** absurd.”

  32. @34

    Rush to judgment? You know Fredi has managed before Atlanta, right? Therefore he has a track record, and that track record is of over-managing games because he feels like he has to manage, and of stubbornly sticking to terrible lineups because he can’t fathom how some nobody on that new fangled internet knows anything about baseball.

    I’m not filtering anything through any kind of lens. Fredi is a bad manager. That doesn’t mean I’m unable to enjoy watching baseball. I can still enjoy the team while realizing the manager is a dolt.

    @29

    No. Although, after trying to artfully dodge that tag the other day, all my AAG ire has been shifted to Fredi.

  33. Frankly (get it?) I’m a little insulted that you all seem to have forgotten that I’m the worst f’in general manager in the game. Seriously, I hired Fredi and Larry Parrish. Come on, give credit where it’s due.

  34. If you enjoy it so much, why do you openly root for injuries and show up to say you “still hate” someone who just hit a HR. Maybe you are enjoying yourself. It doesn’t come across.

  35. Trying to be level-headed here…this is an average to slightly above average team. The pitching looks to be generally good, definitely top third of the league. The defense is ok but not great (range in CF is my only real concern). The offense remains the big unknown – extremely inconsistent so far. Not much power – yet. Hardly any team speed…takes three hits in an inning to score because only 2 or 3 guys on the team can score from 1st on a double. Lot’s of hackers up and down the order, with only Chipper and Heyward showing consistent patience. The bench is awful, but who cares – good bench players are a waste – the longer-term replacements should be playing every day somewhere else. The manager appears to be mildly retarded but I’m not sure that even the worst manager can affect outcomes all that much. So far I’d say we’re probably not as bad as we’ve shown so far, but I still don’t have a good feel for how good we can be.

  36. We’re 7-9. Last year at this point, we were 8-8.

    After 22 games last year, we were 8-14. After 162 games, we were in the playoffs.

    Long way to go, folks. It’s baseball.

  37. Mike Minor continues to pitch well in AAA.

    Kenshin Kawakami continues to stink it up in AA.

  38. Like everything else, winning is the cure. People are much more likely to post on a good day than a bad one.

  39. Is it too early in the season for a DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED?

    Sheesh, it’s April 18th. I’m still happy the season finally started.

  40. There are 3 west coast trips this year.

    Since summer vacations stopped back in High School, that sucks.

  41. I’m in the distinct minority, but I love the West Coast games.

    However, there’s nothing worse than staying up late to see a tough loss. I get Jerry Royster flashbacks.

  42. Two off days in the next 33 games. I’m cherry-picking dates, but hopefully the starters can get on a roll.

    Ububba’s right; we’ve forever still to go. As long as we’re around .500 at the AS break, I’m not going to get worked up.

  43. Post count is helped by the level of emotional impact the game that day had, good or bad. Last year, the team had so many wonderful moments, and a couple of notable meltdowns. They drew us in with all the theatrics, so far there has been none of that this year.

    This team is just….blah right now. They don’t really make me horribly upset, or like last year, euphorically happy. They are stuck in that middle ground of frustration, and don’t give sh*t.

    The not hitting is killing the buzz this team had coming out of spring training.

  44. There isnt much you can say. We have the best overall pitching staff and currently the worst offense in the NL.

  45. 59 — I think it was the memorable theatrics that made me feel like the Braves were winning a lot of close games last year (and many more than in previous years). What does the data show?

  46. He finally gave in – tonights lineup

    Prado
    Heyward
    Chipper
    BMac
    Uggla
    Freeman
    AAG
    Nate
    Huddy

  47. AAG is beyond help anyways.

    Fredi was right, he said he picks the lineups for the first few games and the players pick it the rest of the year.

    Nate sucked, so he ‘picked’ to hit eighth.

  48. Stu, if Freeman keeps up what he’s done for the past week, it might help Uggla. Certainly more than AAG was.

    Love the lineup, let’s continue our series opener win streak!

  49. #62
    Really, Heyward’s just gotta bat #2 & let’s be done with it.

    As it relates to Freddie, why not hit him there tonight? He’s gotten a little warm lately: 4/10 with 3 BBs, 2 2Bs & a HR & 0 K’s in his last 13 PA.

    And it’s not like Ted Lilly has ever been death on lefties. FWIW, LHH have killed him in his 3 starts this year.

  50. The way Uggla is(n’t) hitting right now, lineup protection is probably a long way from being an actual issue. It’s not like he ever had great protection down in Miami anyways. I’m sure it won’t be long before Freeman can provide the same protection that he was getting from the likes of Jorge Cantu and Ross Gload.

  51. So mike leake was just arrested for shoplifting. Guess Minor was the right pick after all.

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