Thursday, April 12, 2012

10 Walks Allowed, 15 Mets Whiff, and Some Good Ol' Fashioned LOB

That guy.
When you are missing part of your line-up and you are facing one of the best pitchers in the game, it is important to take advantage of every opportunity you get to drive in runs. The Mets failed to do that with runners on the corners in the 1st inning against Stephen Strasburg, and after struggling a bit with a 26-pitch half, the young right-hander settled down and out-dueled Santana, our progressing Ace, by a final of 0-4.

For the first time this season, I was able to listen to a day game at work, and that thrilled me (still undecided on Josh Lewin, but Howie Rose is just one of those comforting voices on a spring afternoon. The two seem to have an alright rapport.) I saw the first inning at lunch, pumped to see Josh Thole throw a runner out at 3rd for the final out of the inning. We got some good swings on the 'Berg in the first, but then he unleashed that knee-buckling curveball and the umpire didn't help with a very inconsistent strike zone. Clearly, however, when you pitch the way Strasburg pitched and you don't take advantage of opportunities presented to you, the umpire is not at fault.

All day long, a pattern played out in my ear. Walk, walk, strike out, strike out. Walk, strike out, walk, strike out. The walks on the wrong side of the Orange and Blue spectrum, the strike outs on the wrong side of the Orange and Blue spectrum. When you're doing such mundane work for a paycheck, you would like a pick-me-up from the Metropolitans. But alas, the 50th birthday of the first Mets game ever was not to be that pick-me-up.

Except for the awesome Johan Santana, who continues to impress in his return to form. Outside of a 2nd inning bases loaded wild pitch, my fellow southpaw was on point, working that fantastic change-up and getting 8 strike-outs, many of the swinging K's. He stretched it out to 99 pitches, and hopefully in the coming months he can get a little more run support as he continues to build his stamina, regardless of whether David Wright is or isn't in the line-up.

Speaking of which, our lack of depth has been seriously exposed without him in the 3-hole. We all knew that would be an issue at some point, but the second he went down and I saw the line-up being run out there, I got a little nervous that our momentum would be broken, and it seems to have been. The injury doesn't appear to be too serious (although with this team, you never know) but the bench depth will still need to be addressed in the coming weeks, and probably will be . Obviously, we're not calling up any budding superstar position players yet, but I saw some role players in spring (such as Omar Quintanilla and Vinny Rottino) that impressed me, regardless of the month at the top of the calendar. I've never seen those guys play in the majors, but based on what my eyes told me, perhaps we can catch some lightening in a bottle.

Just a few other things to discuss:
  • Thank the heavens Ike Davis finally got a hit. Maybe he can take a deep breath and lay off some of those breaking pitches everyone keeps throwing him. He also made two vintage Ike Davis plays in foul territory. Now if only my man, The Duda, can break his slump...
  • What to do with Jason Bay. The coaches and the front office know you can't keep running him out there in the middle of that line-up when he's such a rally-killer, and changes will be made if he keeps making such weak contact (he hasn't instilled any confidence in us that he will ever break out of this two-year slump.) It really sucks, and not just because he sucks and it's bad for this team. He's a good guy, he hustles down the line every time and he never takes his anemic offense out to left field with him. But, wow, what happened to Jason Bay?
  • Terry Collins made a good point about the offense in the post-game interview: "We're taking pitches we can hit...I love our philosophy of being more patient at the plate...But once in a while you gotta hit some balls you can hit...the last two innings we took some balls right down the middle...and we cannot do that. I know, when we start swinging good it's a little different. But when you're struggling you hone a fastball at the plate and you better get it."
6-0 and 5-1 are obviously better records, but truth be told, I will sign up for a 4-2 record on any 6-game homestand this year, and I'm sure many of you would too. Now, it's time to hit the road where the first stop is down the Jersey Turnpike in Philadelphia, PA, where my Mets fandom got quite the response. The 50th Anniversary Metropolitans have this road uniform making a comeback, which is exciting unto itself. My friends and I organized a Philly trip for this weekend a while ago, long before I knew the Mets would be down there. Unfortunately, I don't think I can make any of the games. I better see the Mets show up to these games, however. Let's keep increasing the digits on the left side of the column.


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