The New York Mets kept rolling last night as they wore their black uniforms for the 1st time all year, honoring John Franco before the game with an induction into their Hall of Fame. The whirlwind weekend rolled to a close with a 6-1 win over the World Champion Cardinals in front of the national eye on ESPN, putting them in a 3-way tie with the Nationals and the Marlins for 1st place.
The ceremony before the game was sweet and emotional, with a bunch of former teammates of Franco back to honor the gentleman. While he may have kept us on the edge of our seats during his tenure (he said it himself), he was a mainstay for 14 years and a consistent part of the Mets bullpen (not to mention he has a lot of saves.) It's an honor well deserved for the Brooklyn Boy.
This was a huge start for Jon Niese, and he delivered. With his recent starts not quite up to par with the rest of the staff, he needed to continue the momentum this team has gained over the weekend, and boy, did he ever. The curveball was the best I have seen it all year. I was getting some food and saw most of the 3rd inning on TV when he struck out 2, and his last strike out was a curveball to Carlos Beltran that just dropped in there so beautifully. He had 10 K's this evening. Terry took him out a little early when his spot in the lineup came up in the 6th inning, but it's understandable. The bullpen needed to get some game action after the two shutouts. Good outing by Niese, though. Keep it up, Jonny.
We got the offense started off early in the 1st inning with a Lucas Duda single through the hole to right field, scoring Andres Torres with the 1st run (Torres was fantastic this evening, going 3 for 4, a run scored and 2 RBI, showing us how exciting a player he can be. He also showed off his arm by throwing out David Freese at home plate to end the 6th, keeping the Cards off the board for two more innings.) We were piling up the LOB number until the 4th inning, when Jon Niese singled with 2-out, setting up Tiberius for a 2-run home run over Beltran's head in right field (can Kirk Nieuwenhuis' nickname be this since David Wright is the Captain? ["Tiberius" is the "T" in "James T. Kirk".]) I had been waiting for Tiberius to connect with one again, and hopefully his power stays around a little longer this time (I don't care what anyone thinks. I'm rolling with "Tiberius.")
Elvin Ramirez made his major league debut in the 8th and wasn't great, but wasn't terrible either. He gave up the Cardinals' 1st run of the series on some softly hit singles. With a 6-run lead, there was no better time than then to get Ramirez some action. With the injury to Ramon Ramirez (he pulled his hamstring running in from the bullpen to celebrate the No-Han), we should be seeing more of Elvin in the coming games. Looking forward to how he responds to pressure situations.
Ya know, since we hadn't seen them in the Black yet this year, last night's uniform was actually tolerable, even cool. I'm guessing the only days we see the Mets in the Black are last night for John Franco Day, Edgardo Alfonso Bobblehead Day and/or Mike Piazza Bobblehead Day, depending on the uniforms the bobbleheads are wearing. If that's the case, then awesome. I like the consistency the Mets have gotten this year with their uniforms and if they sprinkle in the Black occasionally when they are celebrating the late 90's/early 00's teams (the ones I most identify the Black with), that won't be so bad at all.
As opposed to yesterday when I had forgotten this was a 4-game series, The New York Mets aim to sweep the Cardinals TODAY at 1:10pm. Dillon Gee (NYM) 1-2, 5.60 ERA, will take on Kyle Loshe (STL) 5-1, 3.36 ERA. Keep the good times goin', Metropolitans.
LET'S. GO. METS.