Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Little Hiccup But We Duke it Out

Well, Dillon Gee was as good as any starter in our rotation until he hung what looked to be a cutter to Wilson Betemit in the 8th inning, and all of a sudden the Orioles sprung to life. Bobby P. had to weather a storm and Francisco had to weather a hurricane, but miraculously the Mets sweep the Orange Birds with a final score of 4-3.

That might have been the best I've ever seen from Dillon Gee. He was working every corner with every pitch in his arsenal. He  hit a wall later in the game when his pitch count was certainly low enough to go the complete game shutout. Unfortunately he couldn't battle through, but the bullpen, albeit in a scary fashion, came through for the Mets and the 7th Letter in the Alphabet. Swung a nice bat tonight, too, scoring on Wright's huge double.

Mike Nickeas just keeps on getting big hits. About a week ago, I wrote about The Nick's .155 average, and how long the Mets could live with it. I made the point, however, that he has gotten a lot of hits that have broken us through in certain games. Last night, SNY showed that Mike has a .333 average with runners in scoring position right before he made contact and tailed the ball away from a diving Adam Jones in right-center, who, if he had made the play, would have made a spectacular diving play. The bottom line, it seems, is that with runners on, The Nick makes contact and has been huge for this club. Nickeas profiles as an unlikely hero when the time to shine is right, and regardless of his stats, I agree with keeping him around as backup catcher.

There ain't no lefty Scottie can't rake.

Frank Francisco early on in the 9th inning was doing a great job of painting the corners. His strategy seemed to change as different hitters came up, and that hurt him. He lost complete control at one point when he walked free swinging Mark Reynolds to load the bases and bring up Steve Pearce...who he walked in 4 low pitches to force in a run and bring up contact hitter Brian Roberts. But give Francisco credit. The game could still be won, and he did a great job of getting Roberts to ground out to Jordany at 2nd.

Who would have thought 2 years ago we'd be discussing the roster problem the Mets have because of depth? Right now, Valdespin keeps hitting and will stay in the lineup if he does so. Murphy is struggling with the bat but you don't expect them to send him down. Baxter will come back at some point and will need to take a spot. Meanwhile, Vinny Rottino keeps doing the hard-nosed type of stuff it takes to win ballgames. In the 4th, after Scott Hairston doubled,  the righty Rottino waited back on a pitch and  made sure to hit it to the right side of the infield, moving Hairston over to 3rd with 1 out. Scottie eventually scored the 1st run of the ballgame. In the 5th, with Hairston and David Wright on 2nd and 3rd, respectively, Rottino was intentionally walked to get to the lefty Ike Davis. Ike grounded the ball slowly the other way to the shortstop, who tossed it to the 2nd baseman for the force out. The 2nd baseman turned just as Vinny was sliding perfectly into 2nd to trip the fielder up. The extra run scored, and it turned out we really needed it. As long as these guys continue to perform, those roster decisions get harder and harder to deal with. I love it.

The Mets will take a day before the much-anticipated Subway Series gets underway (Ain't it funny how every time somebody says these games are getting boring, a weekend comes along like this to spice things up again?) A rematch of the southpaws is slated for Friday Night at 7:10PM, with Jon Niese taking on Andy Pettitte.

RA has created a buzz around this one Subway Series game that I haven't seen since the late 90's, early 2000's. We will be there Sunday when this all goes down. What a pitching matchup. The night is gonna be a lot of fun.

We can handle the Yankees.

Bring on the Pinstripes (in the grey aways.)


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