Friday, May 23, 2014

The Stopper

Last year, late in the season when we had lost 5 in a row, Jon Niese started against the Phillies and shut them down for 9 innings, completing the game for a 5-0 win.

Though Niese did not have the same dominant game he had on that August day, he was once more called upon to shut the losing streak down, and he did more than his part last night with 7 innings of 3-run ball, off 4 hits and 5 walks, striking out 5. He would have been even better had it not been for his former teammate Justin Turner tattooing him in the 7th for an original dimension game-tying 2-run homer, erasing the lead Niese helped grab with a double in the 5th inning, the only pitcher other than Jacob deGrom with a hit on this team. Turner had also helped the Mets by bobbling Daniel Murphy's grounder to let the 3rd run score in that same 5th. 

Back to Niese in the 7th, however, as he battled through and picked up the win when Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares combined in the bottom half to get the lead right back; Wilmer singling to lead off the inning and Lagares driving him in with 2 out on a single as well.

The offense was really the star of the show last night. No, we did not have an explosion, but the productive outs that were missing in our features for so long were had by the likes of Eric "Soup" Campbell, who has done nothing but play like a serious pro since he arrived from AAA.

The AB of the night, though, and the AB of his year so far was Curtis Granderson in the 2nd inning. This is where I came in, turning on WOR probably 7 pitches into the 12-pitch AB that ended with a double over Matt Kemp's head, taking 3rd base on the outfielder's bobble. Watching some of the early parts of the game later, it was clear in the 1st inning that Zack Greinke, who had been on fire this year (and really for his last 100 starts), did not have his command when David Wright had an 8-pitch AB that unfortunately finished the inning with a strikeout looking. Curtis fouled them off and fouled them off until driving it to center, scoring on Mr. Campbell's sac fly to tie the game at 1.

As I walked Queens Boulevard towards the bridge getting ready to call Gary Mack for Mets Musings, Howie Rose had a call to match the amazing moment he was witnessing, as Yasiel Puig made one of the greatest catches you will see, almost doubling up The Duda at 1st (Howie's call is around the 2:10 mark.)

Yasiel Puig is quite the amazing talent, but the infamy of the Cuban player not having his head in the game or being unaware of the rules was evident throughout the series. He looked silly gunning the ball towards the plate with 3 out the other day. Lucky for him and the Dodgers, that didn't affect those actual outcomes, whereas last night, he burned his team on an infield fly that tailed to the outfield in the top of the 6th, where the rule clearly states, "run at your own risk."

Oh, and of course, the man got doubled off on this, in Eric "Soup" Campbell's 1st Major League outfield start.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Mr. Jenrry "Back-to-Back" Mejia, who took a page out of Jose "Papa Grande" Valverde's antics book to lock down his 2nd Major League save.

And some other items of note:

  • Though he did get caught stealing in the bottom of the 3rd, David Wright should attempt to steal more bases if he's going to be a singles hitter. I think, however, we haven't seen more steal attempts because he's still rather timid following his hamstring issue last year.
  • SNY needs to change the defensive alignment graphic that is still the original Citi dimensions. It's been like 3 years, you guys...
  • Speaking of SNY, whether or not the Mets are struggling, Gary, Keith and Ron are ALWAYS on their game.
  • The Dodgers were in an alternate road uniform that was a grey version of their home unis, with the classic "Dodgers" across the chest as opposed to "Los Angeles." I'm a stickler for having your nickname on your uni at home and your city on your uni on the road. Unless it's the Phillies, where there's really no difference from saying "Phillies" as opposed to "Philadelphia."

So, we salvage the final game, getting the timely hits we had not been getting. Curtis has been impressing me with his approach lately, Flores is hitting when getting the chance, and Eric Campbell should probably be playing wherever we can get him in the lineup. Clearly, one game is not going to turn my opinion around on Sandy and Terry, but a win is a win, and I'll take it. No matter how much a massive losing streak could possibly help purge this team, seeing and hearing a solid, well put-together win always trumps any vitriol that had been building up. That's all you want to see: The New York Mets win, not keep botching winnable games, and look like there is some actual growth with this franchise.

As I stated before, Mr. Gary Mack was my eyes and ears during last night's contest as I walked over the Queensboro Bridge discussing the Mets with him on Mets Musings. Make sure to take a listen on this Friday in May.

Have a great holiday weekend, folks...and as always...


Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @convertedmetfan. For more from myself and others on the Mets, head over to Rising Apple. And for the latest on a Brooklyn Baseball TV Series I am developing, Like the Bedford & Sullivan Facebook page, follow on Twitter hereand listen to the research process here.

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