Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sleeping In Seattle

I lack the general fortitude I had in my younger, sprier days, and as such a 10pm start time on a weeknight has become a bit of a dicey proposition for me, at least from the standpoint of my ability to make it through the duration of the game awake. Last night's game in Seattle was an extreme example of just how dicey these late starts are for me. As I'm still shaking off the effects of some jet lag, I managed to make it through the first inning of the ever-elusive Mets vs. Mariners game before dozing off. By time I woke up, the game was more or less over.

It seems, based on what I've read on the proceedings, that the Mets were about as awake as I was during last night's game. Though the Mets banged out 9 hits off of Roenis Elias (their second consecutive tilt with a crafty Cuban), one in each of the 9 innings of the game, but as usual, none of them were key, and their best chance at a key one—Travis d'Arnaud's deep drive in the 6th inning—was snuffed out by Dustin Ackley, who clearly has benefitted from having dear friend Endy Chavez as his teammate; his leaping grab was reminiscent of any one of Endy's greatest grabs during his Mets tenure. The net of all this was that the Mets marked the much-covered DavidWrightiversary with one of the more painfully boring efforts that seem to have pockmarked much of Wright's recent history with the team. It's not necessarily David Wright's fault; he's been whatever the Mets have wanted him to be, but without a decent supporting cast around him, Wright sort of sticks out like an island among the Lucas Dudas around him.

On the other side, there are the Mariners, a team that's suffered through their own particular wilderness, not having made a Playoff appearance since their 116-win 2001 season. They've had a rather Met-like arc over their recent run of forgettable seasons, but only now does it seem as though they've turned a bit of a corner. The Robinson Cano signing sort of brought them a bit of attention, but really, it's guys like Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino that seem to do a bit of their lifting on offense. Seager, who's one of these Jeff Cirillo-types that hits better than he looks, drove home a pair of runs and Zunino, a lunch-pail Catcher, hit a Home Run off of Jon Niese, who had a forgettable return from the DL in this eminently forgettable 5-2 loss. Something tells me that if I hadn't fallen asleep on my own, this game likely would have bored me to sleep.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Score Remains The Same

Sunday's Mets game in San Diego was the first game I'd had the opportunity to watch since returning from my European Vacation. I already had kind of an ominous feeling about this particular game, for several obvious reasons. The Mets had swept the Marlins going into the All Star Break, which finished off an 8-2 homestand and kind of got people feeling a little optimistic about the team. Coming out of the break, the schedule gods got cute and socked the Mets with a 10-game road trip to a few places they rarely fare well, among them San Diego, Seattle and finally Milwaukee, where they have won games once in a while, but have also had moments where they look like a bunch of horse's asses. Seattle, the Mets only go to once every 6 years or so (or at least it seems that way, a closer look reveals the Mets and Mariners haven't met at all since 2008 and only visited Seattle once, in 2005, where they were promptly swept). Then, there's Petco Park in San Diego, where the Mets usually lose every game 2-1.

Fittingly, the Mets nearly got themselves no-hit by the latest crafty Cuban Odrisamer Despaigne, got up off the mat and tied the game after Zack Wheeler pitched his ass off, and ultimately lost the game, shockingly, 2-1, on a Seth Smith single that went about 45 feet and somehow ended up winning the game because Josh Edgin fell off the mound and couldn't recover in time to make a play. The kind of ending that generally leaves most Mets fans either shaking their head or smacking their head in general disgust.

Despaigne pretty much tied the Mets up in knots for a majority of the day, to the point where I was actually beginning to think he was going to finish the job and throw the first no hitter in Padres history. But Daniel Murphy took care of that by doubling with 2 outs in the 8th, and David Wright, who very quietly has had a very un-David-Wright-like Season, snuck a single through the middle to tie the game. This got Zack Wheeler off the hook in the game after another fine outing in which he made one bad pitch, the Home Run that Yasmani Grandal lofted out, and his team gave him nothing in the way of run support. Those more optimistic among us might have believed that this rally would have spurred the Mets on to a win and a series victory to get the second half off on the right foot, but sadly that was not the case. Instead, it just set the stage for the Padres to win another 2-1 game at the hands of the Mets in typical annoying fashion, taking 2 of 3 from the Mets and putting that sinking fear back in the hearts of all Mets fans.

So, the Mets now leave the beautiful town of 2-1sville in favor of Pearl Jam, Starbucks and canned crowd noise...oh, wait. They're playing the Mariners, not the Seahawks. My bad.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Across The Pond

Wish me a hearty Bon Voyage, as the new Mrs. Mets2Moon and I will be off on our Honeymoon across the pond in Europe for the next week. We will be in a trio of non-Baseball cities, as we journey from Copenhagen to Stockholm to Paris.

This weekend's Mets games with the Marlins will be at a rumor level for me. With a 6-hour time difference, a 7:10pm start time takes place at 1:10am the following day in the cities I'll be visiting. Next Friday's second half opener in San Diego will hit at a crisp 4:10am Paris time. Needless to say, I won't have much to write about until I return. Therefore, I wish you all Adjö and Börk as I head off to the land of Köttbullar.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The 4001st Odyssey

After getting to the 4000th win in franchise History by winning the first two games in their series against the Braves, the Mets did themselves one better, winning the third game of the series for the 4001st victory in team history, their 4th win in a row, and the 3rd game in a row that they knocked off the Beautiful Braves by basically letting their pitching do the talking, backed by a bit of timely hitting.

Wednesday marked the return of Dillon Gee to the rotation after a 2-month absence. Gee's disappearance onto the Disabled list back in May was mysterious enough, since he kind of just happened into his lat injury, and then happened to re-injure it while rehabbing, and all of a sudden a 2-week stay on the DL turned into 2 months, and Gee's entire season, one which was off to a rather promising start, was kind of short circuited. No bother, though. Gee returned from the DL and looked like he'd been around all along, throwing into the 8th inning and allowing all of 1 run and 6 hits to the Braves en route to his 4th win of the season. Imagine if he'd been around this entire time. He'd probably be 6-6 right now because half the time he pitched, he'd have a game like this, but he'd get no run support and lose 3-0 after someone like Kyle Farnsworth gave up 2 runs in the 9th inning. Or maybe he'd be a 10-game winner already. It's not worth getting worked up over too much, but at least he's back and he's pitching well in spite of the fact that he missed a significant amount of time.

Part of the reason Gee was able to come away with a win was because a pair of guys who weren't hitting for a majority of the early part of the season are now hitting and making their hits count. For one, Lucas Duda, who's been perhaps The Ballclub's Official Flog for a few years now, has actually begun to show signs of life and get hits with men on base and men in scoring position. He did it a number of times over the past few weeks, and again last night, driving home the first run of the game with—perish the thought—a 2-out RBI single. Odd as it may seem, Duda is starting to round a bit into form as far as his hitting is concerned. He's not hitting for a ton of power, but he's starting to become much less feast or famine, which is nice to see. See, even I'm willing to admit that Duda's playing well, so he must be doing something right.

The other piece to this puzzle was Travis d'Arnaud, who's also been hitting at a steady clip since he returned from AAA, and he punctuated the scoring in the 7th inning with a 2-run Home Run that stretched the Met lead to 4-1, and really served as the game's turning point. d'Arnaud looks like he's finally found his swing in the Majors, and the results have been pretty obvious. He drove home the winning run last Friday against Texas, he's been driving the ball with authority and he's hit a few no-doubt Home Runs, last night's among them.

So, the Mets now have a chance to get the revenge sweep on the Braves if they can win tonight, behind Bartolo Colon. Oddly, you have to actually feel kind of optimistic about the Mets chances right now. They're not hitting a ton, but they're getting hits when they need to, and the pitching continues to carry the day more often than not. Still, it's a long way before they start sneaking up on anyone, particularly once they start to catch teams that aren't quite as kittenish as the Barves.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In Your Ear

One night after ostensibly stealing a victory from the Braves, the Mets picked up on Tuesday night with a full-scale bombardment of the Barves and their hotshot pitcher Julio Teheran, ringing out 18 hits—11 off Teheran—and scoring in 6 of their 8 times at bat for the game to back Jacob deGrom's 2nd Major League win and the Mets 4,000th Major League win, a resounding 8-1 victory.

Whereas on Monday night, the Mets really had to show their insides in order to win the game, on Tuesday, they came out firing, stepped on the Braves throats and didn't let go until the game was well in control. Curtis Granderson set the tone by hitting Teheran's second pitch of the game off the facing of the Pepsi Porch, and one inning later, a barrage of 2-out hits started out by deGrom and punctuated by a pair of ringing RBI hits from Daniel Murphy and David Wright  had Teheran not only dazed, but indignant, as though the Mets had clearly gotten in his head. It didn't improve for him; 9th place hitter Eric Young Jr drove home yet another run in the 3rd, and after allowing hits to every Met starter, Teheran was gone in the 4th, a rare early night for Atlanta's de facto ace (you know, since God's gift to pitching Kris Medlen is out for the season).

Meanwhile, deGrom set out very neatly shoving the bats up the Barves' asses over his 7 sterling innings of work. deGrom hasn't pitched as badly as his record—1-5 coming into the night—and finally he proved it against a team that everyone loves to brown-nose. Throwing his won-loss record out the window, deGrom has pitched pretty damn well for a Rookie that's made all of 11 Major League starts. Though he doesn't have the hype of Zack Wheeler or the dashing good looks of Matt Harvey, it's been the muppet-like deGrom that's emerged as one of those "real deal" type-guys, sort of a modern-day Dillon Gee, who isn't going to get a ton of ink, and he isn't going to be the first name that rolls off your tongue, but he's going to be the guy that seems to pitch effectively and get the job done every time he needs to do so. That's basically what he's demonstrated so far in his Major League career, even if the results haven't always indicated as such. It's not his fault that the 8 runs he was backed with tonight were more or less the sum total of the runs scored for him in his first 10 starts combined. If you pitch well, you'll eventually win games and the more games you win, the more you'll get noticed. It may not happen for deGrom right away, but once he starts working up those Ws, people will begin to appreciate what he brings to the table.