Saturday, June 29, 2013

Unnecessary Moves

I didn't see any part of last night's game for a variety of reasons, but I did try to keep track of the game when I could, and what I basically was able to grok was that there were essentially two games in one going on.

First, Matt Harvey went out and pitched a Matt Harvey game. He had a perfect game into the 5th inning, he struck out 11 batters, he actually got a little bit of run support, and by time he departed after his 7 innings of work, he appeared to be very much in line for his 8th win of the year, and his 3rd win in 3 consecutive starts, as the Mets had a 4-1 lead. I could expound more on Harvey, but, really, it's been done all year, and besides, I have a word count limit on the weekend.

The second game was the remainder of the game, which was patently awful. Terry Collins basically left the game in the oven about 2 hours too long and then tried to serve it up to everyone. David Aardsma came in for the 8th inning, which was fine, Aardsma has pitched well, and he gave up a leadoff single, and then very quickly got the next two outs without much issue. So, Terry Collins pulled him from the game to play lefty/lefty, bringing in Josh Edgin to face Denard Span.

This is basically where everything went wrong. Edgin gave up a hit, Brandon Lyon came in and gave up a walk and a 3-run double, and the Nationals had built up enough of a groundswell that they scored two more off of Bobby Parnell in the 9th to win a game that they really had no business winning.

I'm sure I'm not the first, and I can't imagine I will be the last to ask why, exactly, Aardsma was taken out of the game at that point. There was really no particular reason to do it there. If Collins was so into playing matchups, then why not pull Aardsma when Chad Tracy pinch hit one batter earlier? The entire thing reeks of overmanaging, and when you start doing that, you usually end up outfoxing yourself. Last night, Collins outfoxed himself right out of a victory for Matt Harvey. I say this a lot, but at least I wasn't there to witness the clown car at Citi Field, but that's besides the point. After this latest road trip, and after the Mets have actually looked a little lively these past couple of weeks, how is it that they've come home and turned back into a bunch of pumpkins? What is it about playing at Citi Field that makes everyone not named Harvey or Wright implode? I can't figure it out. Maybe they should make everyone wear road jerseys or something.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Worth The Trip

I suppose I couldn't have blamed the Mets if they'd lost today. Consider the circumstances, and I'm sure you, loyal reader, would agree. After a long 10-game Road Trip through 3 cities that feels like it's been about a 3-week road trip, the Mets now had to fly clear out to Denver to play the Colorados in a make-up game from one of those horrible April games that got snowed out. The Mets have had a hard enough time winning a game in Colorado as it is, and now they ended up stuck coming back (and these makeup games are going to start becoming a recurring theme for the Mets after all the games they had rained out). To celebrate the occasion, the Mets ran out a true "B" lineup, replete with Josh Satin at 1st, Zack Lutz at 3rd, Anthony Recker catching, and so on and so forth. Being that it's Denver, instead of the temperature being 25º at game time, it was a sweltering 95º.

Add all this up, and you figured the Mets were likely to lose 4-3 in 13 innings or something similarly terrible. And, if this game had been played when it was supposed to be played, that's probably what would have happened. Or maybe it would have been 10-9 in 13 innings, since it is Colorado, afterall. But, no. The Mets continued this nice little streak they're on by playing a mostly crisp and well-pitched game, and parlayed a timely Home Run from Marlon Byrd into a 3-2 win. Go figure. After weeks of nothing, the Mets have finally awakened and went 7-4 on this ridiculously extended road trip.

Credit certainly goes to Byrd, who not only hit the winning Home Run, but also shot down a 9th inning rally by the Colorados before it had a chance to start. Michael Cuddyer led off against Bobby Parnell with a shot that, in typical Colorado fashion, snuck under Satin's glove and into Right Field. But for some reason, Cuddyer tried to be a hero and go for two, and Byrd, who didn't panic, made a mostly effortless throw to 2nd to get Cuddyer. But credit should also be given to the pitchers. Jeremy Hefner took a no-decision, but he certainly appeared in danger of taking an undeserved loss thanks to a Josh Satin error, and the fact that the Mets appeared to hit into 16 fielder's choices over the course of the first 7 innings. But Hefner got himself in and out of trouble before turning things over to LaTroy Hawkins, who did get the win, Scott Rice and finally Parnell, who continues to be lights out.

Again, the Mets could have lost this game 25 different ways and you really couldn't have blamed them. But they didn't. They won. And this is finally starting to look like a cohesive team. But can they continue it at home, where for some reason they've had all kinds of trouble? We'll find out this weekend, although having Mr. Universe on the mound tomorrow night should certainly help.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Of Course He Did!

After a tough loss last night, the Mets responded by throwing what has, to this point, been the weakest link in their rotation at the White Sox in Shaun Marcum. Though not entirely his fault, Marcum hasn't found any kind of consistency or success in his short time with the Mets, and has sort of earned a place in everyone's doghouse, primarily because he doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the team concept (whatever that is). Though he certainly earned some acclaim for his time in Toronto and Milwaukee, Marcum has seemed to find disaster at every corner this year. He's taken losses in games where he pitched decently, but got no run support. He's had games where he just simply came unraveled for one inning and dug himself an insurmountable hole. He's even lost in games he didn't even start, but found himself eating innings in an emergency situation that bordered on the heroic. The end result has always ended up with Marcum walking off the mound with this miserable puss on his face, and the losses amounted to a hideous 0-9 record and were Jonathon Niese not hurt, a likely demotion to the Bullpen.

The point is, Marcum hasn't inspired any sort of confidence to this point this season, so, of course, when everyone expected the absolute worst, and with the ignominy of being the first pitcher to start a season 0-10 staring him in the face, Marcum went out and threw 8 shutout innings at the White Sox, and the Mets responded with a 3-run rally to back him up and ultimately get him off the schneid with his first victory of the season.

An odd bit of circumstances had me listening to this game on the radio at home. This is a rarity for me, for sure, but my other half, who freelances as a makeup artist, had scheduled a session in our living room that started sometime around the 4th inning. Accommodating man that I am, and knowing that she probably would rather not work with a baseball game on in the background, I shut off the TV and went in the bedroom, where there is no TV, but there is a radio and an Air Conditioner. So, I listened to the game and cooled off, and in the shuffle of things I manged to miss the Mets 3-run rally in the 5th. I then distracted myself with some documentaries about strange, forgotten New York Neighborhoods, while Marcum continued to mow the White Sox down. Then, of course, I fell asleep, which I wasn't planning on, and was only awakened by Howie Rose yelling "Put it in the Books!"

So, what I was able to grok from the recap and the postgame show is that Marcum was quite efficient tonight, and did so in such mundane fashion that he not only bored me into some alternate forms of entertainment, he also lulled me to sleep. But, if that's what it takes for him to win a game, I suppose I shouldn't complain.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mets For Sale

The Cardiac Mets were at work once again on Tuesday night, having moved their show to Chicago for the 2nd time this season. However, unlike when they play the Cubs, this time I was around and able to watch the game, so, odd as it may seem, I now have more of a recollection of the Mets playing the White Sox in Chicago than I do them playing the Cubs. Yes, it may also help that I saw the Mets play the White Sox when they came to New York earlier this season. But this is purely backstory to another bizarre game.

The attraction for the Mets, of course, was Zack Wheeler's second Major League start. The real attraction ended up being his opponent, Chris Sale. Sale, who appears sort of wild-looking and wire, poses as sort of an Oliver Perez/Ubaldo Jimenez type pitcher, except that he has control and smarts. He was, at some point, actually scheduled to face Matt Harvey when these teams met in New York, and given how well Harvey handled the White Sox, one can only wonder what sort of hijinx would have ensued had Sale opposed him that night.

The Mets, fresh off their explosion in Philadelphia on Sunday, actually came out guns blazing against Sale. Eric Young, Jr was the catalyst, which is basically what he's been ever since he showed up last week, and his leadoff double and steal of 3rd set the stage for him to score on a shallow sacrifice fly from Marlon Byrd. It was a ballsy play by Young; I would think that most would have given pause to tagging up, but Young took off, and scored when Alex Rios sort of lollygagged the ball back to the infield. A second run scored thanks to David Wright stealing second and scoring on a hit from Josh Satin.

So, the Mets gave Zack Wheeler a lead for his second start. Last time, he didn't get any runs until after he left the game, so this may have felt like a wealth of riches for him. Wheeler, as I heard was requested of him by Dan Warthen, was throwing more off-speed pitches this time out; the result this time out was that he managed to keep in the strike zone a bit more than he did his first start, but at the cost of strikeouts (he had 1 in his 5.1 innings), and he also kept getting pinged to death by the Sox hitters, so his pitch count was still less than economical. This isn't to say that Wheeler was ineffective, but my feeling is that if he's going to find success, he's probably going to get it when he's throwing smoke and mixing the off-speed pitches with "effective" wildness.

The White Sox really didn't kill him, but they made their hits, and outs, count. In the 1st, it was Alejandro De Aza reaching on an infield hit, stealing a base, moving up on a ground out and scoring on a Sac Fly. Tyler Flowers' Home Run in the 3rd was their best legit shot; the Sox plated two more in the 5th with more small ball—a walk, a steal, a hit batter, a wild pitch and a pair of run-scoring outs—ultimately taking a 4-3 lead. After that particular battle, I'd figured Wheeler done after 5 innings. But surprisingly, Collins sent him out for the 6th. After another walk, however, he was done, 5.1 innings, 4 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout.

After his rough first inning, Chris Sale settled in and looked every bit the pitcher he's hyped to be. Andrew Brown reached him for a 5th inning Home Run, but other than that, the Mets got nothing off Sale. At one point, Sale had K'd 8 of 10, and allowed all of 2 hits and a walk between the 2nd and 8th innings. But, he too had his limits, and after he topped the 100 pitch mark, he seemed to go away from his fastball and start nibbling with changeups. Not that the Mets could do much with that, but if nothing else, it got him out of the game, because the way he was looking through the middle innings, a complete game seemed a real possibility. Fortunately for the Mets, it's not 1976 and the Complete Game isn't as prevalent as it was back in that bygone era.

So, it went to the 9th, with the Mets trailing 4-3 and the White Sox closer David Addison in the game as opposed to Sale. Remember, for a majority of the season, the Mets could usually be counted on to go down in order without much of a peep. But the re-energized Mets of late June don't seem to follow this path. David Wright, who continues to hit everything, singled to lead off, and promptly stole second. But after Marlon Byrd struck out and Josh Satin's well-struck shot was tracked down by the other Danks brother, it appeared it wasn't their night. I'd already questioned why Daniel Murphy hadn't hit for Satin, but here he was, hitting for John Buck. And here he was, popping up on the first pitch. Defeat sealed, Wheeler's first loss in the books.

The flashbacks evoked by the ensuing play need not be mentioned here, but sometimes, you have a feeling about a play when the ball goes up in the air and seems to hang there a little longer than you're used to. And that's sort of what I felt when Murphy's popup went up in the air. I saw Addison clear out of the way, sort of, and Dizzy Gillaspie charging in from 3rd base, and then Gordon Beckham charging in as well. But it appeared that Gillaspie had it lined up. For whatever reason, this didn't seem to matter to Beckham and in a blink, there was Beckham tripping over Addison, crashing into Gillaspie, both players crumpling to the turf and the ball bouncing safely on the ground, and David Wright across home plate with the tying run. Never mind the obvious thought, but the real comeback comparison might have been to Saturday's game, with the same cast of characters getting the job done for the Mets, under similarly bizarre circumstances. Whatever it is, the Mets had managed to get up off the mat and tie the game when defeat appeared certain.

Unfortunately, also like Saturday's game, the Mets got off the mat, tied the game...and ultimately lost. This was a bit more excruciating than Saturday, which was over in 2 pitches. This involved LaTroy Hawkins giving up an infield hit, then gagging horribly on Beckham's bunt, which I know has one of those foreign psychological terms that I'm not thinking of at this late hour, but that's what it was, a thing of a thing, and, sure, Hawkins almost got out of it by getting a force out and a pop up, but in the end, there was the 2-out, game winning hit and the loss that was a loss all along just got delayed by a few minutes.

Silver linings? Sure, there's a couple. Once again, as I said, the Mets didn't just take it lying down. Zack Wheeler didn't take the loss, and although he wasn't as good as he was in Atlanty, he certainly wasn't bad and it certainly gives us what to look forward to, particularly in his home debut on Sunday. And they continue to make slight strides forward offensively, which I think can mostly be attributed to Eric Young, Jr, who, even if he's lousy is still a better option in the leadoff spot than anyone else the Mets have put there this season. A month ago, they likely would have been shut out on 2 hits by Sale, but they're starting to make things slightly more respectable. In a lost year, I suppose that's all we can ask for.

Monday, June 24, 2013


The Mets followed up their series win in Atlanta with a series win in Philadelphia, that featured an impressive comeback, an even more impressive comeback, and a full-scale shellacking, a trio of efforts where the Mets have looked better than they've looked in about a month, probably ever since they played the Yankees.

The mixture the Mets have been going with this past week hasn't been perfect, certainly, but it has been effective, or at least effective enough to generate some liveliness and wins in the process, as opposed to the muck we've been used to. Ike Davis continues to sit around AAA. The dregs like Cowgill and Ankiel are gone. Lucas Duda now finds himself on the DL. Replacing them are players like Eric Young, Jr and Juan Lagares, not exactly the sexiest names out there, but they've been getting the job done, which is really all we've been asking for. Just go out there, make a good effort and look like you're worth something. Young and Lagares have done that, and particularly this weekend it's managed to turn those 3-1 losses into some 4-3 wins, and even made a blowout into a respectable game on Saturday.

Friday's game saw Jeremy Hefner, whose position in the rotation is now a bit more secure with Jon Niese's injury keeping him sidelined indefinitely, come out and promptly give up 3 to the Phillies in the 2nd inning. Previously, the Mets probably would have promptly lied down and died, even with Cole Hamels, he of the big mouth and lousy start to the season, on the mound. But the Mets, particularly Eric Young, Jr. and Juan Lagares, kept battling and eventually chipped away enough to turn that 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead. Young chipped in with a pair of hits, one of which set the table for David Wright to drive him in (proof that when people actually get on base in front of him, David Wright can drive in some runs), and later tied the game with a 2-out, 2-run single, scoring Juan Lagares, among others. One inning later, with 2 outs and Lucas Duda on 1st, it was Lagares again coming up with the clutch hit off Hamels, drilling a long double off the wall in center, a deep enough drive that Duda and the icebox he was carrying were able to chug all the way around to score the lead run.

Hefner had done a good job of keeping the Phillies at bay while the Mets came back and eventually took the lead. Though it might not have been the prettiest outing, with 10 hits allowed, he somehow managed to scrounge through, particularly with help from Lagares, who ran down a long fly ball with the bases loaded in the 5th. Now, it was up to the Bullpen to finish the job, much like they did Thursday. And much like Thursday, the bullpen answered the bell, with Scott Rice and Carlos Torres bridging the way to Bobby Parnell. Parnell, who has simply been locked in of late, stopped the Phillies without a peep in the 9th, finishing off a real, live comeback win.

With Friday a success, the Mets decided to try to come back again on Saturday, and in fact they succeeded, even if their furious late rally was negated by Kevin Frandsen's walk-off Home Run. Dillon Gee, who probably just shouldn't face the Phillies anymore, took another beating at the hands of Ryan Howard and company, departing with a 6-1 deficit that turned into 7-1 when the Mets kicked the ball around while Ben Revere circled the bases. Again, what the Mets had shown us this season is that when they went down by enough runs, you may as well stop paying attention. So I sort of did, at least until Eric Young, Jr once again came up with a big hit, this time, a 0-out, 2-run double that cut the deficit to 7-4 and set up another run later in the inning. Though that rally eventually was cut off, the Mets had one more push in them. Jonathan Papelbon, who appears to have a touch of Craig Kimbrel Disease, couldn't lay down the hammer on the Mets. Young led off with a grounder that he probably beat out, except that the umpires decided he didn't. This was unfortunate because Jordany Valdespin followed with a Home Run that made the game 7-6. Wright walked, but it appeared he would be stuck there after Byrd flew out and Murphy looked bad on a couple of pitches. But with Wright running, and Rollins covering 2nd, Murphy somehow managed to reach out and poke a slow roller that snuck through the vacated hole and into the Outfield. Wright, who was motoring and not slowing down, probably would have scored even if Ben Revere had fielded the ball cleanly. Amazingly, the Mets had come back to tie the game.

Then, it took a mere 2 pitches from Carlos Torres in the last of the 9th for Frandsen to un-tie the game and send everyone home. It was a rarity for the Mets: A loss that felt oddly like a win, if only because for once, the Mets kept playing and actually made a game out of a mess.

Sunday, Matt Harvey was on the mound, and that pretty much summed up the game. Harvey had already whipped the Phillies pretty soundly earlier in the season, and on Sunday, he did the same. The rain was the only thing that could beat Harvey, it seems, because after a brief delay in the 7th, Harvey did not return, despite only 72 pitches.

By that point, the game was already well in hand, but there was some doubt earlier in the game as to whether or not the Mets actually would be able to score some runs for him. A pair of plays in the 5th inning answered that question. First, Juan Lagares (notice how he and Young were everywhere this weekend) kicked things off by hitting a lazy fly ball to Center Field. Ben Revere caught it, no sweat. Such a can of corn, in fact, that he figured he'd just style a little and drop the ball from his mitt to his hand, and, oops, he dropped it. Unfortunately for Revere, that made it a live ball, and fortunately for Lagares, he never stopped running, the kind of trait rarely seen from most Major Leaguers, and eventually found himself on 3rd base. Now, could the Mets get him home? Omar Quintanilla couldn't, so Harvey went and did it himself, something he's had to do on more than one occasion this year. This may or may not have shamed his teammates into going out and supporting him themselves, since it kicked off a flurry of extra base hits that drove the score from 2-0, to 4-0, to 6-0 in a matter of 2 innings. David Wright in particular was heavily involved, ringing 4 extra base hits of assorted variety. The Phillies had no answer for Harvey and fared no better after he left, resulting in a resounding 8-0 win and a series victory, the Mets 2nd such win in a row. Baby steps, certainly, but something encouraging, if nothing else.

The point here is that this revolving door of personnel the Mets have been using all season long is finally starting to click a little bit, and the result is that the Mets are looking a little less dead this past week. How long or if it will last, I'm not quite sure. But if nothing else, it makes the Mets a little more interesting. I can tune in to games like this and think there's a chance, as opposed to turning it on, seeing them down a run or two and assuming the game is done. And, of course, Mr. Excitement, Part II is on the mound the next time the Mets take the field on Tuesday. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Full Team Effort

I was making dinner in the 4th inning, so I didn't really see what exactly happened to Jonathon Niese until a replay was shown. All I know is that while tending to something on the stove, I heard Gary Cohen say something about "He's coming out of the game," and turned around to see Niese scowling and walking off the field.

Already down 3-2 at this point, and playing in Atlanta, where as I've said nothing good ever happens to the Mets, I figured this was probably the perfect point for the Mets to lay down and die. Needing the bullpen to cobble together the remainder of the game was, at best, a dicey proposition, and even if they managed to get through, was there any guarantee that the Mets would come back and generate enough runs to offset their deficit? David Wright, the lone Met who could be counted on, had already hit a pair of Home Runs, which was more than his quota for the day. Someone else had to step up.

I finished making my dinner and was sitting down to eat when one of my questions was answered, in the form of Andrew Brown, whom I derided yesterday as basically cannon fodder, but in this particular moment picked a good time to show his worth, socking a game-tying Home Run off Mike Minor, a parabolic shot that Ratso Upton looked like he had lined up until he ran out of room. Brown was up pinch hitting for David Aardsma, who, since mysteriously surfacing with the Mets a few weeks ago (and replacing Don Aase at the top of the Mets alphabetical roster), has pitched rather well, in spite of it often coming in a hopeless situation. Aardsma was the first man out of the bullpen Thursday, getting out of a minor jam after relieving Niese.

LaTroy Hawkins followed Brown and Aardsma and, after starting out the season looking like he'd be one of my daily flogs, has actually done a reasonably good job of shutting me up. I can't say he's been especially flashy, but for the most part he's been effective (although when he's ineffective, he's patently awful). His two innings of work, the 5th and 6th, featured two singles of little consequence, which was good for two reasons: a) It kept the game tied and b) it allowed me to enjoy my dinner.

Still, all these good pitching performances stood to go for naught if the Mets offense continued to not hit. Omar Quintanilla led off the 7th inning with a double, and he was followed by another Pinch Hitter, Josh Satin. Josh Satin has been another player I've deemed a useless spare part, and for the most part, that's kind of what he is, but, much like Andrew Brown, he had his shining moment in this game by slicing a line drive down the right field line that looked for all the world to be curling foul, but fell to the ground just soon enough to tap the foul line and bounce into the corner for the tie-breaking hit. So now, not only have the Mets been getting lights out work from the bullpen, but their offense managed to get them a lead. Satin then got thrown out at 3rd on a boneheaded baserunning play later in the inning, proving that even the least common denominator on a 25-man roster can sometimes shit a diamond.

Now working with a lead, Brandon Lyon took the mound and immediately walked Ratso Upton. Fortuitously, however, Fredo Upton immediately followed by hitting into a double play, allowing Lyon to get through the 7th with relative ease (and a minor note, I goofed the other night, mistakenly referring to the elder Upton brother as "Cheech," forgetting that he should properly be known as "Fredo"). Things got slightly hairy in the 8th, however, courtesy of a David Wright error. Lyon still appeared primed to get out of the inning, but for a broken bat bloop from Tyler Pastornicky (who appears to be one of those guys that is always going to annoy the hell out of you) that fell in with 2 outs, putting runners at the corners, Jason Heyward at the plate and Lyon in the dugout.

Josh Edgin was where I figured the Mets luck was going to run out. Edgin was miserable early in the season and no better since he's returned. But, given one shot, and after working the count full, he did manage to get Heyward to ground to Duda, who made the maddest of dashes to beat Heyward to 1st Base.

The Mets, of course, didn't tack on any runs, so Bobby Parnell was summoned to protect a 1-run lead against the vaunted middle of the Braves Lineup, Bitch McFreeman, Ratso Upton and Fredo Upton. But, after so many innings of being lulled to sleep by the variety of relievers the Mets had been running out to the mound all night, Parnell simply carved the lot of them up, capping off a mettle-testing 4-3 victory by posting the only 1-2-3 inning of the night.

So, after all that, the Mets actually won this ridiculously extended 5-game series in Atlanta 3 games to 2, becoming the first road team to win a series in Atlanta. Given the Mets history at Turner Field, and the way the first 4 innings of the game Thursday night unfolded, you probably would not have figured that likely, but it actually happened. And after everything that's gone on to this point this season, the Mets are, in fact, beginning to show some signs of life. Maybe.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Addition By Subtraction

Following the enthusiasm generated by what is now being referred to in Mets circles as "Super Tuesday," the Mets went back out on Wednesday and looked like the same old annoying Mets.

Tuesday's pair of wins were punctuated by a number of roster moves, designed to get rid of a lot of the flotsam that hadn't proved useful at all to this point. Gone was Collin McHugh, who nobody will miss. After being designated for assignment on Sunday, McHugh was traded away altogether, gone to the Colorados for Eric Young, Jr. This may be because all the Colorados remember of McHugh is his ML Debut last year, but in reality, that Alderson was able to net a can of beans in return for McHugh is a victory in and of itself. McHugh had a great first game and was patently awful from there, culminating with his spending a few weeks either rotting on the bench or getting shelled by the Marlins before being deemed expendable.

Also gone was Collin Cowgill, who went from the outhouse to the doghouse pretty quickly. After his Grand Slam on Opening Day, Cowgill basically didn't hit anything to the point where he was sent to AAA. After a few middling weeks in Las Vegas, Cowgill returned and showed that his time in the minors made little impression, since he still couldn't hit. Unfortunately, the Mets already have a full stash of Outfielders who can't hit, so Cowgill was similarly designated for assignment, where he will either be sent back to the minors for the duration or released outright, remembered fondly if only for that Grand Slam. Andrew Brown replaces Cowgill, although I can't imagine this is anything more than a temporary move to have a warm body around, since Brown, like Cowgill, was already here and didn't impress anyone. I figure he will stick around for a week or two before the Mets finally decide they've had enough of him too, and move on to Plan Q (whatever that is).

Scott Atchison, who up to yesterday was only known as the oldest-looking Met in team history, was placed on the DL after not actually throwing a pitch since being removed from the DL. Atchison was set to start the 7th inning of the nightcap before coming up with a groin pull, and was last seen grousing and grumbling as he was led off the field. Had there not been a baseball game going on, one might have seen that scene and assumed he'd misplaced his bifocals somewhere. Replacing him, I'm not quite sure yet because I didn't bother do to my due diligence. Rest assured he will probably do something to draw my ire at some point, since this is a prerequisite for being a Met relief pitcher.

Shaun Marcum is still around, however, and the fact that he has tenure and a contract may be the only thing working in his favor right now. Wednesday night's start against the Braves was pretty similar to several of his other starts, in which he somehow allowed a 2-out rally to snowball into multiple runs, gave up a boatload of hits, looked sweaty and uncomfortable and took another loss, falling to 0-9 on the season, which is almost unconscionable for a pitcher of some reasonable acclaim. With Zack Wheeler now in the fold and immediately one of the top 3 pitchers on the staff (anointing him this status really isn't so much of a stretch), Marcum is on thin ice once the Mets finally wise up and drop this asinine 6-man rotation idea. Jeremy Hefner is as well, and since Hefner has relieved and is similarly inconsistent without Marcum's service time, he is, perhaps, the odd man out. I won't argue, but in his defense, Hefner has pitched better than Marcum a majority of the time, and even has a win to show for it. Though when he's bad, he may also be worse than Marcum. Dillon Gee has righted his ship and removed his name from any such jeopardy.

Point is, the wheels are in motion. It's too late to save this season, but everyone still wants to do the best they can and spout cliches win ballgames. The dispensation of McHugh and Cowgill are a nice start in the right direction of clearing out some of the crap and giving some new faces a chance. They may not be better than the guys they're replacing, but to this point they can't possibly be much worse.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


After taking in the Afternoon portion of Tuesday's Day/Night Doubleheader with Matt Harvey on the radio, I was home to catch Zack Wheeler's Major League Debut in the Nightcap.

Mostly. I stayed at work slightly later than I would have intended. My normal, 6pm departure leaves me with plenty of time to get home (or to Citi Field) for a 7:10pm start time. Tuesday, I didn't leave work until about 6:45, making my getting home in time for the start of the game an impossibility. Wisely, though, I'd anticipated a late departure and set the DVR to record the game. So, although I got home at 7:30, I was able to pick things up from the top and catch up from there.

I fast forwarded through the Mets half of the first inning, because a) They weren't going to score anyway and b) Who cares, I just wanted to see Wheeler. Perhaps the first time I'd ever simply eschewed a Mets turn at bat. But, such were the circumstances.

I wasn't expecting Wheeler to debut with the same panache as Matt Harvey did last year. Harvey is his own beast, someone of a different level of intensity and mental makeup than Wheeler. But, what Wheeler does have is the stuff to match Harvey's fire. We knew this coming in, even though we might not have actually seen it. It's been hyped up enough. Basically, this is all a long-winded way of saying that Wheeler had an understandably jittery first inning, walking a pair of batters while at the same time pouring in his fastball rather effortlessly at 95-97mph. Though there may have been nerves, Wheeler showed his toughness by not allowing it to get the better of him. His fastball, which appears to have incredibly filthy bite to it, was moving all over the place early. But he used it to his advantage. After walking Andrelton Ordonez Simmons, Wheeler rebounded to strike out Heyward and get Ratso Upton to ground out. His walk to Freeman could have been an unintentional walk, because it set up Cheech Upton to tap out to Wright at 3rd, thereby getting Wheeler through the 1st unscathed.

Wheeler settled down and only got better from there. Come the second inning, he'd found his sea legs and got his command under control. The fastball that was sailing all over the place was now zipping over the plate and past Atlanta bats. A Dan Uggla double was the only blemish on what should be the first of many 3 strikeout innings for Wheeler. The 3rd inning was a mirror image of the 1st, except that when he walked Freeman, it actually looked like Wheeler was giving him an unintentional pass as opposed to just looking wild. Again, no harm, no foul. In fact, Wheeler got quite comfortable from there, allowing a pair of harmless singles in the 4th and 5th that went nowhere.

But it was his final inning, the 6th, where Wheeler really showed his mettle. Although nobody would have argued if Wheeler was pulled after 5 innings, Collins sent him back out for the 6th, where he allowed 4th hit, a single to Cheech Upton and followed it up with his 5th walk, to Brian McCann. This would be a good test. Wheeler kept his cool, working him over for his 7th strikeout and following that up by retiring Chris Johnson on a popup to finish off 6 shutout innings, and a debut that, much like Matt Harvey's debut last year, lived up to the lofty hype.

But, unfortunately, Wheeler was also getting a taste of what being a Met is like at the moment. For all the work he'd done to keep the Braves off the scoreboard, the Mets, boasting a mostly B-level lineup littered with names like Josh Satin and Collin Cowgill, couldn't plate a run. Sure, the fine Major League debut was nice, but it certainly would have been typical of the way this season has gone if they couldn't get a win out of it.

Fortuitously, Anthony Recker found a way in the 7th inning to blast a long 2-run Home Run, at a moment where a friend and I were discussing why Recker was catching at all. Questioning Anthony Recker and having him respond with a Home Run has already happened once this year. So, perhaps, we should continue questioning why Anthony Recker is here, and maybe he will respond with more Home Runs. This particular Home Run was helpful because it not only gave the Mets the lead, but also put Wheeler in line for the victory.

It was then up to the Bullpen to protect this 2-0 lead the rest of the way. Brandon Lyon made things unnecessarily hairy in the 7th, but he made it through only allowing 1 run. The Braves then decided to self-destruct in the 8th, replete with Anthony Varvaro throwing away pickoffs and both Upton Brothers looking complacent/lazy/both. Somehow, the string of Marlon Byrd, Josh Satin, Juan Lagares and Omar Quintanilla led to 4 runs scoring, giving the Mets a monumental 6, and I don't mean 6 for the Doubleheader, I mean 6 in this game alone. This was plenty for the Mets to win and come away from their pair of games with a pair of tone-setting wins.

Certainly, when this Doubleheader was scheduled several weeks ago, it could not have been greeted with much pleasantness. The way the Mets had been going, 5 games in Atlanta might as well have been a trip through the 9 circles of Hell. But once it was determined that not only would Zack Wheeler make his debut in this series, but he'd be the back end of Met Futures Day along with Matt Harvey, the mood made a decided turn to optimism. The pieces that we've been waiting for are beginning to show themselves, step by step. Harvey is now establishing himself as a star. Wheeler looks capable of following suit. The results both tantalizing, the Mets, on this date, served notice to the rest of the Major Leagues that they will be hell to deal with once they get an offense.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kid A

I generally abhor the Day/Night Doubleheader, and that sentiment hasn't changed today, but if nothing else, I had vastly different perspectives on both games, so much so that they almost felt as if they could have been played on different days. It's enough of a difference in experience and atmosphere in which I took in both games that each game merits its own post.

Today was certainly a day that everyone who had any sort of interest in the Mets had circled for at least the last week, when it became apparent that not only would Matt Harvey take on the Braves in his regularly scheduled appearance, but he would be joined in the nightcap of this Doubleheader by Zack Wheeler, who would make his long-awaited and much-anticipated Major League Debut. Perhaps, if things went well on both ends, this could be one of those watershed days in Mets history. In the midst of a lost season, these are the sort of things you look to take away.

Matt Harvey, in this lost season, has already proven himself worthy of the praise; even though his numbers belie his success, that hasn't diminished his already lofty standing both among Mets fans and his peers around Baseball. He hadn't won a start in close to a month, though that wasn't due to anything in particular he did wrong. He might not have you believe that, but Matt Harvey has pitched well enough to stand with 9, perhaps 10 wins to this point in the season. Such is the peril of having a historically inept offense behind you.

Last start, Harvey took his first loss of the season, a head-scratching 2-1 loss to the Cardinals, where Harvey did what he always does, pitch into the 7th inning, give up 1 run, allow 4 hits and strike out 8, and even if those aren't his exact numbers from last Thursday, they're close enough. But the Mets gave him nothing, the bullpen gave up 1 after he left, and that was enough to saddle him with the loss. Harvey, as is his wont, shouldered the blame himself. In his mind, the only way to counter the effects of his teammates' ineptitude is to simply not allow any runs.

Early this afternoon, Harvey essentially did that, taking a No Hitter into the 7th inning, while the Mets went out and provided him with an unheard of 4-run cushion.

Of course, being that it was a Tuesday afternoon, I was relegated to Radio duty. Therefore, my ability to follow the game as much as I would have liked was hindered. I remember hearing Josh Lewin barking something about Daniel Murphy sneaking home from 2nd base on a Marlon Byrd infield hit, but I was taking a phone call when John Buck hit his Home Run, and come the 8th inning, I was in a meeting and I have no idea how the Mets plated 2 more runs.

I also had no idea Harvey was working on a No Hitter until Howie Rose mentioned something in the about "The only runners to reach against Harvey have walked..." or something to that effect. At that point I thought I ought to try to keep up with things a little more, but just at that moment, Jason Heyward hit a little squibber that Harvey fielded and, what I believe happened was that he threw the ball to someplace where Lucas Duda probably was supposed to be, but wasn't. I also, at this point, have not seen a replay, so I don't know where the truth really lies. But, if nothing else, the loss of the No Hit bid meant I could go back to my regularly scheduled activities.

Harvey tired in the 8th, although again, I was still in a meeting, so I wasn't quite sure what had conspired, or who was even pitching for that matter. By time I got my bearings back, Bobby Parnell was striking out Chris Johnson, and for a second I thought the game was over, since Parnell was in, but what I'd missed was a bizarre Braves rally that developed slowly and then boiled over once Harvey was removed from the game, badly enough that Parnell was called in to rescue the Mets from their own ineptitude. Fortunately, Parnell was up to that task, and got through the 9th with relative ease, finishing off the 4-3 victory and getting Matt Harvey that most elusive 6th victory of the season.

The talk afterward was whether or not Harvey was pitching with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, just to remind everyone who the boss was, even though everyone was more enamored with Zack Wheeler. Harvey, who normally throws pretty hard, appeared to be crackling today, touching 100mph on one instance. Perhaps, although Harvey generally has one demeanor when he's on the mound, and not knowing him personally, but seeing him enough times, I'd have to imagine it's pretty intense. Whether he's trying to win a game or send a message doesn't particularly matter. Even in games where he hasn't looked his best, he's managed to gut his way through games. Today, he went on cruise control and spent most of the game gassing the Braves, en route to a career high 13 strikeouts. And after so many frustrating outings where he's pitched his ass off to no avail, the Mets finally got a few hits for him. Thus, the keynote for the day was sounded, and the Mets could enjoy the 3 or so hour break in between the two games, and I could finish my job for the day and head home in time to catch Zack Wheeler's debut in the Nightcap.

Not Worth Waiting Up For

The Mets waited out a 3 hour and 52 minute rain delay on Monday night in Good Ol' Atlanty in order to play a game that ultimately proved that no miracle can save this Mets team.

I was all set to write something to the exact opposite, praising Dillon Gee for going out and pitching his ass off, keeping the Braves in check and off balance all night long, and then having to go bail out his A-hole teammates who couldn't get him a hit. In a game that was fortunately zipping along at a brisk pace, it was Gee who came up and gave himself his own "cushion," driving in John Buck with a 7th inning single to give himself a 1-0 lead that he almost made stand up.

Unfortunately, his teammates are still A-holes, because by not getting him any extra runs other than the one he drove in himself, Gee was left with no margin for error, and his much-deserved attempt at a Complete Game Shutout was thwarted at the 11th (or more appropriately, 1:27am) hour by Bitch McFreeman, who appeared to be the only Brave able to figure Gee out at all. Unfortunately, Freeman's Home Run was preceded by a hit from one of the similarly annoying Upton brothers, meaning Gee's brilliant outing ultimately will go into the books as a frustrating Complete Game, 2-1 loss, somewhat reminiscent of that legendary Sid Fernandez game in Atlanty a generation ago. But that was before the Braves were the Fucking Braves that I can't stand and at times have drove me to develop a strong disdain for the entire state of Georgia. But I digress.

I didn't actually think I'd see this game, because I was out a good portion of the night, but at some point I got an alert that the game was in a rain delay, which was never followed with any sort of an update, leading me to believe that at some point, the game had to have been rained out. I got home slightly before 11, and was shocked to see that the game was in the 2nd inning. I never even got an alert, but I guess they knew they had a window. With the ever popular day-night Doubleheader scheduled for this afternoon, it was probably in the best interest of both teams not to keep things going too late, with a 1pm start time. Then again, given that the Mets season has consisted of an endless string of rainouts and rainouts upon rainouts, they must have figured they had to try.

For 8 and a half innings, this looked like a great idea. Then, it wasn't. At the end, another game where nobody bothered to hit the ball, another loss, and I'm wondering, at 1:45am, what the hell I stayed up so late for.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jaws Of Defeat

The Mets and Cubs played 27 innings over the weekend (paltry compared to the 30 the Mets and Marlins played over two games last weekend), and for 26 and a half of those innings, the Mets appeared as they have pretty much every day for the past month: lifeless, directionless and hopeless.

Friday, Shaun Marcum put them in a hole ostensibly by stepping on the mound, giving up 5 runs before the Mets took the field and left them unable to respond, as they usually have been unable to, in a 6-3 loss.

Saturday, Jonathon Niese did just about everything that could have logically been expected of him, giving up only 2 runs, but, again, the Mets didn't back him up, and by the time Brandon Lyon barfed up 3 more runs, the game was basically out of reach, as Scott Feldman pretty much served as a one-man wrecking crew in yet another 5-2 loss.

Sunday, it was more of the same. Matt Garza basically bullied the Mets, although they didn't need his assistance since they did a pretty good job of looking skittish on their own. After Jeremy Hefner gave up a run in the first, the Mets decided to stage their own version of the Stateroom Scene in the 5th inning, making a perfectly Metsian 3 errors on one play (but only charged with two), allowing the Cubs a pair of runs that basically put the game out of reach, because the Mets have basically proved themselves incapable of scoring more than 3 runs in a situation where 3 runs would make a difference. Matt Garza threw at Mets batters at will, Mets pitchers offered nothing in the way of a response, and the Mets were staring at going 1-7 on a homestand that saw them lose in just about every way conceivable, from the humdrum to the excruciating, to the comical. The season continued to spiral out of control, with no hope and no help to be found.

I don't think I or anyone else has any logical explanation, then, to the results of the final half of that 27th inning. Though, I don't think anyone on or rooting for the Mets has any complaints, either.

The Cubs decided, for whatever reason, to use deposed closer Carlos Marmol as opposed to their regular closer Kevin Gregg, I suppose because Gregg had pitched two days in a row. Perhaps Dale Sveum was thinking that that the Mets hadn't hit any other pitcher, maybe it would serve Marmol good to give him an inning against the Mets. What damage could they do?

Perhaps the real question should have been what damage could Marmol do, because he basically gave the Mets life, and ultimately allowed them to steal a victory out of nowhere. Of course, the Mets still had to go out there and hit the ball. I was skeptical, particularly since they hadn't been able to do that very much to that point. Even after Marlon Byrd's Home Run, I figured that was only nice from the cosmetic standpoint of they won't get shut out. Lucas Duda walked and John Buck singled, which made it slightly more interesting, but I still wasn't allowing myself to be fooled. Quintanilla sacrificed, which meant that the stage was set for a pair of guys who hadn't inspired much confidence in anyone, being Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill. Nieuwenhuis, after a great first month in the Majors last year, hadn't done anything noteworthy except for striking out a lot and picking up a season-ending injury in AAA last year. I didn't see either him or Cowgill getting the job done. But Nieuwenhuis shut me, Dale Sveum and pretty much everyone else up by launching a 3-run Home Run off the Pepsi Porch. The quintessential "Holy Shit!" moment, because who the hell thought Nieuwenhuis was going to do that? But somehow, he ran into a Marmol slider at the right moment and somehow hit it out, snatching victory from the Jaws of Defeat that appeared ready to swallow the Mets whole and spit out the bones.

This probably won't save the season and I'm pretty sure it won't spur the Mets on to a hot streak, but it might. Victories like this can juice up a team a little bit, although so can beating the Yankees 4 in a row and that didn't do anyone any good. But the Mets are off on a 11-game, 4 city road trip now and this, plus the added juice of Zack Wheeler's debut on Tuesday might actually give the Mets a little spring in their step for the next day or two. Of course, this could all go the other way if they fall on their face tonight in Atlanty.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Enough Of You

I'm far too exasperated about today's game to really write anything tangible, beyond "Everyone that isn't Matt Harvey or David Wright stinks," and besides, I've been writing that all season. Matt Harvey took his first loss of the season today, although he's pitched well enough to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-0 right now.

Instead, I've decided to rant about something else.

Today, there was a story circulating around about the Mets approaching a dating site for Cougars with the idea that they would push them to vote for David Wright for the All Star Game. The idea came about because David Wright, who has remained one of the Mets Matinee Idols throughout his career, was voted by this site as "MLB's Hottest Cub." A silly ploy, but, hey, why not? Back up your feelings with some votes. I fail to see why this would be so illogical, or even newsworthy. Of course, somehow this was leaked to Deadspin, which has sort of become a bastion of Met Haters (This oddly did not happen when Will Leitch was in charge, and he was as anti-Met as they come), who will take pretty much any story they can find related to the Mets and spin it so that the Mets come off looking pathetic and ridiculous.

This is what bothers me: So, the San Francisco Giants can go to all the lengths they want to stuff the ballot box to the gills, essentially rigging things so that guys like Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt are elected starters for the All Star Game, thus ensuring more deserving players aren't elected. David Wright may not be all-world, but among his peers in the National League, he's probably the best one going right now. Yet, somehow, Pablo Sandoval eked him out at the last second last year, and again leads him by close to 200,000 votes this year in spite of the fact that he's probably not even in the top HALF of NL 3rd Basemen. But, since the San Francisco Giants are a "respectable" team, nobody really bats much of an eyelash at them or their chicanery. Every team tries to get the vote out for their own guys, but what the Giants have done is kind of ridiculous.

So, then, why are the Mets, who are trying to get their DESERVING 3rd Baseman elected to the All Star Game, which by the way is being played in HIS HOME BALLPARK, subject to ridicule for their methods? It's because they're the Mets, and the Mets are inherently stupid and should be made fun of for any reason possible. This is the way the Mets are now portrayed. It started off with the Bernie Madoff scandal and seems to have spiraled from there.

Well, I've had enough. Leave the Mets alone. Mets fans have suffered enough over the past 6 seasons. We don't need the blogosphere picking on us for trying to get our guy voted into the All Star Game, we don't need to get ridiculed for every little stupid thing that happens, and we don't need places like the Post making everything into a Met-slamfest. We get it. We stink. It's going to be several years before it gets better. Stop picking on the Mets just because they're the Mets. Just let us suffer in silence and try to get our guy into our All Star Game.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Well, Gee

Seems I went to the Mets game one night too early. After sitting through a game so bad the Mets were coerced into handing out consolation Klondike Bars on Tuesday, the Mets responded with a 5-run explosion in support of the rejuvenated Dillon Gee.

A late meeting kept me from seeing the early half of the game, and of course since I wasn't at Citi Field, I don't know if they were giving out victory Klondike Bars, but by time I got home, the score was already 3-1 Mets in the 6th, and Gee was busy plowing through David Freese and and Jon Jay.

After that, David Wright homered and Marlon Byrd homered. Lucas Duda had already homered. This was nice to see, although I wish something like this had happened last night. Last night, it appeared that Lucas Duda smoked the ball every time up. Every at bat resulted in a screamer deep to right. Each time, it seemed ticketed for the seats. Every time, the ball subsequently died at the warning track and landed in a Cardinal Outfielder's glove. It wasn't just Duda, although he was the most victimized. John Buck and Marlon Byrd also fell victim to the Citi Field outfield. The Cardinals, on the other hand, saw their fly balls land safely in the seats, or in front of fielders. Tonight, the roles appeared reversed, although if it happened a couple of more times in support of Matt Harvey tomorrow, I wouldn't mind that either. Lucas Duda appears owed a couple of Home Runs as far as I'm concerned.

Between Gee and a trio of Home Runs, it would have been yet another sore disappointment—but not a shock—if the Mets had come up short once again. Fortunately, the remainder of the Mets pitchers, including Scott Rice, Brandon Lyon and Bobby Parnell, were up to the task of finishing off the Cardinals and giving the Mets their second victory in the past 2 months 9 games. You want to say you're hopeful that the Mets might be able to build on this, particularly with Harvey going tomorrow, and turn this into a little run back to something respectable, but can you really expect the Mets to do that right now? Sure, Harvey is pitching tomorrow, but the formula in his games lately has been that he pitches 7 solid innings, gives up 1 run, and then sits around glowering as the Mets get 4 hits and only score on a ground out. Then, once Harvey leaves, the opponent feasts on someone like Josh Edgin and the Mets lose 4-1, leaving Harvey with yet another no-decision. You hope that this doesn't happen, even though it usually does. But at this point, I think hope is just about all the Mets fan has left.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What Would You Do?

Following tonight's game at Citi Field, the Mets Promotional staff was handing out free Klondike Bars as people were exiting the stadium.

The number of "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?" cracks were flying around the 7 train the entire ride home. Perhaps it was all a bit tongue in cheek, but after sitting through all 2 hours and 53 minutes of the Mets latest debacle, it really was the least the Mets could have done for our suffering.

The palpable feeling of "Why, exactly, am I doing this?" has now become a regular occurrence for me when I go to Mets games, and that's not a good thing. I was delayed getting out of work, and problems on another subway line resulted in the 7 train out to Queens being beyond packed. I pushed on, though, ignoring that thought in my head as a woman jabbed her elbow into my back and someone's backpack was compressing my chest. Red shirts, Cardinal red, the worst kind of Red (not the same as the cheerful 49ers Scarlet) were abound. You could see the red almost outnumbering the blue. That wasn't a good thing. Still, I pressed on. I hadn't been to a game in a month, and a fortuitous meeting with an old friend netted me a pass down to the Field Level, the kind of seats I never sit in unless I'm handed a freebie. But doom seemed imminent. The Cardinals are the most nauseatingly praised team in Baseball, perhaps MLB's version of the Green Bay Packers. The pundits have their lips firmly glued to the Cardinal's asses, and they act as such. It's enough to make you want to vomit. The Mets, on the other hand, have earned nothing but continued ridicule. This team can't even beat the Marlins, what chance do they have against the Cardinals?

And you wonder why I was questioning myself?

The two runs the Mets scored in the first off of Cardinal unknown Michael Wacha were nice, until a) you remembered that this is the Mets and those are probably the only two runs they'll score all night and b) Michael Wacha remembered that he's a Cardinal and immediately started pitching like he was Chris Carpenter. It was only a matter of time before things fell apart.

Jeremy Hefner, who had actually pitched reasonably well his last few starts, started out that way again. It wasn't until the 4th that the Cardinals finally reached him, and even that was a run scored via the Double Play. But just as Michael Wacha turned into a true Cardinal, Hefner turned back into a true Met in the 5th, allowing an innocuous Daniel Murphy error to snowball into a 5-run massacre that pretty much ended the game right then and there. Given the number of unearned runs, you might be led to believe that Hefner got a bad break, but from where I was sitting, I don't think so. Hefner was mere inches from minimizing the damage to just a pair of run-scoring ground outs after the Murphy misplay (perhaps a side effect of his being unceremoniously shifted to 1st Base), but he had to go and hang one to Allen Craig, and Craig had to go and park it in the Left Field seats, sounding the death knell for the Mets once again.

My seats, by this point, were about 7 rows back of 3rd Base. As Craig's Home Run sailed off into the night, amid a sea of rejoicing revelers in puke red and Cardinal players happily circling the Bases, I looked over at David Wright. Stone faced, his arms folded, staring helplessly at the scoreboard. What could he do? One man trapped on an island of lost souls, with no help in sight.

I don't know what, exactly, spurred on the unannounced Klondike Bar giveaway after the game. I would hope, for his sake, that they remembered to send one into the Mets locker room for David Wright. If the Mets fans deserved this as a pick-me-up after watching this game, I would think David Wright deserves one as well.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Black Sunday

Much like Saturday's melange of misery, I missed the Mets Sunday Shit Show as well, which, given how things turned out, was once again probably a good thing. From what I was able to gather, the Mets hit slightly, then didn't hit, then didn't pitch, then didn't field, and a 4-1 lead turned into an eventual 10-inning, 8-4 loss that took half as long in terms of innings and elapsed time than the Saturday debacle.

After sweeping the Yankees, the Mets have fallen right back into the abyss of hell, running off a lovely-looking 1-6 record, replete with two momentum-killing rainouts right after the lone victory. 5 of the 6 losses came at the hands of your favorite team and mine, that's right, the Fucking Marlins. To date, the Marlins have won 18 games this season. 8 of them have come against the Mets. This tells you all you need to know about how bad this season is going. I know that the attendance figures have registered somewhere in the 20,000s both days, and I suppose that's all well and good given that it was a nice weekend, and I didn't see either game so I'm not quite sure, but let's be real: Were there even 10,000 people in the park on either date? I have tickets for Tuesday night's game against St. Louis, my first game in a few weeks, and I've got a pretty good feeling that I may be a part of a rather small congregation.

If nothing else, Sandy Alderson has finally seen enough, and made several postgame "adjustments" to the roster. Among them was the demotion of Ike Davis. I know that Ike has been a team guy, a likeable guy and one of The Ballclub's favorites. But he's been lost all season and unlike last year, there haven't been any signs of breaking out of it. After looking like he might be beginning to turn last week, he's gone back in the tank again, so I can't say he didn't deserve to get sent down. Also gone are Mike Baxter and Robert Carson, so it's really a mini-housecleaning. Baxter is another one of those Met Loveables, but let's face it, the Mets are the only team that would ever have someone like Baxter on the roster. He's the consummate 5th Outfielder. He happened to run into a No-Hitter saving catch last year, and he came up with a bunch of Pinch Hits, and a pair of game winners earlier this year, but he's Mike Baxter, and there's nothing exciting about him. Robert Carson is just as unexciting, even if he did have a nice outing picking up for Jonathon Niese that one time. Replacing them? Who knows? Whoever it is, they can't be much worse, can they?

Can they??

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Boy, Am I Glad...

...that I was neither at, nor did I see any part of Saturday's game. Several prior engagements kept me out of the house and away from a TV or a radio for the majority of the afternoon, leaving me only the ability to check things out on my phone. Unlike a similar game the Mets played 3 years ago, this appeared to be matchup of the completely moribund, the lifeless Mets and the miserable Marlins, both of whom hadn't played a game in multiple days, and the rust was evident.

I'd like to tell you more about this 20-inning debacle, but I fortunately wasn't subjected to any of this. I can only tell you that I was periodically checking my phone throughout the afternoon. Early on, it was 1-0 Mets in the 3rd inning, which was good, particularly with Matt Harvey on the mound. Later, when I looked, it was 1-1 in the 6th. Then 1-1 in the 8th. Then, 1-1 in the 10th. Then, 1-1 in the 13th. Then, I was in transit, and stopped checking. Usually, I get a buzz on my phone when the game ends, but that didn't happen, and I guess at some point I forgot the game was still going on. I was on the subway for a while, so that precluded me from getting any updates for a spell. When I got off, my phone was buzzing off the hook. Apparently, the game had gone so unspeakably long that ESPN actually sent me an alert telling me that "Marlins and Mets tied, 1-1, in the 20th inning; Marlins P Kevin Slowey, Mets P Shaun Marcum 7 scoreless relief innings."

Unfortunately, above that was another alert that read "Marlins defeat Mets, 2-1, in 20 innings; 1st 20-inning MLB game since April 17, 2010 when Mets beat Cardinals 2-1."

After my initial thought of "Oh, dammit," my thoughts then turned to mild cheerfulness that I had missed the whole game. When the Mets and Cardinals played 20 in 2010, that was at a point in time when I didn't have a TV, let alone cable, and I was relegated to listening to a majority of the game on the radio. At some point, I recall falling asleep with the game on, waking up and being shocked to find that it was still going. If I'd sat through this game, I can only imagine the vitriol with which I'd be attacking the Mets offense, who once again made the Marlins pitching staff look like the 1970 Orioles. But, no. I missed it and I suppose that's a fortunate thing, because I don't have to remember any of it, and I believe we should never speak of it again.

Friday, June 7, 2013

All Wet

So, for the second time this season, the Mets find themselves rained out for multiple consecutive days. After getting washed out in Washington on Thursday, the rain decided to just follow the Mets back to New York, soaking the city and postponing Friday's game against the Marlins, too.

This probably isn't a bad thing for the Mets right now. Sure, they came off a really nice performance in Washington on Wednesday, but this is very much the same Marlins team that just last weekend embarrassed the Mets and incited me to demand they be realigned. See, the Mets need some time to get past this Marlin Bugaboo they seem to have right now, so postponing Friday's game to a September 14th Doubleheader is probably a good idea. If the Mets are going to look like asses against the Marlins (and yes, I know Harvey is scheduled to pitch on Saturday, but even he's had his issues with the Marlins), then at least they only have two games to do it in now, and maybe, just maybe, by September, they'll have gotten this thing out of their system.

At least, that's what I hope will happen.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Save Those Runs!

The Mets, in what is probably their best offensive display in months, scored 10 runs in support of Dillon Gee tonight en route to a rousing victory.

Unfortunately, the way the Mets have been going of late, 10 runs has been close to an entire week's output of offense. If this holds, Shaun Marcum, Matt Harvey and the rest of the gang might be in trouble when the Marlins come to town this weekend.

That being said, tonight was a pretty good example of how well the Mets might be playing if they did actually do their job on offense, because Dillon Gee built on his fine start against the Yankees last week. Gee has hopefully turned a corner here and begun to return to the form he had started to show before he got hurt last year. Not great, not overpowering, but good enough to get through a game. He scattered several hits, but outside of a 1st inning that nearly got away from him, Gee remained in control throughout the game.

But after giving up the early run, Gee was immediately bailed out, first by Marlon Byrd, then by Marlon Byrd, who sandwiched a pair of Home Runs around a 3rd by David Wright, which broke the ice against the once-tough Dan Haren, and staked the Mets to a 5-run lead rather quickly. Later on, some of the lesser Mets made their marks, particularly Anthony Recker, who had a career night, driving in 3 runs, and Juan Lagares who, recently, had become a forgotten man on the team, chipped in with a trio of hits putting the finishing touches on this rare and coveted display in which just about everyone contributed.

Everyone contributed! See what happens when everyone contributes?! You score 10 runs and make your pitcher's life easier. He can relax, knowing he doesn't have to make every pitch perfect. Lest that be a lesson to you, Mets. Particularly if your name isn't David Wright or Daniel Murphy. See what Dillon Gee did tonight when the Mets got him a few runs? And that's Dillon Gee. Last night, Jeremy Hefner, who's actually performed reasonably well of late, pitched his ass off for 7 innings only to lose a victory in the 9th. Not so much because Bobby Parnell pitched poorly, even though he did, but mainly because the Mets only scored 2 runs. If they'd scored 5, Parnell isn't even in the game and Brandon Lyon closes the game out. Think about how good Matt Harvey would look right now if the team hit a little bit for him. What would he be? 8-0? 10-0? Instead, he's taken ND after ND because the team doesn't score him a damn run. So, yes, Dillon Gee must be peeing himself over having the good fortune to pitch on a night when the Mets decided to grow a pair and hit the ball a few times. It's a recycled comment, but maybe if this happened a little more often, the Mets wouldn't be in this fix.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Petition to MLB

I'd like to make an open petition to Major League Baseball to request the immediate contraction of the Miami Marlins. Or, if this is impossible, I would like to petition that they immediately be moved to the American League and the Houston Astros be reinstated to their rightful place in the NL.

There are several reasons I wish to make this request:

1) The Marlins are an embarrassment to MLB
This is sort of self-explanatory, but in case you needed a refresher, the Marlins have been in existence for 20 seasons. Yes, they have made the playoffs twice and won a World Series Championship both times, but consider the circumstances surrounding their championships. In 1997, the Marlins signed pretty much every big-name Free Agent available, building a superteam that won the World Series that year and then sold off every marketable piece of that roster by the following Memorial Day. The 1998 Opening Day celebration was met with mass disgust that this roster could even be honored since half the players that won the title were gone. The Marlins were subsequently so bad that they made poor Jim Leyland eat cigarettes by the pack in the dugout. They waited slightly longer to break up their 2003 championship team, but they did it just the same, selling off the pieces one by one until there was nothing but a rotting hulk of a team. But, undaunted, they decided to go on another Free Agency spree prior to the 2012 season, as they were moving into their acid trip of a new stadium that was certain to bring bigger and better things. But this new superteam failed to gel, and by the All Star Break, pieces were dealt away, culminating in basically their entire roster being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. Here they are, once again, at the bottom of the barrel.

2) Their Owner is a Jerk.
Doesn't matter if it was Wayne Huiznega or Jeffrey Loria. I fail to understand why, exactly, MLB forced out Frank McCourt, but Jeffrey Loria is allowed to continue to own a Major League Baseball team. I would guess it's got something to do with the fact that he's never had any direct financial difficulties or messy divorces, but let's examine his track record: First, he bought the Expos and ruined them so badly that they a) weren't even broadcast in English in Montreal and b) MLB ultimately farmed them out to Puerto Rico for a third of their home games each year before c) he pawned the Expos off to MLB in some sweetheart team swap that saw John Henry assume the Red Sox and Loria not just take over the Marlins, but strip every single person from the Expos front office down and bring them to Florida with him, so the Expos were left with literally nothing but a roster consisting of Vladimir Guerrero and spare parts. Two years later, there were no more Expos, period.

3) Nobody cares about the Marlins.
It's true. Have any of you ever met a real live Marlins fan? I've met one. But only one. This was back in the days when the only reason to get excited about the Marlins was that they were about to call up Mike Stanton (before he became Giancarlo). Outside of that, I'm dubious as to whether or not any Marlins fans actually exist. Most of South Florida is comprised of transplanted people from another part of the country that already have loyalties elsewhere. The rest of them could potentially have been Marlins fans at some point in the history of the team, but after watching the team strip itself of any and all viable talent over and over and over again, without any real promise of things getting better and no particular warning that it's going to happen, wouldn't you eventually get sick of it? Granted, being a Mets fan hasn't been a pleasure cruise these past few seasons, but at least they aren't going through a fire sale every three years. At least the Wilpons, for all their foibles, don't entice us with spending sprees that don't pay off. At least the Wilpons actually care, in their own strange way, about building a winning team. I don't think Jeffrey Loria cares, and it shows. Can you blame the residents of South Florida for not caring about the team anymore? They barely had any fans when things were going well, now I'm hard pressed to believe that the 4 fans they do have can even bear to watch anymore.

4) I, personally, have had enough of the Marlins.
As a Mets fan, I personally object to the Marlins. They have done nothing but bother me for the entirety of their existence. I find them loathsome and offensive, and their behavior is brutish and inane. Every season, I have to be subjected to the Mets being forced to play the Marlins no less than 18 times, and every season, the Marlins seem to go out of their way to make these 18 games as torturous as possible for the Mets. It doesn't matter how good the Mets are, or how bad the Marlins are, or how either team is put together, the Marlins have done nothing but piss off myself and all Mets fans. And in recent years, it has come to a head. In 2007, they petulantly picked fights with us, knocked us out of the playoffs and whooped it up like they'd actually won something. In 2008, they beat us again to close our beloved Shea Stadium and then hung around on the field like they owned the place. For years, they beat us and acted as though they just won a pennant. And for what? Because they didn't like Jose Reyes dancing? But, hypocrites that they are, they had no problem throwing a Godfather contract at Reyes the second he hit Free Agency (which they of course were all too happy to trade away once the heat got too high). The Marlins were nothing but a bunch of jealous babies. They were envious of what the Mets had: Relevance and meaning in the community they play in. But the way they run themselves, it's clear that they just have no idea how to ever make this happen.

But, nonetheless, they still can't do anything against any other team, and yet when the Mets come to town, they turn it on. The 2013 Marlins were losing at a pace to rival the 1962 Mets before the Mets rolled in, and what happens? The Marlins just stick it to the Mets again. I'll give them Saturday's game, because Collin McHugh has no talent and shouldn't be pitching, but how you going to explain Sunday? Is this Marlin voodoo so bad that even Matt Harvey is affected? Twice, he's faced the Marlins in the Mystery Machine and twice, he's battled to get through 5 innings. Who the hell is Ed Lucas? Who is Derek Dietrich? Greg Dobbs? Greg Dobbs is a stone-handed lummox that wouldn't even be in the Major Leagues if there were no Marlins, but once he sees the Mets, all of a sudden he's Willie McCovey. What's all this about? The Marlins have won 16 games this season. 16! And 6 of them have come at the expense of the Mets. I know the Mets aren't good this season, but I also know that they are a better team than the Mickey Mouse Marlins.

Bottom line is, I have had enough of the Marlins. It was bad enough that the Mets had to play in their mis-shapen football stadium for 18 years, but then they made us go to Puerto Rico to play them in 2010, and now it's Eero Saarinen's worst nightmare. Seriously. Bud Selig, get your head out of the liquor cabinet for a few seconds and correct this mistake. You should have contracted the Marlins when you had a chance, and while it may be too late, there's still time to undo what's been done. Do the right thing. Bring back the Astros to the NL Central and put the Marlins out to pasture in the American League. I IMPLORE you do please do this, on behalf of all Mets fans. We do not want to have to deal with this stupid team any longer.