Monday, July 22, 2013

Better Than Fine

But, for 18 innings this weekend, it appears that maybe the Mets will be OK the second half this season. Maybe it won't be the prettiest thing ever, but, hey, you take what you can get. After the alarming bludgeoning that the Mets suffered on Friday at the hands of the Phillies, the hope was that the firm of Harvey and Wheeler would set things straight over the weekend. Or, at least, they would not let the game get out of hand before the fans had even reached their seats.

Saturday, Zack Wheeler took the mound and really wasn't effective, so much as he out-uglied Cole Hamels on the other side. After Jimmy Rollins led off with a Home Run, Wheeler settled down and went about his business allowing 2 runners on base every inning and running up his pitch count, but not allowing any runs. Hamels, on the other hand, was also letting guys on base, but unfortunately, they were scoring. After falling behind, the Mets rallied for 3 runs in the last of the 1st on a series of line drives and a well-placed bloop from Josh Satin. This gave Wheeler a cushion to work with, and he ran with it, for the most part. At least until the 5th, when he started walking guys, and then more or less ran out of gas. In spite of everyone's best effort to try to coax that 3rd out out of him and get him out of the game with an opportunity to win, Wheeler gave up a run, and then another walk before Collins mercifully came to get him.

Gonzalez Germen, who I was certain had already pitched for other Major League teams (or perhaps I was thinking of Cristhian Martinez or Jair Jurrjens), followed Wheeler to the mound and had one of those "unsung hero" outings, bailing Wheeler out of the 5th inning jam and carrying things clear to the 7th inning before he departed. His 1 2/3 hitless innings were enough to merit his first Major League win, and also bridge the game to LaTroy Hawkins, and, eventually, Bobby Parnell, who survived the 9th inning in spite of giving up his first Home Run of the season to Chase Utley. This probably shouldn't have happened, had Josh Satin been able to come up with Rollins' screamer, the game would have been over, but, Utley could have hit it to the moon and it still would have been a 1-run game. So, a little closer for comfort than it should have been, but a win is a win, and when you're worried the Mets will fall into the abyss, every win helps.

Sunday, of course, brought Matt Harvey to the mound. Harvey has not had those rookie hiccups that Zack Wheeler has had thus far. Harvey just started the All Star game. The only concern here was that prior to his 2 innings in the ASG, Harvey hadn't pitched since July 8th in San Francisco. So, this was his first outing in anger in close to 2 weeks. Innings limit or not, that's a long layoff. Then again, when has anything like that ever bothered Matt Harvey? Harvey went out and had what I've begun calling "The Typical Matt Harvey Outing." 7 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, 10 Strikeouts, and, since he was backed by a trio of Home Runs, a win to show for it.

This was the perfect capper to what was basically "Matt Harvey Week" in New York, between his assorted Magazine interviews, the Jimmy Fallon bit, the All Star Game, and now his first start back. One might think the media attention would be a distraction, but, again, when has any outside stimulation bothered Matt Harvey? To this point, it hasn't, and so in this case, you have no choice but to believe the hype. The runaway freight train that is Matt Harvey just keeps rolling on.

Atlanta next, and hopefully the good vibes keep coming.

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