Friday, August 16, 2013

Late Night with Zack Wheeler

It was nice of Zack Wheeler to strike out 12 Padres batters last night for a variety of reasons, all of which bear listing here:

1) It made me feel like staying up past midnight to watch the Mets was at least somewhat worth my while, after 3 other nights of doing that this week were completely futile.
2) It proved that the Mets were not going to go down the toilet after being swept in Los Angeles.
3) After Wheeler's strong outing in Arizona, it was nice to see him follow up with another strong outing rather than fall back into that good outing/bad outing pattern we'd been seeing.

Of course, Wheeler ultimately didn't get the win because it took until the 8th inning for the Mets to finally get a bit of a lead, but then again, if Wheeler didn't have a good outing, then it's probably not tied 1-1 in the 8th inning anyway. But Wheeler, in addition to striking out batters like crazy, also showed some of the moxie he's displayed in difficult situations. Faced with a runner on 3rd and 1 out in the 3rd inning after Ruben Rivera's Home Run was saved—but not caught—by Eric Young resulting in a triple, Wheeler muscled up and struck out Tyson Ross and Venable to get out of the inning unscathed. He looked to be in a heap of trouble in the 4th when the Padres loaded the bases, but he managed to get Jaff (not Jeff) Decker to hit a sac fly, and then struck out old friend Ronny CedeƱo. He escaped again in the 5th, when the Padres threatened to Padre him to death, getting singles and men on base, but again with multiple men on and 1 out, he struck out Franch Headley and, although he gave up a hit to Yonder Alonso (who could be the Padres' version of Yo La Tengo), Juan Lagares bailed him out by throwing a strike to home to nail a runner at the plate.

Wheeler finished after 6 innings because it still takes him a lot of pitches to strike out 12 batters and it wouldn't have been prudent to let him go further, but that's OK. Right now, we're more interested in results as opposed to length. Wheeler got some nice pats on the back when he came off the mound, as well as what appeared to be a bit of a lecture from Matt Harvey.

So it was then up to the bullpen to keep the game tied and hope that the Mets offense would wake up a little bit, lest this turn into every other game the Mets have ever played in Petco Park and they lose 2-1. That, fortunately, did not happen. Scott Atchison zipped through the 7th, and the Mets finally broke through against Gregerson in the 8th, thanks to a 2-run double from Marlon Byrd that Denorfia probably should have caught, but then again, no he shouldn't have. John Buck added an insurance run in the 9th inning with a Home Run, and that was the 4-run quota for the Mets on this night.

Gonzalez Germen, whom I have written comparatively little about since he arrived here rather unceremoniously last month, finished off the game for the Mets with 2 sterling innings of work, pitching around a pair of walks in the 8th, capped off by a strikeout of Jaff, and when the Mets added a run in the 9th, Collins must have said, "Well, all right kid, go finish it off," and Germen appeared somewhat motivated by this, since he didn't fuck around and went right after the Padres, retiring them in order in the 9th to cap off the 4-1 victory and make me feel better about staying up until 1:15am.

Tonight, the Mets have another 10pm game, their last of the year. There was a point in my life when I enjoyed these excessively late west coast games, but after slogging through this week, I think those days are over. I'm glad the Mets are done with west coast trips after this weekend.

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