Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pick Up The Pace!

I have scored all of the now 330+ Mets games I've attended, going back to 1987. I keep all my scorecards in a large binder. Sometimes, in the long offseason, I go through them. Every so often, I'll come across a game and think to myself, "Hey, I was at that game?! I must have been if I scored it."

I have a feeling that tonight's game against the Colorados will someday become one of those games. Why, I'm not quite sure, particularly since the Mets won, but I feel like there was nothing of particular note that might distinguish this game for me. Then again, now that I'm blogging about it, maybe this will someday serve as a reference point for when I do inevitably forget that I went to this game.

I hadn't been to Citi Field in over a month. So long, in fact, that it appears I missed out on Issue #3 of Mets Magazine. But if that's the case, then issue #3 wasn't available very long. I was at the first game of the Arizona series on July 1st. That was my last game. I got Issue #2 at that game. A month and 5 days is fairly long for me to go without going to a game, but sometimes that's the way it goes. I'd made mention of waffling over going to a number of games during that time, but ultimately deciding against it. That said, there were only 13 home games in between then and now. 13 games, assuming the Mets released Issue 3 on July 2nd, which they probably did not, is not a very long time for them to have an issue available. More than likely, it was only available for 10 games, starting after the All Star Break. Anyone who wants to verify this for me is more than welcome to. But I digress. Tonight, I got there, picked up Issue #4 and went on my merry way.

Ultimately, the game was more or less a testament to how much I've aged and become intolerant of long ballgames. I seem to have attended a number of games that have extended past 3 hours for one reason or another this season, whether it was high scoring or extra innings or what have you. Tonight's game was 3 hours and 20 minutes, which is right about when I start to get a little cranky. I thought it kind of strange that this game went so long, because 1) the score was only 3-2 and c) both pitchers were working at a fairly brisk pace.

Jenrry Mejia for one was particularly impressive, especially in the early going. He seems to have begun to trust his stuff more and was really keeping the Colorados off balance. Problem was, in keeping them off balance, he was allowing them to foul off innumerable pitches which ultimately drove up his pitch count. They only scored thanks to a somewhat egregious error by Ike Davis on a bad hop. It seems to me that only thing that really slowed him, and the game in general, down was the lengthy delay in which umpire Manny Gonzalez was injured. It wasn't quite clear what had happened to him and they didn't show a replay in the stadium, but for whatever reason, it took an abnormally long time for things to get going once again. By that time, Mejia, who left the field altogether, lost his rhythm, gave up a Home Run to pinch hitter Charlie McCharlieman and then nearly blew the game altogether. Only by the grace of Eric Young, Jr did the game stay tied. With 2 out and the bases loaded, Todd Helton hit a sinking line drive that appeared destined for Horribleville, except that Young did his best Endy Chavez impression to pick it off and end the inning.

It was also by the grace of Eric Young, Jr. that the Mets won the game altogether. It took until the 8th inning, which felt like an eon after the 6th. Young led off with a walk and and it appeared he'd stay glued there because neither Murphy nor Marlon Byrd laid down a bunt. This primarily because I don't think either of them are particularly capable of laying down a bunt, but that's just a testament to the state of baseball today. Young did manage to tag up and go to 2nd on Byrd's fly out, but that only set the stage for Ike Davis to be predictably walked. At this point, I was pretty certain that another Extra Inning game was in the cards, particularly when Juan Lagares hit a chopper on the right side of the infield. But the ball, rather slowly hit, managed to get past the pitcher and bounce toward the 2nd Baseman, D.J. LaNoseHair. He made the play and shuffled the ball off to 1st, but it was too late to get Lagares. This, of course, created enough of a distraction for Young, who never really stopped running, and by time I glanced up, there he was, streaking for the plate and easily beating Helton's throw home. Sometimes, you just have to make it happen yourself, and that's what Young did, instead of standing on 3rd and waiting for another hit that wasn't guaranteed to come.

By doing this, Young saved everyone from sitting around Citi Field longer into the night than we already had, since Closer du Jour LaTroy Hawkins kept the Colorados off the board in the 9th. Not that it was easy. It took the Colorados not being aware enough to have a Pinch Hitter ready with the pitcher's spot coming up (I mused that Walt Weiss may have tried to send Dante Bichette up to bat). All that cockarocka just so Yorvit Torrealba could hit a check swing line drive that Ike Davis made a circus catch on to end the game. And it was only 10:30.

Well, I don't know. This game had quite a bit going for it. Mystery, intrigue, Wilmer Flores' debut, good defense, clutch baserunning...Maybe I will remember it after all.

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