Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Faces Familiar and Forgotten

With just a week's worth of season left for the Mets, I'm now starting to get kind of wistful. I have tickets to Thursday night's Mets/Brewers game. I got them as part of my plan. I'd figured I would use them, until I a) began to question the utility of going to a meaningless game on what's probably going to be a cold night when it's dubious I can get someone to go with me and b) realized the 49ers were playing the Thursday night game. So, I made an attempt to sell the tickets on StubHub and, not surprisingly, nobody's bought them. But only today, I began to reconsider not going. I mean, I'll be there on Sunday, so it's not as though I'm passing on my last game of the season, but, hey, why not get the extra game in when I've got the tickets? Plus the Mets already have my money, and I'll laughably be counted as the paid attendance whether I show up or not. I've posed this question on Facebook to a mixed response. I suppose it remains to be seen. It is supposed to be nice on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, the Mets still have these final 3 road games of the year in Cincinnati, one of those NL Central towns where the Mets only go once a year and, like Chicago or Pittsburghe, if you blink, you'll miss it, and at this time of year, a majority of Mets fans are blinking. But I watched this game from start to bitter end tonight, and what I came away with was a pretty clear picture of who should be here and who shouldn't going forward. I'll spare an exegesis of the game, since what basically happened was the Mets wasted opportunities, tied the game instead of going ahead, and kept the game tied long enough to lose in 10 innings. That said, let's go down the list:

TRAVIS d'ARNAUD: Should be here. Looked outstanding behind the plate tonight. Threw out 1 runner trying to steal, and probably should have gotten Choo twice, once early in the game, when he threw a bullet to 2nd only to have Daniel Murphy not tag the runner and later in the 9th inning when he had Choo picked off 2nd, but got rooked by a non-interference call when Brandon Phillips stepped in front of him. He probably wouldn't have thrown out Billy Hamilton in the 8th, but it would have been nice to see him get an opportunity except that Frank Francisco botched the pitchout. Also blocked several balls in the dirt, particularly saving Aardsma's ass in the 9th.

LUCAS DUDA: Should not be here, surprise surprise. If you really need the evidence, here it is: Runner on 1st, 2 out in the 1st, Duda grounds out to 2nd. Bases loaded, 1 out in the 3rd. A long hit could swing the game in the Mets' favor. Duda takes a mighty hack...and lofts a fly ball to Center that's fortunately deep enough to score Aaron Harang. 2 out, none on in the 6th, Home Run to right center. 2 on, 1 out in the 8th inning, Ground ball double play. I rest my case.

ERIC YOUNG, JR: Should be here, but not as a starter. I like his attitude and his style of play, but he is better suited in the role once filled by a guy we all know and love named Endy Chavez. Has Chavez's flair for defense. Lacks Chavez's heady instinct on the bases, as evidenced by his completely unnecessary attempt to steal 3rd base with 2 outs in the 3rd. That he looked to be safe and was called out probably served him right.

DAVID AARDSMA: Should be here, I guess. Middle relievers, in my opinion, are a dime a dozen, and Aardsma's certainly had his ups and downs, but he showed me a lot tonight by not giving an inch to the Reds when his ass was really in the fire in the 9th. He inherited an instant mess when he picked up for Byrdak after Choo's double, and of course I already mentioned that Choo probably should have been picked off second. But Aardsma stoned up after that, getting Phillips to ground out weakly, Ludwick to pop out meekly, and Frazier to fly out, sandwiching the predictable intentional walks of Votto and Bruce in between (Nobody's that stupid). It's unfortunate that this didn't spur the Mets on to a victory, but it put a little juice in the proceedings.

GREG BURKE: Should not be here. Should never have been here in the first place. Any reliever who's been back and forth from AAA 5 times in one season probably isn't sold out to be part of a team going forward. I'm not quite sure why he was in the game at all, although I suppose in a game where the Mets used 8 pitchers, his number had to come up eventually.

I'll stop here, since that's the extent of the key players in this game, plus come next week, I will once again post my annual Mets report card, which stands to be a real doozy since the Mets have run 53 players out there so far this season and a lot of them weren't very good. Should be the snarkmongers delight.

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