Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Good And Less Good

One good way to shake off the general malaise caused by too many long extra inning games and a blowout on the West Coast can be to take the field against a team that's probably in worse shape than you are. Fortunately, the Mets found themselves in such a position last night when they went out and beat the Diamondbacks 7-3.

The Diamondbacks were, by some reports, a potential dark horse surprise candidate in the NL West. But multiple injuries to their pitching staff (including Patrick Corbin, who was expected to be their ace), combined with the hangover of their overseas trip to Australia have spelled instant doom, and Arizona has sprung from the gate with a whimper, pitching poorly and hitting equally as poor, and the result is more or less just what the Mets needed at this particular point in time.

The Mets, who have a history of rolling into Arizona and performing well (their 13-game win streak in 2004-2007 is the stuff of legends) came in this time reeling a little bit after too much Anaheim Angels. Fortunately, the Mets got to go up against Josh Collmenter, who wasn't supposed to be in the starting rotation for Arizona until things went haywire. The Mets jumped on Collmenter early and often and got some runs on the board in support of Zack Wheeler.

No one particular player stood out for the Mets offensively; everyone seemed to benefit from a trip to Arizona. Lucas Duda had 4 hits, Daniel Murphy and Eric Young, Jr. had two each, and the Mets had 13 overall, a far cry from the strikeout brigade we'd been witness to over the first couple of weeks of the season. Wheeler was the lucky recipient of this offensive explosion, and I'm sure it helped him relax, since he had his best outing of the young season, allowing 2 runs and pitching into the 7th inning en route to his first win of the season. Carlos Torres, who's been surprisingly reliable of late, picked up for Wheeler and carried the rest of the game home, a tidy enough effort to net himself a rare Save.

But, of course, since this is the Mets, there's always got to be some kind of downer to offset what was generally a good, positive night for the team, since 2/3rds of the starting Outfield managed to get hurt, leaving the Mets stuck having to trot Lucas Duda out to Left Field for a cameo appearance late in the night. Curtis Granderson crashed into the chain-link Outfield fence early in the game and banged himself up pretty good. He managed to stay in the game for a spell before the bruises caught up with him and he departed. Given his slow start, a day off or two to clear his head might not be the worst thing in the world. Of more pressing concern, however, is the injury to Juan Lagares, who's been the best thing going on the Mets to this point. Lagares came up with the dreaded hamstring pull running out a Fielder's choice in the latter innings. It didn't, at first glance, appear bad, but as we all know, these are the kind of injuries that you can fake your way through and then you end up with what happened to David Wright last season and you're out 6 weeks. So it's of no surprise that Lagares departed immediately, in spite of the fact that he tried to be slick and grab his hamstring while nobody was looking, like it was some kind of natural motion for him to make, but nobody was fooled. Annoyingly, he's probably headed to the DL (Late note: He is, indeed, on the DL, replaced by (trumpets) Kirk Nieuwenhuis).

It seems almost fitting that two Outfielders would go down the same night, particularly considering Chris Young is set to come off the DL on Friday, and also considering I'd laid out some particular thoughts as to whom should emerge in the Mets crowded Outfield situation the other day. The Mets, in one night, went from too many Outfielders to too few, and the replacements, which range from the recalled Nieuwenhuis to habitually creaky Bobby Abreu, are hardly palatable. A typically Metsian problem to have.

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