Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Typical Play

The Mets, for once, benefited from the foolish play of their opponent, rather than the other way around tonight. In a sloppy affair, the Mets managed to salvage the finale of their series with the Dodgers and win for what felt like the first time in weeks with a 5-3 victory behind Jon Niese.

Niese was the star tonight for the Mets, bouncing back from a poor outing in Washington with a great 7-inning effort and even coming through at the plate, helping his own cause with an RBI double off Zack Greinke. Niese got through his night mostly unscathed by the Dodgers lineup, escaping a couple of jams thanks to some bad baserunning on the part of the mercurial Yasiel Puig, and only faltering in the 7th inning, when old friend Justin Turner gave him the proverbial pie in the face by hitting a 2-run Home Run to, at that point, tie the game 3-3.

But Niese was backed by the usual suspects, or at least the usual suspects of late, to help bring home the win for him. Juan Lagares, who continues to simply do helpful things, got Niese his lead back by poking a key 2-out RBI single that drove home the lead run. Curtis Granderson also kept his good streak going, scoring an early run and driving home an insurance run with an 8th inning triple. Jenrry Mejia shut the door in the 9th to convert his second Save.

But the game will probably be remembered for one particular play that seemed to typify the general loaginess that both these teams have been known to exhibit. We all know what play that is, because it's one of those plays that from the perspective of both teams caused you to cheer and cover your eyes at the same time. In the 6th inning, the Dodgers had 2 men on, thanks primarily to Daniel Murphy having one of his periodic spastic attacks and not catching David Wright's relay throw on a potential DP ball from Puig. Both Puig and Chone Figgins found themselves aboard and Niese was in a heap of trouble with Hanley Ramirez at the plate. Ramirez lifts a high pop fly towards second base. Murphy circles around and seems like he's got it lined up, but he must have been faking it, because the ball ended up landing on the ground not especially close to him. Another Murphy moment. Fortuitously for the Mets, the Infield Fly Rule had been called, so Ramirez was out. Murphy probably heard this and so wasn't too panicked by the dropped popup. Calmly, Murphy picked the ball up and threw to Wilmer Flores at second. But neither Flores, nor Puig, the runner steaming towards second, seemed particularly aware of the Infield Fly Rule or what it entails, because Flores didn't bother to tag Puig, instead assuming he had a force play. But, that was OK, because Puig, assuming he was forced out, ran through the base and stopped. Only then did Flores, at the urging of Murphy, realize he needed to run over and tag Puig out. After all that, the Mets ended up getting 2 outs on the play, and Niese ended up getting out of the inning without giving up a run, nice on both counts. Nice to get the outs, nice to not give up the runs, and, most of all, nice to actually have a play like that work in the Mets favor, particularly considering the lack of good luck they've had lately.

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