Terry Collins, it seems, has learned nothing from his prior experience in being innovative and experimental, because he went back to the same stupid strategy twice this past weekend in Miami. And Dammit, the Mets went and won both the games in which he hit the pitcher 8th, which means that now it's going to encourage him to keep on doing it.
After playing one of their typical "Stupid Florida Games" on Friday night, in which the Mets played a back and forth game that they ended up losing in annoying fashion—this time on a walk-off Outfield Assist as opposed to a walk-off 35-foot single—which happens to the Mets pretty much every time they set foot in the city of Miami (or its general vicinity). Usually, once they lose a game like that, it ends up taking them 3-4 more games to get rid of the stink that it leaves, but for once, the Mets shook it off and actually won a couple of games in the Mystery Machine.
Saturday, Terry Collins decided to put on his LaRussa mask once again and hit Jacob deGrom 8th. Again, the Mets unfortunately won, but I'd like to think that it had less to do with this cheap ploy and more to do with deGrom again pitching effectively and actually getting some meaningful run support in the process. I didn't have a chance to see much of the game, but in 7 innings, deGrom didn't allow the Marlins an inch, only giving up 5 hits and 3 walks to go along with 8 strikeouts. deGrom has had similar outings that didn't end quite as well; the Mets only gave him 4 runs to work with, but since he didn't allow any to the Marlins, and the suddenly strong late-inning tandem of Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia didn't allow any runs either, the end result was that the 4 runs the Mets generated was actually enough to net deGrom his first Major League win. About damn time. I'm sure he felt the same way.
Though the Met runs came courtesy of a pair of RBI singles from Chris Young and David Wright, and a 2-run Home Run from Lucas Duda (in the 9th inning, of course), Collins of course stuck to his guns and hit Jon Niese 8th on Sunday. This actually nearly bit Collins in the ass in the 2nd inning when the 8th spot in the lineup came up with the Bases Loaded, and instead of a position player, he had Niese batting, but Niese helped his own cause and made Collins look not-as-foolhardy by laying down a squeeze bunt that drove home the Mets 2nd run of the game. This particular play might have loomed larger in the game had the Mets not exploded for 10 additional runs, winning a 11-5 game going away. Daniel Murphy landed the big blow with a 3-run Home Run in the 4th inning, and others like Anthony Recker and Ruben Tejada chipped in. When you score 11 runs, generally everyone plays a little bit of a part in it, and when you're the Mets and sometimes you're lucky to score 11 runs in a week, even the lesser-known guys contribute. Niese kind of ran out of steam in the 6th inning, but it's hard to say that this game was in much doubt after the Mets stormed out to a 7-0 lead.
So, the Mets win 3 out of 4 in Miami, a rare coup indeed, particularly considering that a month ago the Mets went into Miami and ended up getting swept and embarrassed by the Mickey Mouse Marlins. Winning 3 of 4 is nice—even if they still had one of their stupid Miami games in the process—just because it helps to put these chowderheads in their rightful place for a little while. Contenders my ass. If they're losing to a team that's so desperate for a jolt that their dopey Manager decided the best thing to do was bat his pitcher 8th, how in contention can they really be?