Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Even Flow

For the second straight night, I failed to make it to the end of the late-night Mets/Mariners tilt way out in Seattle. Unlike Monday, when I got through one inning, last night I made it to the end of the 5th, which is a marked improvement, but still not enough to prevent me falling asleep without knowing who won the game. Only when I woke up and checked my phone did I see that the Mets had emerged victorious, their 3-1 victory marking the first time they've ever won a game in Seattle—granted, it's only the 5th game they played there, but still. Worth at least making a note of.

Jacob deGrom was the beneficiary of this particular win, and deservedly so. After fizzling out with a series of losses and no-decisions in games where he's pitched well, he's now started to turn those efforts into some W's, and all of a sudden he's starting to be a little less under-the-radar. After stifling the Mariners for 7 innings last night, allowing all of 1 run and 5 hits, winning his 3rd consecutive start, he now sits with a 4-5 record and a rather shiny-looking 3.01 ERA, numbers that could conceivably throw him into an NL Rookie of the Year crop that lacks a particular standout. And the more you think about it, you have to ask yourself, well, why not deGrom? Even at his worst, he hasn't pitched particularly poorly more than 2 or 3 times he's took the mound, and as he's gotten his sea legs under him, he's been brilliant. For the month of July, his numbers could rival pretty much anyone in the league that isn't named "Kershaw;" in 4 starts, he's posted a 3-1 record, a 1.73 ERA and struck out 34 in 26 innings pitched against 5 walks. For a guy who was sort of regarded as talented trade bait for the past couple of years, buried behind the big names, this is a pretty damn good statement that he belongs in the Mets rotation for this year and beyond.

deGrom did most of the job himself, only allowing a run on a Dustin Ackley double that nearly got really ugly when Daniel Murphy's cutoff throw landed in the disease-covered Puget Sound. On the offensive side, the Mets didn't exactly generate much in the way of fireworks off of non-entity Erasmo Ramirez (non-entity in the sense that he was called up from the minors to start one game and then promptly get sent back to the minors for today's starter Taijuan Walker). Travis d'Arnaud had the big hand in things when his line drive to Center did kind of a knuckle and sailed past James Jones, who made an ill-advised slide and saw d'Arnaud's hit sail past him and all the way to the wall for an RBI triple. Jones probably should have just pulled up and played it on a hop, or dove for the ball rather than slide, but I suppose when you play to the immediate left of Endy Chavez, you feel you need to try to be as flashy as possible—Jones got burned on this one and it cost the Mariners 2 runs, the one that d'Arnaud drove in and then d'Arnaud himself when Ruben Tejada singled one batter later. Lucas Duda hit a non-Lucas-Duda in the 8th inning—that is to say that his moonshot of a Home Run off of Tom Wilhelmsen was actually useful because it provided an insurance run as opposed to padding a safe lead. Jenrry Mejia finished the job in the 9th inning while I was snoozing away.

The Mets have but a few more of these late-night, West coast games this season. I know there's a trip to Oakland and Los Angeles looming next month, but for now, they're done with 10pm games. Today, a 3:45pm start which once again means I won't be able to see the game—not because I'll be sleeping, but because I'll be at work—but I'll be home to catch the replay so maybe I'll get to see more than 4-5 innings of today's affair. Hopefully, it'll be worth staying awake for.

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