Zack Wheeler didn't have his best stuff but still persevered, the Mets then loafed their way through Wednesday night's forgettable affair behind Jon Niese, who once again seemed to effortlessly have a really bad game that somehow didn't look quite like he was having a bad game, but he was. This has, annoyingly, become the norm for Niese since he returned from his mysterious DL stint. He pitches deep into games, yes, but he gets dinked and dunked to death in rather short order like he did last Friday and so you end up with a game where he pitched 8 innings but gave up 5 runs and 9 hits and lost the game. Last night, he ended up getting burned on a pair of Home Runs by Adam LaRoche who dulled one over the fence in the first inning and then another one from Danny Espinosa in the 6th, and so the end result is that Niese gave up 6 runs, ended up making a lot of faces that seem similar to the above photo and the Mets lost 7-1.
I had the good fortune of being out for a work function and so therefore the game was mostly decided by time I arrived home. True, at only 3-0, the Mets still had a theoretical chance, but they weren't generating much action against Doug Fister, and so when I turned on the game, Niese was well on his way to making the game unwatchable in the 6th. Someone was on base and someone else was busy getting on base, and then Denny Espinosa involved himself in a negative fashion and I sort of tuned out from there. I know the Mets did eventually score a run off of Fister, but the only upside to that was that they weren't shut out.
This hasn't exactly been a promising stretch for Niese, who's starting to enter a phase in his career where you can't chalk his inconsistencies up to "Well, he's young" anymore. He's going to be 28 next Opening Day and while he's certainly looked the part of an emerging star at times, he's also looked the part of John Maine/Oliver Perez all too often as well, Maine in the sense that he gets very defeatist while on the mound and has a history of mysterious shoulder problems, and Perez because he's left handed and has great stuff but often times no head for pitching. This isn't 2012 anymore and he can't coast on potential anymore. It's time for him to start showing a little more in the way of results because there's younger, better, more talented pitching around him and you'd think the competition would push him to pitch to his abilities. That hasn't happened this season. Perhaps he's hurt more than he's letting on, but who knows. Either way, the age old phrase of "Jonathon Niese needs to finish out the season strong" is going to be bandied about quite a bit over the last several weeks of the season, I believe.