Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Double Play's The Thing

It was a beautiful evening at Citi Field tonight, for a multitude of reasons. Many mitigating circumstances, paramount among them the fact that the Mets beat the Braves 3-2 in a crisp, 2 hour, 27 minute game served to make my 14th game of the season at Citi Field immensely enjoyable. The win brought me back to 2 games over .500 for the season, at 8-6 at Citi Field, and also brought me to 2-1 for the season against the Braves. So much good went on in this one, the only thing I was able to complain about was that my burger had a stale bun. When Citi Field stale bread is the low point of the evening, it was probably a pretty good game.

Some particular highlights I took away tonight include Dillon Gee, who's had a string of semi-tolerable to lousy starts over the past month or so, got his act together and pitched rather well, not allowing the Barves a hit until the 4th inning and keeping them down until the 7th inning when he ran out of steam and turned things over to The Familia/Mejia Report. Juan Lagares had his usual sterling effort in Center Field, picking off a multitude of fly balls of assorted difficulty and making all of them look rather easy in the process. Offensively, his second inning single helped move along Travis d'Arnaud so that he could eventually score the Mets first run of the game. Two innings later, his Home Run into the Left Field seats plated d'Arnaud in front of him and provided the Mets with the eventual winning runs. The weather, which had become uncomfortably hot during the day, had cooled down to a rather pleasant, breezy 87˚ at game time and although I wasn't paying attention it probably went down during the game. The game itself, as I mentioned, was only 2:27, over before 9:40 and allowing me to make a quick exit and be home before 11pm, which is when I sometimes turn into a pumpkin.

However, the most enjoyable thing for me, other than the general fact that the Mets beat the Braves, was seeing the wildly overrated Barves hit into 4 Double Plays over the course of the game. This is something that at certain times has been an all too familiar sight for the Mets, but tonight, it was the Braves turn to continually shoot themselves in the foot, and I can't tell you how delightful it was to witness. Four times, the 2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th innings, the Braves got their leadoff man on, and in each of those instances they managed to screw it up. It was beautiful. Gee (or Mejia in the case of the 9th inning) got a Ground ball (or in the 5th inning, a well-placed line drive right at Lucas Duda) in the right spot, and whether it was Ruben Tejada or Eric Campbell starting it, the result was the same, 2 outs and a budding rally cut off before it could go anywhere. When your offense can only generate 3 runs and 5 hits for the night, you can still manage to win a game if your defense can put forth an effort like the one we saw tonight. If you can induce your opponent to hit into 4 Double Plays, well, you've done an excellent job of making them look like schmucks, but you've also given yourself an excellent chance to win the game, and when Mejia froze Evan Gattis with a fastball at the knees for the final strike, the Mets had done just that. They won this game on the basis of pitching and defense and one well-placed hit, and you'd have to think that if the Mets are going to find success in the future, they'll have to have plenty of games like this, where they pitch well and play outstanding defense. 

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