Saturday, September 27, 2014

From The Ashes

The Mets won their penultimate game of the 2014 season solely on the timely and virtuous power hitting displayed by Lucas Duda. In a season where he's become one of the happier success stories in recent Mets history, Duda, who's slumped a bit down the stretch, sent himself into the offseason on a high note, belting a 2-run Home Run off lefty Tony Sipp with 2 outs in the 9th inning, providing the Mets with their entire evening's output of offense in a 2-1 victory that put everyone in a good mood, even if they weren't in attendance to see the season's final postgame concert.

My other half and I moved apartments this morning, and fortuitously cable was installed in the afternoon, and although nothing was in a shape for us to do so, we were too exhausted following the day's events to do anything beyond sit on the couch and watch tonight's game. For a Saturday night, next-to-last-day-of-the-season game between two teams that will finish with over 80 losses, the crowd seemed lively at Citi Field, and it was discussed at length by Keith and Gary that the draw was mostly of young girls to see teenybop sensation Austin Mahone. Who knew. I've never heard of Mahone, not like I've been aware of other Met Postgame Concert series participants, and when I first saw this on the schedule, I wondered if this particular ploy would sell tickets. It seems his presence is, indeed, enough to get people out to Citi Field on a Saturday night in Late September. Not me, I personally try to avoid concert games like the plague (also, I don't think Nirvana is available to perform at Citi Field), but for those that like that kind of music, I'm sure the game couldn't get over with fast enough.

Far as the game, which did happen, Rafael Montero took the Jacob deGrom spot in the rotation and pitched reasonably well over his 5.1 innings of work, allowing only one run, which occurred in the 6th inning when Dexter Fowler, who was last seen pogo-sticking his way around the bases in one of many Met debacles in Colorado, hit one of those terrible slow rollers up the 3rd base line that you can only sit and watch and hope it rolls foul, except that it never rolls foul. Daniel Murphy did his best Lenny Randle impression but to no avail. Jason Castro followed with a double up the gap that scored Fowler with, to that point, the lone run of the game. This remained the lone run of the game until the 9th inning, and for that the Mets can thank Montero, Buddy Carlyle and the Jeurys Familia/Jenrry Mejia Report, who kept the Astros off the board. They can also blame Samuel Deduno, a Twins castoff that resurfaced mysteriously with the Astros, probably because they needed a warm body who could throw strikes, followed by Jake Buchanan, Kevin Chapman and Jose Veras for not allowing them to score any runs on their own.

But then came the 9th, and Tony Sipp for the Astros. Eric Young tripled with 1 out, which was good, because it put the tying run on 3rd with Daniel Murphy coming up. But Murphy only popped out, which as a Met he is generally wont to do, and so it came down to Duda. Duda, who for years has been a particular flog of mine, and someone whom I've heaped loads of disdain upon, and mostly it's been justified. Because I, like most Mets fans, want him to do better, know he can do better, and don't quite understand why he doesn't do better. And when Davis was traded back in April, I was skeptical as to whether or not that was really the right thing to do. But based on what's happened since then, clearly it was; Duda has come of age this season, and it's been a delight to see and wonderful to have him prove me wrong. Duda has not only hit for power, yes, in fits and starts, but that's how power hitters generally are, but he's driven in runs and he's gotten key hits. Things he had not done consistently prior to this year. And he rolled all of these things into a bow to cap off his season when he lined a 1-0 pitch from Sipp off the Right Field foul pole to win the game for the Mets, 2-1, earning himself a rousing ovation from everyone watching in person and on TV, and a couple of pies in the face from some enterprising teammates.

So, one more for the season, tomorrow afternoon, which I'll be at. If Lucas Duda can come up with one more Home Run, he'll finish off with a nice even 30 for the year, and 90 RBIs if he can do so with someone on base. If the Mets win, they can finish off the season with 79 wins, 5 more than last year, and also hand me my 11th win of the season, something I haven't enjoyed since 2006.

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