just enough to top the Marlins 8-6 in a back-and-forth affair.
September Baseball is often kind of wistful, and this year I feel like I'm noticing it much earlier in September than I usually do. By time you start seeing Minor League callups and resurfaced veterans peppering Major League rosters, you know, especially if your team is out of contention, that these days are finite. The new season is no longer new, it's almost over and in less than a month, I'm going to go back to writing about the 49ers once a week and writing about Baseball when I feel like it.
That's sort of a long preamble to my point, which is that when the hell did Brad Penny resurface with the Marlins? This isn't 2003, from what I can recall, and so Penny, who I have to imagine hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues in at least 3 seasons and hasn't pitched effectively in about 5 seasons, is back in some sort of weird effort by the Marlins to recapture some of their past glory. I seem to remember the Mets handling him rather well in the past, and that hasn't changed; in 3 innings of work, the Mets attacked him for 4 runs and 7 hits, and his presence even managed to awaken David Wright. Wright hasn't hit a thing in about a month, and all of a sudden, here's Brad Penny to remind him of the days when he hit .320 and he's banging doubles down the Right Field line and all of a sudden it's 2006 again. Juan Lagares, who does not have a history with Penny, also seemed to take a liking to him, as he banged out 2 hits off him and remained in a hitting mood the rest of the night, finishing out with 4 hits, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI.
The 8 runs were needed because Jon Niese had his typical good bad outing, taking a 4 run lead and doing his best to hand it back to Florida. Giancarlo Stanton hit a Home Run off Niese in the 3rd, which I guess shouldn't be too surprising, but come on, keep the ball in the ballpark at least. After that, the Marlins sort of nicked and pecked Niese to death and after his 6 innings of work, which on the surface might appear effective because he did make it through 6 and didn't walk anyone, but he gave up 6 runs and 10 hits, so what's the difference here?
Carlos Torres and the Jeurys Familia/Jenrry Mejia Report followed Niese to the mound and were much more effective, which leads me to believe that the Marlins weren't on fire so much as Niese was just being annoyingly inconsistent as is his wont. 3 innings, one hit and 3 strikeouts, punctuated by Mejia's patented karate chop tells quite a story in and of itself. For one, Niese, who was supposed to be one of the key members of this rotation, now isn't the young, emerging lefty anymore, he's a veteran and it's time to put up or shut up. On the other hand, this Familia/Mejia hour is becoming quite a dynamic duo at the back end of the bullpen, providing enough effective outings for me to tentatively start to think that maybe the Mets have some guys you can actually have some confidence in coming out of the bullpen for the first time since I believe the 2000 season.
Let's see how long it lasts.