Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Forgotten Prospect

Few Mets might be quite as forgotten in the way this season has played out as Rafael Montero. Montero, who began the season at the forefront of our consciousness as the top of the second tier of Mets prospects, behind Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard, but ahead of deGrom, Matz and others, ascended in May, struggled, went back to the Minors, returned in August and was eventually shifted to a bullpen role before earning another start last night against the Colorados. One thing that's worked against Montero is that Jacob deGrom has been so good over the past few months while Montero got lit up but good a couple of times, particularly his last time up against Washington. But given a chance against the Colorados and their stripped-down lineup, Montero thrived, striking out 7 in a 5.1 inning effort in which he didn't allow a run and only 3 hits (4 walks didn't help). In the process, Montero picked up his first Major League win as the Mets held on for their second consecutive 2-0 victory over the Colorados.

The story before the game was, of course, the ensuing lineup shifting that came about due to last night's news that David Wright would be lost for the remainder of the season with the shoulder injury that hasn't let him go most of the season. There's not much to be said on this front, other than it's just as well; Wright has been patently awful this year and clearly it's because he insistently played through this injury rather than getting the rest he needed and the result is that his 2014 season ended up looking about as bad as his 2009 or 2011 season, years that were also derailed for him by injury. While some wishful thinkers might like to point out that the Mets, who are now only 4 games under .500 for the season at 71-75 and in 3rd place in the division, are only 5.5 games out of the second Wildcard spot, let's be realistic: The chances of the Mets making that deficit up and leapfrogging the several teams ahead of them to grab it are pretty slim and given that, there really wasn't much to argue about when it comes to Wright taking the remaining 16 games in 2014 off.

The discussion, then, turned to who would replace Wright for those 16 games. Certainly, both Eric Campbell and Josh Satin had experience playing 3rd base, but last night, the nod went to Daniel Murphy, who also had experience at the hot corner, though never at the Major League level, as far as I can remember. The thought process, I assume, is that it allows the Mets to showcase Murphy for a potential trade while at the same time allowing Dilson Herrera to remain in the lineup at 2nd Base to get his feet wet. It's a fine plan as far as I'm concerned and if anyone really wants to complain about it, well, you may need to re-evaluate certain aspects of your life.

Then, there was a game, which was pretty boring for a 2-0 game. The Mets scored a run in the 2nd on an Eric Young, Jr RBI triple and a second run in the 6th (I think) on a Juan Lagares Sac Fly against Tyler Matzek and a few other lesser Colorado Pitchers (ie Yohan Flande). Montero navigated through the Colorado lineup and after he left the game, Dario Alvarez, Carlos Torres and the Jeurys Familia/Jenrry Mejia report followed up and finished the job without much of a peep from the Colorados. Mejia shook off the mess he'd created for himself last night and this evening had a nice, peaceful inning that he didn't need to be rescued from, and the Mets finished off their sweep of the Colorados, the second year in a row that they've taken all three games in New York (and thank God for that).

But, for the three games they won, the Mets managed to score all of 7 runs. This works against a team like the Colorados who came in here with their entire starting lineup on the DL. It will be a different story against Washington, who generally start their games at Citi Field up 4-0. Fortunately, I don't plan on subjecting myself to any of these games in person.

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