Saturday, April 11, 2015
Despite the fact that the Braves basically waited half the offseason (and signed Nick Markakis) to decide that they were going to rebuild, and despite the fact that they waited until the night before the season started to deal "unhittable" closer Craig Kimbrel to the Padres, the Braves have shot out of the gate, sweeping the Mickey Mouse Marlins and last night took a game from the Mets based on the exploits of a bunch of players I've never heard of.
I know Turner Field has a long and storied 20-year legacy as the home of the Barves, and it's going to truly be the end of an era when it closes, but I'm sure every Mets fan agrees with me when I say that they can't burn that hell hole of a ballpark down fast enough. I know I saw some stat on the Mets record at Turner Field over the years, but it said that the Mets had won something like 55 games there over the years, but that can't be right. I've seen a majority of the games the Mets have played at Turner Field and I'm pretty certain the Mets record there is about 23-145. And many of those losses seem to be of the variety of those we witnessed last night.
Once again, the game started late thanks to weather, and once again I was not anywhere near a TV at the outset. But the delay did mean the game ran late and I did manage to find myself able to catch about half an inning of the action. Unfortunately, that half inning was an excruciating half inning where everything that could have gone wrong for the Mets did.
The Mets, with Jon Niese on the mound, who now feels like kind of a non-entity on this staff, fell behind 3-0 early. Cameron Maybin, who's now on his 4th team in 8 years and still feels like a "prospect" (perhaps a perfect fit for the Barves), led off the game with a Home Run. But the Mets fought back and tied the score when David Wright and John Mayberry Jr hit back-to-back Home Runs in the 4th inning, accounting for the Mets first two Home Runs of the season. Mayberry, starting against the lefty Eric Stults, did what he's here to do, which is belt left-handed pitching. But it still seems like a bit of an incongruous platoon situation developing, as Mayberry played Left, Michael Cuddyer played 1st Base, and Lucas Duda got planted on the bench. I know, I know, it still feels weird actually advocating for Duda to still be in the lineup and maybe he should have been, but then again, the results seemed to dictate otherwise.
But I digress. The game stayed tied 3-3 into the 8th inning, Erik Goeddel and Sean Gilmartin, a pair of newcomers, held the line and turned things over to Rafael Montero, who's slid up the ladder in Jenrry Mejia's stead in this new-look Bullpen was entrusted to keep things where they were. This, of course, is where I found a TV with the game on, and where things went haywire. Certainly, a fine time to watch my first live Baseball game of the season. It started with a flare hit by Chris Johnson that Juan Lagares for all his brilliance couldn't catch up to. Montero got a strikeout, but then Andrelton Simmons (who'd already made one of his wonderful defensive plays earlier in the game and gave all of Baseball a collective orgasm) grounded a ball to Wright at 3rd. Conventional Wisdom dictates that Wright should have thrown the ball to 1st. The ball wasn't hit especially hard but still he probably had a shot to get Simmons. Instead, Wright vaporlocked and decided it a better idea to try to tag out the Pinch Runner Jace Peterson, who'd broke for 3rd. This didn't work, Peterson beat the play, and while the rest of the Mets defense stood and stared at Wright, Simmons took off for 2nd. After that, you could pretty much stick a fork in the inning. Montero admirably tried to salvage things, intentionally walking the next hitter before getting a strikeout and running a full count on Phil Gosselin or Kate Gosselin or whoever it was, but he tried to sneak one more fastball by him and Gosselin, whoever he is, punched home a 2-run single that for all intents and purposes ended the game. The 9th, with Dirks Bentley closing for the Braves instead of Kimbrel (whom as you know the Mets generally handle well because unlike most teams, they grow a pair and hit the ball when he comes in), was academic and the Mets lost another annoying game in Atlanty, while the Braves, who appear to not even be trying, ran their record to 4-0.
Such are the vicissitudes of Baseball, as we often see during the course of the season. The Mets now sit at 2-2, where the two wins came at the benefit of great pitching and advantageous opportunities, and the two losses came at the benefit of no hitting when it was needed and a bad-luck inning. The point is, at this point, we know nothing yet.