Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Good Very Good

Figures, the day after I took Daniel Murphy behind the woodshed for his generally sloppy and uncoordinated play, the next night he goes out and delivers probably the biggest hit the Mets have had in the early going this season. Coming into the game batting a paltry .172 and contributing a pair of damaging errors of both the literal and mental variety to a miserable Mets loss on Sunday night, Murphy flipped the storyline in his favor Monday night, delivering a clutch 3-run Home Run in the top of the 9th inning and contributing a key defensive play in the bottom of the 9th inning, stealing the show in a lighting-quick 3-1 Mets victory.

This was a lightning-quick game, over in 1 hour, 58 minutes, and for that you can thank Dillon Gee. Gee hasn't pitched badly at all to date this season; I believe the only truly bad outing he had was in Atlanta, he was passable at home against Miami and solid against Atlanta, but nonetheless his numbers pale in comparison when measured against, say, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom or Bartolo Colon. Still, all Gee has to do is pitch reasonably well for a 5th starter, and I think he's done that. Certainly, his effort last night was a good example of what Gee can do when he's really got his stuff working. His 7.2 inning effort was a study in methodically lulling your opponent to sleep, as he kept the Mickey Mouse Marlins swinging and connecting at general junk and banging ground balls all over the place. I knew he was effective because he even lulled me to sleep (or maybe it was just a full day at work), because I nodded out sometime around the 2nd inning and woke up about an hour later and the game was in the 7th inning.

Unfortunately for Gee, he was being matched by Jarred Cosart, who I'm told was in some hot water over a gambling situation, in case you needed more cannon fodder to dislike the Marlins, and when they finally got to Gee for a trio of dunk hits in the bottom of the 8th to plate the game's first run, it looked like he was in line for yet another hard-luck loss in a game where he'd been truly brilliant. But then came the 9th, and in came Steve Cishek, whom the Mets have been known to handle over the years. Juan Lagares started off the heavy lifting by hitting a double over Marcell Ozuna's head, and right then and there  you had to have a good feeling about the inning. In prior years, the situation would have been rife for Lucas Duda to strike out, and then Michael Cuddyer and Murphy would similarly fail to get the run home and all of a sudden, the good vibes generated by the 11-game win streak would have dissolved into 3 losses in 4 games and everything would be terrible again. But that didn't happen. Instead, these new Mets refuse to be the patsy, certainly not to the Mickey Mouse Marlins. Instead of flailing away, Duda worked the count and drew a walk. Cuddyer flew out, but that just set the stage for Murphy to atone for his Sunday Night Shit Show by smoking a 2-1 pitch out into the Right Field seats to put the Mets ahead for good. Then, for good measure, he ran down a Michael Morse ground ball that seemed ticketed for Right Field and got Morse by a hair at 1st, aiding Jeurys Familia to his 9th Save in as many chances and getting the Mets right back in the W column with a most rousing victory.

This is sort of a testament to just how frustrating Daniel Murphy can be, because for every game like tonight, there's one like last night, but that's just how it is being Daniel Murphy. One night, you play poorly and you're dragged over the coals, and the next day you get the winning hit and you're the toast of the team. Such a win like this, getting off the mat and getting the big hit from the guy who was at his lowest is the kind of thing that can set the tone for a season if the team is in the right place, and you sort of have that feeling like that's where the Mets are right now. They might not win every game, but they certainly don't stay down for long.

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