Monday, April 27, 2015

New Flog City

The lights were on their brightest in the Bronx on Sunday night, as the Mets and Yankees met up for the finale of the April portion of the Subway Series in The Biggest Game In The Galaxy. ESPN, no longer featuring Jon Miller and Joe Morgan were out in full force. This goes to show just how long it's been since I've actually watched The Biggest Game In The Galaxy (the Mets have managed to avoid one in a few years), but while the announcers have changed, the content has not. ESPN's broadcasts are usually more style than substance, with their overproduced graphics and unnecessary bells and whistles that take away from just about everyone's enjoyment of the game. I'm not sure who the lead announcer is other than it's not Joe Buck, but he may as well be Joe Buck since he presents the Pepsi-Cola version of MLB announcing. Color commentary is now provided by the comedic duo of Curt Schilling and John Kruk, because they're silly and irreverent and people like that, I guess. I used to get up for the Sunday night game, but that was a different era when I was younger and wilier and I didn't have to be at work until Monday afternoon. Now, I've come around to the nuisances of Sunday Night Baseball. It's become too sugarcoated. It seems like every week, they're cramming Yankees vs. Red Sox, or Braves vs. Nationals, or Dodgers vs. Giants down our throats. That's bad enough if you don't like those teams, but for some reason, when it's the Mets and the Yankees, I find it even more of a nuisance.

The Mets and Yankees treated the viewing public to something less than the top-quality Baseball that ESPN prides itself on showing, which may serve them right, but the joke was on the Mets on Sunday night. Though the Mets still came out of the weekend with one win in three games, they kind of looked like schmucks on Sunday and in losing the series this weekend, have now ensured that Mets fans will be treated to an entire summer of "DERP DERP DERP SAME OLD MUTTS (GOBBLE SNORT DROOL)" from the mouth-breathing faction of fans of the other team. For as far as we've come, and as much as we'd like to think we're the better team, and from top to bottom we probably are, we still can't get it over on the Yankees, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't somewhat frustrating. I shouldn't care about the Yankees or their fans, and for the most part, I don't. Except when the Mets play them and things don't go well, which has been often. It's the main reason I've become completely turned off to the annual Subway Series Shit Show, to the point where I won't go to the games. It's just not worth the anxiety. It was better the last two years when we only had to go through this 4 times a year, but now it's back to six, and for some asinine reason, it's broken up so that we have the Subway Series in April, and now we get the high pleasure of playing them again in September, probably in the middle of a pennant race when the last thing we need to worry about is the Goddamn Subway Series.

So...yeah. The Mets went out and made asses of themselves in front of a national TV audience. Things started out well enough, Curtis Granderson led off the game with a Home Run off of Nathan Eovaldi, the hotshot pitcher who throws really hard but isn't any good—we remember him from his time with the Mickey Mouse Marlins. The Mets had plenty of chances to get Eovaldi on the ropes but couldn't cash in. Still, Daniel Murphy poked a 2-out double to score Juan Lagares and the Mets were on their way.

Except that Jon Niese had one of those annoying Jon Niese outings. He got through the 1st inning well enough, except that he gave up a Home Run to Captain Pariah Alex Rodriguez with 2 outs. A-Rod seems like his usual self, he clapped his hands and hot-dogged around the bases like he'd just hit a walk-off Home Run, and maybe he thought he did for all I know. He's never been one to be aware of his surroundings much. That was fine, but then everything came unglued in the 2nd inning. Niese was primed to work around a leadoff double, but with 2 outs, he gave up another double to Gregorio Petit and everything basically went to hell from there. There was another double, and a hit that was basically where Daniel Murphy was supposed to be, and another double, and a Michael Cuddyer relay throw that he basically spiked into the ground...and all of a sudden it was 5-2 and I was ready to shut things off.

The Mets didn't have much trouble with Eovaldi, as they got back to within 5-4 in the 3rd, but that was it for them. A parade of Yankee relievers, most of whom I've never heard of, kept the Mets from getting any closer. On the other side, they slipped and slopped around, and made a bunch of errors, mostly by Daniel Murphy, who ole'd a ball that led to a run, didn't slide on a close play at 2nd and instead was tagged out, and generally had one of those Daniel Murphy days where he looks about as coordinated as a nerdy 11-year old. And as the game went on, I got to thinking if maybe this is the year that Daniel Murphy becomes my #1 flog. We all know that I have one good flog per season. Usually it was a worthless pitcher like Manny Acosta or Pat Misch, and for several seasons it was Lucas Duda until he proved himself useful, but maybe it's now Murphy's turn to be in my doghouse. You know, it's Murph's walk year. You always want to start out your walk year hitting .172 with 6 errors. Now, he's probably made himself untradeable, in addition to being a general nuisance. And I like the guy, so it pains me to say this. But there's only so many years you can watch a guy play second base with the tenacity of a scalded dog until you realize it's just not going to get better. He's worked really hard to get to this point and still he makes the same absurd mental errors because I don't know why. He's a decent hitter, but he's still a streaky hitter and for all the years he's started off hitting .320 after April, he's more than often gone on to hit .246 in every month until September. Point is, we've reached the ceiling on Daniel Murphy, and if it's still so underwhelming, you have to start to think beyond him. Paging...Dilson Herrera....

Jon Niese is also a good candidate for a flogging considering he's still sort of trading high on a good season he had back in 2012, but he's never quite duplicated the numbers he had that season. When he's good, he could be one of the best lefties in the NL. Problem is, he runs in patterns of one really good start, followed by 2 passably good starts, followed by a complete stink bomb. Tonight was the stink bomb. We need to see less stink bomb from Niese if he's going to stick it out here. There's too many good pitchers itching for the opportunity to crack this rotation for him to pitch like an idiot too many times, and I'd like to think he knows that and isn't resting on the idea that he's the only lefty around here. Paging...Steven Matz...

All right. Enough Subway Series. It's getting me unnecessarily stressed out and making me forget that the Mets are still 14-5 in the early going this season. But, they're back to the NL East grind this week as they head down to Fraud Stadium in Miami before coming back to play Washington this weekend. Just get back to the kind of Baseball they were playing at home, before they had to go across town and get themselves all cocked up.

No comments: