Sunday, May 10, 2015

Faith Rewarded

I found myself home on a Saturday night, something that seems to be a moderately rare occurrence of late, and happily, my quiet evening was accompanied by Mets baseball. More appropriately, winning Mets Baseball, because a Mets loss wouldn't have been much fun at all, considering a) they were playing the awful Phillies, b) the Phillies seemed all too happy to hand the game to the Mets by throwing their D-lineup out there, and c) They'd already lost on Friday night to the awful Phillies, and come on.

Jon Niese took the start for the Mets and continued what for him might almost be considered the Golden Age of Jon Niese. Quietly, Niese has held serve on the back end of the rotation, while sort of getting a little lost amidst Harvey/deGrom/Colon to very quietly place himself among the ranks of the best lefties in the NL. You know, where we thought he might be heading three seasons ago. I suppose it remains to be seen where this goes because Niese has been known for being mercurial and pissy, but to this point, now 6 times through the rotation, he's had, what, one bad start? For Niese, that's pretty good, particularly for a guy I've been ready to place on The Ballclub's Shitlist.

So Niese hummed along through the early part of the game, getting the same amount of run support that the Mets offense has been providing its starting pitchers lately, which hasn't been much. There was a run scoring error in the 5th inning, I want to say Lucas Duda hit the ball and Cesar Hernandez, playing in the stead of Chase Utley, who's 9-for-91 start to the season has landed him on the bench, pulled a Daniel Murphy and the Mets had a lead. But Niese ran into trouble in the 6th, where a Dilson Herrera error set up a Jon Niese inning, in which he got dinked and dunked to death by his opponent and started moping around the mound. 2 runs crossed the plate for Philadelphia, and it appeared Niese was done for the night in line for a loss.

But for whatever reason, Terry Collins let Niese hit leading off the 7th inning. Niese responded to this particular windmill by singling to center for his first hit of the season. This seemed to set off a chain reaction of general positivity across the Mets roster. Two batters later, Juan Lagares slammed a Home Run into the seats in Left to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Niese cruised through the 7th, but after a Multiple-Torres-Induced bases loaded situation in the last of the 8th inning seemed certain to end in instant disaster, Buddy Carlyle came in the game and got Carlos Ruiz to ground into a Double Play. In and of itself, that's just fine, but it took a fine play in the hole by Ruben Tejada to start things off, and an even finer play by Dilson Herrera, who atoned for his error by hanging in to catch the relay throw, avoid a sliding runner and fire a throw off to 1st to get Ruiz by a step and end the inning. Jeurys Familia survived Utley's 10th hit of the season and a cameo appearance by Ryan Howard's carcass to lock down his 12th Save and a 3-2 Mets win that made my night that much better.

It comes back to Niese and Lagares who get the attention, but let's give Tejada and Herrera some credit here too. Herrera, after a throwing error pretty much nuked the 6th inning, shook it off and made a key play on the DP in the 8th. Tejada, on the other hand, had one of the best games he's had in probably the better part of a year, because, given a spot start for the struggling Wilmer Flores, Tejada played a flawless game in the field and even chipped in with a pair of hits and scored the Mets' first run of the night. Granted, this is one game and he's been known to have decent games amidst the general dreck he puts out, but it's at least a positive sign that he's got a pulse and wants to take advantage of whatever opportunities he has left with the team. He's apparently going to get a start today as well, or at least that's what Gary Cohen said at the end of the night, spelling Herrera at 2nd Base, so maybe he'll make something of it. Maybe.

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