Monday, June 15, 2015

Gee, A Comeback!

The Mets charged out on Sunday afternoon and for at least 4 innings looked every bit like I was right and they were completely dead in the water after Saturday's game. However, in reality, it wasn't a blown game hangover so much as a Dillon Gee hangover. After Gee was raked over the coals for 8 runs in 3.2 forgettable innings, the Mets were both dazed and down 8-3. However, from that point forward, they woke up and hit back. 4 Mets relievers combined to allow the Braves no further runs, while the offense, which has a lot more teeth now that Travis d'Arnaud and Dilson Herrera are back, blew up for 4 Home Runs (two, not surprisingly, off the bats of the two guys I just mentioned), and kicked the Barves in the teeth for Saturday's result by winning the game, 10-8.

The game had all the trappings of a Barnburner from the outset. Atlanta reached Dillon Gee for a run in the first, courtesy of a Freddie Freeman (who else) RBI single. The Mets scraped across a run of their own in the bottom of the 1st off of Mike Foltynewicz (whom I referred to as "Fidrych-like," when he appeared in last season's finale whilst pitching for the Astros, but seeing him up close I see I was mistaken, he's just a hairy guy), but then the roof caved in on Gee. Braves were reaching base, Braves were creating havoc, Gee gave up a 3-run Home Run to Jace Peterson with 2 out in the 2nd, and another 2-out RBI hit in the 3rd, and by the 4th everyone was teeing off on him, even Old Nick Markakis and Fat Juan Uribe, and he was mercifully pulled before the 4th was finished. I know that Gee is a competitor and he's been a solid, important part of the rotation for several seasons, but he needs a change of scenery now. It's not completely his fault, the Mets have kind of jerked him around this season between the Bullpen and the Rotation and not allowing him to settle into a role, but he also hasn't responded well to the adversity. He had a spot in the rotation early in the season and had he pitched better he might have hung on to it, but he got hurt and since he's returned he's been patently awful. The same thing happened to him last season, when he was usurped by deGrom. This year, he was pushed back by Syndergaard, and he responded to this by getting hit hard in San Diego and getting blasted today, and in his one relief outing last Tuesday, he basically set one up on a tee for Joe Panik to hit it into Sammy's Tire Shack across 126th Street. You don't need to be a body language expert to see he's not happy, and at this point the best thing for him would have to be a trade. I don't think there's any way about it.

So, with Gee done, it was now up to the Mets to try to battle back against Foltynewicz, who wasn't exactly mowing the Mets down either. In the 3rd, he'd allowed the Mets to extend a little rally long enough for Wilmer Flores to drive in two runs with a single, and in the 4th, he served up a pair of Home Runs, first to Darrell Ceciliani, who earned a pair of starts this weekend and really ran with the opportunity, coming up with multiple key hits, his 1st Major League Home Run, and some fine defensive plays, and second to Dilson Herrera, who showed his sneaky power by really blasting a no-doubt shot into the seats in Left.

This brought the Mets to within 8-5, as the Mets turned the game over to the bullpen. Sean Gilmartin, who's been mostly under the radar this season, was the first to appear. Gilmartin, of course, is the Rule 5 guy, so he's going to be here all season, and as such has been mostly spotted in low-pressure situations or mop-up duty. But here, he needed to eat a couple of innings and keep the Braves in check, and by golly that's what he did. His two innings of work were probably the two most crucial innings he'd been handed to this point this season, and he responded by allowing the Braves all of 1 walk and 3 strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Mets clawed back even further, knocking Foltynewicz out of the box after a Duda single in the 5th and finally making their way into the hideous part of the Barves bullpen. First, Brandon Cunniff entered the game and was rudely greeted by Travis d'Arnaud, who smoked a line drive Home Run down the Left Field line. d'Arnaud has done nothing but hit since coming off the DL on Wednesday night, so the power wasn't too much of a surprise here. This comes with time, but mostly it's good to see that d'Arnaud has come back with the same furor as he had before he got hurt.

One inning later, the Mets found themselves in the lead. Cunniff had departed in favor of Luis Avilan, but the Mets remained undeterred. Michael Cuddyer, given a routine day off, pinch hit for Gilmartin and singled. Granderson followed with a single of his own, setting the stage for Juan Lagares to hit a screamer down the line, towards the corner and over the wall for a 3-run Home Run, the Mets 4th in 3 innings, to drag the Mets all the way back and put them ahead for the first time. Amazingly, this team that's had trouble scoring 10 runs in a week had now managed to put up 10 runs in one game, and not only did they do that, they did it with the benefit of 4 Home Runs. Sometimes, they have these games, but it's good that they picked Sunday as a day to do it.

But now, with a lead, they had to get through the remainder of the game. Bobby Parnell entered for the 7th, and it's unfortunate to say, but Parnell looks like a shell of his former self right now. This seemed to be the case even before he had the Big Boy Surgery, but his mechanics are all out of whack. He looks much too loose with his delivery and the velocity he once had, when he regularly would throw around 100mph, is gone. Parnell with a repertoire of 91-92mph heat isn't quite so fearsome and I wouldn't expect him to close again. But unless he goes to Bartolo Colon school, he might not be long for the club in general. Still, he got through the 7th unscathed, thanks primarily to a Christian Bethancourt Double Play. Hansel Robles entered in the 8th and appeared to have recovered from his Saturday debacle, but still gave up a 2-out hit to Cameron Maybin.

At this point, nobody was in any mood to fuck around, and with Jeurys Familia back with the team, he was summoned for the 4-out Save, and he owes Dilson Herrera a dinner for getting that 1st out on Freeman, who hit a ground ball that was ticketed to Center Field until Herrera dove, gloved the ball, and then flipped the ball with said glove to Flores at 2nd base in time for the out. Familia worked through a less eventful 9th inning to pick up the Save and give the Mets probably their most rousing victory of the season, on the heels of one of their most deflating losses. What a difference a day makes.

Next in town are the Toronto Blue Jays, for two here and two in Toronto, which means the return of old friends R.A. Dickey (who won't pitch here) and Jose Reyes. It also means the return of the Canadian National Anthem, which will be performed at Citi Field for the first time this week (remember, the Blue Jays haven't played the Mets here since 2001). It also means the Mets will have the tall task of facing a team that's won 11 in a row and has been absolutely bludgeoning everyone in sight. Everyone on this team hits Home Runs with abandon, so a) It's good that the Mets offense woke up and b) Let's see if the Mets pitching can keep these guys in check.

No comments: