Friday, June 12, 2015

Ground And Pound

In many instances over the past several years, the Mets have had games, and sometimes stretches of games, where the best they are able to muster are several singles and boatloads of Double Plays that short-circuit rallies and lead to annoying losses. I've seen games like this more times than I care to remember. So, when the Mets can turn the tide on their opponent and make them ground into multiple Double Plays in key moments, particularly late in games, it can feel quite gratifying. Tonight was one of those games. While clinging to a two-run lead in the late innings, the Mets allowed Braves to reach and in each of the last three innings were then able to get them to ground into DPs. This is not only a pitcher's best friend, it's a Manager's best friend and also the fans' best friend, and the result tonight, a 5-3 win over the Braves, speaks to the importance of the DP.

The beneficiary of these DPs were basically everyone that is on, or roots for the Mets. But that kind of goes without saying. The particular benefits went to Bartolo Colon, who although he induced none of the DPs, still earned his 9th win after his 6-inning effort, Alex Torres, who got Nick Markakis to ground into the first DP in the 7th before departing in favor of Carlos Torres, who got Kelly Johnson in the 8th, and, finally, Jeurys Familia, who shook off the expectant father jitters to get Markakis a second time to end the game in the 9th.

The Mets, who did manage to ground into 2 DPs of their own, did so without damaging their offensive output too much. This is because by time they hit into DPs, in the 5th, they already had a lead, and in the 8th, they had already extended said lead. They came at the hands of Michael Cuddyer and Eric Cambpell, and each of them, with one on and one out, ended an inning that probably wasn't going anywhere anyway. The innings in which they did score, they did so primarily by hitting balls where DPs would have been an impossible result, since Wilmer Flores and John Mayberry Jr. each hit Home Runs. It's hard to hit into a DP when the ball ends up in the seats. Mayberry figured heavily in the Mets 4th run, as he was on 2nd when Alex Wood made an ill-advised pickoff throw that way that sailed into the Outfield, sending Mayberry to 3rd where he eventually scored. The Mets final run came home by virtue of a Michael Cuddyer RBI single that drove home Darrell Ceciliani.

But the offense didn't tell the story this night. They only did what they were supposed to do. It was the pitchers, Colon, Torres, Torres and Familia, making the pitches they needed to make to get themselves out of jams and make the Braves, who have been kind of chippy lately, look more like the Barves they're supposed to be. These such efforts are why the Mets have managed to keep themselves in 1st place in June, however slight their lead may be.

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