Thursday, June 11, 2015

Survival Of The Fits

The Mets actually won tonight, salvaging the final game of this series with the Giants by coming from behind twice before finally winning in the bottom of the 9th, thanks to Michael Cuddyer's 2-out RBI single.

This probably would have been another game where the Mets could have easily folded their tents. After Tuesday's lost affair, the Mets came back Wednesday and remembered to hit, but still forgot to drive in runs, while Harvey had a rather ignominious meltdown. Tonight, with Jon Niese on the mound, things appeared doomed before they even got started. The Giants opened up this game the same way they opened up the last two nights, by banging out a string of ringing hits that left Niese dazed, the Giants ahead 2-0 and the crowd apoplectic, although you probably wouldn't have noticed that third part for the swarms of Giants fans that continued to invade Citi Field.

Tim Lincecum, or a pale facsimile of such, had a Heston-esque start to his night, as the Mets hit column read "0" into the 4th inning. Lincecum, who himself has thrown No Hitters each of the last two seasons (and oddly none in his most dominant years) finally was reached by Travis d'Arnaud in the 4th inning, so at least the Mets fans could exhale. Being No hit once is bad enough. The spectre of two in three nights was probably bad enough for you to want to throw the entire season down the toilet. In fact, after the last two nights, you probably couldn't be blamed for feeling that way anyway. The mounting injuries to key players, the lack of said players returning (although d'Arnaud's return is more than welcome, as was Dilson Herrera's who came back tonight) and the piddling offense kind of gave every win more of a feeling of survival rather than triumph.

Tonight's game might ultimately feel the same way, but the Mets had to get to that point first. Niese, to his credit, did manage to settle down after the early fireworks, and in fact he helped his own cause with a 5th inning double that led to a pair of runs. Amazingly, this gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. Niese didn't hold this lead, although he didn't shed all the blame from this particular windmill because he grooved a 2-out pitch to Brandon Crawford, who sailed it into the Mets bullpen, but he wasn't helped by Eric Campbell, who put him in that position by making a 2-out error allowing Justin Maxwell to reach and extend the inning for Crawford in the first place.

So, everything was terrible until the Giants put Hunter Strickland in the game. You of course remember Strickland because he's the guy who spent most of October, 2014 with Joe Buck's head buried firmly up his ass because of his 100 mph heat. He's also the guy who spent most of October giving up Home Runs in key spots because he's an Oliver Perez and not a Bartolo Colon, to the point where he petulantly tried to pick a fight with the Royals in the World Series. Strickland entered the game in the 7th, was immediately peppered for 3 hits and a run, allowing the Mets to tie the game, and unfortunately was then removed.

Now re-tied, the Mets had to get themselves as far as they could until either they scored a run or someone screwed up and cost them another frustrating game. In the end, they got the run first, thanks primarily to Erik Goeddel and Jeurys Familia, the former of who's been kind of under-the-radar-good lately, and the latter, of course, has been great all year. So, in the 9th, the Mets would have to try to score against deposed Giants Closer Sergio Romo, whom they've hit in the past. Romo did a fine job of handing things over to the Mets, first by hitting Granderson with one out. Andrew Susac's passed ball put Granderson on 2nd, however Lagares failed to drive him in, and Lucas Duda was subsequently walked intentionally. This brought up Cuddyer. I'd mentioned in some previous season about how Romo will generally throw nothing but sliders off the plate to righthanded hitters until he gets into a position to Pearl Harbor the batter with a fastball. He beat Miguel Cabrera once that way. Josh Satin beat him that way by being patient. Cuddyer showed no need for patience by jumping on the first slider he saw and banging it up the middle for the winning hit.

And, after all that, the Mets weren't swept and embarrassed by the Giants. They were only embarrassed, seeing as how they still have to live with Tuesday's result. But at least they've managed to start getting healthy and start fighting back. Next here is Atlanta, always a fun group to have in town. Part of the reason the Mets have remained either at or near the top of the Division is because they've handled their division well. This should, I hope, bode well for the weekend.

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