Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Believe What You See

If you stayed up past midnight here in New York to watch the opener of the Mets series in San Francisco, you probably saw enough odd things to make you think you might have fallen asleep and woken up in some weird alternate dimension, but it's true. These things actually happened.

First, Jon Niese, who's been at or near the top of The Ballclub's shitlist all season for his general lack of consistency, his constant moping around and his inability to perform to the level of his talent, had what was easily his best outing of the season. Niese worked 8 innings against the Giants and basically tied them up in knots all night. I know that the Giants were featured on The Biggest Game In The Galaxy last night and then had to fly cross country and play tonight, but you still have to go out there and make good pitches, and Niese did that. Sure, he had his moments, the Giants had him on the ropes in the 6th inning, but he was able to worm his way out of a bases loaded jam (no thanks to Daniel Murphy, who lollipopped a throw to 1st on Posey's 2-out ground ball that Posey nearly beat out, and if I were Niese, or basically anyone on the Mets roster, I might have had to restrain myself from choking Murphy at that particular moment) to keep his shutout intact. For the night, Niese threw 8 innings, gave up 3 hits, 2 walks and struck out 4, and as strange as it seems, for as lousy as Niese has looked at times, his ERA sits at a reasonable 3.58. So perhaps he'll pull a Lucas Duda in the second half and shut me up.

This was all well and good, but the Mets still were unable to solve Chris Heston. At least this time around, the Mets managed to get a hit off of him, which Ruben Tejada took care of with a 1st inning single. So there's that. But when it came down to a key hit, the Mets did nothing. The Giants even handed the Mets three Errors, two of which were by Heston, but the Mets wouldn't take the bait. Johnny Monell hit into a Double Play, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who mysteriously resurfaced on the roster, also did nothing of note, and Juan Lagares misjudged a Granderson pop fly that was misjudged by the entire left side of the Giants defense and was thrown out at 2nd base in a key spot.

But then, in the 9th inning of this 0-0 game, something really weird happened. First, Michael Cuddyer got a hit off of Sergio Romo after falling behind in the count 0-2. Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed, and he attempted to bunt and didn't look very good in doing so, and after falling behind 0-2, did not attempt any more bunts. But Romo couldn't throw a strike and on a 3-2 pitch, with Cuddyer running, Nieuwenhuis slapped a double past B Belt at 1st and down the right field line, giving the Mets runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. This was good, but then again the Mets seem to always managed to screw up in this situation. The next man up was Johnny Monell, who's done nothing of particular consequence in the opportunities he's had. He fell behind 0-2 against Santiago Casilla. But then he connected for a double to right to score both runs and give the Mets the lead. Two batters later, Juan Lagares singled home Monell and the Mets somehow had plated 3 in the 9th. This, in Jeurys Familia's hands was pretty much a done deal and the Mets somehow not only won this game 3-0, but also assured themselves of no worse than a .500 record on this West Coast trip.

Cuddyer! Nieuwenhuis! Monell! How do you explain that? The Mets win a game thanks to a stick in the mud, a 4-A spare part and a backup's backup. Sometimes, it's hard to believe it when the Mets pull a game out of their ass like this, but this actually did happen.

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