Friday, August 28, 2015

By Any Means Necessary

It took a long but ultimately gratifying 13 innings for the Mets to finish out their 9-5 win over the Phillies, and by doing so the Mets earned themselves a sweep of their friends 117 miles to their south. To take it a step further, the Mets finished off a road trip to remember, as they won 8 of the 9 games they played, including the last 7.

This finale had just about everything you could ask for in a Baseball game, except for, perhaps, brevity, but that seems to be something that goes out the window when the Mets and Phillies play. I don't recall how long these games went, but I believe the first three games ended close to 10:30, and this last game completed somewhere after 11.

It didn't look particularly encouraging early on. Once again I was a late arrival to the TV, and by that point Jon Niese had already had his Jon Niese inning, where he came unglued and allowed a 2-run single, a run-scoring fielder's choice and finally, with two outs of course, a 2-run Home Run to Darin Ruf. This left Niese glowering at the world and the Mets in a 5-0 hole, and quite honestly, you probably couldn't blame the Mets for putting up a stinker now after everything they've done lately.

On the other hand, the way the Mets have been going lately, a comeback wasn't out of the question either.

Given their standing, the Mets clearly felt it more important to go for the latter and set out to try their abilities against Aaron Harang. This did not take them very long to accomplish, as two innings and three Home Runs later, the game was tied. Travis d'Arnaud, Yoenis Cespedes and Kelly Johnson did the honors in this instance, pulling the Mets even before Philly knew what had hit them.

The game then dragged on further into the night. Harang and Niese both departed after 6 innings and it was then up to the bullpens to decide things. The Mets, of course, have had their relief issues lately and Philly, well, they've had trouble ever since they decided to go to a relief core consisting entirely of guys named Jake. They no longer have Jakes but things still aren't great. Still, they stood toe-to-toe with the Mets. Jeanmar Gomez and newly-anointed closer Ken Giles (who looks like the kind of guy who will light the Mets on fire) got things through the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th, while Logan Verrett, Hansel Robles and Sean Gilmartin did the same for the Mets. Carlos Torres entered the game for the Mets with 2 out in the 10th and, with Jeff Francoeur at the plate, conspired with Daniel Murphy for the play everyone's talking about or, perhaps, the Greatest Example of a Daniel Murphy play I've ever seen. We know what happened, Francoeur hit a pitch off of Torres' heel, the ball carroming to Murphy who dove, knocked the ball down, bobbled the ball, and somehow made a behind the back shovel to Torres who recovered well enough to cover 1st and beat Francoeur to the base. As I've said, Murphy in the field is always an adventure and because of this, for every time Murphy has one of his yips, he also sometimes will accidentally make a play like this. And, of course, Murphy hopped off the field in his usual awkward representation of glee.

However, this simply extended the game further into the night. Elvis Araujo came in for the 11th, pitched to one batter, and then left with a groin injury. Luis Garcia followed and probably tried to be a hero and pitch before he was warm, and the result was he walked two and nearly walked a 3rd except that Murphy helped him out by swinging at a sucker pitch and hitting into a DP.

It wasn't until the 13th that the Mets finally broke through, and of course it was started off by Carlos Torres who singled to lead off the inning and after Granderson singled as well, Daniel Murphy came up and drove them both in with a double to Left Field, moved to 3rd on the throw home and hopped around and screamed some more because, let's face it, this was probably the greatest day of his career. The Mets, however, weren't done against Hector NeriS, who subsequently heaved a throw into the seats and allowed a hit to Conforto that scored two more runs and basically sealed the fate of the game.

This is how it's been going for the Mets lately. They fall behind and come back. They make absurd defensive plays. Players who were the supposed weak links are all of a sudden coming through. The month of August is winding down now and I'm not sure I can remember the Mets having a month quite like this in years.

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