Tuesday, August 11, 2015

In Better Times

The Colorados make their annual visit to Citi Field this week, and once again it's some weird 4-day weekday series and of course I have a ticket to one of the games (Tuesday). But for whatever reason, and at least now I can laugh about it because the Mets are doing well, every time the Colorados come in to town I have to think about the time they came in in August of 2012, with a record of 46-73, when their entire team was on the DL and they literally were running relief pitchers out to start games and pitch 3 innings, and they somehow swept the Mets 4 games because the Mets forgot that they were an actual Major League Baseball team and they should play as such. It was such an overwhelming debacle that I deemed the game I attended "Turd Sandwich Night," but more noteworthy, it inspired perhaps the most epic Mike Francesa meltdown of all time, where he came on the air after the final game and literally screamed his head off for 10 minutes, punctuating his tirade with a phrase that has stuck with me ever since: "NNNNNNNEY STINK!" At the time, yes, he was right. Ney did stink.

Fortunately, now, ney do not stink and the Colorados are in a rebuilding mode so the Mets, if they know what's good for them, ought to fare well in this series. Although if you look up and down the Colorados lineup they do have some legitimate talent, particularly since Carlos Gonzalez has stayed healthy and Nolan Arenado's bat has caught up with his glove. Also, guys like D.J. LeMahieu and Nick Hundley have managed to find themselves flirting with .300 but perhaps it's the rarefied air.

Regardless, none of them fared especially well against Jon Niese, who once again had a fine outing, allowing only a 2-run Home Run to Gonzalez in the 4th inning, which I'll give him a pass on even if it's a lefty/lefty spot because Gonzalez has been destroying everything lately. This particular inning then nearly unraveled into a Jon Niese Inning because these things happen, and perhaps back in 2012 when ney stank it would have, but Niese instead decided he'd better stone up and fix his own issues, and he did.

However the Mets could manage nothing against Jon Gray, the rookie pitcher who undoubtedly has an uphill climb as a member of the Colorados and may be ruined by altitude but nonetheless was drafted but one slot after Baseball Jesus so he can't be all bad. But the Colorados are protective of their young investment and thus he was finished for the game after 6 innings and 75 pitches in spite of the fact that the only hit he'd allowed was a Travis d'Arnaud Home Run.

Gray was replaced by Justin Miller, who succeeded only in allowing the Mets to load the bases, and when Walt Weiss then relieved Miller with Boone Logan, Logan made things worse by hitting Curtis Granderson to bring home the tying run, and then giving up a 2-run single to Daniel Murphy to bring home the lead runs. The bullpen then brought it home from there and the Mets got themselves back on track with a 4-2 win to open the series.

This was, certainly, the kind of game the Mets wouldn't have won when ney stank. Terry Collins said as much. Were it back then, Granderson, or whoever Granderson's 2012 equivalent would be, maybe Andres Torres or worse, Jordany Valdespin probably would have jumped out of their shoes to swing at a slider 4 feet off the plate and either popped out or struck out and the Mets wouldn't have gotten a hit the rest of the game. It's nice when ney don't stink.

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