Friday, August 14, 2015

Pole Positioning

Thursday's series finale against the Colorados was, of course, a 12:10pm game which meant that the game started without me realizing it. Only after the Colorados reached Noah Syndergaard for a pair of solo Home Runs in the top of the 1st inning and a friend texted me to let me know did I become aware that the game had begun. This isn't to say that I forgot there was a game. I knew the game was happening in the afternoon, I just lost track of what time it was. With the Mets in prime position to step on the throat of a clearly overmatched Colorado team, this wasn't an encouraging start; Syndergaard was having the kind of inning he'd been prone to on the road, not so much at home.

Then the rest of the game happened and things went back to normal. The Mets bombarded hapless Colorado rookie Eddie Butler for 6 runs in 4 innings and went on to plate runs in 6 of 8 innings. Curtis Granderson homered, Kelly Johnson homered, even Juan Lagares came off the bench and joined the Home Run fun and the Mets finished off their 4 game sweep with a resounding 12-3 victory to further prove that ney don't stink anymore.

I didn't see the game, of course, since I was at work, and as such my ability to follow along was kind of limited but what I do know, aside from what I already discussed, was that Syndergaard settled down after his early issues and managed to push himself through 7 innings on only 94 pitches after early on it looked as though 5 innings would have been tough to pull off. But part of what's made Syndergaard look as good as he's been hyped up to be is the fact that like Harvey and deGrom he's taught himself how to pitch and how to adjust on the fly when something might not be working for him. Syndergaard only managed 5 strikeouts for the game, which is telling when you know he's capable of ringing up 10 or more any time he takes the mound. But Harvey did this on Tuesday, to some extent deGrom did it and on Thursday Syndergaard dialed himself back a bit and sacrificed lighting up the radar gun and blowing everyone away in favor of making the batters hit the ball, thereby resulting in his throwing fewer pitches and keeping himself in the game longer. For a power pitcher to be able to pull this off with some regularity is impressive. The Mets now have 3 guys who can do this basically on a whim and this is important as innings limits are pushed and games become heavier and sweatier and of greater importance.

Meanwhile, as the Mets keep winning games, Washington continues to lose games (and at press time their game in San Francisco is not quite done but seems to be headed towards a favorable result), which underscores just how important it is for the Mets to continue to beat these bad teams. While Washington has had a hard time out West, the Mets are done with the California teams for one, and for two they've managed to open up a now 4-game lead. I still think Washington's got one good hot streak left in them, and case history scares the shit out of every Mets fan right now, but this is as good as it's been in a long time and the more the Mets can open up a lead and keep the pressure on Washington, the more this groundswell can continue to snowball down the stretch.

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