Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Drawing Ever Closer

The Mets hacked another number off their magic number on Monday night by hacking the Miami Marlins with a trio of longballs, all of which left the field of play, two of them on the fly. These three swings produced the runs necessary to pull off yet another, albeit much less dramatic, comeback win as the Mets won 4-3.

It was kind of a mild crowd at Citi Field, where I was out for my 19th game of the season, and my first that didn't involve one of the "conventional" Mets starters. On the season, I've managed to spread my pitchers out pretty evenly, Harvey has been on the mound 5 times, Colon 4, Syndergaard and deGrom 3, Niese 2 and Matz 1, and now I can add Logan Verrett to this bunch since he took the ball in the Harvey location. Granted, Verrett possesses neither the repertiore nor the élan of Harvey, and perhaps this sort of put the crowd, at my estimate a good 20, maybe 22,000 strong, in a rather lethargic mood. Not that it was a bad night for a game, it just wasn't a very lively game.

The crowd probably wasn't helped by the fact that both Verrett and his Marlin counterpart Justin Nicolino worked at a Trachsel-like pace in the early going. The Mets got a 1st inning double from David Wright that went nowhere, and had two men on in the 2nd, but came away with nothing. In the 3rd, Juan Lagares led off with an infield hit, but when David Wright followed with a fly ball to center, he had the ill-advised idea to tag up and take off for 2nd, challenging the arm of Christian Yelich who threw him out by a good 10 feet. Lagares would have been wise to stay put, particularly after Yoenis Cespedes hit the next pitch to the Whitestone Bridge. Cespedes has deserved all the superlatives laid upon him since he's arrived here in New York; I don't think he's actually going to win MVP but considering that the Mets have gone from dead to not dead rather dramatically, well, there's something to be said for that. At this point Cespedes is so hot it's comical. This particular Home Run had the height to reach the upper deck in Left Field but didn't quite have the legs to get there but then again it left the field in about 2.6 seconds. It then took Cespedes a good 45 seconds to round the bases, because, clearly, he don't give a fuck.

This, then, was the offense in the game, at least until the 5th when Verrett ran out of steam and the Marlins Marlined him to death, getting two singles from Derek Dietrich (aka Cody Ross 2.0) and J.T. Realmuto (second coming of John Baker) and then a run scoring ground out. Sean Gilmartin entered the game in the 6th and was promptly greeted by Dee Gordon bunting on him and only by some good fortune did he not go further after Gilmartin heaved the ball into Right Field. Nonetheless, this wasn't a good start and after the Marlins did their usual Stupid Marlin Tricks they scored two runs. Guess who drove them in. Dietrich and Realmuto.

So, now it's 3-1 Marlins and this crowd that already kind of seemed bored was about to fall asleep. Nicolino had been hittable but the Mets were falling into their old habit of not getting that finishing hit. But, they did when they needed to. After Nicolino got the first two men out in the last of the 6th, Juan Uribe did a very Juan Uribe thing and doubled to left. Travis d'Arnaud followed and fouled off a bunch of pitches before finally locking in on something and blasting it out over the Center Field fence to tie the game. Woo hoo!

In the 7th inning, Kyle Barraclough (Bearoclaw?) came in and immediately made his own life difficult by walking Wilmer Flores, and then walking Curtis Granderson, but he'd managed to get himself two outs and David Wright up, but Wright got the better of him, hitting a long drive over Yelich's head in Center Field that one-hopped over the wall. This, of course, proved to be one of Baseball's annoying little wrinkles because Granderson on one leg would have scored on this hit, but of course he ended up getting sent back to 3rd. I believe that there's some rule that says an umpire can send the trail runner home if he deems that said runner could have scored on a ground-rule double. If such a rule does exist, this would have been the place to invoke it. But that didn't happen and so the score remained 4-3.

Addison Reed took the ball in the 8th inning rather than Tyler Clippard, which was a good thing because as I'd mentioned over the weekend, Clippard could use a few days' rest. Reed did what was necessary and in the 9th inning Jeurys Familia also did what was necessary and the Mets as a team did what was necessary to win the game, shave another day off the clock and maintain their lead in the division. So, all in all a good night. Perhaps not the most exciting night, but at this point I'll take a win no matter how it's achieved. I think anyone will.

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