Friday, April 29, 2016

Easier Than It Looks

After several days of Met-Deprivation, I was back in my rightful place on Wednesday night watching a game as it happened, live from my regular perch in Section 513 at Citi Field for my 3rd game of the season.

It was on the chilly side, as most April games tend to be, not nearly as Arctic as my last game but nonetheless far from pleasant. My other half had rejected an invitation to join me ("I'll wait until it's warmer out," she says) so I was there by myself, dashing out after work and trying to navigate the incessant security lines that are now the norm at Citi Field—a prescient reminder of what happens when you have a winning team and the chance to see a marquee pitcher most every night.

But Matt Harvey, though slowly improving, still isn't quite there yet. I hadn't yet reached my seat when Zack Cozart hit his 3rd pitch of the game into the Left Field seats, which spurred all sorts of catcalls and Harvey-bashing. Ivan DeJesus Jr followed by lining a pitch off of Harvey's ass—and quite squarely off his ass—for a single and at that point, Harvey was clearly steaming because he went into "enough of this fuckery" mode and struck out the next 5 batters he faced. That was the Harvey we were used to, but it didn't last long. The Reds, still boasting a Scheblerrific lineup featuring Joey Votto and his band of lesser men, kind of dinged Harvey to death. They loaded the bases in the 3rd inning, and only by some clever gamesmanship by Michael Conforto did they not score outright (One would think Billy Hamilton should have easily scored on Votto's floater, but it seems as though Conforto faked Hamilton into thinking he had a play on the ball and thus Hamilton could go no further than 3rd). They did score in the 5th, in a rather irritating sequence where several bloopers fell in, and Eugenio Suarez, their mighty cleanup hitter, drove home the run on what can only be described as a really well-placed flare. In the end, Harvey managed to make it through 6 innings and struck out 7, but when he had to battle, he really had to battle. It's still a work in progress, this fellow's season.

And yet, the game was never in that much doubt. Although the Mets were down early, they struck back quickly against Jon Moscot. Alejandro De Aza led off the 1st with a single and scored when Scott Schebler Scheblered on a Lucas Duda fly ball for an Error, and then Neil Walker drove home Duda. In the 3rd, Walker Daniel Murphy'd on a ground ball in the top of the inning which made things difficult for Harvey, so like a good teammate, Walker made up for this by hitting a Home Run in the bottom of the 3rd, which was my inaugural Mets Home Run for the 2016 season. After the Reds closed to 3-2, the Mets got two men on in the 6th against Brad Blake Wood. Rather than trying to play matchups, which I think Bryan Price intended to do on Tuesday night, he instead relieved Wood with another righty, Drew Hayes, to face Michael Conforto, and of course Conforto responded with his almost-daily extra-base hit, a double to the wall in Left-Center that scored both runs, put the Mets ahead 5-2, and made the rest of the game totally academic. The Mets seemed to have this game under control even when they fell behind early, and even Familia got the night off, as Collins went to Addison Reed in the 9th to finish off the game and give the Mets their 6th win in a row.

So, things now are really clicking for the Mets and they look like the genuine threat we knew they were capable of being. It's easy to be high on them when they're beating up on some lousy teams like Atlanta and Cincinnati, and it's not really to make light of them because everyone's trying to win, but really, all the Mets are doing right now is beating the teams that they're supposed to be beating, and that's what's most important here. A team that's got legitimate Championship aspirations shouldn't go 11-8 against the awful Braves or 4-3 against the Reds. They should be 15-4 and 6-1 against these teams. Let them go 11-8 against Washington, I'd take that. This was a really easy win against a team that they should have easy wins against.

No comments: