Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Forget The Old Guy

Citizen's Bank Park, or as I've called it, Steroid Field II, due to that weird jet stream that was built into the stadium that causes baseballs to fly out of it, has played host to some memorable Home Run performances by the Mets, most recently last season, when they hit 8 in one absurd August game. Last night, the Mets only hit a paltry 6 longballs, but the result was still the same: they won in a rout.

Two of their Home Runs came from Neil Walker, who's now got 6 in the early going and has, at least for now, made everyone forget about the dude he replaced at 2nd Base. This isn't much of a surprise to me; for as much as the Postseason explosion Daniel Murphy experienced last season was an amazing thing, that wasn't his career. Home Runs aren't necessarily Walker's thing either, but if anyone was skeptical over replacing Murphy with Walker, well, maybe they should think differently. The Mets aren't really losing anything by not having Murphy around anymore; if anything Walker's been a better, albeit less flashy player over the past several seasons. Of course, by less flashy, I mean Walker tends to not be the kind of player who's going to field a ground ball and immediately turn and take a flying leap to try and throw a runner out at 3rd, and he's not going to try to score from 2nd base on an infield single. Mostly, he'll make smart plays that don't leave you scratching your head. At least that's what we've seen so far.

Let's see. Other Home Runs came from Michael Conforto, whose 1st inning shot basically let the air out of Vince Velasquez's sails. Yoenis Cespedes got the rout in order with a 3-run shot in the 3rd. Lucas Duda hit his 2nd in as many days. Curtis Granderson joined the fun in the 8th inning. All this in support of Logan Verrett, who threw his second consecutive 6-shutout-inning-start, once again underscoring the embarrassment of riches this Mets pitching is. Verrett will be rewarded by going back to the bullpen as deGrom is set to return on Sunday with a happy and healthy heart, but he can also take heart in knowing that his spot was kept warm by Verrett's solid work.

This Home Run thing that the Mets are on, what is it, 17 in the last 5 games, is nice, but it's not always my favorite thing. Yes, the Mets can blast you off the field on their best nights, and sometimes it's good to remind people of that. But what would be nice is a little more balance, more innings where they score 2-3 runs and bang out 5 hits. They have this in them, I know. I guess when you're at Steroid Field II it's sort of hard to resist swinging for the downs. Especially when you're up by a wide margin and finally did some damage against these annoying Philly starters.

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