Monday, April 18, 2016
Sometimes Sunny in Cleveland
After getting his ass lit on fire on Monday, Steven Matz came back on Sunday in Cleveland and basically did the exact opposite. Being staked to a 3-run lead before he hit the mound I'm sure helped, but mostly Matz did the job himself, striking out 9 over 7 shutout innings as the Mets left Cleveland victorious, 6-0.
It was one of those painfully sunny days in Cleveland, the sort of sunshine that might be reserved for a Sunday in Atlanta. But here it was in Cleveland in April, and I can tell you that although it's not often Sunny in Cleveland, when it does get sunny, it gets really sunny. My lone experience at Jacobs Field was on a sunny day and I can tell you I basically cooked out there down the 1st base line, that's how glaringly bright it can get. Though the stadium is situated in downtown Cleveland, there's no real tall buildings around to speak of and I guess the field is actually built below ground level, so the top tiers of the seating bowl aren't quite as high as, say, Citi Field, and so when the sun is out, that can create some tough conditions for an Outfielder.
That being said, I'm merely stating this as fact, I'm not really coming to the defense of Rajai Davis. Davis, of course had a rather embarrassing 2nd inning meltdown that led to 3 Met runs and put the game essentially out of reach. Corey Kluber had already dug himself a hole in the 1st inning thanks to Michael Conforto, who has risen to the occasion of being the #3 hitter rather nicely, and Lucas Duda, who drove home the first 3 runs. But it was that second inning that really took the cake, because with 2 out and nobody on, Curtis Granderson hit a drive out to left-center that appeared catchable. Slightly difficult, but catchable, and when Davis went back toward the wall, it seemed like he had it lined up until he didn't and the ball landed not particularly close to him. Granderson being Granderson ended up on 3rd Base. The Mets capitalized on this immediately as Asdrubal Cabrera laid down a beauty of a bunt and caught everyone napping, particularly Kluber, who fielded the ball and hurled it into Right Field for an error. Conforto did what seems to be the norm for him and smoked another double down the right field line, and then Yoenis Cespedes capped the inning by hitting a routine fly ball to Center, and right off the bat you could see it was trouble because Davis looked just as uncomfortable as he did on Granderson's fly. This time, Davis crumpled completely before the ball landed not especially close to him as Conforto scored.
Mercifully, that was the end of Davis' sun escapades and the scoring for the game. Regardless, the damage was done and in particular I'm mystified as to how an Outfielder can have so much trouble with the sun in his home ballpark. The Mets, on the other hand, looked rather comfortable all day, probably because Matz had the Indians on a sleeperhold through his 7 innings of work, looking rather in rhythm in spite of Keith Hernandez yelling about him tipping his pitches. Tipping your pitches isn't great, but sometimes you're in such a good groove that you could let the batter know what pitch is coming and they still won't hit it (I believe Sandy Koufax made his living that way).
So the Mets are now done with American League parks until August, and can now worry about taking care of teams in their own division. They're hitting, the pitching is rounding into form, now keep it going.