Sunday, July 24, 2016
In Your Face
Like Saturday night, I was out and about during the day and so the game only existed on my phone, but the Mets did what they needed to do. Really, the only thing they needed to do was just to Beat the Marlins, and they did that, but they also did a few decent things en route to their 3-0 victory.
First of all, Steven Matz, who by my count was looking very much like a shoo-in for NL Rookie of the Year back in June but then fizzled out in a string of inconsistent starts, injury worries and general malaise which happens sometimes. But he'd been slowly but surely regaining some of his luster and this afternoon he was great, firing 6 shutout innings at the Marlins, a team that's given him problems on more than one occasion.
Then, there was Jose Reyes, who tripled for the second time in 3 days and, well, is there anything more Baseball than a Jose Reyes triple? This one drove in Michael Conforto, who had a fine afternoon making his first ever start in Center Field and put the Mets out in front 1-0. Later, Yoenis Cespedes and James Loney provided insurance runs. Cespedes doing positive things isn't really of note since this has been going on all year, but lost in this stretch of season has been how much Loney has contributed. For somebody who was just expected to be a fill-in and hold the line without killing the team, Loney has really played well, much better than anyone would have expected, particularly on the offensive side of things. He's done it rather quietly, but think about how many times Loney has come up and come through, such as he did on Friday night, to give the Mets important insurance runs, or today providing the same. On a team that's struggled so much with driving in runs, Loney's contributions have been massive.
So after everything that's gone on, in this road trip that feels like it's been a month long, the Mets finished out 5-4, which is better than going 4-5, or the 2-7 it's sometimes felt like. They did nothing to especially help their chances in the standings, which isn't great, but they also didn't kill themselves either, except that they've lost 9 games worth of time. They did manage to go 4-2 within the division, which is nice. But otherwise, does anyone feel much better about the team now than they did when the second half started? I'm still not sure what I'm watching. They still have 3 games of massive importance against the Cardinals this week to start off a 9-game homestand. These woods are not parting just yet.