Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Make Yourself Useful

About 30 minutes in to tonight's Mets/Cardinals game, I was already formulating how I was going to once again rip into Jon Niese for another gutless performance, taking the mound injured, probably lying about it and pissing away a 3 run lead that was dropped in his lap in a crucial game that the Mets needed to win.

In reality, though, we really ought to thank Niese. Because he not only pitched poorly, but also got hurt (and again was probably hurt before he even hit the mound) in the 1st inning, he actually spared the Mets from an even greater disaster, and also allowed Fake deGrom Robert Gsellman to make his Major League Debut instead in what was tantamount to a start. Dropped into a virtually untenable situation, Gsellman buckled down in the sort of way we never see from Niese, stopped the Cardinals rally and kept them off the board for another 3 innings after that, allowing the Mets offense to rebuild a lead off of erratic Jaime Garcia and hold off the Cardinals late to win the opening game in St. Louis 7-4 and ruin the nights of the selfie-stick-waving Cardinal fans.

The conventional talk will focus on the Mets offense, which had a great night, taking advantage of Garcia early and Sam Tuivalala late, and got Home Runs from Wilmer Flores and Justin Ruggiano, but it really was the Pitching that won this game for the Mets. Never mind what Gsellman did, which ought to draw enough ink in and of itself (although whether or not it will remains to be seen), but following Gsellman, Josh Smoker threw two innings, allowing only a Randal Graves Home Run, and after that, Jerry Blevins, Jim Henderson (in his return to action following a lengthy injury), Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia held the Cardinals scoreless. That's not to say it was easy, because the Cardinals kept getting men on base all night, and we were essentially waiting for the Cardinals to do something typically Cardinal and annoying and caused their fans to slap each other with their seat cushions, but that never happened. Whenever a Mets pitcher needed to get a key out in this game, it seems that they were able to, and the end result is that the Cardinals were the ones left holding their jocks, leaving 11 men on base and not getting any closer than 6-4.

And, really, this is all because of Niese. I'd love to be able to rake him over the coals once again for basically pulling a Steve Trachsel and throwing the Mets further into the abyss and undoing all the good stuff they did over the weekend, but, you know, addition by subtraction. If Niese is hurt and has to miss some time, well, maybe that's not the worst thing in the world. And if Robert Gsellman really has the insides he displayed tonight, maybe we once again have something here. We could certainly use it.

No comments: