Friday, September 16, 2016

Cap Trade Friday

The Mets began their final homestand of the season Friday night, which is something that I usually look at kind of wistfully, although this year not so much. It seems as though it's arrived rather quickly this year. Maybe it always feels that way. This year, though, it has the odd juxtaposition of the overwhelmingly likely scenario that, come September 25th, the Mets will play their final home game of the season but nobody will know for certain whether or not it's actually going to be their final home game of the season.

Regardless, you want to enjoy the time we have left as much as possible, and I'll be at 4 games on this final homestand, the first of which was this evening, in a game against a team I've never actually seen play the Mets before, the Minnesota Twins. This isn't the first time I've seen the Twins--I in fact saw them play in Toronto three years ago--but now I get to cross them off the list of teams I've never seen play the Mets. This now leaves the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers as the lone teams I've never seen--and Texas will be in town next season.

But next year is rather far away and the Mets still have a Pennant Race to deal with and so the Mets and Twins were my 18th game of the season. I have gone over my choice of game hat over the years and for 2016 I'd been wearing a new hat, with the 2015 World Series logo on it. It's proven to be middling in terms of luck and at my last game, I discovered something rather disturbing about it. I'd bought it at size 7 1/2, thinking that was my preferred cap size. But it never fit properly. It seemed too large in some areas and just didn't look right. At my last game, my other half, who has taken to wearing my old game hats, was complaining about it and wondered why I didn't go back to wearing last year's game hat, a 2012 50th Anniversary cap, since that seemed to have much more luck in it. She was wearing it and I compared them, and of course that cap fit much better. Surprise, surprise, that cap was 7 3/8! No wonder I'd had the stink this year! I was wearing a cap that was too big. So, tonight, I wore the old hat. As you now know, the Mets won, 3-0. So I think, superstition being what it is, I have to go back to the old cap. The fate of the Mets depends on this.

The fate of the Mets also depends on guys who played key in tonight's win. Bartolo Colon was chief among them. Colon right now defies any and all logic and is just a force of nature that we should just sit back and marvel at. He befuddled a young and inexperienced Twins lineup for 7 innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 walks (both to Joe Mauer) and no runs while striking out 6. He walked Mauer in the 1st and immediately got Jorge Polanco to follow by hitting into a DP. In the 3rd inning, he allowed the Twins to load the bases with two outs, but managed to get Polanco to fly out. In the 4th, Max Kepler reached when Cespedes nonchalantly dropped a fly ball directly at him (he gave no fucks, in typical Cespedes fashion), but Colon then proceeded to pick Kepler off 1st base.

He'd been backed minimally, as all the Mets were able to muster off of Francisco Berrios and a bevy of obscure relievers with bland names to that point were back-to-back Home Runs by Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera in the 3rd. Berrios, who appears to be no older than 16, was ripe for the taking, as he had demon stuff but little control and seemed content to hand the Mets plenty of runners, but a key hit never came. Berrios was gone after 4 innings, and outside of one rally in the 7th inning that culminated with an RBI single from Yoenis Cespedes.

It seemed like it would be a coast to the finish; the Twins were overmatched by Colon, and again by Addison Reed in the 8th, but in the 9th Jeurys Familia made things unnecessarily sweaty by walking Mauer, and then with two outs walking Kurt Suzuki, the only two players in the Twins lineup who seem to have any sort of Major League tenure to them, and this brought up a rather burly gentleman named Kennys Vargas. Vargas hit a towering fly ball out to Left which, for a second, looked horrifyingly like it might land in a bad place, but it didn't quite have the legs and Cespedes settled under it and allowed everyone to exhale as he gloved it for the final out.

So, now 15 games remain for the Mets and they're still holding steady in that 2nd Wildcard spot, and still sandwiched directly in between the Cardinals and Giants, who happen to be playing each other at press time. It may end up being that the Giants will hold on to the 1st Wildcard spot, but if they can continue to beat the Cardinals and open up a little distance between them and the Mets, that would be just as helpful. As usual, the Mets just need to worry about themselves. That seems to be the most important thing here.

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