Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Gremlins 2

It's worth noting that my other half and I are moving on Friday. Our lives at this point have essentially been reduced to boxes and more boxes, with a healthy dose of boxes.

As such, I haven't been able to watch these games in their entirety the last couple of days, and will probably see even less the next couple of days. This is just as well; it will spare my sanity the cost of having to deal with being subjected to the Subway Series and all the garbage that comes along with it.

I saw about two innings on Tuesday night and that was probably two innings too many. Jacob deGrom, whom I'd hoped might be above an attack of the Subway Series, instead succumbed to it in the 3rd inning. It was at that point that I remembered that deGrom actually began his career by having a Subway Series, so this was like coming full circle for him. At any rate, he gave up a double to Pepé Torreyes (who if you'll look closely at him, might just be the embodiment of Subway Series) to begin the 3rd inning, and he scooted up on one ground out and then scored on an Aaron Hicks single. Fortunately, Hicks did not stand there and preen this time. That was bad enough. One inning later, deGrom walked Franch Headley with two outs, and then gave up a line drive to Jacoby Ellsbury. Were this line drive hit in basically any other ballpark, it's probably a single, at most a double and not a long double at that. Of course, the environs being Steroid Field I, it landed in the Right Field seats for probably the biggest piece-of-crap 2-run Home Run I've ever seen. I would think most Mets fans reacted the same way deGrom did, by screaming and swearing into his mitt, and rightfully so because he knew. He knew he'd been done in by a Subway Series again.

Then, we were out, actually moving things to our new place of residence, and then a stop for dinner. So we didn't see the rest of the game, which again was just as well. Stubby Gray mowed down the Mets who looked mostly lifeless, until Dominic Smith hit his first Major League Home Run in the 7th inning. This made the score 4-2. deGrom worked into the 8th before departing, allowing a 6th inning Home Run to Gary Sanchez and a mess in the 8th that led to a 5th run. That 5th run of course being the Subway Series run, as in the 9th, Amed Rosario hit a 2-run Home Run off Aroldis Chapman that made the score 5-4...and thus ensured the Mets would lose by 1 run instead of 3 runs.

Had enough yet? I have. I'm actually glad I won't get to see much, if any, of the next two games and believe me, I had zero intention of actually going to those games. None for me, thanks. I'm driving.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Night of the Gremlins

There are few things in Baseball I've grown to loathe more than the annual Subway Series. It used to be something I'd get excited for, but now it feels like a chore in the midst of an already arduous season. And I feel this way even when the Mets are going well. These games always seem to happen at the worst time of the season, and nothing good ever happens. In fact, usually it's just full of dumb shit and generally it's the Mets who end up looking stupid. I talked about this last season, but it's like they become haunted by a gremlin whenever the Subway Series comes to town.

It happened again last night. I mean, it's bad enough that this season started with all this talk about New York becoming a Mets town again, followed immediately by the Mets turning to mush. But now we have to be subjected to four days of the new masturbatory fantasy of Baseball, Aaron Judge, thrown in our faces. We get it. He's the new now and the Mets are duh stoopid slobs. He hits 800 foot Home Runs and snaps trees in half with his bare hands. I feel like every time he comes to the plate, their fans break into this Stromboli-esque chant, pounding their fists on the table, yelling "JUDGE! JUDGE! JUDGE! JUDGE! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! JUDGE! JUDGE! JUDGE!" He already broke the Home Run record before the All Star break, in case you weren't aware, and you wouldn't notice that he's slumped substantially since then, but of course the Subway Series is here so you can expect him to hit 8 Home Runs this week. He got one down in the 6th inning off Rafael Montero, which erased an early 2-0 Mets lead and tied the score, and set off this amateurish, vertigo-inducing disco light show at Steroid Field I.

To his credit, Montero pitched surprisingly well in a ballpark that has a 200' Right Field line, only allowing 2 runs in his 6 innings of work. The Mets got a pair of Home Runs from Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson in the 3rd off of Luis Cessa (because you knew Granderson would hit a Home Run in SF1) but nothing further and so when the game went late and the Mets summoned Hansel Robles, well, you knew it was a matter of time before the gremlins got him.

Robles pitched a fine 7th and really it would have been fine to get him there, but noooooo. Collins sent him back for the 8th where predictably he gave up a leadoff Home Run to Aaron Hicks, who blasted it and stood and styled while Robles stood there with that dopey puss on his face because the Subway Series got him again. Robles was then replaced with Erik Goeddel which isn't quite an improvement, as evidenced by the fact that Gary Sanchez, who will spend the rest of his career trading high on two hot months last season, hit another Home Run and that pretty much threw the game down the toilet.

I'd say we should just throw the rest of the week down the toilet. I just hope the Mets don't get swept this week. Tonight's deGrom, so that's probably our best chance. Hopefully he's immune to the Subway Series. Otherwise, we're screwed.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sloppy Sundays

The Mets finished out their weekend in Philadelphia with a 6-2 victory that sort of belies the total shit show that this game was, chock full of errors, misplays, bad pitching, poor pacing and everything else that makes a game difficult to watch. When the game has been on for 90 minutes and you're only in the 4th inning, you know something's gone haywire. It seems fitting that this would happen on a Sunday, when nothing has generally gone right for the Mets. Today's win, I believe, was the first time they'd won a Sunday game since the first Sunday in April. You know, back when there was still hope in this season.

The Mets led the game throughout thanks to a 1st inning Home Run from Michael Conforto and, later, a 5th inning Home Run by Curtis Granderson. In between, a lot happened without much going on. The Mets starter, Chris Flexen, looked a little more like the nervous rookie from San Diego, but with the results of his last start against Texas because the Phillies couldn't get out of their own way. They had men on base and were primed to strike, but poor Rhys Hoskins, who made his Major League debut on Thursday and by Sunday still hadn't picked up his 1st hit, could only ground out. Hoskins did get his knock in the 5th, which loaded the bases, however it was immediately followed by Nick Williams hitting a shallow fly to center. The runner on 3rd, Freddy Galvis, did not try to score. However, Odubel Herrera, who was on 2nd, did, and the result was that Herrera wound up pulling up near 3rd with a Hansel Robles-esque puss on his face.

That sort of typified the day. Flexen managed only to get through 5 innings while Zach Eflin, another one of these young Philly starters who looks greener than a bunch of broccoli, made it a few batters into the 6th. Flexen was replaced by Chasen Bradford. Now, Bradford has been up and down a few times as far as I can tell but every time he shows up, I have no idea who he is. He's the Met Mystery. I'd never heard of him before this season, when I first saw him I kept thinking "who the hell is 46" and just assumed he was Fernando Salas and had changed his number (before I saw that he had a big, bushy beard). But with all these moves and machinations of the season I guess Bradford is here to stay so I probably should try to familiarize myself with him a little more. I'll try to do a better job of that from here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Out East Again

Last year was, as I'd deemed it, the "Summer of Long Island." Various personal matters kept dragging me out to assorted places in Nassau (and sometimes Suffolk) County, usually on weekend days which my other half and I would then turn into odd little adventures that would result in me missing entire Mets games and as such not having much to say.

This happened again yesterday, not so much because of personal matters, more out of wanderlust, but as a result, I didn't see the game last night and so I have nothing to say which is just as well because based on the results, there probably wasn't much to say anyway.

I have about as much to say about the game as I do about the Neil Walker trade. This was coming and not at all surprising to me. I realize that these trades at this point are more about just clearing out salary and getting some sort of a return, which is fine. Walker woefully underperformed his Qualifying Offer this season after a very nice year last year that was cut short and, well, everything I'd say about this trade, I said 3 days ago after the Bruce trade. So if you're not sure, just go read that. Just don't read comments about it on Facebook because those tend to just make me angry.

Friday, August 11, 2017

New Guy Makes Good

I mentioned yesterday that it was good for Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith to be up and playing every day now, because it gives them a chance to get their sea legs in a mostly pressure-free situation. These two were both on display this evening in Philadelphia, where Smith was making his Major League debut, and picking up his first hit on a chopper single in the 4th inning. Meanwhile, Rosario, veteran of 10 ML games, had what could be looked at as one of those "arrival" games, picking up 3 hits, being central to a pair of rallies, and then capping his night by hitting his 1st Major League Home Run in the 9th inning of a tie game and giving the Mets a 7-6 victory.

Granted, I, of course, immediately thought of another instance where a Met wearing #1 hit a 9th inning, tie-breaking Home Run in Philadelphia, but I have a feeling Rosario has more staying power than Jordany Valdespin (unless you enjoy his being memorialized on the SNY pre-and post-game shows). I think we'll get a few more of these "feel-good" moments from Rosario before this season's out.

He'd already interjected himself into the game plenty by the 9th. After Seth Lugo spotted the Phillies a 3-0 lead, the Mets did what they usually do in Philadelphia and hit their way back into things. Michael Conforto led off the 2nd with a Home Run, and then after Rosario singled to lead off the 3rd and Neil Walker walked, Yoenis Cespedes hit a 3-run Home Run and the Mets had the lead off of Nick Pivetta, whom I'm not totally sure about because I don't follow the Phillies, but I suspect he may be a "Trades High/Great Stuff" guy.

But Philly re-tied the game against Lugo and things kind of went back-and-forth from there. Mets took the lead in the 5th—again after Rosario led off the inning with a hit—Phillies battled back and tied the game when Carlos Hernandez hit a Home Run off of Jerry Blevins in the 8th. But then that only set the stage for Rosario in the 9th, and this Mets win. The way this season has played out, I feel like Mets fans need a win like this just to get them off the ledge. At least for a few minutes.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Happy-ish Place

Philadelphia in recent years has been a place the Mets have been able to go to "forget their troubles," as it were. The Phillies downswing has resulted in a team that the Mets have more often than not feasted on and, after the Jay Bruce trade-induced fan revolt, the Mets could probably use a trip here. Not so much because it's going to salvage anything, but because a few wins is good for the soul.

So the Mets did that on Thursday, getting a 3-run Home Run from Wilmer Flores in the 1st inning and then riding away from there to a 10-0 victory in this series opener. Flores was joined by Neil Walker, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson in the Home Run brigade; the resulting 4 being somewhat paltry by previous standards but nonetheless welcome.

The beneficiary of this was Jacob deGrom, who did what he usually does against Philly and shut them out and really step on their throats in the process, or at least until he was felled by a Nick Williams line drive that went off his arm in the 7th inning and did not result in, as far as I could tell, any demonstrable injury as deGrom sort of walked around and didn't appear to be in pain. Nonetheless he left the game, which I guess was the more prudent thing to do since there was no real reason to risk anything else at that point.

The other notable news from the Mets, which probably shouldn't have been at all surprising given the Bruce trade, was that Dominic Smith was called up and will probably immediately become the everyday starting 1st baseman. This is the perfect situation to do things like this. Let Smith come up, as Amed Rosario did last week. There is zero pressure on either of them to do anything substantial right now. The Mets are punting 2017, which is frustrating, yes, but at this point there is nothing that can be done but let these two guys come up, fumpher around a little bit until they get their Major League bearings, and then unleash them next season. Let them use these 6-7 weeks of season to screw up as much as they need to screw up because it's of little detriment to the team. It's only helpful to do this now and if at the same time they continue to jettison guys who won't be around next season anyway, again, no particular harm. Except to the fiendish little hearts of Mets fans.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Settle Down, Beavis

This afternoon's game, surprise surprise, was one I didn't watch. But as it was the 12:10pm "Summer Camp Special," which I believe has also been known in past seasons as "Senior Citizen's Day," or "The Businessman's Special," I was at least able to follow the early portion of the game on my lunch know, on Gamecast at my desk. But as far as I could tell, the game turned on two pitches in the top of the first. With two outs and men on 1st and 3rd, Rafael Montero had 2 strikes on Joey Gallo, who is essentially a feast or famine hitter on the level of Rob Deer or Dave Kingman. But Montero balked to bring home a run. He then laid an absolute meatball in to Gallo who promptly hit it out for a Home Run. Just like that it was 3-0 and that was pretty much the game right there. The Mets managed a Wilmer Flores Home Run off of Martin Perez and lost 5-1.

The more interesting Mets news came later this evening when news broke of the Jay Bruce trade to Cleveland for an A-ball pitcher. I have no issue dealing Bruce and although the return is underwhelming, it's something, and that's all you can ask for given that there just wasn't a great deal of interest in him. Of course this has brought out all sorts of Idiot Mets Fans out of the woodwork screaming about "stoopid sandy and corny collins gotta go" and "here we go another seven years of losing." One particular nutjob went so far as to suggest that the reason Alderson didn't deal Bruce to the Yankees for a supposedly "Better package" is because the Mets are bitter that they're failing and the Yankees are having a good season. I wonder how many of these people actually pay attention to the moves Collins makes, or if they're even Mets fans because the way they behave I sometimes feel like they're trolls that were sent by the Yankees just to piss us off. You can blame Alderson at times for inactivity, but I've been watching him for seven seasons now and there has not been a single trade made that didn't come to serve some greater purpose. It's as though these people are yearning for the days of Omar Minaya, who would react to any minor adversity by babbling and making short-sighted, unnecessary trades. Bruce is going to be a Free Agent and probably wasn't going to be back anyway, I mean, sure, the Mets could use the offense but to what end? To help them finish in 3rd place instead of 4th? It's the old adage of "We're losing with you, we can lose without you," and so it seems to me there is no loss in this deal.

Then again, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by the Idiot Mets Fans. These are the same people that continue to crow for Wally Backman (who by the way still does not have a Major League managing position) and think the soul of the team left with Daniel Murphy, who was a great player for all those years. It's kind of like listening to the rhetoric of people who support the current Presidential administration. Sometimes I'm not sure what fans expect the team to do. This season is lost. We just have to try and make the best of what's left because I much prefer Baseball Summers to Winter and no Baseball.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In Retrograde

I was back at Citi Field on Tuesday night for my 14th game of the season, and what would finally be my first against the Texas Rangers. This should have happened nine years ago, but for a biblical rain storm that washed out the proceedings before they ever got started. It should have happened again three years ago, except that the Rangers came to town the same weekend I was getting married, so needless to say I was a bit indisposed. But, finally, the timing was right and the weather was right, and so here it was, my first-ever Mets/Rangers matchup, crossing them off my list of teams I've never seen and leaving only the Cleveland Indians, and that only sort of counts because I saw them in their own stadium, just never against the Mets.

Then again, just based on my experience at Citi Field, I wonder if I still really haven't ever seen the Rangers.

I was at Citi Field more or less on time. Maybe a little later than I would have liked, but if I was on my usual route I might have been in my seat after the first batter or two. But I knew I had to detour to the ticket booth and take care of an exchange, so that might delay me a little. I also had to battle my way through the security line, which on some nights moves pretty quick, but on this night did not, probably because I ended up in one of those lines where the guy was being "thorough," and as such picked through every individual item in my bag, including my house keys, my office keys, my chewing gum and other assorted papers that I have in my bag for no apparent reason. So that took some time. But I was still in the building before first pitch.

My ticket booth of choice is the "secret" booth to the left of the escalators in the Rotunda. Unfortunately it's not so secret anymore since there is usually a line there. Those of you loyal readers who aren't plan holders probably don't go through this often, but it is a perk that you can exchange unused plan tickets for future games. But there are restrictions as there is with anything, but nothing I'd deem too complicated. I try to exchange several times a year also, because one such restriction is that you can't exchange after September 1st. It seems a lot of plan holders don't realize this. I got on line and saw a husky fellow in a David Wright jersey standing there berating the poor girl in the ticket booth for whatever reason. Apparently he was exchanging about 20 tickets, and he didn't like the games, and he didn't like the seats, and he didn't like anything, and bear in mind there were several people in front of me already, many of whom were about to go through the same ration of bullshit. And then me, who was exchanging two tickets for one game and knew exactly what they were doing. So I stood and waited. And the game started. And things were happening. And I was checking my phone and talking tickets with the other people on the line. And then there was a Home Run by Michael Conforto, which I only knew from my phone since this appears to be one of the few areas of the stadium not within range of a TV or radio broadcast. And then there was another Home Run by Yoenis Cespedes. So now we were getting annoyed because this doofus was still arguing and this girl was clearly ready to shoot herself. Finally, he finished and the remainder of us in line broke into mock applause—except me, because I knew that the other 3 people in front of me were about to do the same thing. Fortunately, they were a little more expeditious, but it was well into the 2nd inning by time I got to the window, where the girl, whose name escapes me but whom I'll commend for her fortitude and continued politness, apologized and did my exchange rather quickly. So I'll say I spent probably 30 minutes holding my jock and 3 minutes doing my transaction.

Then, I had to stop and pick up a gift for someone in one of the little concession stores. I came out just in time to see Travis d'Arnaud's Home Run land in the seats in Left Field, which put the Mets ahead 4-0. Then, I went upstairs, where I wanted to get food, because standing on line like that really works up one's appetite. And, for whatever reason, on a dopey Tuesday night, every concession stand line was miles long. I can't figure it out. I thought everyone crammed in line for Shake Shack but now it's happening upstairs too at the plain old Burgers & Dogs stands. So I stood in line some more, where I eventually realized that Andrew Cashner was not pitching for Texas, it was A.J. Griffin, whom I was only vaguely aware of as a Major Leaguer in general. Still, it was creeping later and later into the game, into the bottom of the 3rd and I was still waiting on a line that seemed to be held up by more people who were either indecisive as to what they wanted or were somehow unhappy with what they got, but either way, the line moved at a crawl, until it was my turn and I ordered and was served in probably under 2 minutes.

Finally, I hit my seat with two outs in the top of the 4th. If you're keeping score, that's about 65 minutes standing on lines, 5 minutes actually conducting transactions, and another 5-10 minutes in transit. And none of the game actually watched, and if you know how OCD I am about being in my seat and keeping score, you can understand how nuts I was getting.

But then I did sit and get to see the rest of the game mostly undisturbed. I missed the three Mets Home Runs, but I did at least get to see Chris Flexen pick up his first Major League hit in the 5th, a double off the wall, and I also got to see him nimbly work into the 6th and not get outright hammered like he had his first couple of times out. He actually looked comfortable and in a groove, you know, more like a Major League pitcher should look. He had some trouble in the 6th and was removed, as the Rangers trimmed a 4-0 game down to a 4-3 game, mostly because the Mets were having a Joey Gallo problem and also because Adrian Beltre hit a Home Run, but from there, Erik Goeddel and Jerry Blevins did fine work, Asdrubal Cabrera drove home Conforto with an insurance run, and the Mets went to the 9th up 5-3. The game was then turned over to A.J. Ramos, who gave back the insurance run by allowing a 2-out Home Run to Robinson Chirinos, but he then got the final out to finish this 5-4 victory, pick up his first Met Save and close out Chris Flexen's first Met Win.

So, I missed most of the relevant or interesting action, but in the end I still got to see a win, which I think is what matters most in the big picture. Still, it would have been nicer were it not for the fact that Citi Field seemed to be in retrograde all night. Or maybe it was the other fans. Probably both.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ruined By Replay

The entire outcome of Sunday night's debacle of a game was determined by Justin Turner. No, I'm not going to give a whole diatribe about Turner and the "stupid mutz let him get away" because he wasn't any good here and never showed signs otherwise. But nonetheless he broke the entire game last night. Steven Matz started for the Mets and if anyone needed a good outing, it's Matz because he just hasn't been able to get it together lately. He gave up a 1-out single to Corey Seager, but that's OK because Seager hits everyone. Turner followed and reached on a Fielder's choice. Then he tried to steal 2nd with Cody Bellinger at the plate and was thrown out by Travis d'Arnaud, and he looked it too. But Turner was pointing and waving for a challenge, and so the call was challenged, and lo and behold, because Turner is a Dodger and the Dodgers are The Hot Team, replay showed that he'd Ole'd his way past Amed Rosario's tag, and he was, in fact, safe. So after walking off, Matz had to come back out to the mound, and after going to commercial, ESPN had to come back, and reset the whole thing.

So, you know what happened. That reversed call immediately led to a walk, and shortly thereafter 3 Dodgers runs and the rout was on. The Mets once again had no recourse; after letting themselves get rooked into 3 Runs in the top of the 1st, they immediately came up against Hyun-Jin Ryu in the last of the 1st and struck out in order.

Nothing further is worth discussing. What the hell is there to say? They lost 8-0, they got embarrassed on National TV once again, and they lost the entire season series to the Dodgers.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Don't Get Cocky

I didn't see any of Saturday's game, which as is sometimes the case, just as well. The Mets came out a little chippy early against the Dodgers, hitting 3 solo Home Runs against Rich Hill, and Seth Lugo cruised along through the early innings, but then the Dodgers turned back into The Hot Team and reminded everyone why they're regarded as such. They hit 5 Home Runs over the final 4 innings, stormed back and rolled past the Mets, who had no means of recourse or response as they took another loss on the chin, 7-4.

The Dodgers now are starting to remind me of the Nationals in 2013-2014, when they would play the Mets and hit 33 Home Runs in a 4-game series. The Mets right now have played the Dodgers 6 times this year and lost all 6, and each time it seems like they are just getting massacred. Last night, when Taylor hit a leadoff Home Run, I just smacked my head in disbelief because it's just like, come on, man! I know the Dodgers are good, but the Mets aren't even trying to just make them a little uncomfortable. Or maybe they are and it's just not working. Either way, sure, they hit three Home Runs off of Rhich Hill, but did anyone actually think that lead would stand up? Of course not. These are the 2017 Mets and the 2017 Dodgers and placed on an even playing field, the Dodgers should be winning every time. And they have. And now we have to be subjected to it on The Biggest Game In The Galaxy tonight.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Did Me A Favor

I barely made it through half of Friday night's game at Citi Field. This wasn't so much because I couldn't take it, but because my other half, who was accompanying me for the second time this season, had taken ill and needed to go home. This was around the top of the 5th inning, when the score was still 2-0. So, we left. She wasn't thrilled about it and neither was I, but given how things played out the rest of the night, clearly she did me a favor by getting me out of there.

While the score said 2-0, which was perfectly in reach, the Mets weren't winning this game. They were too busy falling victim to the will of The Hot Team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have just been annihilating every team in their path for the last three months, including a sweep of the Mets. This should have been obvious minutes after the game started, when Chris Taylor got behind 0-2 against Jacob deGrom, and then started fouling off pitches, and taking balls, and finally, the count was full, and then he hit a line shot to Left that clanged off a railing for a Home Run. And what did I hear? Loud, raucous cheers from a crowd packed with Dodgers fans. So right there, I knew the Mets were fucked. Corey Seager followed with a rocket double and only because deGrom is deGrom and can sometimes will his way through innings did he escape with the score still 1-0. A lesser pitcher would have had a 6-spot hung on him. Or worse.

It didn't improve from there. Yasiel Puig hit a Home Run in the 2nd to make the score 2-0, and meanwhile, the Mets looked mostly hopeless against Yu Darvish, making his ballyhooed Dodgers debut after being acquired from Texas. Darvish hadn't been pitching well with the Rangers, but of course he hits the Dodgers and the switch flipped. The Mets mostly didn't touch him, though deGrom did manage a hit in the 3rd, and then stole a base which was academic. Amed Rosario, making his Citi Field debut, did the same in the 5th, after we'd departed.

But, of course, our early departure meant I'd been spared the indignity of seeing Chase Utley hit a Home Run in the 6th off of Josh Smoker, I didn't get to see more Dodgers Fans dancing in the Aisles, and I didn't have to watch the Mets fade out meekly into the night as clearly they're no match for The Hot Team right now. Given their record and the streak they've been on, I'm not sure anyone is a match for them.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Saw That One Coming

Thursday's game was of course one of those bizarre 3:40pm games, where I can't watch because I'm at work, so I have a hard time following, and because it's such an odd start time, it usually ends while I'm heading home from work so I really have no idea what's going on. But then again, when I left my office, I saw that the game was tied, in the last of the 9th, and Hansel Robles was pitching a 2nd inning and I already knew that this wasn't going to end well.

I've gone over my disdain of Robles more than enough times this season so I think you already know what I'm going to say. However, just to turn the knife a little more is this comment that Robles was complaining of numbness in his hand and yet didn't say anything or ask to come out of the game, which is pretty stupid. Or maybe it's that same stubborn ballplayer mentality that screwed up everyone else on the team this season. Either way, I'd like to imagine that if you can't feel the object you're throwing in your hand, and your job is to get Major League hitters out and try to win a game, maybe it's better to just let someone else take it from there. Particularly when you have a hard enough time getting hitters out in key situations when you CAN feel the ball. But nooooo.

The game was over before I hit 59th Street on the subway, that alert buzz F COL 5 NYM 4 came through, and I wasn't surprised Robles found a way to blow the game. Which was a shame because the Mets had done a nice job of battling back, and Rafael Montero did a nice job of not getting lit up by the Colorados, and even he had an RBI, and Amed Rosario hit his 2nd triple in as many days, but this season, it feels like every positive is counteracted by multiple negatives and, of course losses.

Now the Mets can come home and lose even more to The Hot Team, the Dodgers. That should be a delight.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

New Found Energy

I realize there's not much that can be done to actually save the Mets this season, but the more you are able to find some bright spots for the future, you go with that.

Two such new faces played prominent roles in the Mets Coors Field-aided 10-5 comeback win over the Colorados on Wednesday night. The first was Chris Flexen, who may simply be in the rotation right now because he's not Tyler Pill, or Tommy Milone, or Aaron Laffey, or Chan Ho Park, or Brett Hinchcliffe, or any other such gap-filling pitcher with no particular hope. That's not to say he at this point does inspire a great deal of confidence, but if nothing else, he's young, he has a reasonably live arm and some decent chance of upside. That being said, he hasn't exactly looked ready for prime time in his first two Major League outings. I don't know just how much of it is the fact that he's two starts removed from AA ball and how much is that he's pitching in Coors Field against a strong Colorados lineup, but the 3rd inning got away from him real fast and as such, his night ended there dazed and in a 5-0 hole after a series of ringing hits.

But since it's Coors Field, 5-0 isn't impossible, even for the Mets right now. Facing Tyler Chatwood, who can be intermittently good and horrible, the Mets stormed right back and their other new face, Amed Rosario, was instrumental in pushing this along. The Mets had scored two in the 4th and Rosario came up in the 5th inning with Curtis Granderson on 2nd and lined a shot past Nolan Arenado and into the Left Field corner. Rosario flew around the bases and even though the ball was picked up by an ignorant fan, Rosario was awarded 3rd base anyway. How often do you see that? A ground rule triple. And he was home shortly thereafter as he scored on a Travis d'Arnaud groundout and very quickly, 5-2 became 5-4 almost solely because of Rosario.

The Mets then continued to attack in the 6th, scoring another 6 runs after I'd shut the game off and attempted to go to bed. Yoenis Cespedes doubled home the tying run, Curtis Granderson gave the Mets the lead with a 3-run Home Run, and the Mets continued on from there until they were the ones with the 5 run lead. Now, all they had to do was hope their bullpen could hold it, which is of course always a dicey proposition. But Paul Sewald did his job, and even Fernando Salas threw a scoreless inning, and then A.J. Ramos finished it off and the Mets had themselves a victory, one that feels primarily spurred on by this new fellow because he pushed the envelope and helped make the early deficit seem not so impossible. Or maybe it was just the rarefied air, silly!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Do Well

Presumably, when your team's top prospect ascends to make his Major League debut, you want a few things to happen. You want him to play well, and look relaxed even if he's about to jump through his uniform. You want him to get his first hit so that it's out of the way and doesn't drag out and become a thing. You want him to play well in the field and not make any errors, and not do anything to screw up the game.

We got almost all of that out of Amed Rosario in his Major League debut on Tuesday night. He looked collected and calm for the most part. He got his first hit on an 8th inning Infield Single. However, it was a mistake he made at a crucial moment in the 9th inning that opened the doors for the Colorados to score the winning run and take the series opener, 5-4.

Blame on these sorts of plays get passed out all over the place, and sure, there was probably some miscommunication between Neil Walker and Rosario on the pitch to D.J. LeMahieu. But it wasn't, as some seem to make it out to be, some egregious mistake. These things happen and, well, Jose Reyes or Asdrubal Cabrera are just as capable of doing the same thing and when they do it, they're old and creaky. Or they're old and creaky anyway.  Irregardless, it happened, and Nolan Arenado followed with a looping single to win the game for the Colorados.

All that being said, the game to that point seemed to be playing into the Colorados hands. It was one of those games that a good team will always win and a bad team will always find a way to lose and so it shouldn't be too terribly surprising. The Mets had an early lead, Steven Matz then allowed a 3-run Home Run to Arenado in the 6th. The Mets battle back to tie and then take the lead in the 8th on a Jay Bruce Home Run, and then Paul Sewald and Jerry Blevins allow the Colorados to tie the game back up. And, then, Hansel Robles enters the game and, well, Robles has inspired such confidence that when he enters a game, I often wonder not if he'll screw it up, but how. And if he doesn't walk Charlie McCharliemon to start the 9th, maybe we're not in this mess talking about a Rookie's misplay. Or maybe we're just talking about the Rookie's misplay because who wants to waste their time talking about Hansel Robles?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Next Generation

The Mets of course made news with two moves on Monday, one of which was expected and the other of which had been long anticipated.

The first was the departure of Addison Reed to Boston for a trio of Pitching prospects whom none of us have ever really heard of so we just let them marinate in the Minors for now and hope for the best, because the hope is that they turn out to be more useful than many of the relievers the Mets have blindly been trotting out this season. As for Reed, we wish him well. He did some excellent work here; in spite of being somewhat iffy in his brief cameo in 2015, he put it all together and was outstanding in 2016 and for the most part again this season when he was shoved into the Closer's role.

The other news, of greater import, was the promotion of Amed Rosario to the Major Leagues after months of clamoring and clanging and wondering when it would actually happen. Well, now that time is here and we can see just what, exactly, Rosario is or will be. I expect he'll take a few days to get his sea legs under him; it helps that he'll be debuting in Colorado, but nonetheless that he was ready skill-wise was not in doubt. Let's see how ready he is mentally. The hope with these guys is, as always, that you have someone who will grab the position and stay there for the next 10-15 years. Sort of like the guy he's basically replacing, Jose Reyes. We'll hear that comparison made a few times, I'd think.

So...yeah. Reed out, Rosario in. Excitement abound for the last two months of a basically lost season. Let's go.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Let Me Drown

Sometimes, I miss games even though I'm home and just have other things to do, and it's just as well when that happens.

Sunday, I was, in fact, home for a majority of the Mets game. I'd been out when the game started, but it was still on when I got home, it being a Sunday game on the West Coast, which starts under sun-soaked Pacific skies at 1pm there, but 4pm here and can drag out into the early evening if things go a certain way.

However, while I was out, I did check the score on my phone and of course saw that the score was Mariners 5, Mets 0 in the 2nd inning. At that point I'd determined that the game was not worth watching, and, well, I was right. Seth Lugo got cuffed around early and often, allowing Home Runs to Nelson Cruz in the 1st and Leonys Martin in the 2nd, and the Mets basically stood around and did nothing against James Paxton, the Mariners starter who reinvented himself last season and went from kind of ragtag to one of the top pitchers in the American League. Paxton shut out the Mets through 6, the Mariners tacked on four more runs against Mets relievers after Lugo departed and the final score was an eminently forgettable 9-1. And I'm not sorry I missed it. I'm sure anyone else that did the same agrees with me.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Saturday was, as usual, one of those afternoons where I was out of the house and not watching the game. But I see I didn't miss much.

Though the Mets did have Jacob deGrom on the mound, deGrom had some early inning struggles, got rattled by hitting Mitch Haniger in the face with an errant pitch, gave up a pair of runs in the 2nd, was victimized by a Neil Walker error in the 3rd that led to another run, and then sat back and watched as his offense could not muster the effort to match those three runs against Yovani Gallardo and company. In spite of entering the game having won each of his last 8 starts, that streak came crashing to a halt in a rather boring 3-2 loss that was more symptomatic of the Mets undoing themselves rather than deGrom's pitching poorly.

The Mets certainly had opportunities. Against Gallardo, they rallied in the 6th to load the bases and scored when Tony Zych walked Wilmer Flores to force home a run. In the 7th, they had two men on and nobody out and Asdrubal Cabrera short-circuited everything by hitting into a Double Play. And they got the tying run on base in the 9th when Michael Conforto, who seems to enjoy playing in front of his hometown fans, singled home a run off of Edwin Diaz. But, no further. And when you squander rallies in a relatively low-scoring game, well, that's boring baseball. And the Mets seem to be pretty good at boring lately.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


Seattle is a place where the Mets seldom visit (and aside from that a place I've never visited, but that could be said of most Major League cities) and the Mariners are a team that the Mets seldom play. I know that these Interleague games work on a 3-year shift schedule but for whatever reason, it seems like the Mets and Mariners took a particularly long time to fall into that schedule. The Mets did play in Seattle in 2014, but prior to that they hadn't faced each other since 2008, which is the last time the Mets and Mariners played in New York, which means that the game was at Shea Stadium, which means that the Mariners have never played a game at Citi Field, one of only two Major League teams to not have done so (the other being the Cleveland Indians, who haven't played the Mets in New York since 2004). So if the Mets and Mariners seem like a rare matchup, it is.

The Mets can boast a native son of Seattle in Michael Conforto, who has come out of the land of Pearl Jam and Coffee and turned into a pretty good player, as he showed in his return home, in front of a passel of Confortos. In the 3rd inning, he hit a Home Run off of lefty Ariel Miranda which, at the time, put the Mets ahead 3-0. In the 8th inning, facing Mark Rzepczynski, another lefty, he hit another Home Run, this time dragging the Mets out of a deficit and tying the game at 5-5.

In between Conforto's two Home Runs was a Rafael Montero meltdown in which he took a 4-0 lead that had been handed to him thanks to, among other things, a 2-run Home Run from Jay Bruce, and summarily handed it back. First, he allowed a Home Run to Mike Zunino, the Seattle Catcher who's one of those "Trades High" guys because he has a ton of power and no particular plate discipline. So giving up a Home Run to Zunino was no great shakes. In the 5th, he had a Montero inning, where he started giving up hits, and throwing wild pitches, and walking guys and finally was pulled from the game after walking Nelson Cruz and loading the bases. But just so you remembered, Josh Edgin came in and allowed two of said runners to score by allowing a 2-run single to Kyle Seager (because of course it was one of the Seager boys who did it to the Mets).

Meanwhile, after a lousy first few innings, Miranda had settled down and quietly put the Mets to sleep. He departed after 6 with a lead, which Hansel Robles threatened to turn into a greater lead in the 7th. Then, of course, came the 8th, and Conforto's 2nd Home Run, and then a Met rally ensued when the Mariners brought in recently-acquired former Marlin David Phelps, whom the Mets usually knock around and they were kind enough to knock him around some more. Wilmer Flores managed to beat out a potential inning-ending double play and that opened the door for Neil Walker to double home the lead run, and Curtis Granderson to drive in the insurance run to put the Mets ahead 7-5.

Paul Sewald got the Mets through the 8th, and Addison Reed worked the 9th to finish off this series-opening victory up in the Northwest. Meanwhile, if one could use this as a segue opportunity, as the game was going on, news of another Mets trade broke, which seemed kind of mystifying to me, but while the Mets are and should be in sell mode, they traded for Marlins closer A.J. Ramos. This, I would assume, is insurance for an impending Reed trade, and nothing further. While Ramos is a perfectly capable pitcher, well, he was on the Marlins and you all know how I feel about that. I've particularly singled out Ramos for Marlin-ish behavior (excessive celebration, irritating gyrations on the mound) and part of me isn't convinced that this is another Marlin Ruse that's going to bite the Mets in the ass at some point. But, on the other hand, he is a capable pitcher, and he's a Met now, so, welcome, A.J. Ramos. We hope to wash the stink of your prior franchise off of you as quickly as possible.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fare Thee Well

Thursday night's Mets/Padres game was sort of emotionally pre-empted by the pregame news that Lucas Duda had been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. Granted, a move like this was forthcoming and certainly Duda's life span with the Mets was limited at best given his impending Free Agency, but, still, when a home-grown player that's been in the organization for years moves on, there's still a little bit of sadness attached to it. Certainly, Duda's time with the Mets had its ups and downs, and I picked on him maybe a little more than I should have, but for once, someone I really ragged on quite a bit in 2012 and 2013 shut me up good and proper when he emerged for a career year in 2014, and came up with several key hits in big spots during 2015. More than that, Duda was a favorite of my other half, who had a Duda shirt and usually stopped whatever she was doing to watch an At Bat, and was always happy to see him when she went to games with me. She was particularly distraught over this; the news of the trade broke as I was leaving work, and when I arrived home, she greeted me with a scowl and said "I'm not going to the games anymore! THEY TRADED DUDA! HOW COULD THEY TRADE DUDA?!" and of course any logical explanation about the business of Baseball went out the window.

Duda, himself, handled himself with particular class on his way out the door. Others (Curtis Granderson) had a harder time of things. Irregardless, Duda is off to Tampa, where we wish him all the best for the remainder of this season, and wherever he may end up in 2018.

There was still a game to be played, however, and it featured the Major League debut of Chris Flexen, a young righthander who was one of those named I'd heard of but didn't know much about. Flexen was up from Binghamton to make this start in the Wheeler spot in the rotation. You have starry-eyed fantasies about guys like this coming up and setting Baseball on fire in spots like this, but sometimes these sorts of things can backfire. The Mets got him a 1st inning run against Luis Perdomo, which helped, but you still can never tell until you the kid on the mound. And whether it was nerves or whatever, Flexen looked very much like what he was: a young pitcher that kind of got overwhelmed by the moment. It's never helpful to have your entire family in the seats watching (and his poor mother looked like she was ready to pass out the entire time) but, well, we know what happened. Flexen gave up a Home Run to Manuel Margot, his first batter, then walked the next batter, then gave up a hit. Disaster seemed imminent but for a pair of slick plays to tag out Padre baserunners at Home Plate, and Flexen escaped his first inning only having allowed 1 run.

Flexen did not fare nearly as well in the 2nd inning, when, after loading the bases, he allowed a long double to Margot that ultimately scored 3 runs and kind of sealed Flexen's fate. To his credit, he came back and worked a clean 3rd inning, but by that point the damage had been done and this game, which was just creeping along, was headed for a repeat of last night where I turn it off and go to bed early. Tyler Pill emerged after Flexen and made things worse, allowing a 3-run Home Run to Dusty Coleman that made the score 7-1.

I was about to throw in the towel, but then the Mets rallied in the 7th, scoring 4 runs off a trio of Padres pitchers, and involved a long double by Yoenis Cespedes and an even longer Home Run by Jay Bruce. This got the score to 7-5, and, well, this was the Padres...

...but it was also the Mets and they got no closer than 7-5, going down meekly in the 8th and gonged out of the stadium in the 9th.

So, the Mets leave San Diego, where they did not get swept, and they did not lose every game 2-1, but they also leave in no better shape than they were when they arrived, which is basically the same old story here. Actually, you could say they leave in worse shape since they've now officially started to break down the roster a little bit and by time they return to New York, who knows who's here and who will be gone.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Real Snoozer

I knew the Mets wouldn't escape San Diego without losing at least one game, and of course they filled that quota with a legitimate stinker on Wednesday night. Steven Matz didn't have it—he hasn't had it for a while now, which is troubling—and the Mets hitters continually hit into bad luck against Jhoulys Chacin and the result was a 6-3 loss that I didn't bother to stick around to the end for; it being late and I being tired, I shut it down at the 7th inning stretch.

This seemed to be a doomed game from the start. Chacin, whom the Mets beat down completely in May, looked to be a different pitcher on this night and generally did a good job of minimizing potential damage. On the other side, Steven Matz just got clubbed around. Manuel Margot hit a 2-run Home Run in the 1st, and in the 3rd, Matz got in more trouble and couldn't get out of it, allowing an RBI double to Wil Myers and, later, a 3-run triple to Luis Torrens that only by some divine gust of wind did not wind up being a Grand Slam outright. That put the game at 6-1, and basically everything went to hell from there. Matz departed in favor of Erik Goeddel and, later, Tyler Pill, which should tell you all you needed to know.

Meanwhile, the Mets had their opportunities, but of course did not capitalize on them. In the 6th, they rallied a little bit, loaded the bases, got Chacin out of the game and were one long hit away from being back in the game, but Lucas Duda flew out, and although they got a run home on a Jose Reyes walk, a Rene Rivera screamer that seemed ticketed for Center Field was run down by Allen Cordoba for an inning-ending ground out.

From there, not much else. Wilmer Flores hit an academic Home Run but by that point I'd gone to sleep, but I'm told it did actually happen.

One more here in San Diego, a series that feels much longer than the three games it's encompassed so far. Tonight, the Major League Debut for youngster Chris Flexen, up from my old haunt in Binghamton. We wish him well, or at least that he doesn't look like he's choking on his tongue like Kyle Lloyd was on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trojan Win

The Mets won their second straight in San Diego on Tuesday, one of those gritty games where they battle behind and come back to win. I'm always happy with a win, but sometimes it's amusing when they have to peck and scrape and claw against a terrible team. But that's sort of emblematic of the way the season has gone.

Tuesday night, the Mets were in trouble from the start when the Padres Trojan Horse'd them. They were supposed to face Jhoulys Chacin. When they faced Chacin in May, they fed him his lunch good and proper and he didn't make it out of the 1st inning. But whether Chacin actually had back spasms, or he just had "back spasms," he didn't start and instead the Mets would face Kyle Lloyd, a young fellow making his Major League debut, and on short enough notice that they had no advance scouting. Seems legit.

So there's Lloyd, standing out there looking like he's just been kicked out of a space shuttle without a helmet on, facing the Mets. Meanwhile, and I didn't notice it yesterday, but the Padres seem to have changed their uniforms again, from the mustard-yellow monstrosity that they used to sport to something that now seems to be a replica of the 1984 Tigers. I don't necessarily like watching a team whose jerseys make me feel like I'm watching a different team. I felt the need to point that out.

But at any rate, Lloyd gave up a Home Run to Yoenis Cespedes in the 1st. But then he sort of settled down. Seth Lugo, on the other side, had his own troubles. He gave up a Home Run to Hunter Renfroe in the 2nd, again, no great shakes since Renfroe is clearly destined to be one of those Met Killers. He also gave up a 2-run Home Run to Allen Cordoba. This put the Padres up, 3-1.

Usually, when the Mets face a guy making his Major League debut, it has a tendency to not go well. The Padres have a history of proving this in execution. But Lloyd seemed to run out of steam around the 4th, and the Mets managed to fight back and tie the game in the 5th thanks to an RBI double by Asdrubal Cabrera. This knocked Lloyd out of the game altogether, and then when Cespedes followed with another RBI double, the Mets had the lead and Lloyd was actually in line for a loss. However, his teammates, specifically Matt Szczur, got him off the hook and tied the game in the last of the 5th.

The Mets regained the lead in the last of the 7th on a play that seemed to typify the fortunes of these two teams. Granderson singled with 1 out against generically-named Jose Torres, and with two outs, Phil Maton (I will be sorely disappointed if Maton is not from Quebec or at least of French Canadian descent) was summoned to face Cespedes. And he fooled Cespedes, if only to get him to put an ugly check swing on a ball that nonetheless rocketed down the Right Field line. A troika of Padres then picked up the ball and threw it not particularly close to bases or players, and as such a Cespedes triple turned into a Cespedes Little League Home Run, giving the Mets a 6-4 lead.

From there, Paul Sewald had a Good Paul Sewald night and Addison Reed again gave up a run and made things unnecessarily stressful but still managed to close out a 6-5 victory. Another one of those kind of 6-5 victories. I'm not sure if this is something worth celebrating or not.