Wednesday, April 5, 2017

And Here We Go Again

I know that the Mets weren't actually going to go 162-0 for the 2017 season, but still, you watch games in the early going of the season, particularly when they win on Opening Day, and you sort of hope they can just postpone that inevitable first loss of the season. But, it's going to happen whether you like it or not, so you may as well just get it out of the way quick. So, after a rousing start on Monday, the Mets came back on Wednesday, got a solid start from Jacob deGrom, had a hard time with our old friend Bartolo Colon, went deep into Extra Innings, couldn't capitalize on some opportunities and ultimately lost in the 12th inning when Rafael Montero couldn't get out of his own jam.

These games are bound to happen and in fact, I think I've seen this game before. It's an April Wednesday night. It might not have been a cool day during the day but at Citi Field it probably feels about 40˚ at game time and only gets worse as the evening goes on. The #2 starters for each team throw zeroes at each other. Maybe each team scores a run. Both teams threaten in late innings but some steely bullpen work keeps the game tied. And then it goes into Extra Innings and the Mets just kind of run out of steam and the opponent scores multiple times and the Mets can't get off the mat. That was this game. Fortunately, I wasn't there. It sort of sounds like the kind of game I might be at but it wasn't on my plan and I've sort of learned my lesson about going to extra April Night Games.

Instead, I was home, trying out this newfangled internet radio that my other half bought me during the offseason (and required me purchasing an MLB At Bat subscription). I don't particularly mind this, given how used I am to listening to games on the radio, and also since I am in the habit of getting home and conking out for a spell. I'm not quite in midseason form just yet. It'll come. But so here I am with this "radio," and there's Howie and Josh and deGrom is on the mound looking like his old self, and Bartolo Colon is incongruously pitching for the Braves and everyone is going bonkers. Jay Bruce hit a Home Run in the 5th inning—and after 3 walks on Opening Day perhaps he's the one off to the hot start out of the gate—but otherwise there wasn't much in the way of action.

Then, deGrom departed in the 7th and things went haywire. Hansel Robles, who you'd think would be past this after two seasons, came in, immediately gave up a triple to Nick Markakis, walked another guy, gave up a game-tying double and was right on the precipice of disaster when Terry Collins mercifully removed him. And this is why nobody's every totally comfortable with Hansel Robles, because for every time he has a lockdown inning like he did on Monday, he's just as likely to come back the next night and leave a giant turd on the mound. Fortunately, Jerry Blevins came in and cleaned up the mess.

The game then turned over to the bullpens and not much of consequence happened after that. Fernando Salas, Addison Reed and Josh Edgin were all just fine, but the Mets couldn't capitalize on in the 8th and 10th when the game seemed to be right there for the taking. The 10th was particularly irritating, when after Bruce doubled and Lucas Duda was given a mulligan (still processing this new intentional walk rule), Travis d'Arnaud, who along with Robles seems to be an early candidate for The Ballclub's Flog of the Year, then struck out watching a pair of pitches that might as well have been sitting on a tee for him, and Ty Kelly, batting probably because Collins was playing matchups in a spot where T.J. Rivera probably should have hit, struck out as well.

So, it came down to Rafael Montero. After a few seasons that at best could be considered iffy, he had a strong spring and worked himself back into everyone's good graces. But he's still not showing what I'd consider decent command and he got himself into trouble in the 11th and again in the 12th. The difference was that in the 11th, he was able to get out of it. In the 12th, he got a necessary 2nd out with men on 1st and 2nd. Freddie Freeman was then rightfully punted to 1st Base so Montero could pitch to Matt Kemp. Given that Montero's stuff had been lively and Kemp was looking fastball on the first pitch, the smart thing to do would have been to either bury a changeup in the dirt or throw a slider 3 feet outside and let him wave at it. But nooooooo. Montero had to be a hero and fire a fastball on the inside corner, right where Kemp was looking to whack it into the Left Field corner for a 2-run double.

That was the end of the meaningful portion of the night. Jay Bruce hit with 2 out in the last of the 12th but Lucas Duda was subsequently pretzelized by Jim Johnson and thus, the Mets got their first loss of the season hung on them, and I suppose it's fitting it's to Atlanta. They were a pain in the ass last year and I suspect this will be the case again this year. Meanwhile, the same guys who looked so good down in Florida and got our hopes up all turned back into pumpkins the first opportunity they were given. So Robles, d'Arnaud and Montero need to get their asses in gear. I know it's two games in but teams with World Series aspirations can't have the same dumb guys doing the same dumb shit day after day.

Sigh. The lone upside I can see to all this was that I was not there to freeze my ass off for this one. I suspect I would have gotten fed up and left after the 11th but who knows. Sometimes, I'm still pretty stupid when it comes to this stuff.

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