Sunday, May 7, 2017

Small Big Ball

The Mets continued their recent trend of great offense/lousy pitching again on Saturday, as they jumped on Odrisamer Despaigne early and often to the tune of a 5-run 1st inning, then survived another shaky outing from Robert Gsellman and another injury, this time to Asdrubal Cabrera, and eventually turned things back on late against the Marlins bullpen to come away with another win, this one by an 11-3 score, which gives the Mets 6 wins in their last 8 games and 3 series wins in a row.

As usual, it is the little things that add up.

Not that it matters much to the press, who seems more interested in cracking on the Mets than actually reporting on what happens in the games, but the Marlins were the victims of some stupid in this game. Their scheduled starter, Wei Yin Chen, went on the DL on Friday with the mythical "tired arm," for those who think that sort of thing only happens to the Mets one month into the season. The replacement, Despaigne, who famously no-hit the Mets into the 8th inning that one time, was a minor irritant, as the Mets hammered him early and often and led 5-0 after 1 inning. The Marlins played like you'd expect them to, as they kicked the ball around plenty, starting off with Nickleback mishandling a hot shot from Michael Conforto that started the rally. Later, balls continued to clank off gloves and fly balls were bungled as the Mets tacked on more runs late in the game. Once again, they did so without the virtue of a Home Run; most of these runs scored because the Mets were working counts and hitting singles and doubles and just moving the line along. Conforto alone had 2 RBIs without the virtue of a hit as he walked three times, twice with the bases loaded, the latter time coming after a brilliant AB where he fell behind 0-2 and managed to check his swing three times to work out the walk. But the point is, if you just hit singles and doubles and bunch them all together, you'll accomplish the job just as well as if you sat back and waited for Cespedes to hit the 3-run HR.

Gsellman was effective, if not especially good, in his 5 innings. It seems to be more an issue of location and execution rather than stuff, that's preventing him from pitching as solidly as he did down the stretch last year. I can't quite figure it out just yet. With a full complement of pitchers, he might be on thinner ice but as the numbers have dwindled, there's not many other passable options. Certainly not if Montero continues to make an ass of himself whenever he gets an opportunity.

So it becomes the offense that has to shoulder the load, and they've done so as they scored 5 or more runs for the 9th game in a row, which is a far cry from the days when they were hard pressed to score 5 runs in a week. Then again, this could just as easily flip so we should just enjoy it while it lasts.

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