Thursday, May 4, 2017

Tiny Ballparks

The Mets scored 16 runs last night in order to bail out Jacob deGrom, who struggled to make his way through 5 innings against the Atlanta Braves. If that isn't indication that this season has gone completely haywire, well, I'm not sure what you need to see.

This new stadium in Atlanta, SunTrust ChopHouse or whatever they choose to call it, doesn't look terribly dis-similar to Citi Field if you were just watching a game on TV. It's got that "Brickyard" wall behind home plate, typical of these new parks, with some whimsical touches out beyond the outfield wall, some quirks like a low Outfield fence and what have you. But the similarities seem to end there. Where Citi Field looks large and plays large, SunTrust is clearly the exact opposite. In April, fly balls in Citi Field that look good off the bat end up getting swallowed in by the Outfield, and even moving the fences in twice hasn't changed things. In SunTrust, baseballs seem to fly out with regularity, and even line drives seem to fly. What's going to happen in the Summer? This will be the latest Steroid Field, right up there with Citizens Bank Park, Great American Ballpark and that other stadium I can't remember with the 200' Right Field line.

But so the Mets did manage to score 16 runs Wednesday, striking early and often against our old friend Bartolo Colon, who had a hard time getting through 4 innings. We know that Bartolo is susceptible to these "Fat and sweaty" games every so often and the Mets happen to be the beneficiary of one of these games. They weren't hitting the ball out of the ballpark but, of course, there are many ways to score runs and the Mets seem to have remembered this, banging out 20 hits in order to plate all those runs. And everyone seemed to chip in, Jose Reyes continued to slowly emerge from his April cave and drove in 5 runs, Rene Rivera drove in 3, Michael Conforto was in the middle of things and even Jacob deGrom had 2 hits. Which was fortunate because he wasn't especially sharp on the mound.

deGrom has now had 2 outings in his last 3 where he's kind of fizzled out and given up too many walks, or lost his point or whatever, which is kind of worrisome looking at the big picture and the fact that this Mets rotation isn't at all resembling what they were supposed to be right now. And, yes, that means that people are writing snarky articles and making snide comments because they have nothing better to do than crack on the Mets. But, as seasons go, players and staffs run hot and cold and I'd expect deGrom will even himself out. Just like I wouldn't expect the Mets offense to run up 16 runs on a regular basis. Really, it's the resiliency more than anything else that soothes the worry. The Mets have shown previously that they can be down but not out. A couple of wins in Washington, a couple of wins in Atlanta with a chance for more, and go from there.

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