Sunday, July 2, 2017


If nothing else, the Mets, in a year where basically everything that's gone wrong, continue to fight, and sometimes they actually provide a bit of a glimpse of greatness. This happened on Saturday, one of those weird late afternoon starts that they seem to play almost exclusively now. Zack Wheeler didn't have it, he was betrayed by his defense, the bullpen faltered late, the Mets found themselves behind, but somehow they got off the mat, and thanks to 7th inning Home Runs by T.J. Rivera and the day's bobblehead honoree Asdrubal Cabrera, came back to beat the Phillies in a hideous affair, 7-6.

Certainly, this wasn't quite what Doubleday had in mind back when he invented the game (nor what Doubleday had in mind when he purchased the Mets in 1980). Wheeler started for the Mets and was good early against a once-again moribund Phillies lineup, but he hit a wall in the 4th. Against stiffer competition this might not have gone so well. Against the Phillies, he only allowed two and wasn't helped by a pair of errors (and yes, one was his own), but after slogging along and throwing an inordinate number of pitches, he couldn't finish the inning and the Mets found themselves in the bullpen far earlier than is palatable.

The Mets, however, came back against Jeremy Hellickson, one of those guys who's constantly getting traded or rumored to be getting traded. Jay Bruce drove home a run on a groundout and Lucas Duda followed by hitting a Home Run into the Apple to put the Mets back ahead. Erik Goeddel, who's resurfaced here despite still not being particularly good and now sporting a ridiculous coif, spit the lead back up, and so the game was tied 3-3. Fernando Salas followed, pitched a good 6th inning, and then Terry Collins pushed his luck and tried to squeeze another inning out of him, so of course he allowed a 3-run Home Run to Tommy Joseph.

Hellickson, meanwhile, was pitching like the anti-Wheeler and had thrown about 75 pitches through 6 innings, and with the lead, there seemed no reason to remove him. So, of course, he allowed a Home Run to Rivera to start the last of the 7th. And that ended Hellicksonnn's day, in favor of Pat Neshek and his bizarre 1890s windup. Neshek pitched a solid inning on Friday but was less effective on Saturday, giving up a double to Travis d'Arnaud and a pinch-hit single to Wilmer Flores, which then set the stage for Cabrera to repeat his Home Run Heroics from last September.

Then, of course, it rained. It looked like it was going to rain basically the entire game, but they stopped the game in the top of the 8th inning, and in spite of Collins being rather incensed by the whole thing, it was probably a good idea since it was pouring where I was and generally what happens where I am usually ends up at Citi Field 10 minutes later. So that halted things for a spell but eventually the game resumed, Addison Reed came in, finished the 8th, finished the 9th and finished the game, a good 4 and a half hours after it started, as Saturday afternoon became Saturday night.

So, now, the Mets have done what they needed to do here and can sweep the Phillies tomorrow if all goes well. Then again, "all goes well" has been a dicey proposition for the Mets this season. But, still, they fight.

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