Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sweati Field

I was back at Citi Field tonight, on an utterly sweltering, uncomfortable evening, for what will in all likelihood be my only game for the month of July. I'd mentioned a couple of days ago that I, strategically, chose Wednesday and I unabashedly say that I swapped in to this game because I wanted to see Jacob deGrom pitch. This was my 12th game of the season and the 5th time I'd drawn deGrom and generally this has been a winning proposition. Lately, it's been about as close to a lock as you can get given how good a groove he's been in, going back to when I saw him pitch against Chicago last month.

How good has deGrom been? So good that he was able to shut down the Cardinals for the better part of 7 innings and shut up their obnoxious, underwear-sniffing fans to the point where I barely noticed they were there. It helped that the Mets jumped on Mike Leake early and often. Leake wasn't helped by some lousy defense, but he wasn't exactly fooling the Mets hitters. With 2 outs in the 1st and Asdrubal Cabrera on 2nd, he gave up, in order, an RBI single to Yoenis Cespedes, a long, opposite-field RBI double to Lucas Duda, and then an opposite-field RBI single to Wilmer Flores. The 2nd inning was no better; Cespedes drove in another run, Jay Bruce drove in a run, and Jose Reyes drove in two more, and the Mets had supplied deGrom with a 7-run avalanche.

The Mets offense, then, went in the tank as Leake departed and the Mets managed very little against a succession of oddly-named Cardinal Relievers such as John Brebbia, Matt Bubbia and Sam Blubbia. deGrom, of course, had the Cardinals in a sleeperhold from the get-go, in spite of the fact that he didn't look his sharpest and in fact had to waste 12 pitches on the first batter of the game, Matt Carpenter. I would guess the temperature didn't help; although the game seemed to be moving along rather briskly, the fact that it was an absolute oven at Citi Field just made the game feel as though it was creeping towards 3+ hours. Summers in New York City can be like this, but on these particular days, where it's about 92˚ out, with 75% humidity and winds from the south at about 2 mph can just be unbearable, and as such I took to such heat-beating tasks as taking my cap over to the nearest waterfountain and drenching it before putting it back on my head. Didn't help.

And so deGrom was cruising along until the 7th, when he had a runner on 1st with 2 outs and Luke Voit at the plate (because Genius Mike Matheny decided to empty his bench once the score got to 7-0). deGrom appeared to have Voit struck out, but was for whatever inane reason overruled by Joe West at 1st Base, meaning he had to go back out to the mound and finish the At Bat. And of course he instead allowed an RBI double to Voit and instead of finishing the 7th, was then pulled from the game to a rousing ovation nonetheless.

In the 8th, a combination of Paul Sewald and Jerry Blevins made things unnecessarily hairy. Magnanimous Sierra drove home 2 runs with a single and suddenly the Cardinals had the tying run at the plate. But since Genius Mike Matheny had already burned through his bench, he was forced to send up Adam Wainwright. But because the Mets are the Mets, Blevins walked Wainwright, and as such had to be rescued from himself by Addison Reed, who mercifully struck out Voit to end the inning.

I feel as though that particular inning underscored the evening, which is to say that the whole affair was thoroughly sweaty and mostly excruciating...And the Mets won the game, 7-3. Can you imagine if they'd lost? If it was like that and they played the sort of game they did last night, I would have likely left in the 5th inning. Winning can make everything a little more bearable. Even broiling heat.

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