Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Best and The Worst

One of the irritating things about the Mets in 2017 is that they show no particular consistency on a day-to-day basis, and often even on an intra-game basis. Tonight's game was a pretty good example of this. Zack Wheeler had nothing on this night and somehow managed to grit his way through 5 innings, but nonetheless left with the Mets trailing 5-0. The offense seemed to be pretty lifeless through those first 5 innings, as they managed nothing of consequence against Sean Manaea. It appeared to be one of those nights that would be eminently forgettable. 

Then, of course, the Mets struck for 4 in the 6th, tied the game in the 8th, and won it 6-5 on a walk-off Home Run by Wilmer Flores in the bottom of the 9th.

That's been the Mets. Alternately horrendous, lifeless and full of heart and guts. And that's what's made this season so particularly irritating, because they show all these signs of being so much better than they've been to this point.

Wheeler, of course, did nobody any favors with his poor outing, and I'm beginning to think that Wheeler may simply be hitting the proverbial wall. I mean, you can't expect too much more out of a pitcher who's missed two full seasons. At times this year, he's looked really good and as such you'd like to think he could regroup, get stronger in the offseason and come back next year ready to strike. But for tonight he didn't have much. He gave up a Home Run to the leadoff hitter Matt Joyce, he was walking guys and giving up long hits, and it sort of seemed like the Mets were buried before anyone even picked up a bat.

And for the most part this was the case, at least until the 6th inning, when they finally reached Manaea, one of these up-and-comers, and got back in the game. It figured that Jay Bruce (Home Run) and Michael Conforto (RBI double) were heavily involved in this inning. They didn't get all the way back, but at least they got it close. Then, Blake Treinen came in and, of course, stopped the rally and just to make everyone even more indignant, pitched a scoreless 7th inning as well.

Liam Hendriks entered the game in the 8th and it seemed like the Mets were going to just squander their opportunity as Jose Reyes followed a T.J. Rivera single by...hitting into a Double Play. Not Helpful. Travis d'Arnaud followed by doubling off the wall in Center, and Lucas Duda followed as a pinch-hitter. Oakland then went to Daniel Coulombe, their lone Lefthander, or at least I think he's their lone lefthander, but Duda, unperturbed, singled to Center to score d'Arnaud with the tying run.

So, after all that...the game was tied. Hansel Robles came in for the 9th and, for once, did not make me want to cover my eyes or shut off the TV, and for once did not allow the first batter to tee off and hit the ball into the second deck. In fact, had he not walked Khris Davis, perfectly acceptable given his stature, he would have had a clean inning outright. But again, not consistent for him.

Oakland then went to Simon Castro for the 9th, and at this point I was thinking which of the three batters the Mets had coming up could hit the walkoff Home Run. Asdrubal Cabrera led off. He'd hit a memorable Walkoff Home Run last year, that I witnessed. He has a penchant for this sort of stuff. So he lined out to right. Yoenis Cespedes. Saw him hit a walkoff Home Run last year too. He's got a penchant as well. Struck out. Wilmer Flores. Haven't seen him hit a walkoff Home Run, but I have seen him come up with multiple walkoff hits...And he won the Free Steak by hitting a 1-0 pitch into the Left Field seats, to finish the game and earn the ever-elusive Double "Outta Here" from Gary Cohen, capping off a game that saw the Mets dig their own grave and then dig themselves right back out of it. Go figure.

You wonder if the Mets could have gotten up off the mat like this a few more times earlier in the season, maybe they wouldn't be in this mess.

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