Saturday, August 26, 2017

Who is Jake?

Friday brought the Mets into Washington for the first of a 4-game series and, well, if there was ever a time when it seemed like the Mets would go into Washington and get absolutely murdered, this would be it.

But that didn't happen. The Mets are totally neutered at this point, but Washington, who I have always felt to be kind of a paper tiger, doesn't look so great either. Take Bryce Hairdo out of that lineup and it seems a little more pedestrian. But I digress. I hate the Nationals so why the hell would I have anything nice to say about them ever?

With the backdrop of this partially amusing, partially embarrassing, mostly silly Player's Weekend thing going on, the Mets played the Nationals and actually won on Friday night, mostly because Jacob deGrom pitched like Jacob deGrom, even if he couldn't be bothered to come up with a more inventive nickname to put on his jersey than "Jake." "Jake" did what he needed to do, pitching into the 8th inning, striking out 10 batters, crossing 200 strikeouts for the season and allowing 1 run and 5 hits.

On the other side, A.J. Cole started for Washington and looked every bit like he was ready to hit the showers. He was walking guys and giving up hits, but the Mets kept letting him off the hook. They scored a run in the first and probably would have had more had Dominic Smith's single not hit the umpire and, subsequently, led to Yoenis Cespedes coming up lame once again with another hamstring injury. "La Potencia," of course, was done for the night right then and there and the way things are going I'd be surprised if we see him at all the rest of the season. And maybe the Mets should just wrap his legs in bubble wrap and tell him to keep off them for a month or so until everything heals up and he doesn't do this again next season. Because that's a problem.

So the Mets had 1 run when it felt like they should have had 4 or 5 off of Cole, but then they did plate two runs in the 8th, thanks to Rey Rey (playing Left in place of Cespedes) and Dominic Smith, and another in the 9th to ice away this Pyrrhic 4-2 victory. This season, even the good ends up being kind of ugly.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Comic Book Farce

In this late part of the Summer, my co-workers (all two of them) have been in the office sporadically for one reason or another. I of course had taken my vacation earlier in the Summer, and as a result I've had several days where I've been in the office by myself. I have passed these days by harkening back to my old days and putting on the radio for a little while. It had been some time since I'd heard Mike Francesa, but Thursday was the first time that the Mets had a game on a day where I was in the office by myself. I didn't have a physical radio, but I did have a computer and an subscription, so I was able to listen along with Howie and Josh while I worked.

I was, much like I did in the old days, listening with half an ear until about the 4th or 5th inning when I heard Michael Conforto batting and Howie say something like "And Conforto goes down!" and then, of course, my first thought was "Now What!?" Of course it wasn't good, and it looks as though Conforto has separated his shoulder and I'd assume this is the last we've seen of him for 2017. I assume. I'd like to hope otherwise. But doesn't it figure that the guy who's been one of the few legitimate bright spots for the Mets would g
In this late part of the Summer, my co-workers (all two of them) have been in the office sporadically for one reason or another. I of course had taken my vacation earlier in the Summer, and as a result I've had several days where I've been in the office by myself. I have passed these days by harkening back to my old days and putting on the radio for a little while. It had been some time since I'd heard Mike Francesa, but Thursday was the first time that the Mets had a game on a day where I was in the office by myself. I didn't have a physical radio, but I did have a computer and an subscription, so I was able to listen along with Howie and Josh while I worked.

I was, much like I did in the old days, listening with half an ear until about the 4th or 5th inning when I heard Michael Conforto batting and Howie say something like "And Conforto goes down!" and then, of course, my first thought was "Now What!?" Of course it wasn't good, and it looks as though Conforto has separated his shoulder and I'd assume this is the last we've seen of him for 2017. I assume. I'd like to hope otherwise. But doesn't it figure that the guy who's been one of the few legitimate bright spots for the Mets would go down doing something as benign as SWINGING A BAT? It's just indicative of the farce this season has become. It's no longer 2001 or 2013 where everyone is sluggish and the team never got going. This is turning into 2009 where its not enough that everyone gets hurt, but people are now getting hurt in ridiculous ways. I at least give the Mets management some degree of credit for throwing in the towel and trying to build forward instead of trying to kid us into thinking this season was salvageable, which it's not. But what is next year going to be? That's what I find worrisome because 2009 happened and you figured. oh, it'll be OK, the injured guys will come back and 2010 will be better! and instead 2010 stunk just as bad.

Sigh. After all that, who really gave a shit about the game? The Mets lost anyway.

o down doing something as benign as SWINGING A BAT? It's just indicative of the farce this season has become. It's no longer 2001 or 2013 where everyone is sluggish and the team never got going. This is turning into 2009 where its not enough that everyone gets hurt, but people are now getting hurt in ridiculous ways. I at least give the Mets management some degree of credit for throwing in the towel and trying to build forward instead of trying to kid us into thinking this season was salvageable, which it's not. But what is next year going to be? That's what I find worrisome because 2009 happened and you figured. oh, it'll be OK, the injured guys will come back and 2010 will be better! and instead 2010 stunk just as bad.

Sigh. After all that, who really gave a shit about the game? The Mets lost anyway.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Celebratory Mood

After sitting through Monday's mess of a game I was right back at Citi Field on Wednesday for another Mets/Diamondbacks tilt. Of greater import on this night at least, was the fact that it was the 30th Anniversary of my first Mets game, way back on August 23rd, 1987, as 8-year old me attended a 9-2 Mets victory over the Padres in what was the first of what has now become 416 regular season Mets games. These 416 (plus another 12 in the Postseason) have been more good than bad, even in some of the leanest of years. Even this season, which has been a slog and has seen the Mets struggle mightily at home, I sat at 8-7 for the year, which increased to 9-7 after the Mets celebrated my anniversary with a 4-2 victory.

Chris Flexen was on the mound for the Mets and the last time I saw him things worked out pretty well. It was more of the same on Wednesday. Flexen didn't exactly light anyone on fire, but he also didn't get lit up himself. He allowed a run in the first and a run in the 6th, and in between allowed few hits and no runs otherwise, got bailed out by some solid defense (particularly Juan Lagares, who gunned down a runner at home in the 5th), and finished after 6 innings leading 3-2. This was because Brandon Nimmo, one of those young guys essentially auditioning for a future role, kept getting on base by any means necessary (usually walking), and Michael Conforto, who is also auditioning, but for the more prestigious role of All Star and Batting Champion twice drove him home. Amed Rosario, auditioning for the role of Jose Reyes, also drove in a run.

It was 3-2 in the 6th when Dominic Smith led off against Jake Barrett (who once was a closer and now finds himself journeyman) and hit a Home Run to right. This was the bit of Anniversary verisimilitude I found myself looking for. On August 23, 1987, as I mentioned, the Mets won, 9-2. All I wanted to see that day was for Dwight Gooden to pitch well, Darryl Strawberry to hit a Home Run, and the Mets to win, and I got all 3. On August 23, 2017, I was hopeful to see Chris Flexen pitch well, which isn't nearly as sure of a thing as '87 Gooden, and I wanted the Mets to win, and maybe someone would hit a Home Run. Fitting that it would be Smith, given that he shares Strawberry's initials and is a lefty hitter with some degree of power. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Smith is auditioning for the future role of Strawberry, but perhaps for the role of 1st Baseman with some degree of pop and a good glove is acceptable.

Mostly, though, I just wanted the Mets to win, which has been a tall order these days, but they did manage to do that. Ten years ago, I was at a Mets game on the 20th Anniversary of my first game, and it did not go well. This time, the Mets were in about as celebratory a mood as I was. Which is to say they at least did their best to commemorate the occasion.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Don't Feel Like It

Sometimes, the Mets play a game and you just don't feel like watching it. It's usually during a season like this that's become a total trainwreck and you end up starting Tommy Milone again because Steven Matz has come down with another season-ending injury and some warm body needs to toe the rubber. Milone, who was last seen literally getting bombed off the mound against the Anaheim Angels in May, returned and was not particularly better. By time I was even aware the game was going on I think it was 6-0 or at least it felt like 6-0.

The Mets right now are, on most nights, boring, which is even worse than being bad. You can only draw so much juice from Amed Rosario (who did Homer and triple), Dominic Smith and Michael Conforto because three guys do not a team make. There's other young guys around that are trying to distinguish themselves too, but when you mix in a useless stopgap veteran like Milone who's just going to bury the team before they get started, it sort of makes you forget that there's still some things worth paying attention to. Even in a blowout loss.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mediocre Team Monday

I was back at Citi Field on Monday night for my 15th game of the season, but my first since it seems like the Mets had really thrown in the towel on the season. The Mets came into the game with a record of 54-68. 54-68 is one of those "benchmark" records for abject medoicrity, because that's the record the Mets had in 2001 before making a late charge that made their season look cosmetically better than it probably deserved to. While I don't see them running off a 28-12 finish, if there's ever a season where the Mets looked like a 54-68 team, this is it.

However, the Mets aren't drawing like a 54-68 team, as in spite of the fact that I was on a basically empty 7 train heading out to the game, there was still a reasonably healthy crowd for a Monday night against an Arizona Diamondbacks team that appeared to have shown up for the night's game while still in their pajamas. So you had all the fixings. An underachieving Mets team that looks like they've been sleeping through the season against a Diamondbacks team that literally looks like they're sleeping. And, unsurprisingly, I watched a 54-68 effort out of a 54-68 team that by the end of the evening sat at 54-69.

While the Mets collected plenty of hits against Taijuan Walker and a passel of relievers, they could manage none at moments where it really would have helped. Meanwhile, Robert Gsellman pitched admirably well and kept his baserunners to a minimum, but still found himself behind a run when J.D. Martinez singled home a run in the 4th inning. The Mets continued to get hits and strand runners until the 7th inning, when they loaded the bases with one out against Archie Bradley and his ferocious Relief Pitcher's beard. Yoenis Cespedes was up and finally picked up that key hit to drive home the tying run, and perhaps could have drove in the lead run were Asdrubal Cabrera a bit faster.

Having required 10 hits to score one run, the Mets then stopped hitting as both bullpens shot zeroes at each other through the 8th and again in the 9th. The game, in spite of being 1-1, was drifting and dragging along, well past 3 hours and to the point where I was running out of steam. My other half multiple times texted to see if I'd left yet. I hadn't, although by time the Mets went down in order against Jimmie Sherfy in the 9th (and, really, if there was a point in the game where you knew the Mets were screwed, it was when they couldn't manage a hit off of Jimmie Sherfy), I headed downstairs where I figured I'd watch for an inning and hope for a quick ending. Or maybe I figured that a quick ending was imminent when the Mets went to Erik Goeddel. Sometimes you have premonitions. Mediocre pitcher + Mediocre team = you get the picture. Goeddel played the part by walking the leadoff hitter, getting an out that advanced the runner, and then allowing a 2-run Home Run to A.J. Pollock, who himself has been perfectly mediocre.

In the 9th inning, I was sort of hoping that the Mets could get Michael Conforto to the plate because I have a fairly solid track record of him hitting Home Runs in games I've been to this season, but he didn't get to bat in the 9th. He did bat in the 10th, against Fernando Rodney, and he did hit a Home Run, but that only made the score 3-2, and there the score stayed and off into the night I went. A fitting end for a 54-68 kind of night.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Better To Have Missed

I actually had tickets for Friday night's game between the Mets and the Marlins. Because I'd moved that morning I didn't go, which was just as well as the Mets were still shaking the gremlins out of their system and lost what I can only assume was an eminently forgettable game, 3-1.

By not attending that game, and of course not attending the other Mets/Marlins game I had tickets for earlier in the season, I in fact have missed seeing the Marlins for 2017. This is just as well; I think everyone by now knows my feelings towards the Marlins, and if you needed another reason to hate this utter blight of a franchise, well, look who their new owner is going to be. I can't wait to root against them even harder.

I didn't even see Friday's game on TV as my cable hadn't been turned on yet. Then, of course, came the late night news of the Curtis Granderson trade, as he'd been shipped out to the Dodgers for another prospect, and of course it was immediately followed by another shitstorm of reactionary Mets fans screaming about the stupid team, and giving away all the players and a bah blah blah. I hate to see Granderson go, in fact my other half hates it even more and I had to spend the rest of the evening again explaining to her about Free Agency and the Mets trying to just get something rather than letting him leave for nothing, and the fact that the Mets were still losing with him anyway, but at some point things are beyond explanation. The gutting of the 2017 roster is basically complete, although there's still about 10 days for them to deal Asdrubal Cabrera.

Saturday, my cable was on and I did see some of the game, where the Mets actually decided to be a team and hit the ball and treat the Marlins like the Marlins. Wilmer Flores homered, Kevin Plawecki, newly returned, homered, and Rafael Montero pitched reasonably well in an 8-1 victory.

Sunday was, well, Sunday and as the Mets were home and it was Sunday, even Jacob deGrom couldn't save them.

This week, Arizona is in town and I'm actually going to be at a couple of games this week now that I'm starting to unbox myself. It feels like months since I've been there, but that's probably a side effect of moving as opposed to the team, even though sitting through a full game must feel like œons right now.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Box Them Up Too

Because, as I mentioned, I'm in the process of moving (and will later this morning actually go through with the process) I haven't had much opportunity to watch any of these games this week, and I feel somewhat the better for it. I feel bad enough having to recap things but man, imagine if I'd subjected myself to a full game this week? Or worse, if I'd gone?

The Mets getting totally swept in the Subway Series sort of signifies the nadir of an era, although since the only time it's happened was in 2003, and that was certainly a nadir, there's not much "evidence" to back that up. I'm not sure that 2017 qualifies as a nadir, although given the way this season has played out, it's felt that way. This series already featured a neutered version of the Mets, who have been sort of lagging along and playing out the string. Wednesday night, both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores got hurt before the game started in probably the most Subway Series thing to happen ever, resulting in the folly of Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis d'Arnaud playing musical infield. Then, of course, Steven Matz, who's more resembled a 2003 Met than an 2017 Met, took the mound and was lit on fire, departing after 3.1 noncompetitive innings down 7-0 and basically sealing the fate on this nightmare. A 9th inning Grand Slam from Curtis Granderson did little more than simply delay the miserable end.

I mean, this probably should have happened to the Mets in 2011, not in 2017. I know this interview with Gary Cohen on Mike Francesa the other day has been making the rounds and, well, he's right. Going into this season, I was calling for Mets fans to pound their chests and be overconfident because it begets attitude. There are seasons I over-romanticize because of how the Mets fought down to the end, but years like this? 2017 is going to get tossed in the tire fire with 1992 or 2009 as years we should never speak of again.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Groundhog Day

Wednesday night's Subway Series game was basically the antithesis of how stupid this chore of a series has become. The Mets scratch out an early run, the Yankees tie the game. The teams then trade 1-2 runs back and forth. The Mets are usually battling and clawing and score runs on ground outs and Sac flies. The Yankees score on monumental Home Runs by their biggest names. The game gets late, the bullpens take over, some Mets reliever gets attacked by Subway Series gremlins, the Mets try to rally and then someone else has their own Subway Series and the Mets lose again.

I saw maybe an inning or two of last night's game and I already knew how to sum it up. The Mets had an early lead, Robert Gsellman gave up an 800 foot Home Run to Mike Judge that broke Baseball, the game was tied late because the Mets scored two runs on Sac flies, and then Paul Sewald came in for the 7th, was one strike from getting out of a jam and instead gave up a 2-run double to Didi Brontasaurius and the Mets had no recourse in a 5-3 loss.

I throw up my hands at these games now. I said on Monday just don't get swept and now I'm not sure that that's not better for them. Probably because I have no confidence in them winning, particularly when you have to throw the Gremlins on top of the odds.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Gremlins 2

It's worth noting that my other half and I are moving on Friday. Our lives at this point have essentially been reduced to boxes and more boxes, with a healthy dose of boxes.

As such, I haven't been able to watch these games in their entirety the last couple of days, and will probably see even less the next couple of days. This is just as well; it will spare my sanity the cost of having to deal with being subjected to the Subway Series and all the garbage that comes along with it.

I saw about two innings on Tuesday night and that was probably two innings too many. Jacob deGrom, whom I'd hoped might be above an attack of the Subway Series, instead succumbed to it in the 3rd inning. It was at that point that I remembered that deGrom actually began his career by having a Subway Series, so this was like coming full circle for him. At any rate, he gave up a double to Pepé Torreyes (who if you'll look closely at him, might just be the embodiment of Subway Series) to begin the 3rd inning, and he scooted up on one ground out and then scored on an Aaron Hicks single. Fortunately, Hicks did not stand there and preen this time. That was bad enough. One inning later, deGrom walked Franch Headley with two outs, and then gave up a line drive to Jacoby Ellsbury. Were this line drive hit in basically any other ballpark, it's probably a single, at most a double and not a long double at that. Of course, the environs being Steroid Field I, it landed in the Right Field seats for probably the biggest piece-of-crap 2-run Home Run I've ever seen. I would think most Mets fans reacted the same way deGrom did, by screaming and swearing into his mitt, and rightfully so because he knew. He knew he'd been done in by a Subway Series again.

Then, we were out, actually moving things to our new place of residence, and then a stop for dinner. So we didn't see the rest of the game, which again was just as well. Stubby Gray mowed down the Mets who looked mostly lifeless, until Dominic Smith hit his first Major League Home Run in the 7th inning. This made the score 4-2. deGrom worked into the 8th before departing, allowing a 6th inning Home Run to Gary Sanchez and a mess in the 8th that led to a 5th run. That 5th run of course being the Subway Series run, as in the 9th, Amed Rosario hit a 2-run Home Run off Aroldis Chapman that made the score 5-4...and thus ensured the Mets would lose by 1 run instead of 3 runs.

Had enough yet? I have. I'm actually glad I won't get to see much, if any, of the next two games and believe me, I had zero intention of actually going to those games. None for me, thanks. I'm driving.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Night of the Gremlins

There are few things in Baseball I've grown to loathe more than the annual Subway Series. It used to be something I'd get excited for, but now it feels like a chore in the midst of an already arduous season. And I feel this way even when the Mets are going well. These games always seem to happen at the worst time of the season, and nothing good ever happens. In fact, usually it's just full of dumb shit and generally it's the Mets who end up looking stupid. I talked about this last season, but it's like they become haunted by a gremlin whenever the Subway Series comes to town.

It happened again last night. I mean, it's bad enough that this season started with all this talk about New York becoming a Mets town again, followed immediately by the Mets turning to mush. But now we have to be subjected to four days of the new masturbatory fantasy of Baseball, Aaron Judge, thrown in our faces. We get it. He's the new now and the Mets are duh stoopid slobs. He hits 800 foot Home Runs and snaps trees in half with his bare hands. I feel like every time he comes to the plate, their fans break into this Stromboli-esque chant, pounding their fists on the table, yelling "JUDGE! JUDGE! JUDGE! JUDGE! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! JUDGE! JUDGE! JUDGE!" He already broke the Home Run record before the All Star break, in case you weren't aware, and you wouldn't notice that he's slumped substantially since then, but of course the Subway Series is here so you can expect him to hit 8 Home Runs this week. He got one down in the 6th inning off Rafael Montero, which erased an early 2-0 Mets lead and tied the score, and set off this amateurish, vertigo-inducing disco light show at Steroid Field I.

To his credit, Montero pitched surprisingly well in a ballpark that has a 200' Right Field line, only allowing 2 runs in his 6 innings of work. The Mets got a pair of Home Runs from Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson in the 3rd off of Luis Cessa (because you knew Granderson would hit a Home Run in SF1) but nothing further and so when the game went late and the Mets summoned Hansel Robles, well, you knew it was a matter of time before the gremlins got him.

Robles pitched a fine 7th and really it would have been fine to get him there, but noooooo. Collins sent him back for the 8th where predictably he gave up a leadoff Home Run to Aaron Hicks, who blasted it and stood and styled while Robles stood there with that dopey puss on his face because the Subway Series got him again. Robles was then replaced with Erik Goeddel which isn't quite an improvement, as evidenced by the fact that Gary Sanchez, who will spend the rest of his career trading high on two hot months last season, hit another Home Run and that pretty much threw the game down the toilet.

I'd say we should just throw the rest of the week down the toilet. I just hope the Mets don't get swept this week. Tonight's deGrom, so that's probably our best chance. Hopefully he's immune to the Subway Series. Otherwise, we're screwed.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sloppy Sundays

The Mets finished out their weekend in Philadelphia with a 6-2 victory that sort of belies the total shit show that this game was, chock full of errors, misplays, bad pitching, poor pacing and everything else that makes a game difficult to watch. When the game has been on for 90 minutes and you're only in the 4th inning, you know something's gone haywire. It seems fitting that this would happen on a Sunday, when nothing has generally gone right for the Mets. Today's win, I believe, was the first time they'd won a Sunday game since the first Sunday in April. You know, back when there was still hope in this season.

The Mets led the game throughout thanks to a 1st inning Home Run from Michael Conforto and, later, a 5th inning Home Run by Curtis Granderson. In between, a lot happened without much going on. The Mets starter, Chris Flexen, looked a little more like the nervous rookie from San Diego, but with the results of his last start against Texas because the Phillies couldn't get out of their own way. They had men on base and were primed to strike, but poor Rhys Hoskins, who made his Major League debut on Thursday and by Sunday still hadn't picked up his 1st hit, could only ground out. Hoskins did get his knock in the 5th, which loaded the bases, however it was immediately followed by Nick Williams hitting a shallow fly to center. The runner on 3rd, Freddy Galvis, did not try to score. However, Odubel Herrera, who was on 2nd, did, and the result was that Herrera wound up pulling up near 3rd with a Hansel Robles-esque puss on his face.

That sort of typified the day. Flexen managed only to get through 5 innings while Zach Eflin, another one of these young Philly starters who looks greener than a bunch of broccoli, made it a few batters into the 6th. Flexen was replaced by Chasen Bradford. Now, Bradford has been up and down a few times as far as I can tell but every time he shows up, I have no idea who he is. He's the Met Mystery. I'd never heard of him before this season, when I first saw him I kept thinking "who the hell is 46" and just assumed he was Fernando Salas and had changed his number (before I saw that he had a big, bushy beard). But with all these moves and machinations of the season I guess Bradford is here to stay so I probably should try to familiarize myself with him a little more. I'll try to do a better job of that from here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Out East Again

Last year was, as I'd deemed it, the "Summer of Long Island." Various personal matters kept dragging me out to assorted places in Nassau (and sometimes Suffolk) County, usually on weekend days which my other half and I would then turn into odd little adventures that would result in me missing entire Mets games and as such not having much to say.

This happened again yesterday, not so much because of personal matters, more out of wanderlust, but as a result, I didn't see the game last night and so I have nothing to say which is just as well because based on the results, there probably wasn't much to say anyway.

I have about as much to say about the game as I do about the Neil Walker trade. This was coming and not at all surprising to me. I realize that these trades at this point are more about just clearing out salary and getting some sort of a return, which is fine. Walker woefully underperformed his Qualifying Offer this season after a very nice year last year that was cut short and, well, everything I'd say about this trade, I said 3 days ago after the Bruce trade. So if you're not sure, just go read that. Just don't read comments about it on Facebook because those tend to just make me angry.

Friday, August 11, 2017

New Guy Makes Good

I mentioned yesterday that it was good for Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith to be up and playing every day now, because it gives them a chance to get their sea legs in a mostly pressure-free situation. These two were both on display this evening in Philadelphia, where Smith was making his Major League debut, and picking up his first hit on a chopper single in the 4th inning. Meanwhile, Rosario, veteran of 10 ML games, had what could be looked at as one of those "arrival" games, picking up 3 hits, being central to a pair of rallies, and then capping his night by hitting his 1st Major League Home Run in the 9th inning of a tie game and giving the Mets a 7-6 victory.

Granted, I, of course, immediately thought of another instance where a Met wearing #1 hit a 9th inning, tie-breaking Home Run in Philadelphia, but I have a feeling Rosario has more staying power than Jordany Valdespin (unless you enjoy his being memorialized on the SNY pre-and post-game shows). I think we'll get a few more of these "feel-good" moments from Rosario before this season's out.

He'd already interjected himself into the game plenty by the 9th. After Seth Lugo spotted the Phillies a 3-0 lead, the Mets did what they usually do in Philadelphia and hit their way back into things. Michael Conforto led off the 2nd with a Home Run, and then after Rosario singled to lead off the 3rd and Neil Walker walked, Yoenis Cespedes hit a 3-run Home Run and the Mets had the lead off of Nick Pivetta, whom I'm not totally sure about because I don't follow the Phillies, but I suspect he may be a "Trades High/Great Stuff" guy.

But Philly re-tied the game against Lugo and things kind of went back-and-forth from there. Mets took the lead in the 5th—again after Rosario led off the inning with a hit—Phillies battled back and tied the game when Carlos Hernandez hit a Home Run off of Jerry Blevins in the 8th. But then that only set the stage for Rosario in the 9th, and this Mets win. The way this season has played out, I feel like Mets fans need a win like this just to get them off the ledge. At least for a few minutes.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Happy-ish Place

Philadelphia in recent years has been a place the Mets have been able to go to "forget their troubles," as it were. The Phillies downswing has resulted in a team that the Mets have more often than not feasted on and, after the Jay Bruce trade-induced fan revolt, the Mets could probably use a trip here. Not so much because it's going to salvage anything, but because a few wins is good for the soul.

So the Mets did that on Thursday, getting a 3-run Home Run from Wilmer Flores in the 1st inning and then riding away from there to a 10-0 victory in this series opener. Flores was joined by Neil Walker, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson in the Home Run brigade; the resulting 4 being somewhat paltry by previous standards but nonetheless welcome.

The beneficiary of this was Jacob deGrom, who did what he usually does against Philly and shut them out and really step on their throats in the process, or at least until he was felled by a Nick Williams line drive that went off his arm in the 7th inning and did not result in, as far as I could tell, any demonstrable injury as deGrom sort of walked around and didn't appear to be in pain. Nonetheless he left the game, which I guess was the more prudent thing to do since there was no real reason to risk anything else at that point.

The other notable news from the Mets, which probably shouldn't have been at all surprising given the Bruce trade, was that Dominic Smith was called up and will probably immediately become the everyday starting 1st baseman. This is the perfect situation to do things like this. Let Smith come up, as Amed Rosario did last week. There is zero pressure on either of them to do anything substantial right now. The Mets are punting 2017, which is frustrating, yes, but at this point there is nothing that can be done but let these two guys come up, fumpher around a little bit until they get their Major League bearings, and then unleash them next season. Let them use these 6-7 weeks of season to screw up as much as they need to screw up because it's of little detriment to the team. It's only helpful to do this now and if at the same time they continue to jettison guys who won't be around next season anyway, again, no particular harm. Except to the fiendish little hearts of Mets fans.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Settle Down, Beavis

This afternoon's game, surprise surprise, was one I didn't watch. But as it was the 12:10pm "Summer Camp Special," which I believe has also been known in past seasons as "Senior Citizen's Day," or "The Businessman's Special," I was at least able to follow the early portion of the game on my lunch know, on Gamecast at my desk. But as far as I could tell, the game turned on two pitches in the top of the first. With two outs and men on 1st and 3rd, Rafael Montero had 2 strikes on Joey Gallo, who is essentially a feast or famine hitter on the level of Rob Deer or Dave Kingman. But Montero balked to bring home a run. He then laid an absolute meatball in to Gallo who promptly hit it out for a Home Run. Just like that it was 3-0 and that was pretty much the game right there. The Mets managed a Wilmer Flores Home Run off of Martin Perez and lost 5-1.

The more interesting Mets news came later this evening when news broke of the Jay Bruce trade to Cleveland for an A-ball pitcher. I have no issue dealing Bruce and although the return is underwhelming, it's something, and that's all you can ask for given that there just wasn't a great deal of interest in him. Of course this has brought out all sorts of Idiot Mets Fans out of the woodwork screaming about "stoopid sandy and corny collins gotta go" and "here we go another seven years of losing." One particular nutjob went so far as to suggest that the reason Alderson didn't deal Bruce to the Yankees for a supposedly "Better package" is because the Mets are bitter that they're failing and the Yankees are having a good season. I wonder how many of these people actually pay attention to the moves Collins makes, or if they're even Mets fans because the way they behave I sometimes feel like they're trolls that were sent by the Yankees just to piss us off. You can blame Alderson at times for inactivity, but I've been watching him for seven seasons now and there has not been a single trade made that didn't come to serve some greater purpose. It's as though these people are yearning for the days of Omar Minaya, who would react to any minor adversity by babbling and making short-sighted, unnecessary trades. Bruce is going to be a Free Agent and probably wasn't going to be back anyway, I mean, sure, the Mets could use the offense but to what end? To help them finish in 3rd place instead of 4th? It's the old adage of "We're losing with you, we can lose without you," and so it seems to me there is no loss in this deal.

Then again, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by the Idiot Mets Fans. These are the same people that continue to crow for Wally Backman (who by the way still does not have a Major League managing position) and think the soul of the team left with Daniel Murphy, who was a great player for all those years. It's kind of like listening to the rhetoric of people who support the current Presidential administration. Sometimes I'm not sure what fans expect the team to do. This season is lost. We just have to try and make the best of what's left because I much prefer Baseball Summers to Winter and no Baseball.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In Retrograde

I was back at Citi Field on Tuesday night for my 14th game of the season, and what would finally be my first against the Texas Rangers. This should have happened nine years ago, but for a biblical rain storm that washed out the proceedings before they ever got started. It should have happened again three years ago, except that the Rangers came to town the same weekend I was getting married, so needless to say I was a bit indisposed. But, finally, the timing was right and the weather was right, and so here it was, my first-ever Mets/Rangers matchup, crossing them off my list of teams I've never seen and leaving only the Cleveland Indians, and that only sort of counts because I saw them in their own stadium, just never against the Mets.

Then again, just based on my experience at Citi Field, I wonder if I still really haven't ever seen the Rangers.

I was at Citi Field more or less on time. Maybe a little later than I would have liked, but if I was on my usual route I might have been in my seat after the first batter or two. But I knew I had to detour to the ticket booth and take care of an exchange, so that might delay me a little. I also had to battle my way through the security line, which on some nights moves pretty quick, but on this night did not, probably because I ended up in one of those lines where the guy was being "thorough," and as such picked through every individual item in my bag, including my house keys, my office keys, my chewing gum and other assorted papers that I have in my bag for no apparent reason. So that took some time. But I was still in the building before first pitch.

My ticket booth of choice is the "secret" booth to the left of the escalators in the Rotunda. Unfortunately it's not so secret anymore since there is usually a line there. Those of you loyal readers who aren't plan holders probably don't go through this often, but it is a perk that you can exchange unused plan tickets for future games. But there are restrictions as there is with anything, but nothing I'd deem too complicated. I try to exchange several times a year also, because one such restriction is that you can't exchange after September 1st. It seems a lot of plan holders don't realize this. I got on line and saw a husky fellow in a David Wright jersey standing there berating the poor girl in the ticket booth for whatever reason. Apparently he was exchanging about 20 tickets, and he didn't like the games, and he didn't like the seats, and he didn't like anything, and bear in mind there were several people in front of me already, many of whom were about to go through the same ration of bullshit. And then me, who was exchanging two tickets for one game and knew exactly what they were doing. So I stood and waited. And the game started. And things were happening. And I was checking my phone and talking tickets with the other people on the line. And then there was a Home Run by Michael Conforto, which I only knew from my phone since this appears to be one of the few areas of the stadium not within range of a TV or radio broadcast. And then there was another Home Run by Yoenis Cespedes. So now we were getting annoyed because this doofus was still arguing and this girl was clearly ready to shoot herself. Finally, he finished and the remainder of us in line broke into mock applause—except me, because I knew that the other 3 people in front of me were about to do the same thing. Fortunately, they were a little more expeditious, but it was well into the 2nd inning by time I got to the window, where the girl, whose name escapes me but whom I'll commend for her fortitude and continued politness, apologized and did my exchange rather quickly. So I'll say I spent probably 30 minutes holding my jock and 3 minutes doing my transaction.

Then, I had to stop and pick up a gift for someone in one of the little concession stores. I came out just in time to see Travis d'Arnaud's Home Run land in the seats in Left Field, which put the Mets ahead 4-0. Then, I went upstairs, where I wanted to get food, because standing on line like that really works up one's appetite. And, for whatever reason, on a dopey Tuesday night, every concession stand line was miles long. I can't figure it out. I thought everyone crammed in line for Shake Shack but now it's happening upstairs too at the plain old Burgers & Dogs stands. So I stood in line some more, where I eventually realized that Andrew Cashner was not pitching for Texas, it was A.J. Griffin, whom I was only vaguely aware of as a Major Leaguer in general. Still, it was creeping later and later into the game, into the bottom of the 3rd and I was still waiting on a line that seemed to be held up by more people who were either indecisive as to what they wanted or were somehow unhappy with what they got, but either way, the line moved at a crawl, until it was my turn and I ordered and was served in probably under 2 minutes.

Finally, I hit my seat with two outs in the top of the 4th. If you're keeping score, that's about 65 minutes standing on lines, 5 minutes actually conducting transactions, and another 5-10 minutes in transit. And none of the game actually watched, and if you know how OCD I am about being in my seat and keeping score, you can understand how nuts I was getting.

But then I did sit and get to see the rest of the game mostly undisturbed. I missed the three Mets Home Runs, but I did at least get to see Chris Flexen pick up his first Major League hit in the 5th, a double off the wall, and I also got to see him nimbly work into the 6th and not get outright hammered like he had his first couple of times out. He actually looked comfortable and in a groove, you know, more like a Major League pitcher should look. He had some trouble in the 6th and was removed, as the Rangers trimmed a 4-0 game down to a 4-3 game, mostly because the Mets were having a Joey Gallo problem and also because Adrian Beltre hit a Home Run, but from there, Erik Goeddel and Jerry Blevins did fine work, Asdrubal Cabrera drove home Conforto with an insurance run, and the Mets went to the 9th up 5-3. The game was then turned over to A.J. Ramos, who gave back the insurance run by allowing a 2-out Home Run to Robinson Chirinos, but he then got the final out to finish this 5-4 victory, pick up his first Met Save and close out Chris Flexen's first Met Win.

So, I missed most of the relevant or interesting action, but in the end I still got to see a win, which I think is what matters most in the big picture. Still, it would have been nicer were it not for the fact that Citi Field seemed to be in retrograde all night. Or maybe it was the other fans. Probably both.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ruined By Replay

The entire outcome of Sunday night's debacle of a game was determined by Justin Turner. No, I'm not going to give a whole diatribe about Turner and the "stupid mutz let him get away" because he wasn't any good here and never showed signs otherwise. But nonetheless he broke the entire game last night. Steven Matz started for the Mets and if anyone needed a good outing, it's Matz because he just hasn't been able to get it together lately. He gave up a 1-out single to Corey Seager, but that's OK because Seager hits everyone. Turner followed and reached on a Fielder's choice. Then he tried to steal 2nd with Cody Bellinger at the plate and was thrown out by Travis d'Arnaud, and he looked it too. But Turner was pointing and waving for a challenge, and so the call was challenged, and lo and behold, because Turner is a Dodger and the Dodgers are The Hot Team, replay showed that he'd Ole'd his way past Amed Rosario's tag, and he was, in fact, safe. So after walking off, Matz had to come back out to the mound, and after going to commercial, ESPN had to come back, and reset the whole thing.

So, you know what happened. That reversed call immediately led to a walk, and shortly thereafter 3 Dodgers runs and the rout was on. The Mets once again had no recourse; after letting themselves get rooked into 3 Runs in the top of the 1st, they immediately came up against Hyun-Jin Ryu in the last of the 1st and struck out in order.

Nothing further is worth discussing. What the hell is there to say? They lost 8-0, they got embarrassed on National TV once again, and they lost the entire season series to the Dodgers.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Don't Get Cocky

I didn't see any of Saturday's game, which as is sometimes the case, just as well. The Mets came out a little chippy early against the Dodgers, hitting 3 solo Home Runs against Rich Hill, and Seth Lugo cruised along through the early innings, but then the Dodgers turned back into The Hot Team and reminded everyone why they're regarded as such. They hit 5 Home Runs over the final 4 innings, stormed back and rolled past the Mets, who had no means of recourse or response as they took another loss on the chin, 7-4.

The Dodgers now are starting to remind me of the Nationals in 2013-2014, when they would play the Mets and hit 33 Home Runs in a 4-game series. The Mets right now have played the Dodgers 6 times this year and lost all 6, and each time it seems like they are just getting massacred. Last night, when Taylor hit a leadoff Home Run, I just smacked my head in disbelief because it's just like, come on, man! I know the Dodgers are good, but the Mets aren't even trying to just make them a little uncomfortable. Or maybe they are and it's just not working. Either way, sure, they hit three Home Runs off of Rhich Hill, but did anyone actually think that lead would stand up? Of course not. These are the 2017 Mets and the 2017 Dodgers and placed on an even playing field, the Dodgers should be winning every time. And they have. And now we have to be subjected to it on The Biggest Game In The Galaxy tonight.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Did Me A Favor

I barely made it through half of Friday night's game at Citi Field. This wasn't so much because I couldn't take it, but because my other half, who was accompanying me for the second time this season, had taken ill and needed to go home. This was around the top of the 5th inning, when the score was still 2-0. So, we left. She wasn't thrilled about it and neither was I, but given how things played out the rest of the night, clearly she did me a favor by getting me out of there.

While the score said 2-0, which was perfectly in reach, the Mets weren't winning this game. They were too busy falling victim to the will of The Hot Team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have just been annihilating every team in their path for the last three months, including a sweep of the Mets. This should have been obvious minutes after the game started, when Chris Taylor got behind 0-2 against Jacob deGrom, and then started fouling off pitches, and taking balls, and finally, the count was full, and then he hit a line shot to Left that clanged off a railing for a Home Run. And what did I hear? Loud, raucous cheers from a crowd packed with Dodgers fans. So right there, I knew the Mets were fucked. Corey Seager followed with a rocket double and only because deGrom is deGrom and can sometimes will his way through innings did he escape with the score still 1-0. A lesser pitcher would have had a 6-spot hung on him. Or worse.

It didn't improve from there. Yasiel Puig hit a Home Run in the 2nd to make the score 2-0, and meanwhile, the Mets looked mostly hopeless against Yu Darvish, making his ballyhooed Dodgers debut after being acquired from Texas. Darvish hadn't been pitching well with the Rangers, but of course he hits the Dodgers and the switch flipped. The Mets mostly didn't touch him, though deGrom did manage a hit in the 3rd, and then stole a base which was academic. Amed Rosario, making his Citi Field debut, did the same in the 5th, after we'd departed.

But, of course, our early departure meant I'd been spared the indignity of seeing Chase Utley hit a Home Run in the 6th off of Josh Smoker, I didn't get to see more Dodgers Fans dancing in the Aisles, and I didn't have to watch the Mets fade out meekly into the night as clearly they're no match for The Hot Team right now. Given their record and the streak they've been on, I'm not sure anyone is a match for them.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Saw That One Coming

Thursday's game was of course one of those bizarre 3:40pm games, where I can't watch because I'm at work, so I have a hard time following, and because it's such an odd start time, it usually ends while I'm heading home from work so I really have no idea what's going on. But then again, when I left my office, I saw that the game was tied, in the last of the 9th, and Hansel Robles was pitching a 2nd inning and I already knew that this wasn't going to end well.

I've gone over my disdain of Robles more than enough times this season so I think you already know what I'm going to say. However, just to turn the knife a little more is this comment that Robles was complaining of numbness in his hand and yet didn't say anything or ask to come out of the game, which is pretty stupid. Or maybe it's that same stubborn ballplayer mentality that screwed up everyone else on the team this season. Either way, I'd like to imagine that if you can't feel the object you're throwing in your hand, and your job is to get Major League hitters out and try to win a game, maybe it's better to just let someone else take it from there. Particularly when you have a hard enough time getting hitters out in key situations when you CAN feel the ball. But nooooo.

The game was over before I hit 59th Street on the subway, that alert buzz F COL 5 NYM 4 came through, and I wasn't surprised Robles found a way to blow the game. Which was a shame because the Mets had done a nice job of battling back, and Rafael Montero did a nice job of not getting lit up by the Colorados, and even he had an RBI, and Amed Rosario hit his 2nd triple in as many days, but this season, it feels like every positive is counteracted by multiple negatives and, of course losses.

Now the Mets can come home and lose even more to The Hot Team, the Dodgers. That should be a delight.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

New Found Energy

I realize there's not much that can be done to actually save the Mets this season, but the more you are able to find some bright spots for the future, you go with that.

Two such new faces played prominent roles in the Mets Coors Field-aided 10-5 comeback win over the Colorados on Wednesday night. The first was Chris Flexen, who may simply be in the rotation right now because he's not Tyler Pill, or Tommy Milone, or Aaron Laffey, or Chan Ho Park, or Brett Hinchcliffe, or any other such gap-filling pitcher with no particular hope. That's not to say he at this point does inspire a great deal of confidence, but if nothing else, he's young, he has a reasonably live arm and some decent chance of upside. That being said, he hasn't exactly looked ready for prime time in his first two Major League outings. I don't know just how much of it is the fact that he's two starts removed from AA ball and how much is that he's pitching in Coors Field against a strong Colorados lineup, but the 3rd inning got away from him real fast and as such, his night ended there dazed and in a 5-0 hole after a series of ringing hits.

But since it's Coors Field, 5-0 isn't impossible, even for the Mets right now. Facing Tyler Chatwood, who can be intermittently good and horrible, the Mets stormed right back and their other new face, Amed Rosario, was instrumental in pushing this along. The Mets had scored two in the 4th and Rosario came up in the 5th inning with Curtis Granderson on 2nd and lined a shot past Nolan Arenado and into the Left Field corner. Rosario flew around the bases and even though the ball was picked up by an ignorant fan, Rosario was awarded 3rd base anyway. How often do you see that? A ground rule triple. And he was home shortly thereafter as he scored on a Travis d'Arnaud groundout and very quickly, 5-2 became 5-4 almost solely because of Rosario.

The Mets then continued to attack in the 6th, scoring another 6 runs after I'd shut the game off and attempted to go to bed. Yoenis Cespedes doubled home the tying run, Curtis Granderson gave the Mets the lead with a 3-run Home Run, and the Mets continued on from there until they were the ones with the 5 run lead. Now, all they had to do was hope their bullpen could hold it, which is of course always a dicey proposition. But Paul Sewald did his job, and even Fernando Salas threw a scoreless inning, and then A.J. Ramos finished it off and the Mets had themselves a victory, one that feels primarily spurred on by this new fellow because he pushed the envelope and helped make the early deficit seem not so impossible. Or maybe it was just the rarefied air, silly!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Do Well

Presumably, when your team's top prospect ascends to make his Major League debut, you want a few things to happen. You want him to play well, and look relaxed even if he's about to jump through his uniform. You want him to get his first hit so that it's out of the way and doesn't drag out and become a thing. You want him to play well in the field and not make any errors, and not do anything to screw up the game.

We got almost all of that out of Amed Rosario in his Major League debut on Tuesday night. He looked collected and calm for the most part. He got his first hit on an 8th inning Infield Single. However, it was a mistake he made at a crucial moment in the 9th inning that opened the doors for the Colorados to score the winning run and take the series opener, 5-4.

Blame on these sorts of plays get passed out all over the place, and sure, there was probably some miscommunication between Neil Walker and Rosario on the pitch to D.J. LeMahieu. But it wasn't, as some seem to make it out to be, some egregious mistake. These things happen and, well, Jose Reyes or Asdrubal Cabrera are just as capable of doing the same thing and when they do it, they're old and creaky. Or they're old and creaky anyway.  Irregardless, it happened, and Nolan Arenado followed with a looping single to win the game for the Colorados.

All that being said, the game to that point seemed to be playing into the Colorados hands. It was one of those games that a good team will always win and a bad team will always find a way to lose and so it shouldn't be too terribly surprising. The Mets had an early lead, Steven Matz then allowed a 3-run Home Run to Arenado in the 6th. The Mets battle back to tie and then take the lead in the 8th on a Jay Bruce Home Run, and then Paul Sewald and Jerry Blevins allow the Colorados to tie the game back up. And, then, Hansel Robles enters the game and, well, Robles has inspired such confidence that when he enters a game, I often wonder not if he'll screw it up, but how. And if he doesn't walk Charlie McCharliemon to start the 9th, maybe we're not in this mess talking about a Rookie's misplay. Or maybe we're just talking about the Rookie's misplay because who wants to waste their time talking about Hansel Robles?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Next Generation

The Mets of course made news with two moves on Monday, one of which was expected and the other of which had been long anticipated.

The first was the departure of Addison Reed to Boston for a trio of Pitching prospects whom none of us have ever really heard of so we just let them marinate in the Minors for now and hope for the best, because the hope is that they turn out to be more useful than many of the relievers the Mets have blindly been trotting out this season. As for Reed, we wish him well. He did some excellent work here; in spite of being somewhat iffy in his brief cameo in 2015, he put it all together and was outstanding in 2016 and for the most part again this season when he was shoved into the Closer's role.

The other news, of greater import, was the promotion of Amed Rosario to the Major Leagues after months of clamoring and clanging and wondering when it would actually happen. Well, now that time is here and we can see just what, exactly, Rosario is or will be. I expect he'll take a few days to get his sea legs under him; it helps that he'll be debuting in Colorado, but nonetheless that he was ready skill-wise was not in doubt. Let's see how ready he is mentally. The hope with these guys is, as always, that you have someone who will grab the position and stay there for the next 10-15 years. Sort of like the guy he's basically replacing, Jose Reyes. We'll hear that comparison made a few times, I'd think.

So...yeah. Reed out, Rosario in. Excitement abound for the last two months of a basically lost season. Let's go.