Saturday, October 5, 2013

Closing Time: The End of Midwestern Met

By electing to undergo Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey will be disappearing for some time. Tonight, it pains me to write I will be doing the same.

I started Midwestern Met just before the 2011 New York Mets season, towards the end of my freshman year at Hope College. For three full seasons I have recapped every Mets game, trying to keep fans afloat with a unique and somewhat humorous approach to the team's Amazin' escapades. Through these years, I have gotten the chance to write about the departures of Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, the arrivals of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, the miracle season of R.A. Dickey, No-Han, and lots and lots of Piefaces. It has been a special three years rooting for the boys, and getting to write about them nearly 500 times has affirmed that I will bleed orange and blue for the rest of my days.

Unfortunately, the demands associated with being a college senior have severely limited any sort of time I have to write about my team. Thus, tonight I announce that Midwestern Met is ceasing operation. This will be my final post.

I want to thank everyone who has ever read this Midwestern boy's take on the big city ball club. In particular, special thanks goes out to Matt Musico, former editor of Rising Apple who brought me aboard last May, the entire staff of RA, and my wonderful father, who passed the Mets on to me as his father passed them on to him. It's been fun, guys.

One of my favorite quotes came from the late Jim Croce: "If you dig it, do it. If you really dig it, do it twice." I did it twice. And almost 500 more times after. Perhaps I'll find the time to do it again someday. Until then, Let's Go Mets, Ya Gotta Believe, East Side, West Side, Bring the Kiddies, Bring Your Wife, Put It In The Books. We're outta here.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Game #162: Mets 3, Brewers 2

A wild season deserves a wild finish. Not nearly as wild as what Miami did, but reasonably wild.

New York plated two runs on shoddy Milwaukee defense in the bottom of the 8th, and Frank Francisco finally returned to the closer's role as the Mets capped Mike Piazza Day and the 2013 season with a 3-2 victory over the Brewers.

The Good Stuff:
  • Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, Juan Lagares got a rally going with a groundball that shortstop Jeff Bianchi couldn't handle, scoring immediately after on Juan Centeno's bunt single that was kicked around the infield. Wilfredo Tovar followed with a sac bunt that wasn't a sac, as pinch-runner Matt den Dekker beat the throw to third. Two batters later, Eric Young got the final run of the year home on an RBI groundout.
  • In a moment 161 games (and quite a bit of frustration) in the making, Frank Francisco closed out a 1-2-3 9th inning for his first and only save of the year, sending the nearly 42,000 Met fans who packed the house for Mike Piazza's Hall of Fame induction home happy and satisfied for the offseason.
  • Jonathon Niese finished out the season strong, allowing two runs on six hits in six innings, walking two and striking out two on 80 pitches.
  • Eric Young stole two bases, giving him 46 for the season (38 with the Mets) and the National League stolen bases crown. He also scored the game's opening run on David Wright's sac fly in the 1st.
The Bad Stuff:
  • How about the 161 games before today that Frank Francisco was doing everything to not be a major league closer? Good riddance.
Final Analysis:
And that was all she wrote. 162 games in the books, the same record as last year at 74-88. Time flies when you're having fun (admit it - baseball is still fun, even if your team is losing). Check back in the next few days for MM's season in review.


Game #161: Brewers 4, Mets 2

Call it deja-deja-vu. (Or would it be daja-vu-vu?) Whatever it was, once again it wasn't pretty.

Eric Young tied the game in the bottom of the 9th but the Brewers scored two in the 10th to put away the Mets 4-2 for the third straight game.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Scott Atchison gave up both runs in the top of the 10th inning, assuring himself his third L of the year and New York's 88th of 2013, matching last year's loss column.
  • David Wright grounded into a bases-loaded double play in the bottom of the 9th, ending the rally that extended the game into the 10th.
  • The Mets hit 1-10 with RISP, stranded 10 men on base, and had no XBHs (and just five hits) the entire night.
The Good Stuff:
  • Aaron Harang took a no-decision after six innings of one-run, five-hit ball, walking two and striking out seven on 107 pitches.
  • New York managed to tie the game when, after Zach Lutz and Andrew Brown walked, Eric Young slapped a single to left to plate pinch-runner Matt den Dekker.
  • Daniel Murphy went 2-3 and picked up his 78th RBI of the year.
Final Analysis:
It would be great to win tomorrow, otherwise the offseason will be even more depressing than anticipated.

After tomorrow, I won't get to say, "There's always another game." I don't care what anyone thinks of the Mets in 2013 - I'm going to miss them when it's all over. So let's enjoy it tomorrow while we still can!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Game #160: Brewers 4, Mets 2

Call it deja-vu all over again. (Although nicer than yesterday - no one got beaned this time.)

Carlos Torres allowed three early runs and the Mets couldn't get any offense going, falling to the Brewers 4-2 once again.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Carlos Torres allowed a home run to Norichika Aoki on the fourth pitch of the game, then later in the 1st set up Khris Davis for a two-run shot. Milwaukee's immediate 3-0 lead would go unchallenged all night.
  • New York only had three at-bats with RISP and stranded five.
The Good Stuff:
  • Torres kept the damage to the 1st, lasting six innings and allowing no more runs and two more hits, walking one and striking out seven on 100 pitches.
  • Justin Turner had a nice night at the plate, going 2-4 with a run and an RBI in the cleanup slot.
Final Analysis:
Do we really have to wait another day for that Piazza Party?


Friday, September 27, 2013

Game #159: Brewers 4, Mets 2

The last series of the year opened up with a the worst possible way.

David Wright was hit in the head by a pitch, and Dillon Gee struggled in his final start of the year as the Mets dropped the game to the Brewers 4-2.

The Bad Stuff:
  • With two outs and a run home in the bottom of the 3rd, David Wright took a Johnny Hellweg change up right to the head and left the game immediately. Fortunately, he passed his concussion tests and says he feels fine.
  • Dillon Gee couldn't finish the year strong, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings, walking two and striking out two on 89 pitches. He finishes the season one inning short of 200.
  • New York was hitless in 14 at-bats with RISP and stranded 11 men on base.
The Good Stuff:
Final Analysis:
Wright passed his concussion test. Let's just try to move on.

It's a shame Dillon Gee didn't get to the "badge of honor" of 200 innings, but to come back from a career-threatening blood clot just a year before to pitch the complete season is pretty impressive. 199 will be a number he can be proud of for the rest of his career.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Game #158: Mets 1, Reds 0

Only the pace of the game would have indicated the difference between Daisuke Matsuzaka and Matt Harvey today in Cincinnati.

Dice-K tossed nearly eight shutout innings, and Eric Young's RBI single in the 3rd was all the Mets needed in a 1-0 series clincher over the Reds.

The Good Stuff:
  • Matsuzaka out-dueled Cincy's Mat Latos, giving up just four hits and two walks in 7.2 scoreless frames, striking out six on 105 pitches.
  • The game's only run came in the top of the 3rd when Wilfrdo Tovar was hit by a pitch, went to second on Dice-K's bunt, advanced on a passed ball, and came home on Eric Young's single to right.
  • Pedro Feliciano got the last out of the 8th, and after deferring to Vic Black last night, LaTroy Hawkins completed a 1-2-3 9th for his 13th save of the year.
The Bad Stuff:
  • New York only managed four hits on the afternoon, but with pitching like that, offense wasn't needed.
Final Analysis:
Hey, the Mets are on a hot streak! Their 9-4 stretch over the past 13 contests almost makes us forget that half the team is injured. And half those wins came without David Wright! Not all is lost in Amazin' Land.

Tomorrow the Mets return home for their final four games of the year against the Milwaukee Brewers. I don't care how rough the season's been - I'll miss baseball when it's done.