Friday, April 22, 2011

Game #19: Mets 9, Astros 1

The Citi Field Home Run Apple rises as David Wright rounds third after his home run. (
Cue the collective sigh of relief and a smile. Mets fans have to be smiling after this one.

David Wright broke out of a slump with a home run and 3 RBIs and Chris Capuano shut down the Houston offense, giving New York a much-needed 9-1 victory.

The Good Stuff:
It's been unheard of so far this year, but tonight the Mets actually did everything right.
Chris Capuano showed us why we put him in the rotation: delivering 7 solid innings and giving up just 1 run. What also stands out is that he managed those 7 innings in just 100 pitches. If he had had a shutout going, I'll bet he would've tried for a complete game. More good news: Taylor Buchholz managed not to screw it up, finishing the final 2 innings with just 1 hit against him.
David Wright's 0-20 streak was the longest of his career and was four shy of the cold spell Willie Mays started his career with in 1951. Just like Mays, Wright ended the misery with a deep blast in the 4th inning. The next inning, he brought home 2 more on a double to center. Let's hope this is the beginning of David Wright instead of David Wrong.
Also getting in on the onslaught was backup catcher Mike Nickeas, who earned his first career home run in the third. A nice story, he's a 28-year-old rookie this year who made his major league debut in a throwaway game last September. Good for him. Ike Davis also added two more RBIs (one on a long blast in the 8th) to his team-high 14.
The biggest story of the night, however, was the return of Jason Bay. Last season's big free-agent acquisition made his first appearance since last July, going 1-4 with a double and 2 runs, the last coming on a 4-base error in the 8th. Everyone's been saying this, and I have to agree: Bay's return is really going to open up the offense. Think of this 3-4-5-6: Wright, Carlos Beltran, Bay, Davis. Righty Bay's presence will protect lefty Beltran from intentional walks, and Bay in turn will be protected by lefty Davis. As long as these four stay healthy, the middle of the Mets' order could be one of the better in the National League.

The Bad Stuff:
Speaking of health, time for the one blemish on tonight's result: Angel Pagan left in the middle of the game with an apparent left oblique injury. Looks like he'll be out for a couple days. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise though: Pagan is hitting .159 and shows no sign of getting back on the upswing. Maybe a couple days' rest will do him some good and he can get back on track.

Final Analysis:
In the top of the 1st, Terry Collins was ejected by the home plate umpire for arguing a call that went against his club. Maybe that was the spark this team needed. The Amazin's had their most impressive win since the one in Philly two weeks ago. Collins' energy certainly wore off on NY tonight.

Yes, it's just one game, but perhaps this is the beginning of an upswing. Three more home games against the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks won't hurt. Stay tuned for the weekend.


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