Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekly Recap: June 12-17

Welcome to Midwestern Met's second overseas weekly recap. It's been a busy weekend for me here in Ireland; you'll see some snapshots of my trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland at the end of the post. But first, let's get to what's happened in Flushing this past week.

Team record: 3-3 (35-32 overall)
June 12-14, Rays Series: W, 3-0
June 15-17, Reds Series: L, 3-0

The Good Stuff:
  • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Charles Dickens might has well have been writing A Tale of Two Ballclubs, and writing about the Mets this week. The middle of the week was all Good, the weekend all Bad. Let's start with an improbable end to a then-disastrous road trip.
  • New York didn't just sweep the Tampa Bay Rays in the Trop, they blew them away like a hurricane: 11-2, 9-1, 9-6. Highlights included:
    • R.A. Dickey's second career one-hitter on Wednesday night. Overshadowed by Matt Cain's perfect game in San Francisco a couple hours later, Dickey turned in arguably the best performance of his career: 1 infield single in the 1st inning, 1 unearned run in the 9th, 12 strikeouts, no walks, becoming the first pitcher to reach 10 Ws this year. R.A.'s been nothing short of Cy Young-esque over his last 5 starts, picking up wins every time while sporting an ERA of 0.23, 50 strikeouts and just 3 walks in 39.2 innings, and most importantly, no home runs. That he'll be on the All-Star team is a given fact now with the only question being whether he would get the start on baseball's biggest stage in Kansas City.
    • Of all the offensive prowess we could talk about in this series, Ike Davis's emergence was the most significant. Ike went 6-11 in the series with a double, home run, 6 RBIs, 3 walks, and just 2 strikeouts. Currently on an 8-game hitting streak, Davis is just barely riding the interstate with an average up to .194; if he starts off this week 2-4 or better he will have reached the Mendoza line of .200.
  • When the dust had settled, the Mets were out of St. Petersburg with 3 wins and a 4-5 record on their toughest road trip of the season. The team hoped to turn that momentum into another series win over the weekend...until the worst of times came around.
The Bad Stuff:
  • In the words of Tim McCarver (sort of): "As good as the Mets were in the first half of this week, that's how as bad as they were this weekend." On Father's Day Weekend at Citi Field, the Cincinnati Reds came in and stomped on all New York's momentum, delivering losses of 3-7, 1-4, 1-3.
  • After only managing 4 hits on Friday night against Bronson Arroyo, New York combined to go 3-17 with RISP on Saturday and Sunday. Apparently they didn't save enough offense for the weekend and used it all up against the Rays.
  • But the biggest emotional blow of the weekend was Jason Bay's second concussion in two years on Friday. I don't expect to see him the rest of the season, and I wouldn't be surprised if we never see him put on a baseball uniform again. These things are crazy dangerous; more and more research is coming out it seems almost daily. As Terry Collins put it, it's not about baseball anymore: it's about quality of life, about whether this sort of thing will affect Bay 20 years down the road.
Final Analysis:
It was like someone turned off the immersion and suddenly the red-hot Mets were icy cold (it's an Ireland thing; they have to heat up their own water here; crazy!). After a stunning week down south it quickly turned stunningly awful for the team as they fell right back to where they started the week. New York has lost 9 of 13 and the schedule doesn't get any easier with home series against the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees this week. It's been said before, but this week may be one of the more crucial ones for the Mets in 2012. After this week, which could leave them under .500 or sky high, we'll have a clearer picture of what this team will be at the end of September.


Irish Pics of the Week:
Some friends and I went up to Belfast for the weekend. Here's the famous City Hall, with the Olympic Rings to recognize the UK's hosting of the Summer Games in London.

The Queen's University in Belfast. Beautiful campus, like something out of a Harry Potter film.

A Rose Garden in the Botanical Gardens near Queen's campus. Artsy shot of a friend.

Carrick-a-Rede on the northern edge of the island. Those far out rocks? You need to cross a rickety rope bridge to get there. Yay survival!

The Giant's Causeway. Yes, those stones are all natural.

On Sunday we took a Black Cab tour around the significant sights of The Troubles. Here's a Bobby Sands mural on the Catholic Republican side of Belfast.

Conversely, a mural for William of Orange on the Protestant Loyalist side.

Queen's again. This time on a rare sunny day.
That's it for this week; check back again Monday for another update.


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