Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekly Recap, July 2-8

Independence Day has come and gone, and the All-Star Break is finally upon us. For the next four days Mets fans can take a break and reflect on their team, a group which has more than just exceeded expectations so far in 2012. Here's what you missed from this week in Flushing, New York.

Team Record: 3-3 (46-40 overall)
July 3-5, Phillies Series: W, 2-1
July 6-8, Cubs Series: L, 1-2

The Good Stuff:
  • With exception to the actual date of July 4, fireworks were flying over Citi Field as the Mets lit up the Phillies for a series win.
    • In the 100 degree heat, David Wright was a man on fire in this series, hitting .357 with 2 home runs and 9 RBIs. Thursday night was his finest hour of the year, as he won an incredible duel with Cole Hamels, took him deep, and then delivered the game-winning single off Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th.
  • Jon Niese and Dillon Gee showed ace potential during starts this week: Niese went 8 great innings on Tuesday during an 11-2 romp and Dillon Gee did the same on an easy Saturday afternoon against the Cubs.
The Bad Stuff:
  • After the emotional high of that Thursday victory, New York couldn't carry the momentum into their (de facto) first-half finale against Chicago, dropping 2 of 3 games for a season record of 2-4 against the NL Central's cellar dweller.
  • Starting pitching was like Jekyll and Hyde this week: you had Niese and Gee, then you had Niese's second start in which the Cubs roughed him up for a Sunday loss. Johan Santana didn't make it out of the 5th on Friday night. R.A. Dickey allowed 5 runs over 7 innings on Thursday, making it his second bad outing in three starts (I'm sure it's nothing to worry about, but rough outings stick out like a sore thumb in the sea of quality starts Dickey has turned in this season.)
  • Also a disappointment, and this one came across a couple hours ago: NL manager Tony La Russa has chosen Matt Cain to start the All-Star Game over R.A. Dickey. Cain's a respectable choice, no doubt, but he hasn't been the best pitcher in the NL this season. That's been Dickey. La Russa's official explanation will be concern over Buster Posey's being able to catch the knuckleball. But I call foul on this excuse: Posey is supposed to be the "best" catcher in the league. Surely he should be able to catch the butterfly for 2 measly innings. Knuckleball discrimination is alive and well, and the result is yet another Met snubbed in Kansas City. At this point I just hope Dickey gets into the game at all.
Final Analysis:
A disappointing way to go into the break, but all-in-all, a thrilling first half to the 2012 season for the New York Mets. Four and a half games out of first place, in second place for most of the run, Wild Card contenders. Not to mention an MVP candidate, a Cy Young frontrunner, and an actual no-hitter. I wouldn't have guessed this at the beginning of the year, but that's the beauty of baseball: the unexpected happens regularly. Let's hope the best is yet to come.


Irish Pics of the Week:

A hidden gem in Dublin: the statue of Philip Lynott, bassist and frontman of Thin Lizzy

The city of Cork in southern Ireland on an absolutely beautiful day

The spectacular St. Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork

The Old Jameson Distillery, home of the smoothest whiskey in the world (it's the triple distillation that does the trick)

Another visit to Croke Park, this time for a hurling match between Galway and Kilkenny

The fastest sport on grass: a combination of lacrosse, baseball, even hockey. Absolutely thrilling to watch.
It's a short week next week, but I'll be back with the Mets' results and pics from my last weekend in Ireland.


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