Friday, August 31, 2012

Game #132: Mets 3, Marlins 0

With Hurricane Issac in the rearview mirror, Miami had to deal with a brand new threat: Hurricane Robert (Allen).

R.A. Dickey tossed a complete game shutout and Ike Davis supplied all the offense as the Mets closed out August with a 3-0 win over the Marlins.

The Good Stuff:
  • With the roof closed and the climate controlled in Marlins Park, R.A. Dickey's knuckleball thrived like no other. Dickey tossed his 5th complete game and 3rd shutout of 2012, allowing just 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 7, including Donovan Solano to end the game. Throw in picking off Jose Reyes in the 6th inning and you've got one of his best starts in his best season.
    • With the win, Dickey improves his 2012 record to 17-4 with a 2.63 ERA. R.A. is now tied for the league lead in wins, but unfortunately for him, tonight's Cy Young-worthy performance was followed up by another man who earned his 17th win in just as dominating fashion. Other guys pitching for contenders and knuckleball discrimination may cost R.A. Dickey the Cy Young, but he certainly did his job tonight.
  • On New York's side of the plate, Ike Davis gave the team all the offense it needed, hitting a sac fly to score the go-ahead run in the 4th. In the 7th, Davis provided an insurance plan, absolutely crushing a 2-run home run to the upper deck of the right field stands. It was Ike's 25th of the season and his 3 RBIs gave him 74 on the year, just 4 behind David Wright's team-leading total.
The Bad Stuff:
  • The rest of the Mets' bats failed to get anything going, only collecting 4 hits in the entire game, hitting once with runners in scoring position, and leaving just 2 men on base.
Final Analysis:
Why do the best games always last shorter than the rest? It only took 2 hours and 7 minutes for R.A. Dickey to sit down the entire Miami Marlins ballclub. Ike Davis continued shaking off the few ashes remaining from his rebirth in June and stepped it up when the rest of New York was unable. All in all, a great win and a great way to finish out a lousy month. The Mets won 5 of their last 6 games in August to end the month with a much-less-awful-than-it-sounds 12-16 record. The ship has been righted and the New York Mets have 30 games remaining to give their fans something to look forward to in 2013.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Game #131: Phillies 3, Mets 2

For the first 2 innings things looked so good...then the dyke began to spring a leak, and just a little bit of water was enough to flood New York out of Philadelphia.

The Mets scored runs in the 1st and 2nd innings but the Phillies scored in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th to take the lead, and the game, 3-2.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Jon Niese spread his one bad inning out over 3 frames today, allowing a run each in innings 3-5. The run in the 4th probably shouldn't have happened as Lucas Duda misjudged a flyball in left field that led to a Ty Wigginton double (okay, so we knew Duda wasn't going to become Ichiro after a month in the minors).
  • The Mets offense couldn't get any chances off Kyle Kendrick and the Philly bullpen, stranding 6 men on base and only hitting twice (both outs) with men in scoring position.
  • Josh Thole went 0-4 and left 3 men on, including stranding the tying run by recording the final out of the game. The embattled catcher is only hitting .242, a career low, and hasn't gotten a hit since August 14 in Cincinnati.
The Good Stuff:
  • Niese was a hard-luck loser this afternoon, recording another quality start with a final line of 6 innings, 9 hits, 3 earned runs, a walk, and 4 strikeouts.
  • Mike Baxter slugged the second pitch of the game over the wall in right; his second home run of the season (both in this series) gave New York the early 1-0 lead.
  • Scott Hairston blasted a solo home run deep to left in the 2nd inning (his 15th on the year).
  • Ramon Ramirez and Robert Carson allowed 3 hits in their 2 innings of relief pitching but allowed no more Philly runs to score.
Final Analysis:
It seems the Mets must have used up all their runs in that 9-5 10 inning affair on Tuesday night; they have only managed 5 in the past two games. Niese wasn't spectacular but he was solid once again, which is all he needs to do on a regular basis to earn a long-term spot in the New York rotation. A disappointing end to an otherwise spectacular series. If you told me we'd take 2 of 3 from Philadelphia after the awful stretch we've just gone through, I would've taken it hands down.

The Mets face another bottomfeeder this weekend, traveling to Miami for the first time since Frank Francisco's massive blowout in May. Aside from hoping old skeletons don't emerge from the closet, let's hope his team gives him a chance to redeem himself.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Game #130: Mets 3, Phillies 2

Almost forgotten in last night's 10-inning thrashing was Lucas Duda's first RBI since being recalled. Tonight, Big Dude made sure he was at the top of the recap.

Duda's 2-run homer provided the final margin and his game-saving catch in the 5th helped Matt Harvey and the Mets hang on for a 3-2 victory over the Phillies.

The Good Stuff:
  • Down 2-1 in the 3rd, Ike Davis got on with a 1-out single. Up came Lucas Duda, looking to prove he belongs full-time in the major leagues. On an 0-1 cutter from Tyler Cloyd, Duda "abided" with a rocket shot that cleared the wall in right and made it 3-2.
  • The Mets once again wouldn't score more than 3 runs in a game, but tonight 3 runs was enough thanks to pitching and defense. Matt Harvey got into a jam in the 5th, putting 2 on with 2 out for Ryan Howard. But Howard's laser to the wall in left was snagged by Duda, who must have picked up some glove skills in Buffalo as well.
  • Harvey was solid the rest of the night en route to his 3rd W of the season: 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 1/3 innings, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 98 pitches.
  • From then on, the suddenly rock-solid New York bullpen took care of the rest. Josh Edgin, Robert Carson, and Jon Rauch took the team through the 8th, and Frank Francisco nailed down the save with a 1-2-3 9th.
  • Ike Davis's average continues to climb as he went 2-4 and scored once.
  • Teams are going to start walking Matt Harvey to get to leadoff the way he's hitting: he picked up another hit and his 3rd RBI, taking his average up to .462.
The Bad Stuff:
  • David Wright went 0-5, knocking his average down to .315.
  • Ruben Tejada's struggles continued as he went 0-5 with 2 strikeouts in the leadoff spot; the man who recently led all major league shortstops in batting average is now down to .296 on the year.
Final Analysis:
I'm getting used to this winning thing! It's 4 in a row for the Mets, including 2 series in a row and their 7th out of 8 in Philadelphia this season. Just about everything went right for New York in this game: they hit in the clutch, their starter was more-than-solid, they got a key defensive play to save 2 runs, and their bullpen was lights out. Play like this over the final month of the year and we'll feel pretty good going into 2013.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Game #129: Mets 9, Phillies 5 (10)

In a 7-game homestand last week, the Mets scored 11 runs. Tonight, they almost equaled that in 10 innings.

Kelly Shoppach tied the game with a double in the 8th inning and his monster home run capped a 4-run 10th as the Mets won their third straight ballgame, defeating the Phillies 9-5.

The Good Stuff:
  • A 1st inning grand slam put New York in an early 4-1 hole, but Mike Baxter hit his first home run of the season in the 4th to score two, and David Wright's second RBI of the game (on a sac fly) tied the game in the 5th. After Chase Utley hit a quick home run in the bottom half of the inning, it appeared their comeback was all for naught. But with Wright on second and two out in the 8th, Kelly Shoppach took a full count fastball and lined a double to left to tie the game at 5.
  • After surviving a scary bottom of the 8th, the game went into extra innings. David Wright punched a 1-out single and Ike Davis, fresh off his 2-homer explosion on Sunday, hit a powerful double to center to put the Good Guys out in front to stay. Lucas Duda followed with his first big hit since being recalled, slashing an RBI single to make it 7-5. On the very next pitch, Shoppach put the nail in the coffin for BJ Rosenberg and Philly, launching a home run to left to give the game a Dolly Parton feel: 9-to-5.
    • Shoppach certainly provided more offense than the previous threesome of Thole/Nickeas/Johnson could in a month's time. With nights like tonight, don't be surprised if he ends up on the Opening Day roster in 2013. It'll be a good thing to have his bat and veteran presence in the dugout amongst what will still be a young team.
  • On a night when the Mets raked out 14 hits, these men stood out in the boxscore:
    • Ruben Tejada (2-5, 2B, 2 R)
    • David Wright (2-3, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI)
    • Lucas Duda (2-5, 2 R, RBI)
    • Kelly Shoppach (3-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI)
  • Chris Young didn't make it out of the 5th inning, but a surprisingly effective New York bullpen bailed him out to the tune of 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Robert Carson, Ramon Ramirez, Josh Edgin, Jon Rauch, and Bobby Parnell gave up just 2 hits and a couple walks between them, with Parnell picking up the victory by pitching a scoreless 9th and 10th.
The Bad Stuff:
  • How about "Chris Young didn't make it out of the 5th inning"? Young was rocked by a Ryan Howard grand slam in the 1st inning, and Chase Utley lived up to his first name, knocking Young out after 4 1/3 with a solo home run of his own. Young was worked to 89 pitches and his ERA now stands at an ugly 4.64.
  • Andres Torres, hitting in the 8-hole, was the only Met starter excluding the pitcher to go hitless on the night, striking out twice in an 0-3 performance that knocked his batting average down to .228.
Final Analysis:

More than 4 runs in a game? It's about time! The team's first 3-game winning streak since the end of June tastes especially good coming against the beaten-down Philadelphia Phillies, who are certain to lose their NL East Division crown this year. The Mets won't take it from them, but with offensive showings like tonight and solid work from at least one end of pitching, there's a good chance the Amazin's can still finish in 3rd place. It's all about the context, and while it's not the one Met fans would've preferred, it still provides a chance to root for something over the final 33 games of 2012.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Game #128: Mets 2, Astros 1

Mets fans have been waiting a long time to go crazy. Ike Davis gave them that chance today.

Davis hit his second career walk-off home run and his second round-tripper of the day to propel the Mets to a much-needed 2-1 series-clinching win over the Astros.

The Good Stuff:
  • Ike Davis had already provided offense for New York in the 4th inning with a massive solo home run that landed about 10 rows up in the Pepsi Porch. The team would have to call on him again in the 9th when Houston tied the game and threatened to spoil the Sunday afternoon affair. Ike would abide once again, turning on a 2-0 slider from Wilton Lopez and depositing it just out of reach of Ben Francisco over the right field fence.
    • The team and its fans were elated as Davis rounded the bases and did a 360 in the air before landing on home plate. Later on he would receive an honor not bestowed upon a Met since David Wright got one on July 5: a celebratory pie-in-the-face from Justin Turner. Whipped or shaving, it would've tasted like victory.
  • Jeremy Hefner tossed his best game as a pro, going 8 scoreless innings before letting the tying run come in in the 9th. Hef allowed 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 7, but was relieved after his 103rd pitch went for a run-scoring double by Marwin Gonzalez.
  • Lucas Duda returned to the lineup after a stint in Buffalo, going 0-2 with a walk. But in his first game in left field, Big Dude repented for questionable work on the Gonzalez double by throwing him out at the plate after a Ben Francisco single. Tie preserved, stage set for Ike magic.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Aside from Ike's two bombs the rest of the New York offense was pretty nonexistent, with David Wright and Kelly Shoppach accounting for the rest of the team's hits (one each). The team hit 0-3 with RISP and left 4 men on.
Final Analysis:
A series win! Only the second since the All-Star Break but we'll take what we can get. Ike Davis won back the last few remaining fans he lost in the first two months and now has 24 on the season. Jeremy Hefner's audition for a roster spot next year exceeded expectations and bolstered the reputation of New York's already stellar starting rotation. While the offensive struggles are still disturbing, a win is a win. Savor it while you can.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Game #127: Mets 3, Astros 1

The way the Mets had swung the bat, "three's a crowd" began to seem like pure fact at Citi Field. Today New York got that crowd, and it stood behind R.A. Dickey's dancing knuckleball.

Dickey tossed the Solid Seven for his 16th win and Justin Turner led an offensive "barrage" to give the Mets a 3-1 streak-snapping victory over the Astros.

The Good Stuff:
  • While he only struck out 2, R.A. Dickey pitched for contact and looked like a Cy Young winner doing it, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and a walk in 7 strong innings. With only 86 pitches to his name he probably could've (and should've for the sake of fans' health) pitched the 8th and maybe even the 9th.
  • But Jon Rauch, Josh Edgin, and Frank Francisco made Dickey's line stand up with 2 relief innings and were finally able to put away the worst team in baseball.
  • On the other side of the frame, New York finally got all the offense it needed and then some:  Dickey drove in the first run on a swinging bunt in the 4th, then Justin Turner launched his first home run in more than a year, a solo line drive over the slope of the old Great Wall of Flushing, in the 6th. In the 8th, Jason Bay lined a 2-out single into right to give the Mets 3 runs in a game for the first time in more than a week.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Thinking of 3 runs as a barrage means there's some pretty bad hitting going on, but you adjust your expectations in this situation; 3 runs means progress today, so rather than "Bad Stuff" this would probably file under "Aw Man Stuff."
  • The only questionable decision was pinch-hitting for R.A. Dickey with Jordany Valdespin in the bottom of the 7th. Yes, it was late in the game and more runs would've been nice, but considering the bullpen behind Dickey (although Jon Rauch has been solid lately) and the man on the mound, I probably would've left R.A. in to hit. But that's why they pay Terry Collins to run the ballclub, not me.
Final Analysis:
A win! A win! An actual W! First time in a week and it snaps a 6-game losing streak. Is this the start of a 10-game winning streak? Probably not. But at this point you take it game by game and enjoy wins when they come. Way to go.

It was great to see R.A. Dickey win again; #16 doubles his win total from last season. With about 7 starts to go, he's 3 away from equaling his W total in 2010 and 2011 combined and 4 away from becoming the Mets' first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990. With a potential Cy Young Award still in the picture as well, Robert Allen Dickey will be our main focus of entertainment as Mets fans the rest of 2012.


Game #126: Astros 3, Mets 1

At the very least, there was at least one offensive highlight tonight.

David Wright's 200th career home run wasn't nearly enough as the Mets' offense failed once again in a 3-1 loss to the league-worst Astros.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Guess. Against one of the worst staffs in the bigs, 4 hits, 0-4 w/ RISP, 5 left on.
The Good Stuff:
  • Jon Niese was a hard-luck loser tonight, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. The way things are going at the plate, things were unfortunately already lost when he allowed 2 runs in the 2nd inning.
  • David Wright finally reached the 200 home run milestone, sending a laser off his bat in the 4th that just cleared the wall and clipped one of the supports of the right field foul pole. The round-tripper was upheld after review and Mr. Wright had his first round-tripper since July 27th in Arizona.
    • Wright added another hit to finish the night 2-4 and bring his batting average back up to .319. The other hits were gained by Justin Turner (who doesn't get nearly the playing time he should) and Andres Torres.
Final Analysis:
I picked a good week to go back to college and miss most of these games. Here's the valleys the Mets have reached after today's L: 6 losses in a row, 5 home losses to last-place teams, making a guy (Jordan Lyles) who had won just 2 decisions all season look like Roy Oswalt in his prime, giving Houston's interim manager (Tony DeFrancesco) his first career victory. The bottom fell out long ago; it's just a matter now of how much of the whole machine will stay together before the end of the season, which unfortunately right now can't get here soon enough.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Game #125: Rockies 1, Mets 0

On a day when their recent average of two runs would've been enough, New York couldn't even manage one.

Collin McHugh's sensational debut was wasted as the Mets couldn't plate a single run, falling to the Rockies 1-0.

The Bad Stuff:
  • You know the drill: bad offense, no hitting, yadda yadda yadda. Today it was worse than usual: 0-10 with RISP, 12 men left on. And that's all we'll say about that.
  • While Bobby Parnell picked up the L on the day, allowing the single Colorado run in the 8th, it sure as heck wasn't his fault. Jordany Valdespin misjudged a flyball off the bat of Tyler Colvin, and a flyout to center turned into a leadoff triple. Colvin came in as Chris Nelson singled him home in the next at-bat.
The Good Stuff:
  • On the flip side, Collin McHugh made Matt Harvey's stellar debut a month ago seem all too ordinary. The 25-year-old pride of Covington, Georgia and fellow blogger (here is his blog) tossed 7 innings of 2-hit shutout ball, walking just 1 and striking out 9. With McHugh's banner day and Jenrry Mejia set to join the rotation in September, it begs the question as to whether the Mets have too much starting pitching. If that's the case, I'm sure Sandy Alderson will be able to pull some strings and bring in other guys to fill the many holes in this team.
Final Analysis:
So the Mets lost, again. They were swept, again. They were swept at home in four by the Rockies for the second straight year. Eh, we're all used to losing by now. So let's take away the positives. Collin McHugh should be the toast of the town tonight after a debut to remember. With Johan Santana shut down for the rest of the season, it's nice to see another hole in the rotation filled so promptly.

So while the last-place Rockies couldn't help New York win any games, perhaps the team with the worst record in baseball can. Yes, the Houston Astros are coming to town this weekend. The Mets surely should take 2 out of 3. Heck, I'd be down for just a single win. But the way this team is playing now, don't expect too much.


Game #124: Rockies 5, Mets 2

Mötley Crüe had a song off their 1989 Dr. Feelgood album called "Same Ol' Situation." That's been the story for the New York Mets the last few weeks, and tonight, once again, it was more of the same.

Matt Harvey's great start was wasted by lousy bullpen work in the last 3 innings as the Mets couldn't muster enough offense and fell, once again, by a familiar score of 5-2.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Tonight it was Ramon Ramirez's turn to "anti-shine": after coming out to start the 7th inning he only needed 2 pitches to turn a 1-1 game into a 2-1 deficit, giving up a solo home run to Wilin Rosario. A double, groundout, and sac bunt later, it was 3-1, and the Mets were in line for another tough loss.
    • But it wasn't enough for just Ramirez to ruin things. No, Frank Francisco decided to get in on the action as well, allowing 2 more runs to cross the plate in the 9th just after New York had scored to make things more interesting.
  • But even that wasn't enough. No, the offense, so sleepy throughout the rest of the game, chose the bottom of the 9th to wake up and tease the fans with a glimmer of hope. Mike Baxter hit a 1-out single and Justin Turner drew a clutch 10-pitch walk with 2 outs, but potential tying run Ronny Cedeno fell short on his own 8-pitch at-bat, flying out to left to end the game.
  • The offense went just 1-6 with RISP and stranded 9 men on base.
The Good Stuff:
  • Matt Harvey had his second straight quality start, going 6 innings and allowing just 1 run on 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out 9. When he left the game was still tied at 1-1, resulting in the first no-decision of his career.
  • Harvey may just be the hottest bat the Mets have at the moment as well; he picked up 2 more hits in 2 at-bats to raise his average to a mind-boggling-for-anyone .455 average. If he's going to hit like that as a pitcher, why not put him in the outfield during off days? Get that man some more plate appearances!
  • Scott Hariston and Ike Davis each went 1-3 with an RBI.
Final Analysis:
After Harvey left the game I knew New York had no chance. Nothing is going right for this team right now, and even when one part clicks (starting pitching) the other two (hitting and bullpen) are out to lunch. Every loss now drags them farther under .500 than they've ever been under Terry Collins. And if that weren't bad enough, the Phillies and Marlins are right at their tail about to overtake them for 3rd place in the NL East. They both lost tonight, but if they win and the Mets lose tomorrow the New York Mets will finally be right where the experts put us in April: Last Place. That, I believe, would finally be rock bottom.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Game #123: Rockies 6, Mets 2

...Yeah...about that series win we were supposed to have against Colorado...

Chris Young lost perfection and the game by allowing four runs in the 6th and the Met aided the Rockies with horrible defense and no offense, falling 6-2.

The Bad Stuff:
  • The Mets could only get one early run off Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin, but for 5 innings it looked like that would be enough for Chris Young, who faced 15 hitters and got 15 outs. But the 16th hitter got on with a single. The 17th did as well. The 18th tried to sac bunt but Young allowed a run on an error. From there it snowballed and eventually New York turned a 1-0 lead into an insurmountable 4-1 deficit.
  • Robert Carson allowed one more run in the 8th and a 6th Rocky run came in in the 9th on a failed rundown. As Gary and Keith on SNY explained, an error couldn't technically be applied to's just one in our minds.
  • Baserunning errors don't count in the E column either, but Andres Torres had an awful one in the 5th when he got picked off second base. Initially called safe going back to second, the call was overturned by an ump with a better angle, prompting Terry Collins's ejection after arguing.
  • New York's clutch hitting (and hitting in general) failed tonight as the team went 1-5 with RISP and stranded only 3 runners on base.
The Good Stuff:
  • Young's final line wasn't all that bad: 7 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs (2 earned - technically a quality start), 1 walk, 9 strikeouts.
  • David Wright went just 1-4 but had a home run taken away from him by Dexter Fowler in the 2nd and an RBI taken away when Ruben Tejada was thrown out at the plate in the 6th.
  • Ruben Tejada got his batting average back up into the .310s with a 2-4 night and a run.
Final Analysis:
Keith Hernandez called it fundamentally the worst game the Mets have played all season. No arguments here: this one was ug-ly. Now that "health spa" homestand against two cellar-dwellers must end with 5 straight wins to make it worthwhile with a 5-2 record. The way this team is playing now, 2-5 seems like the more likely scenario.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Game #122: Rockies 3, Mets 1

Turns out those friendship bracelets weren't to R.A. Dickey as flowing hair was to Samson. The offense, on the other hand, may want their own children to make their own bracelets.

Dickey was fantastic but got no run support and the Rockies scored twice in the final two innings to beat the Mets 3-1.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Their starter was out by the 5th inning but aside from a quick run in the 1st, the Mets were hapless at the plate, hitting just 1-5 with RISP and leaving 10 men on base.
  • After R.A. Dickey made his exit, Josh Edgin entered in the 8th and promptly let the go-ahead run come in after a double, sac bunt, and passed ball allowed by Kelly Shoppach. Jon Rauch relieved Edgin to finish the 8th but gave up a rare run in the 9th to give Colorado a huge cushion.
  • New York put the tying runs on base with 2 outs in the 9th, but Mike Baxter flew out to center field to end the game.
The Good Stuff:
  • R.A. Dickey turned in a performance worthy of the Cy Young consideration he's gotten, going the Solid Seven and allowing just a solo home run and 2 other hits to go with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. He certainly pitched well enough for his 16th win of the season, which would have doubled his W total from last season. Unfortunately for him, the bats decided to have a throwback to last year and give him as little as possible in the way of run support.
  • David Wright went 1-3 with a double and the game's only run; even in his other two hitless at-bats he swung the bat very well.
  • Daniel Murphy drove in Wright in the 1st with a 2-out RBI single.
Final Analysis:
So it was a loss with a silver lining in the shape of Dickey's quality start, but this was definitely not the way the Mets wanted to start their 13-game swing down Easy Street. The offense completely failed tonight against last-place pitching. Now you never want to expect a sweep, but this has to be the only loss of the series to make it a successful one. And if New York ever wants to sniff .500 again this year, they must look less like a last-place team than the ones they're going up against.


Game #121: Nationals 5, Mets 2

All too unfortunately, this game went just as expected.

Jeremy Hefner was roughed up and the Mets couldn't overcome the Nationals' pitching and Bryce Harper, falling in the series finale 5-2.

The Bad Stuff:
  • After both teams missed opportunities in the 1st, Washington struck first when Danny Espinosa laced a 2-run homer off New York starter Jeremy Hefner. The Nats scored twice more in the 3rd on a single, triple by Bryce Harper, and another single. The final run against Hef came in the 5th when Harper nearly went upper-deck on a changeup.
    • Hefner's final numbers: 5 runs on 8 hits (2 home runs) in 5 innings, no walks, 3 strikeouts.
  • The Mets outhit the Nationals 11-9, including 7 off Gio Gonzalez, but hit just 1-11 with RISP and stranded two handfuls of men (that would be 10) on base.
 The Good Stuff:
  • Five Mets had two hits in today's game, including: Justin Turner, David Wright, Scott Hairston, Ronny Cedeno, and Kelly Shoppach, who hit an RBI single in the 8th.
  • Manny Acosta, Josh Edgin, and Bobby Parnell combined for 3 scoreless innings to keep the visitors within striking distance the whole game.
Final Analysis:
An unfortunately predictable outcome for New York, and the nearly 3-hour rain delay only put off the inevitable. Hefner wasn't as good as he needed to be and Bryce Harper continues to build his reputation as the new Met-killer.

Fortunately for the Mets, one of their toughest stretches of the year has come to an end, and the next two weeks should be a health spa compared to the last few: home series with the cellar-dwelling Rockies and Astros next week, followed by road trips to Philadelphia and Miami to face the teams actually below us in the standings. With a bit of luck and some good baseball, the Mets could very well end up at or over .500 by this time in half a month. R.A. Dickey will start tomorrow; here's hoping he gets the ball rolling in the right direction.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Game #120: Mets 2, Nationals 0

It was their best chance to win this series, and today New York did not disappoint.

Ike Davis's late 2-run homer was all the offense Jon Niese and the bullpen needed as the Mets stole one from the Nationals 2-0.

The Good Stuff:
  • For the second straight start, Jon Niese gave his very best to a strong division opponent, tossing 7 1/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed 5 hits, walked none, and struck out 7. Niese now has a scoreless streak of 17+ innings dating back to two starts ago against Miami.
  • On the other side of the mound, Washington's Edwin Jackson was going just as strong, limiting New York to one hit in the first 6 innings. That second hit turned out to be oh-so important: after David Wright walked, Ike Davis stepped up and launched an opposite-field home run for the game's only runs. It was Ike's 22nd on the year and 17th on the road. He would also get the team's third and final hit of the game, a single in the 9th.
  • After Niese got the hook in the 8th, Jon Rauch retired the next two Nats without fanfare. Mets fans held their breath as their closer-by-default stepped out for the 9th. But Frank Francisco put to rest any concerns on this night, finishing the night with a 1-2-3 save.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Only 3 hits in a game is disconcerting, but the way Jackson was pitching (he finished with 11 strikeouts in 7 innings) I think we can give the team a pass tonight.
Final Analysis:
Even with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 9th, Dad was far from confident in the result. Okay, his exact words were: "There's no chance in hell we win this one." I'm guessing he was glad to be proven wrong this time. Pitching was on for the Mets in bunches tonight with Niese leading the charge, and while offense was absent most of the time it showed up in Ike Davis form when it needed to. All in all, a nice win and a rare chance to actually win a series tomorrow. I'm not expecting it with Jeremy Hefner going up against Gio Gonzalez, but I'd love to be proven wrong.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Game #119: Nationals 6, Mets 4

Two swings made the difference between a bounceback start for Johan Santana and more of the same from the team's former ace.

Santana served up a grand slam to Michael Morse and a 2-run homer to Bryce Harper as the Mets fell to the Nationals 6-4.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Santana was sharp in the beginning, tossing 3 perfect innings to get New York fans' hopes up. But a single, single, and single later in the 4th, those hopes were dashed when Michael Morse launched a grand slam to right center, and a 2-0 lead instantly became a 4-2 deficit. Things got even worse in the 5th when after getting the first two outs Johan gave up a single and a 2-run homer to new Mets nemesis Bryce Harper. It would be Santana's last frame of the night and secured his place as the first Met pitcher ever to allow 6+ earned runs in 5 straight starts.
  • New York's offense got 3 runs off Ross Detwiler in his 6 innings on the mound but went just 1-8 with RISP and stranded 6 men on base.
The Good Stuff:
  • Scott Hariston boosted his reputation as a lefty-buster by lacing 3 doubles off Detwiler and scoring twice.
  • Daniel Murphy picked up a 2-run single in the 1st to give his team an early lead.
  • Kelly Shoppach blasted a solo home run in the 7th for his first hit in a New York uniform and the first round-tripper by a Mets catcher since Mike Nickeas's grand slam against the Padres on May 26.
  • Manny Acosta and Ramon Ramirez kept the team in the game with a combined 3 scoreless innings after Johan's departure.
Final Analysis:
You can still call him "No-Han," but the context is entirely different. You could blame this on the no-hitter but he had a string of 3 consecutive quality starts, including 8 shutout innings at Dodger Stadium on June 30, before this recent string of futility. Nope, Johan may have simply run out of gas after coming off shoulder surgery. Two questions remain: first, if he doesn't have anything left this season, to (for lack of a better term) Strasburg or not to Strasburg? Second, with a full rotation lined up for next season, where does Johan Santana fit into the Mets' future plans?

Tomorrow night is the team's best chance to steal one from the home of baseball's best team as Jon Niese goes up against beta-ace Edwin Jackson. On Sunday afternoon Jeremy Hefner rings in the era of the 6-man rotation against Gio Gonzalez. Hey, miracles can happen, right?


Friday, August 17, 2012

Game #118: Mets 8, Reds 4

Let's face it: the Reds are one of the best teams in baseball this year. Escaping their park with one win is doing alright. To have your rookie pitcher dominate them for almost 8 full innings is pretty Amazin'.

Matt Harvey pitched the best game of his young career and picked up a couple RBIs as the Mets withstood a Reds rally and took the series finale 8-4.

The Good Stuff:
  • Matt Harvey was even better than his debut in Arizona, tossing 7 2/3 innings of 1-run, 4-hit ball. 63 of his 89 pitches went for strikes and accounted for 8 Ks, and his only walk of the game came against his final batter in the rain. He was also perfect through 4 innings and got more than halfway (4 2/3) to a no-hitter before Cincinnati got an infield hit off him.
  • After going 21 innings without an RBI, Ike Davis broke New York's drought in a big way to lead off the 4th, crushing his 21st home run deep to right center to make it 1-0. In the 9th, Ike had himself another extra-base hit, driving in David Wright on a double to left-center.
  • Later in the 4th, Jason Bay picked up a 2-out infield hit(!) and went to second on a throwing error. Reds starter Homer Bailey elected to walk 8-man Kelly Shoppach (making his Mets debut behind the plate) to get to the pitcher. They may have had some information about his fastballs, but what the Reds' scouting report didn't tell them is that Matt Harvey's got a hot bat. Harvey helped his own cause by blasting a 2-run double to the wall in left center to cap a 3-run 4th.
  • Jason Bay opened up another 3-run flood with a solo home run with one out in the 6th. Shoppach reached on an error and was bunted over to second by Harvey (he can bunt too!). Ruben Tejada then did what Ruben Tejada does best: 2-out RBI hitting, lacing a double to left. He came in soon after on Mike Baxter's single.
The Bad Stuff:
  • As it turns out, the Mets would need just about every one of those 8 runs at the end. When Frank Francisco entered the game in the 9th, his team was up 8-1. A home run, double, walk, strikeout, flyout, single, and double later, Francisco was removed and his team held an 8-4 lead. Francisco himself was now the owner of a 6.25 ERA. I know he's gotten the job done more times than not as closer, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Luckily Jon Rauch was there to bail him out with a simple 3-pitch strikeout to end the game.
Final Analysis:
Now that was a whole lot more fun to be at than last night was. What started off on a cool pregame note (got a ball autographed by Terry Collins of all people) turned into a wonderful game for me and the other Mets fans in the stands. For the shortest of times I thought I'd see history with Matt Harvey on the mound. Simply put, the kid was a mighty riverboat on the Ohio tonight. His line may say 2-3, but he's had four solid starts in five appearances and has proven he belongs in the bigs right now. He's going to be something special.

Great to see the bats finally get going too. I was joking with a Mets fan from North Carolina who was hoping Jason Bay would have a career game against Bailey: "Yeah, two hits!" What do you know? He did! Not two hits in a week, not two hits in a month, two hits in a game! Aside from Harvey, he and Ike were the stories at the plate tonight. Just a fine game all-around by people we expect them from (save the bullpen, but we all knew what was coming).

The Mets escape Great American Ballpark unswept, but the buzzsaw keeps on coming: tomorrow's the start of a weekend series against the best team in baseball: the Washington Nationals (ever think you'd see that phrase?). Then, mercifully, a homestand against two of the cellar dwellers in the NL: Colorado and Houston. Maybe then we can get back to .500.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Game #117: Reds 6, Mets 1

On the day Felix Hernandez tossed the 23rd perfect game in baseball history, New York did its best to make Mike Leake look just as untouchable.

Leake tossed a complete game and didn't allow an RBI as R.A. Dickey was less than superhuman and the Mets fell to the Reds 6-1.

The Bad Stuff:
  • A guy with a 4-7 record and an ERA hovering just under 5.00, Mike Leake, looked like a Cy Young contender on the mound at Great American Ballpark, pitching a complete game and allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, walking none, and striking out 4 while facing just 30 Met hitters. The only run he allowed was in the 4th inning when, with runners on first and third, Daniel Murphy grounded into a double play which scored one but killed a potential rally.
  • On the other side of the mound, R.A. Dickey was off his A-game, allowing 5 runs on 10 hits in 6 innings, including 3 solo home runs (back-to-back to Scott Rolen and Todd Frazier in the 4th).
  • The 3-9 hitters for the Mets went a combined 0-22.
The Good Stuff:
  • Mike Baxter and Ruben Tejada had the only hits on the day for New York, each going 2-4 (all singles) with Baxter scoring the team's only run on Murphy's double play.
  • Dickey still struck out 9 batters over his 6 innings, keeping him near the top of the NL K-list.

Final Analysis:
Um...ouch. Definitely not the most fun of games to be at. There were pluses, of course (seeing King Felix's perfect game on the big scoreboard, getting Justin Turner to sign my baseball card - what a guy!), but on the field the team just looked lethargic and uninspired. Another bad sign: as Jordany Valdespin was warming up with the Reds' batboy in one of the later innings, the batboy tossed one he couldn't get there. Valdespin wanted Andres Torres to trot over to get the ball for him...Torres ignored him. Uh-oh.

But, the beauty of baseball: there's always another game. Matt Harvey will go on the hill and give the Mets a chance to get out of Cincinnati with at least one W.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Game #116: Reds 3, Mets 0

It was a purist's dream. Then Jay Bruce came and rudely woke everyone up.

Bruce launched a 3-run homer off Josh Edgin in the bottom of the 9th and the Mets' wasted opportunities cost them in the series opener against the Reds 3-0.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Manny Acosta was brought in in the bottom of the 9th to help preserve a scoreless tie. A quick walk and a single quickly led to his departure in favor of Josh Edgin. At this point all Mets fans could hope for was a hard-fought 1-0 loss, but Jay Bruce sent a 1-2 fastball deep into the Cincinnati night to make it an agonizing 3-0 loss.
  • New York had all the chances in the world to plate a run or two but hit 0-8 with RISP and stranded 10 men on base.
The Good Stuff:
  • Take out the 9th and you get a real quality pitching performance by the guys in blue caps. Chris Young lasted 5 2/3 scoreless innings and Ramon Ramirez, Bobby Parnell, and Jon Rauch combined to take the team through the 8th.
Final Analysis:
The Mets' pitching staff, start and relief, did everything in its power to help the team win tonight. Unfortunately, its effort was undone by an equally good Reds staff and a lack of clutch hitting from the New York bats. For a team that relies so heavily on 2-out hits, not getting them is, to say the least, problematic. Gotta have those runs, man!

It must've been a great game to watch. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't watch it on MLB.TV because I live in Cincinnati's blackout zone and for some reason FSN Indiana (Ohio) decided to broadcast poker over baseball. What do you say to that, GOB? Fortunately I won't have that problem the next two days: tomorrow I'm down there at GABP myself. More to come.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Game #115: Mets 6, Braves 5

And just when you thought you could leave those heart meds in the closet tonight...

Jon Niese pitched masterfully and the Mets needed every single one of their runs, barely holding on against the Braves 6-5 on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

The Good Stuff:
  • Playing the lead role in the baseball adaptation of a Dickens classic was Jon Niese, who in this scene in A Tale of Two Pitchers turned in a performance on par with his previous Sunday Night appearance in early June. Niese tossed 8 innings of 1-run, 6-hit ball, walking 2 and striking out 6. His lone run came when a red-hot Freddie Freeman launched a solo shot in the 2nd inning; in a year when Niese tends to collapse under the weight of one bad inning, that lone bad pitch was all that weighed him down.
    • Niese will likely never be an ace in the major leagues, but he's a solid lefty starter who can fit in at the 3- or 4-spot in the rotation. With Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in the waiting and R.A. Dickey likely to keep knuckling it up in New York for 5 more years, he doesn't have to be. If he can turn in performances like this occasionally and limit his bad innings in the future, he'll be just fine as a major-league starter.
  • New York set the tone at the plate from the very start: Mike Baxter got on with a 1-out single in the 1st, then David Wright drove him in on a hit-and-run RBI double (the 800th RBI of his on-the-path-to-illustrious career). Wright in turn came in on Ike Davis's single, and just like that it was a 2-zip lead off a resurgent Ben Sheets of Atlanta.
  • Ruben Tejada drove in another in the 2nd to make it 3-1. In the 5th, Wright's second double and Davis's second RBI single added another, and Jordany Valdespin crushed a solo homer to lead off the 6th.
  • But the most critical run for the Mets (see below) came during their last chance at the plate when Valdespin singled, stole second, and came in on Andres Torres's base hit. That made it 6-1. Seemingly an insurmountable lead with just 3 outs to go, right?
The Bad Stuff:
  • Remember which team we're talking about here. Josh Edgin was brought in to finish a quick 9th, but 2 walks and plunking Freeman in the back later, the bases were loaded with just 2 outs. Frank Francisco was brought in to finish up in a save situation, but Juan Francisco drew a 10-pitch walk to make it 6-2 and Michael Bourn was walked to bring in another. Frank-Frank got Martin Prado down to his final strike but made a mistake with a mid-level fastball the Prado chopped into right field. 6-5 Mets. A desperate Terry Collins brought in Jon Rauch, now the only bright spot in a bullpen of darkness. Rauch did his job, getting Jason Heyward to chase a 2-2 slider in the dirt, but even that wasn't the end of the tension: Rob Johnson took his merry time throwing the ball down to first, and a speedy Heyward missed reaching by just half a step. Game over. Mets win, but not the way that anxious kid in black had envisioned. Oh, well. Teaches him character. He'll need it to root for this New York team.
Final Analysis:
In a game that strangely mirrored the last time the Mets hosted the Braves on Sunday Night, the Amazin's had it in the bag thanks to solid starting pitching and clutch hitting, offered it up to Atlanta on the platter of a broken bullpen, only to pull it back at the last possible moment and say, "Nah, this W is ours." But all you could ask for is that the Mets wouldn't embarrass themselves in front of a national audience (minus those tuned into the Closing Ceremonies in London), and aside from the part of the team that everyone knows is dreadful, they didn't. Mostly solid game, and all Ws look the same in the standings. At this point of the season, New York fans can't afford to be picky.

The team gets tomorrow off before heading west to Great American Ballpark to face the Cincinnati Reds. Joey Votto won't be there for this series, but I will: like last year, I'll be at the games on Wednesday and Thursday night. Even with the Mets out of contention, it's still the same guys at the ballpark. That's what I'm looking forward to.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Game #114: Braves 9, Mets 3

Didn't think it could get much worse than last night? Might want to sit down to read this one.

Johan Santana returned from the DL to the worst start of his career and the Mets ran out of time against the Braves, falling 9-3.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Johan Santana and his team were hoping the extended rest from his DL stint would allow him to return to the kind of stuff he pitched before and during his June 1 no-hitter. Should've taken an extra week, I guess. Santana was absolutely shelled, giving up 8 runs on 8 hits in just 1.1 innings.
    • That makes it 4 starts in a row Santana has given up 6+ runs.
    • The worst part? Chipper Jones was hardly even part of this onslaught: Larry the Met-Killer was only 1-5 with one RBI.
  • No matter who's on the mound, it's tough to come back from a 9-0 deficit. Especially against a team that actually did it earlier this season. But Atlanta starter Kris Medlen was a worthy opponent who gave up just 1 run on 5 hits over 6.1 innings.
The Good Stuff:
  • All things considered, the New York bullpen turned in a great performance tonight. Jeremy Hefner allowed a 3-run homer to Freddie Freeman in the 2nd, but only 1 of those runs was his own, and in the rest of his 3.2 innings he turned in a scoreless performance.
  • Manny Acosta, Jon Rauch, and Frank Francisco helped keep the Braves from double figures over the rest of the 4 innings, allowing just 1 hit between them and striking out a total of 6.
  • Ruben Tejada rebounded from an 0-for yesterday by going 2-4 with a double and RBI.
Final Analysis:
Johan Santana was sent back to the dugout in the 2nd but his team was DOA. A discouraging month was given an explanation point as the man to give the franchise its first no-hitter earlier this year has relinquished all claims on the title of "Ace." At this point the only hope is not that 33-year-old Santana can recover his former Cy Young self, but can still be a functional starting pitcher in the major leagues. He'll have to be; we owe him $25 million+ next season no matter what.

So what's next for the Mets? Another date on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball tomorrow. Jon Niese, who pitched 6 scoreless during No-Han weekend in primetime earlier this year, needs to show that calm coolness in front of a large audience if he wants to help his team avoid an embarrassing sweep.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Game #113: Braves 4, Mets 0

Two bad pitches on the home end plus less by the visitors. That's all it took to bury New York tonight.

Matt Harvey rebounded after a rocky start but Paul Maholm only needed 95 pitches to give the Braves a 4-0 victory over the Mets.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Maholm could've gone an extra three innings at the rate he pitched, delivering a complete-game, 3-hit, no-walk, 5-K shutout in less than two and a half hours.
  • New York got runners on in the first two innings (error and Daniel Murphy single) but rally-killing double plays quickly dispelled any hopes of runs.
  • Ruben Tejada's 14-game hitting streak was snapped with an 0-4 performance at the plate.
  • Matt Harvey gave up a quick 2-run homer to Jason Hayward in the 1st as the home team played from behind almost immediately.
  • Josh Edgin put the game out of reach in the 8th by serving up a Dan Uggla 2-run homer.
The Good Stuff:
  • Despite a rough first couple innings Matt Harvey was solid in his first career start at Citi Field. Harvey limited the damage to those 2 runs on those 2 hits in 6 innings. He walked 5 and only struck out 3 but found the plate in the second half of his outing, retiring the final nine Atlanta hitters to face him.
Final Analysis:
The only good thing you can say about this game is that at least it was over quickly. The Mets couldn't get anything going at the plate and were doomed in this one from the very start. The only thing to do now is get a good night's sleep and give Johan Santana some more offense for his return from the DL tomorrow night.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Game #112: Mets 6, Marlins 1

With their backs against the wall, New York followed the lead of its nastiest pitch and danced itself out of a sweep.

R.A. Dickey tossed his 4th complete game and earned his 15th W of the year and Andres Torres single-handedly provided the necessary offense as the Mets salvaged the final game against the Marlins, 6-1.

The Good Stuff:
  • R.A. Dickey flashed that Cy Young stuff today, riding the knuckleball to a complete game, allowing just a solo home run and 4 other hits, hitting one man, walking none, and striking out 10. Dickey became the first NL starter on the year to reach 15 wins and boosted his claim on the title of Best Pitcher in Baseball.
  • Miami's Josh Johnson traditionally has owned New York, but it was a new Met that got the best of him and his relievers today. Andres Torres fell a single shy of the cycle, going 3-3 with 3 RBIs and his 2nd home run of the year in the 6th.
  • Four other Mets picked up 2 hits on the day, including: Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter, David Wright (including a double and his 73rd RBI), and Josh Thole (2 RBIs himself).
  • Jose Reyes's 26-game hitting streak came to an end as he was out-maneuvered by Dickey's knuckler all afternoon.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Would it be too much to ask for more of this kind of thing more often? Seriously, this was a fun time.
Final Analysis:
Dickey was masterful once again, and unlike last Friday in San Diego, he got the run support necessary to end up on the long side of the result. Four of the New York starting 9 finished the day with .300+ batting averages (Wright, Tejada, Murphy, Baxter), with newcomer Mike Baxter likely getting more playing time and more chance to boost that average. It was a great end to a disappointing series with the Mets picking up their first win at Citi Field in a little over a calendar month. The team will get the rest of the night off and get going again tomorrow night as Matt Harvey makes his home debut against Larry the Met-Killer and the Atlanta Braves.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Game #111: Marlins 13, Mets 0

Well...that sucked.

The Marlins went yard four times and the Mets were lifeless against Miami pitching, falling 13-0 for their 9th straight loss at home.

The Bad Stuff:
  • See Innings 1-9
The Good Stuff:
  • Eh...David Wright got two hits, upping his batting average to .325.
  • Ruben Tejada extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
Final Analysis:
The Mets now have a guy on roster (Garrett Olson) with an ERA of 108.00. Perhaps best to forget this whole thing and hope tomorrow turns out better. I recently signed up for Netflix...time to get into Mad Men! See you all tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Game #110: Marlins 4, Mets 2

New York got the day off yesterday to recover from a week and a half on the West Coast. Looks like they needed one more day to get past the jet lag.

A couple dribbler hits in the 4th led to 4 Marlins runs and Miami's bullpen retired the final as the Marlins took the first game of the series from the Mets, 4-2.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Justin Ruggiano and Jose Reyes led off the 4th with soft tappers of infield singles (with Reyes extending his hitting streak to 25 games), which set Jon Niese up for another one of his infamous meltdown innings. When the dust had settled Miami had all 4 of their runs across the board and New York was in a hole they couldn't dig themselves out of.
  • The Mets left 11 men on base and wouldn't get another hit after the 5th inning.
The Good Stuff:
  • Daniel Murphy led off the 5th with his 4th home run of the season and his first at Citi Field in over a calendar year.
  • One more run came in when Jason Bay, Ike Davis, and Andres Torres each had 2-out singles in the 5th.
  • Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta, and Jon Rauch combined for 3 scoreless innings in relief to keep the Mets within striking distance late in the game.
Final Analysis:
Niese couldn't get control of his curveball in the 4th but kept on using it, which cost him and the team greatly. He was great in the rest of his 5 innings but his inconsistency has been holding him back from his fantastic potential. A lethargic way to start the homestand, the Mets' only hope is to get some more sleep tonight before tomorrow's round two with the Fish.


P.S. Speaking of those Miami Marlins, here's something for Rising Apple that will make Mets fans feel happy that at least their team has a plan.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Weekly Recap, July 30-August 5

The boys are on the way home from the west, and I'm home from a busy week, including a couple days in the Mets' epicenter: New York City. Before we get to my week, let's take a look at the team's week.

Team Record: 4-3 (53-56 overall)
July 30-August 2, Giants Series: W, 3-1
August 3-5, Padres Series: L, 1-2

The Good Stuff:
  • Ronny Cedeno had one of the best weeks of his entire career, totaling 10 RBIs on 7-12 hitting, including half those RBIs on 2 doubles and a single in the final game in San Francisco. He also hit a pinch-hit 2-run homer on Sunday afternoon against the Padres to keep the Mets in the game.
  • Ruben Tejada hit .375 for the week, including his first home run in more than two years (second career), a leadoff shot Wednesday night against Matt Cain of the Giants. Tejada's now hitting .323 on the season, slowly but surely approaching the team lead (for the converse of that, see Bad Stuff).
  • Most of New York's starters had wonderful weeks on the mound. R.A. Dickey tossed a quality start in a Friday night loss in San Diego. Chris Young shut down the Giants on Thursday afternoon. Jon Niese survived the absolute lack of run support on Wednesday night to pick up the W. Jeremy Hefner rebounded from a rough SF outing to earn a big win in SD.
The Bad Stuff:
  • David Wright struggled again as his batting average dropped to .325, just two points ahead of Tejada for the team lead.
  • Matt Harvey picked up the first 2 Ls of his young major league career, managing a tough loss in San Francisco against Tim Lincecum (who has 40% of his 5 season Ws against the Mets, by the way), but getting smashed by the camo-clad Padres on Sunday afternoon.
Final Analysis:
While it didn't end the way fans would've liked, the Mets still finished the dreaded West Coast swing with a winning record: 6-5 in Arizona, San Francisco, and San Diego. Over the last couple years this trip has been the one to spell doom to previously promising first halves, and while the season had been sunk on the Atlantic coast already in 2012, at least New York used their Pacific Coast journey to stabilize their record. While the playoffs are a long shot unless the team can go '51 Giants (37-7) on the rest of the National League, one more good winning streak and .500 ball the rest of the way can still produce a winning season. The storm has been weathered, and hopefully it has passed. Because if it turns out the Mets are simply in the eye of the hurricane, it ain't gonna be pretty.


New York Pics of the Week
Our room at the Pod 39 Hotel on 39th Street. Small, but affordable and comfortable.
Look who I found in a Dunkin' Donuts!
One of the team's epicenters: the Mets Clubhouse Store on 42nd Street near Bryant Park.
My (hopefully) future place of employment: the SNY headquarters at the Time-Life Building on 51st and 6th Avenue.
Riverside Church, where my grandparents used to worship when they lived in Morningside Heights and Grandpa went to Union Theological Seminary right next door.
My 5th trip to New York and I STILL haven't gotten to see him yet...Soon and very soon! (It'll have to be - Dave's getting old!)
My sister and I saw two shows when we were there: first was a revival of Harvey with Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory starring in the role Jimmy Stewart made famous in 1950.
The second was the infamous Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The plot was so-so but the stagecraft and effects were what made the show. The Bono-and-Edge-penned music was also enjoyable.

So that was my week in the Greatest City in the World. I'll be back there again soon, and the Mets will be back there after an off day on Monday to start a series with the recently-gutted Miami Marlins. Time to start a new streak!